The Division 2, Again

740 words.

So I’m playing an MMO again, kind of.

I just happened to notice the other day that the base version of The Division 2 was on sale in the Ubisoft store for $10. Adding in a handful of “Uplay Points”-or whatever they’re called-that I’d gathered from years of playing Assassin’s Creed games, I knocked it down to $8.

The Division 2 is my favorite of the “looter shooters” I’ve seen, mainly because the cover shooting mechanics looks and feels more natural than any of the others. Shooting from cover feels a lot more intuitive to me than running and gunning and bunny hopping like a stupid video game character, as you do in, say, Destiny 2.

You can even pretend to have functioning knees and quads.

I’ve always been more of a defensive-minded player in shooters, going all the way back to Quake, so taking cover feels right to me. And the fact that it’s a third-person camera means that you can enjoy all of the cool parkour animations that your character does while going in and out of cover, which happens to be better for videos. :)

Third-person camera shooters are far less nausea-inducing, too.

It’s been a bit of a journey getting here with The Division 2. I first played the open beta in March of 2019 and concluded that my PC couldn’t run it very well. Then I played a free weekend in October of 2019, enjoyed the game, but again concluded that my PC couldn’t run it well enough. So I bought the PS4 version of The Division 2, which was on sale at the time for some $25, which seemed like a bargain at the time. I re-played essentially the same areas I played in the free weekend, then never played it again on PS4 because it’s a chore to use a controller.

Now I just bought it for the PC. This is, I believe, the first game I’ve ever bought twice on two different platforms. I always pointed and laughed at people who did that, now I’m one of them. Oops. At least I didn’t buy them both at full price.

I mean who doesn't love roaming around foggy urban garbage streets.

For some unknown reason, The Division 2 runs a lot better on my PC in 2020 than it did in 2019. It’s now smooth as butter at 60 fps on Medium-High settings. It actually runs better at 1440 than at 1080. Whereas before, it was choppy and I had a hard time getting it to run more than 45 fps on lower-end settings. Nothing about my PC has changed in the last year, except a handful of Nvidia driver updates.

I have to use the Nvidia Geforce Experience Shadowplay to record the game, though. I can’t get OBS to record it at a solid frame rate. It’s the only game I know of where I can’t get OBS to capture and encode at the same rate that the game is playing.

Incidentally, the Geforce Shadowplay thing is a surprisingly good recording tool. It just kind of works without any effort, and there’s even an option to record separate game and microphone tracks, so it fits into my existing workflow. I’ve had that Geforce Overlay thing disabled for years, but now suddenly it’s quite useful.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with The Division 2. It’s a good “mindless” sort of game*, especially for eight bucks. You just point at stuff and shoot, and watch numbers go up. It turns out, with a release date of March 2019, it’s now the most recent PC game I own.**

It even has day/night cycles, which, as with most games, serves the important purpose of ruining screenshots and video.

  • I broadly put games into two categories: Games that require constant focus and attention to play (the kind I usually prefer in 2020), and games that are mindless and don’t require any attention (the kind where you grind away with repetitive involuntary motor movements while actually watching Netflix, which is where most MMOs tend to live).

** UPDATE: Upon further reflection, this isn’t true. It’s the fourth most-recent PC game I own. Sekiro is about a week newer than The Division 2, and the disappointing Outward is about a week newer than that. The actual newest PC game I own is Remnant: From The Ashes from August 2019, though I got it for free on the Epic Game Store.

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