The Division: Survival – A Divided Affair

the division survivalThe Division. It is perhaps one of the most hotly debated titles to be released in 2016. Like it or not, any game that carries the Tom Clancy name badge immediately carries with it a certain set of expectations for authenticity and realism. Not to get entirely nostalgic but many of our younger readers may not know that name like some of we seasoned readers do, and appreciate the weight that the late author brought to the table.

Younger readers, look up and read the books, The Hunt For Red October and Rainbow Six. If reading isn’t your thing, go check out the original Ghost Recon on PC. Fantastic game! Forgive me for getting off track. Where were we? The Division, that’s right! Any Tom Clancy game brings a set of assumptions. As I covered in my earlier article the Division started out a very rocky mess and really let a lot of gamers down. Fortunately, Ubisoft Massive listened to its audience and fixed a huge amount of the issues plaguing the game and have finally delivered a very worthwhile game to its audience.

With this newest DLC offering we were given the Survival mode. While this has been criticised by some for not offering any real “new” content, it does offer a brand new experience for players to really sink their teeth into. The new mode is a very simple in its setup. Simply survive. Easy right? Wrong, very very wrong!

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I have rarely played a mode so brutal and yet so rewarding that I just want to keep going back for more of a butt whoopin’. Mild spoilers ahead, be warned. Here is the setup friends. Survival is a totally separate mode that utilises the entire Division map and the Dark Zone map. It can be started from the main Base of Operations HUB. This will see your agent sent into a massive winter storm to track down and retrieve a shipment of Antivirals in the Dark Zone. However, all does not go according to plan and your helicopter crashes outside the Dark Zone because of the heavy winds and snow.

As you regain consciousness you will start in a totally random location on the map outside the Dark Zone, with nothing but the Hazmat suite and sidearm you came into the mode with. You are still tasked with retrieving the antivirals or die trying. Starting with no winter clothing you will need to scour the freezing winter landscape of New York for supplies. When you first start the game you will automatically be infected with a virus that will kill you if left unchecked.

The goal is simple enough. Craft a virus filter, get into the DZ and find the AntiVirals and get out alive. You will get one hour of real, in-game time to complete your assigned task. Winter clothing, food, water, painkillers and medicine are of the utmost importance. You will fight against literally freezing to death, starving to death, dying of thirst or if you do not get medicine or painkillers, dying from infection before you can find and extract the antivirals. Painkillers and medicine will temporarily halt the spreading of your infection and pause your death countdown timer. Likewise, food and water will also impact your death timer but to much less of an extent.

Winter clothing also plays a huge part in your survival. Clothing can be crafted or found spread out across the world. The greater the protection number that each individual piece of winter clothing offers, the less you will be impacted by the cold and this will keep you from freezing to death. If you do manage to be successful in constantly keeping the infection at bay and finding the clothing necessary to keep from freezing to death you will still have to deal with the AI controlled enemies roaming in packs throughout the hellish winter landscape.

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Weapons can be crafted and found, just like in the main game but with crafting materials being far less abundant and in significantly smaller numbers when you do find them. Assuming you crafted the virus filter, once you are in the Dark Zone you will need to locate the shipment of AntiVirals. Fortunately, the game tags this on your map immediately after entering the Dark Zone. This location is completely random. It can be in Dark Zone 1 or all the way up in Zone 5. It is now up to you to retrieve it and get out. It is at this point that you will start to find sealed high end loot cache’s that can be extracted in the same manner as standard Dark Zone protocol.

Your inventory is limited to six of these in total. It is also at this point that you will be able to start crafting high end weapons and gear. Trust me, you will absolutely need it! Success will not come without it. In order to extract successfully you will need to craft a flare gun to signal the extraction helicopter. Once this task is completed your only goal left is to find an extraction zone, signal the chopper and get out. But wait, there’s more!

Introducing the Hunter! A specially designed enemy with regenerative health abilities, electronics jamming abilities and all around a brutally efficient killer tasked with stopping you at all costs. This guy is no joke. He is smart! If you are running solo it will be a 1v1 affair. Anything less than the best gear will see you dead so quickly you will wonder what happened and where it all went wrong. Take too long to kill him and your extraction will leave without you and you will have to escape and start another extraction and fight another Hunter, if you can even escape or kill the current one.

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If, by some slim chance you do manage to kill the hunter and extract you will be greeted by a very welcome screen showing that you completed the task and showing all the gear you managed to haul out with you. Trust me when I tell you that it is physically a relief and you feel amazing when you do pull it off. The risk versus reward with this mode is high but the reward is well worth it. Its a thrilling mode that really gets the survival game style right.

After playing this mode some 15 hours I have only managed one successful extraction which earned me 3 different rare achievements. This will tell you how rare success actually is as Microsoft has stated that rare achievements are ones that less than 10% of the gamer base has managed to unlock. I hope that you guys will give this mode a try today or very soon. It’s the absolute best reason to get back into this game right now. Get out there agent, retrieve those AntiVirals and “Git to da choppa!!!”

[Words by Sean Gearhart]

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