At this point, it’s pretty hard to be into video games and not have heard about The Division Open Beta. An open-world third-person shooter coming in March, The Division is Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft’s attempt to bring the well-worn stats and gear mechanics from games set in magical lands to something a bit more realistic.
How well the final game will sell is anyone’s guess at this point, but early reaction from the beta testing that Ubisoft has done in recent weeks seems mostly positive. You don’t have to take someone else’s word about the game at face value though, The Division Open Beta is available to anyone and everyone with an internet connection and enough space on their console.
We took a dive into The Division Open Beta already, looking for things that players on the fence about purchasing the game should try before making their final buying decision.
Save The Doctor & Open The Medical Wing
The Division Open Beta begins with you creating a very basic agent and waking up on a military helicopter. It’s obvious that Ubisoft has fast-forwarded through a bit of the game play, ensuring that the beta doesn’t reveal too much before the final game arrives.
You’re dropped in Camp Hudson, with only a line to guide you to your next major objective. That objective will take you to Grand Central Station, which is being used as your headquarters. Those thinking about buying The Division need to get a feel for how narrative and combat works in the game. There’s no better way to do that than going right next door and saving the doctors trapped within Madison Square Garden.
The mission offers great opportunities for cover mechanics and power-up usage. Also, it’s a terrific gauge of how effective you’ll be in The Division on your own without a squad. Only a few story related missions are available during The Division Open Beta.
Find The Sister
After you’ve done the mission within Madison Square Garden, definitely try your hand at a side mission. The person running your operation at base has a missing sister. The mission gives you your first taste of Echos, a story mechanic that seems like it’ll be heavily used in the game to reveal what happened in New York City after the government fell.
Stop By a Safe House & Learn About Gear
Stop by a safe house to take a look at the gear you can pick up with in-game currency. They’re scattered throughout the game world.
As you’re on your way to the safe houses, you’re bound to have a few encounters. Random enemies on the street will attempt to kill you the moment that they notice you. Take the groups out to pick up some of the weapons and add-ons that they’re carrying on them. Picking up these items will give you something to compare the items that you already have to.
The Division isn’t a traditional third-person shooter in the sense that a few hits kills anyone. Weapon damage statistics and armor govern how hard or how easy it is for you to take someone out. Higher level gear comes with better damage statistics and traits that make combat easier. You can modify your weapons with items that you find and buy to up your damage. The same thing works for your armor.
Try All The Skills
As you’re leveling up, be sure to pay attention to the skills that are available in the game and try on different skills to see how they work. Doing so will give you a better idea of what you want your agent to specialize in.
Some skills are perfect for dealing as much damage as possible. Other skills are for those that’d like to hang back and heal enemies without taking the brunt of an assault. A few allow you to spawn automatic weapons and remotely detonate explosives. All of them aren’t available during The Division Open Beta, try as many as it allows.
Venture Into The Dark Zone
Finally, the most important thing you can do during The Division Open Beta is venture into the Dark Zone.
When the military was in charge of the city, it tried to stop the spread of the virus by hording all sick people into a central area of the city. Once the virus spread, the military pulled out entirely, living the best weaponry in the city unprotected. To get the best character add-ons in the game, players need to venture into the Dark Zone and extract it for decontamination.
The Dark Zone acts as The Division’s multiplayer experience. Teams of players can venture into the Dark Zone to get loot for everyone, but be forewarned that there are other players ready to take you out the moment they sense vulnerability. If you’re killed before you can extract items, they aren’t added to your inventory.
Players that kill other agents in the Dark Zone are called Rogues, and anyone can go rogue at any given time. The Division Open Beta only offers a corner of the total Dark Zone landscape.
Good luck with The Division Open Beta. Xbox One, PS4 and Windows PC gamers have until Monday to try the game before the testing period ends.