So I signed up for a shot at this beta a while back when I was playing the first game. I did not and do not intent to pre-order it. I also don’t intend to buy it at launch. I like the game, but I’m not willing to pay $60 for it.
The beta only allows for a single character slot, and character customization was basically missing. The only option I had was spamming the randomize button until I got something I was okay with.
I had been aware that the game was set in DC because it was pretty obvious in the promotional materials. Compared to the original I’d say it has somewhat more green stuff, overall, but it’s still the same sort of urban environment.
The skill system is now broke out into a variety of technology platforms. You can spend skill points to unlock additional platforms and they’re sometimes required for new variants of a particular platform. Unfortunately the pulse platform would be what I’m used to having and it’ wasn’t available for me to try.
Within each platform though, is a variety of different ways to use it. Both of us were using the fixer drone, as it’s armor regen was a pretty nice thing to have in combat. Unlike the tiered health bars that the first game had, Division 2 has a non-regenerating “armor” pool and a regenerating, but much smaller, health pool that takes damage only once the armor is gone. The game has a consumable called an armor kit that you can use to restore your armor, but you need to be in pretty good cover to hold the button long enough to use it.
The skill variants and perks are purchased with an SHD Tech currency that you get from doing missions and activities on the map. Missions and all that seem functionally the same, for the most part. One of the most notable changes is that I no longer have the ability to do all the missions in hard more, but had to do them in “story” mode instead.
Getting new area and services in the white house require you to go to and assist settlements within the city. You can also allegedly unlock new missions and activities by leveling this settlements up, presumably by doing missions and activities. The bottom line though, is that another settlement needs your help.
Help like, say, pulling a Nick Cage and acquiring the Declaration of Independence. Which was guarded by a ton of paramilitary rednecks. I’m just saying, if you’re gonna flank the enemy, maybe don’t yell out loud that you’re doing so right before you make a break for it. That’s not flanking, that’s a diversion.
One thing that did surprise me is that gear sets make an appearance much earlier in this game than they did the first one. I was a good ways through the content of the first game before I started seeing pieces of gear with bonuses like this. That said, it’s not like the set pieces are so common that completing a set is easy. I’ve gotten lucky enough to get two pieces from the same set, but it’s so early in the game that they’re replaced by higher base stat versions fairly quickly. I imagine it’s probably somewhat different in the end game though.
Overall it’s a good iteration. A lot of the changes are fairly subtle, but are good mechanical changes overall. Gameplay-wise, it feels very much like the same game. The controls are very similar, the combat is very similar, it’s all just been tweaked a little here and there. Similar enough though, that if I really want this type of experience I can just go play more of the first one.
Y’all take care though, and for real, don’t try to steal the Declaration of Independence. That’s a horrible idea.