If The Division was a McDonalds Big Mac, the Dark Zone would be its Special Sauce. The hybrid Player versus Environment versus Player (PvEvP) mode was the original’s crowning “jewel” and for those that dared enter, offered a world of intense high risk action and reward. The same rings true of its sequel, however, as I found out, it does so in a far more fair and enjoyable manner than ever before.
Set in Washington DC The Division 2 (TD2) takes place six months after the original during the peak of America’s summer. The city has been overrun by vegetation, its buildings are now derelict and survivors have been forced into settlements scattered amongst the game’s gigantic 1:1 DC recreation. It’s a stark contrast to its New York based predecessor. Colour leaps from the screen and while the city looks to be just as sparsely populated it somehow feels more alive as deer leap through open squares and Mother Nature appears well on her way to claiming it for her own.
Another advantage of TD2’s new sprawling setting means it has the room to offer not one but three distinctly unique Dark Zone areas to explore. These will be set to the East at DC’s Union Station, South at Fisherman’s Wharf and West amongst the now vacant homes of the iconic Georgetown. Each have their own unique narrative and feel that will be introduced one by one as you progress through the game’s campaign. Once open each of the Dark Zones remain accessible as you please and incorporate the same amazingly seamless experience of simply crossing a Dark Zone’s border and being automatically matched against similarly skilled opponents with no break in gameplay.