The Division: five things you need to know about Ubisoft’s online shooter

The beta test drew mixed responses, but Ubisoft still thinks it can reinvent the online role-playing shooter with this post-pandemic thriller

The city that never sleeps is now a slumbering wasteland of abandoned cars and scattered rubbish. Occasionally, a stray dog pads past, while rats scurry in the darkened alleyways. Manhattan’s iconic buildings have become gravestones, covered in graffiti and deathly silent. As a vision of the post-human New York, The Division is pretty arresting.

Like Bungie’s epic space opera Destiny, this is a game of interconnected parts where single-player, co-op and online multiplayer merge seamlessly together. But it’s not a fantasy or sci-fi adventure – instead, the action takes place several days after the release of a deadly new strain of smallpox into the city. Most civilians have died or fled, leaving gangs of looters fighting to control the boroughs. But the government needs to regain control, and to do this, it activates a secret protocol, based on the real-life Directive 51, to send specially trained highly autonomous divisions into the city to flush it out.

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