Monday, February 22, 2016

The Division, part two.

The Division

I'm outside my newly-liberated HQ, but all the quest markers for activating its subsections are still there. I log into the three laptops again and on my way outside I get a cutscene, which I skip.

I pick a mission because I like its bright yellow lightning bolt icon the best: I'm going a few blocks east and clearing out a power substation. I also have to rescue a man called Rhodes, but because I'm not paying attention to the subtitles, for most of the mission I'll think it's someone called Rose and will be surprised when she has a man's voice.

The omnipotent voice in my character's headset tells me - us? - to avoid confronting the cleaners. When I notice that they're carrying flamethrowers, I decide to ignore this advice. A lucky shot ignites a man's fuel tank and he explodes, spectacularly announcing my arrival to his nearby allies. This gang do not appear to use radio communications however, as I am able to use this same explosive sneak-attack at least four more times across the duration of the mission.

I descend through the facility's waist-high forest of crates and construction equipment and die for the first time, burned alive by a sociopath performing an over-enthusiastic homage to Bradbury. My reincarnation is quick and most of my equipment seems to have restocked itself, which removes the sting from the experience; the enemies have also reset themselves, but my tactical advantage of knowing where they're coming from - and how they're armed - proves too much for them to succeed in a second encounter.

I die twice more before reaching an obvious boss arena, where I kill waves of opponents long enough for their larger, better-armoured champion to arrive. He is defeated in an uncontrolled explosion when my missed headshot instead nicks his fuel tank.

Returning to the surface by elevator, I am informed that the engineer I left behind in the power plant has already beaten me to my headquarters and am instructed to meet him there. Since he's no longer in danger I decide to take a scenic route.

I find no fewer than three more military squads being badly outgunned by amateur militias, but only help one.

When I arrive at the base I talk to the engineer and unlock an ability which feels like it's been shanghaied from a different game: to deploy an automatic machine gun turret.

A hostage rescue mission catches my eye and I assist two soldiers in rescuing a third, by running ahead of them and killing fifteen men who have the temerity not to be in the army. Perhaps with military training they would have known better than to stream out of their fortified position and into the waiting crosshairs of my new carbine and ridiculous sci-fi turret.

I decide to take a less combat-oriented task next, searching for a missing person. The science fiction quotient increases when I find an area that recreates, in garish orange hologram, an event from long ago. This historical record does not appear to offer any clues to the woman's location, but my HUD nevertheless informs me that clues have been found and offers a new objective marker to continue the search.

I log out.

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