Underground DLC: Procedurally generated levels come to The Division

Underground DLC: Procedurally generated levels come to The Division

Tom Clancy’s The Division got its first paid DLC release earlier this week, featuring some much-needed endgame content. Underground is a PC and Xbox One timed exclusive presently, with PS4 players (the bulk of the game’s player base) gaining access to the DLC in a month’s time. As a PC player of The Division, I’ve been able to take full advantage of the hardware at my disposal, and have been lucky enough to play the best looking version of the game. However, the game has seen a shocking fall in the number of active players since the game’s launch. Underground promises a slew of new content and gear, but will it be enough to bring players back to The Division?

You begin with an above-ground transitional mission. Once you’ve returned to your HQ after beating it, a new door opens next to the Rewards Claim Vendor to a new social place called “The Terminal.” From The Terminal, you will be able to access Underground missions; randomly generated urban dungeons with varying backdrops and visual styles. These dungeons are akin to Diablo 3’s Rifts, but I would imagine the algorithms required to generate them (given the game’s visual fidelity), are substantially more complex. It’s a great technical achievement, but there appear to be some downsides.
The Division Underground DLC (1)

The Division never ceases to impress from a graphics standpoint, and while all Underground missions can look great (particularly on PC), the mix of outdoor and indoor environments which broke the monotony of the other is absent. Underground missions are designed to be played co-operatively, be it using the game’s matchmaking system or with pre-made groups. All the missions are no-respawn areas, so a death while playing solo will result in the loss of progress (no XP gained is retained on death). Jump in with a party for those clutch revives and get the most out of grinding for XP and loot in these spaces.
The Division Underground DLC (2)
Missions can be played in varying degrees of difficulty (“cakewalk” to “heroic”), with the ability to add unlocked modifiers such as no radar, ammo restrictions or giving enemies special ammo. While this adds a fair bit of replayability to the content, in the end, it also means revisiting The Division’s core issues of bullet-absorbing enemies, rushing shotgunners and the fundamentally incongruous coming together of RPG and modern day shooter. The rewards? Gear sets and weapons, of course. If you’re not interesting in wasting precious time in the game’s Dark Zone, the variety of Underground’s dungeons could offer an alternative method to acquire the game’s best gear.
The Division Underground DLC (3)
A new “heroic” mode and new challenge mode missions have been added as “free” updates as well, with Incursions and Challenge mode missions sporting this additional difficulty level. Hudson Refugee Camp and Queen’s Tunnel Camp can now be experience as a challenge mode mission with better rewards as well.
The Division Underground DLC (4)
Underground also adds a new Incursion (the game’s take on MMO Raids), called the “Dragon’s Nest.” If the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, you’ll be fighting The Division’s fiery foes, the Cleaners. They’ve got some new toys this time around, one of which is an annoying incendiary RC car of doom, which are driven directly into players, causing an area-of-effect fire explosion. Players will also have to deal with “The Four Horsemen,” the game’s most “formidable foes” according to the marketing material.
So far, The Division has never been mechanically heavy in terms of its fights, with the game peaking in terms of complexity with “defend” sections where you’ll have to hold down a point, turning a valve or two while fighting off waves of enemies. The final fight in Dragon’s Nest changes this for the better by introducing coordinated button-pushing, followed by mandatory repositioning, to The Division.
There was always going to be a dedicated fan base, given both the hype leading up to The Division’s launch as well as those players who simply love the “grind” aspect of games like Destiny, MMORPGs or Diablo. The Division personifies this grind and Underground adds a fair bit of variety to it, thanks to its procedurally generated levels and rewards like gear sets and high-end weapons. For those players who enjoyed the story content, gunplay and immersive visuals of vanilla Division, Underground offers something different—a single playthrough on even lower difficulty with some friends can be a fun, occasionally challenging experience. However, there’s nothing here for players who fundamentally disliked the base game or were uninterested in its premise.

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