When we reviewed Tom Clancy’s The Division a few months ago, we discussed why we liked it but also why we had doubts about the game’s long term appeal. The game’s first major expansion, Underground, aims to take away some of those question marks. Let’s see how it fares….
As one might expect when looking at its title, Underground sees you exploring a whole world beneath the New York you already know. This expansion, the first of three included in the season pass, takes you through subways, tunnels and sewers. This is a great choice by the developers, and one that feels like a perfect fit for the game’s premise. Going underground, you naturally expect disease and lawlessness – even more so than in the base game.
The expansion’s setting is a foreboding one, and when combined with a sense of claustrophobia it’s easy to sink several hours into the expansion – especially because the randomly generated dungeons keep the level layout fresh. There’s also plenty of loot to find, as well as somewhat of a story campaign – an incursion where an elite group of cleaners comes in and faces off with you.
That doesn’t mean that Underground is what’s going to keep The Division exciting for months though. Looking beyond the atmospheric exterior of the DLC content, the game hasn’t changed much. There is still a lot of grinding to do, with experience that you gain while underground counting towards yet another separate experience meter (the ‘underground’ one). Gameplay also hasn’t changed much, although the underground setting does make for some interesting combat limitations and possibilities.
For us, the Underground portion of The Division felt like a fun diversion, but not the game-changer that the game might need in the long run. If it’s loot you’re after then you’re still better off in the game’s Dark Zone, and the story content that this expansion offers is limited as well. Perhaps everything will come together as the next two expansions are added…. with titles like Survival and Last Stand they definitely look promising in terms of The Division’s post-apocalyptic setting.
If you were actively playing The Division already then Underground is a great addition to the game. If you loved playing and completing it back when it came out but lost interesting soon after, then Underground likely won’t draw you back in for more than a week or two.