The Division 2: Warlords of New York Review
A year after the launch of The Division 2, its expansion Warlords of New York has arrived. Is the journey to New York worth your time, or should you spend your money elsewhere? Check out our review to find out.
The Division 2: Warlords of New York Review
Warlords of New York takes place after the events of The Division 2, with the rouge agent Aaron Keener causing chaos in Manhattan. He and his four lackeys are attempting to unleash a virus similar to the Green Poison, the main reason why the world is in such a sad state of disarray. Working with your fellow agents, players must track down these rogue agents and take them out, one by one. Overall the story of this expansion will run you between 10-12 hours, depending on how much damage you do.
The main story reason for killing these other rogues agents is to pinpoint Keener. Gameplay-wise, however, they award you with new skills that you can use in combat. A sticky bomb, fire sticky bomb, electric trap, and a decoy are all brought to the table. The sticky bombs do precisely what they sound like: stick to a target then go off. The decoy is similar to a hologram of yourself, popping up and targeting bad guys. The electric trap stuns enemies, leaving them open to attack. These are all fun to try, but the base skills seemed better overall.
Combat plays out just like it does in the base game. When you get into a fight, you find cover and fight from there. The crux of the game is doing this, and boy, is it exhausting. Enemies have way too much HP and often times take upwards of 25 bullets to bring down. Headshots do extra damage, but there’s no point if you need 10 of them to bring down your foe. Even base enemies now have an extra HP bar, making this even worse. For reference, I was doing roughly around 100k towards the end, and when I leveled up, I would get 20k for myself. Basically, the enemies are re-rocking millions of HP, while I’m not even at 300k. I don’t need to be a god, but I want it to be a level playing field.
When I finally hit level 40 and crafted my high-level weapons, enemies would go down quicker, but that grind to 40 was absurd. Red enemies drop in about ten shots, which is to be expected in a game like this. The enemy AI tactics are still the same from the base game as well. Shield guys and flamethrower guys rush, others stay behind cover until you are close, and drones attack from the sky to try and root you out of your cover. If none of that works, they spawn behind you through a door or manhole and flank you that way. It is a cover shooter where the game actively wants you to move out of your cover, and punishes you if you don’t.
Let’s talk about the bosses real quick. I often speak about the cardinal sins of boss fights in games, and Warlords of New York amazingly manages to check off every last one of those sins. Bosses going invincible mid-fight, check. Bosses spawning more foes out of nowhere, check. Bosses full healing while invincible (where you can’t do anything about it), check. Bosses disabling your skills because why not, check. And on the subject of absurd HP numbers, bosses easily passing the 100 million mark, and at the point, all numbers seem meaningless. I’d rather do 1% of damage consistently then deal 100k damage that appears to have zero effect.
While you aren’t on missions, you can still roam the streets looking for loot, control points, and other side activities. These are fun little distractions that made me enjoy the game more. I didn’t feel funneled into a big square room or long hallway with enemies constantly. The more open area of the streets and blown-out buildings felt refreshing as opposed to the interiors designs of the main missions. That, and, on occasion, random NPCs would come to join the fight, making things feel a bit more manageable. Solo players beware though; exploration is not easy, and running into enemies on the streets is very common.
After you finally bring down Keener, new activities open up. You can still do bounties, replay missions on higher difficulties, or do anything else from the base game. Now you have Keener’s Watch, which will give you minor buffs for grinding past the level cap. When I say minor, I mean minor. The base HP you get is an extra 30, which might as well be zero. You increase weapon damage by 0.2%, and it stops at 20%. Division fans will find this grind exciting as you can eventually get to significant numbers, but that grind is a long and tedious one nonetheless.
Of course, you can’t have a live service game without seasons. After bringing down the first set of rogue agents, a new set will appear weekly for this season. Sadly, the first one was still locked until next week, so that I couldn’t try it out. Still, it is obvious what they expect you to do. Log in every week, take out the target, then come back the next week for the second target. As expected, you get loot rewards and extra experience for doing this, but who has the time to log in every week and deal with these shenanigans.
This begs the question: At what point are you just pulled out of the game? You are mowing down hundreds and hundreds of enemies that work for Keener and his goons. Why don’t they just have everyone protect that one valuable objective, or group together and rush us? If Keener has helicopters, why aren’t they blasting us from the sky? It’s all for the sake of the story, and I get that, but a villain loses his threat level when his intelligence appears to be subpar. Keener never felt like a real threat until he was a boss with ridiculous tactics and abilities. It’s certainly something the development team should consider in future releases.
Unfortunately, the sheer amount of bugs in Warlords of New York is staggering. Though it is fixed, the ability to do main missions was not present When it launched. Note that players cannot leave Manhattan until the expansion is complete. Sound bugs were also rampant; voices cut out, guns made no noise, and explosions did nothing. Texture pop-in is also problematic, just like in the base game. You need to occasionally kill enemies to progress, but they spawn behind walls or don’t move, forcing you to restart missions that can be upwards of an hour long. The game never crashed on me, although my PlayStation 4 Pro sounded like it was going to lift off. The title could also use a ping system, so everyone could target the same enemy easier.
It might sound like I am railing on this game, but Ubisoft just pushed every other game in its schedule in order to make them unique. That simply is not the case with Warlords of New York. It is more of the same…and not in a good way. Much like Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, it needed more time in the oven. Time will tell if they fix these issues in the future, but I will not be around to find out.
Warlords of New York can only be recommended to the most diehard of Division fans. Constant bugs, exhausting combat, and a weak main villain leaves much to be desired.
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