Tom Clancy’s The Division 2’s first major expansion is here, and it brings with a host of new content. Featuring the return of the original rogue agent, Aaron Keener, Warlords takes players back to where it all started – New York.
AT A GLANCE
TITLE: TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION 2: WARLORDS OF NEW YORK
DEVELOPER: Massive Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: 3/3/2020
PLATFORMS: PC(Reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Warlords of New York takes place after the events of Division 1, in the summer season. You are playing as a second wave Division Agent, going after a first – wave Division Agent by the name Aaron Keener, who turned rogue in the early days of the crisis. Keener sees a future world where governments and establishments are completely destroyed. However, if the world is to fall into chaos where only the strong survives, he wants to ensure he’ll be the apex predator on top of the food chain, by utilizing a viral bioweapon called Eclipse, which he intends to release on New York and beyond.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
As nature reclaims the streets of the concrete jungle, you will go up against four rogue agents, the titular Warlords, who function as lieutenants of Aaron. Each Warlord controls a portion of New York, and have to be taken down in similar structures to previous boss fights in the series.
All the Warlords have unique abilities, and killing them unlocks new skills similar to the boss’s own powers. This is a cool way to spice up Boss battles by adding in new mechanics as well as making the fights more rewarding. Defeating Vivian, for example, unlocks the devastating firebrand sticky bomb, while defeating Theo Parnell unlocks decoys which allow you to divert the attention of enemies.
New York looks gorgeous. The snow from the previous game has given way to lush jungles and greenery, with animals roaming about, making the world feel alive. The map isn’t as big as the original New York map from Division 1, but it’s still big and dense. There are 5 main and 8 side missions and you will be unable to return to Washington DC till the campaign is over.
Aside from the meaty main campaign, unlockable new skills and the map, there’s also other new stuff added in. For starters, the max level cap is now 40 and the Field Proficiency caches are replaced with SHD levels. Enemy factions that were featured in have also received an upgrade in the form of new weapons and tactics.
Seasons have also been added. Once players have completed the Warlords of New York campaign, seasons take over all of the endgame aspects of the game to create a cohesive experience using Seasonal Manhunt, Leagues, GlobalEvents, and Expeditions, across New York and Washington DC.
Gear 2.0, which is also available for base game players, refines and improves the gear system as well as loot drops. The updated UI allows for a better comparison of gear stats, and a lot of the base gear parts have been reworked. Loot drops are also rewarding and tied to the difficulty system. And I can attest to that after getting my fourth exotic after a couple of hours of playing end-game content.
The Dark Zone has also been overhauled, and it now allows for more aggressive, and suspenseful gameplay. All loot is now contaminated and will require manual extraction. On top of that, it’s now faster to toggle the Rogue status and “gray” rogues don’t exist, so expect more cutthroat competition and PvP in the Zone. New perks have been added to the Dark Zone skill line, and ammo crates, extraction zones have been increased to help with the increased pressure. VOIP now remains on by default, which is something I recommend keeping on, after all, teamwork is vital to surviving in this harsh post-apocalyptic society.
I do have a few gripes with the DLC. First and foremost are the technical issues and server instability, which I am sure Ubisoft will have fixed by the next couple of weeks, so I won’t let it impact the final score.
The second is, some of this content should not have been locked behind a DLC. The new map, campaign, and skills, I have no issues with but I really feel seasons should have been added to the base game as well, which would have significantly increased the number of returning players and would have meant more players for the end game activities.
A MAJOR STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
In short, Division 2: Warlords of New York is the perfect expansion pack. It adds a ton of new stuff to do for veteran players and eases new players in. Every part of the DLC adds meaningful improvements and additions to the core gameplay loop resulting in a better experience overall. Division 2 was already my favorite looter shooter of 2019, and this expansion just solidifies it in every way.