War of the loot-and-shooters.
In a world where live-service games are popular, it’s hard not to compare each of the games against one another. Moreover, the market for such games is almost saturated. So, each of the products in the market should have a unique selling proposition.
So, recently I peeled off from my daily dose of Destiny 2 to dive in the military looter shooter world of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.
Simply put, the game rocks my socks off. It’s a beautifully perfect game that cured my fanaticism of Destiny 2. It also made me wonder if it’s better than any of the other loot-and-shoot games out so far.
A quick word about The Division 2: right off the bat, the game is fun to pick up and play. It’s a refreshing looter shooter in a stale, overpopulated market. Why? because the game works at launch.
This might sound daft, but hear me out: live-service games are infamous for being unfinished at launch, be it from content, or mechanics, or even cosmetics. From stellar quality-of-life (QoL) improvements to satisfying gunplay to beautiful post-apocalyptic Washington D.C., it seems like The Division 2 is the best looter shooter right now.
Let’s see how Ubisoft’s latest fare against its competitors.
Division 2 vs Destiny 2
Before I begin the comparison, let me tell you that I’m an avid Destiny 2 and I play Destiny 2 religiously every day without a miss.
However, make no mistake, I am totally aware of the blaring issues plaguing Destiny 2.
One of the most important aspects of a ‘looter shooter’ is the ‘shooter’ part of the game. What makes a good looter-shooter, is the shooting. Unfortunately, the guns in Destiny 2 are known to be compared to a peashooter. There’s no ‘oomph’ behind each shot.
Auto Rifles feel like they aren’t doing much damage even though the rifles spew a huge number of bullets in a short period of time. Even Scout Rifles, the Destiny 2 equivalent of a semi-auto combat rifle, doesn’t pack a punch.
This leaves only the Hand Cannon to be a viable weapon which actually feels like its impactful. Unfortunately, this breeds the issue of a stale meta being enforced by having 7 Exotic Hand Cannons as attainable loot in-game. For context, we have only 4 Exotic Scout Rifles in-game.
Even exotic weaponry feels useless most of the time, save for a few prized Exotics.
This leads to the next issue, the ‘looter’ portion of the game. Exotic weapons and armour are mostly underwhelming. They confer little to no significant perks. Take the Mechaneer’s Tricksleeves Exotic Hunter armour, it simply shaves off a few seconds to a Sidearm reload speed. For context, a Sidearm reload speed is already fast, that’s before realising that a Sidearm is simply worthless. That perk is not Exotic armour worthy, that’s trash.
Yes, some armour looks ravishing even though the perks are novel, such as the Warlock exclusive, Wings of Sacred Dawn, which gives you the ability to float on mid-air whenever you aim, making you a brightly glowing, stationary airborne target.
The Division 2 handles loot perfectly fine, with each weapon packing its own heat, being effective in different situations yet feeling powerful in any shootout.
I have seen the end game weapons and the Signature Weapons are very, very potent. That’s how a gun should feel like: powerful.
However, let’s be reminded that we must be fair and cannot directly compare The Division 2 which was recently released to Destiny 2 that was released two years ago, undergoing multiple fixes and upgrades over the years.
But then again this only strengthens my point that The Division 2 is better at release.
Another issue I’m afraid that I have to address is the lack of streamlined QoL in Destiny 2. I applaud the bulk delete feature in The Division 2. It shows that the developers truly understand the struggle of deleting multiple trash items in one fell swoop. I remember spending at least half an hour just dismantling my vault of legendary items just to clear the excessive useless items hoarded over time.
Winner: The Division 2, but only by a slight margin.
Bungie’s Destiny 2 is a great game, it truly is, but that is only after two years of improvements. The Division 2 got it right the moment it saw sunlight, and I believe the game can only get better in the future.
Destiny 2 missed so many no-brainer decisions such as the bulk delete feature, powerful weapons and many more. For what reason? I would never know.
Division 2 vs Anthem
Oh my dear lord, what happened to you, BioWare. If The Division 2 is on the good, praised side of the spectrum, Anthem lies on the exact opposite end of it. Anthem was, and is still a problematic game. Be it from the mechanics, or the loot, or the game breaking (and console-breaking) bugs that lie within the game.
The only attraction factor I see within Anthem is the Iron Man-esque flying suits. It’s practically Iron Man simulator, except that it has more bugs than the Amazon forest.
Another thing that I think Anthem got in its favour is the stunning graphics. Anthem is like that high school crush, she has all the looks and that sweet smile, but that’s about it.
The game’s combat system isn’t a solid conversation topic. There’s nothing outstanding about Anthem, as compared to the streamlined and seamless world of The Division 2.
Where Anthem has a million loading screens just to get into another loading screen, The Division 2 has close to none. Imagine how seamless the experience is, I simply need to walk into a mission area, complete the mission, then walk out into the open world, not a single loading screen in sight. That’s perfect, textbook unbroken flow of gameplay right there.
Well, I don’t think I have much to say about Anthem other than it is one heckuva mess right now and nothing interesting.
Winner: The Division 2, by a long shot.
This one is a clear victory, nothing can compare to the sheer disappointment of Anthem right now.
Division 2 vs Warframe
Warframe, one of the best free-to-play looter shooters out there. With strong developer support and a massive and alive community that makes this a fun game to pick up anytime on Steam, PS4 or the Nintendo Switch. You can swing by the subreddit to ask a question and expect a speedy answer.
There’s massive content waiting to be discovered especially after the Fortuna update. Then again, The Division 2 is still waiting for its 8-man raid coming soon, and more.
But with a free-to-play game, there will be certain microtransactions. Take, for example, crafting. You can speed up crafting by spending some real-world cash.
However, there is one thing I’m sure that’s missing from The Division 2, and that is Fashion Frame. Check this beauty out:
The Division 2 is great in a lot of ways. Yes, we are still waiting for new content, but the base content that we have now is already vast. Not to mention, the power curve is just nice for hardcore grinders and casual players alike.
Warframe has a lot to offer after years and years worth of updates, and the community is a healthy one, something you don’t usually see in these types of games. The power fantasy is clear, and the customisations are only limited by your imagination and money.
What got Warframe this tie with Ubisoft’s game is its endless customisation and number of playable frames with its tons of abilities. That’s the perfect space ninja formula. This is something The Division 2 and its SHD Tech and Skill upgrades balance out the equation, offering tons of abilities, but only without the huge cosmetic potential. I wouldn’t expect The Division 2 to have massive cosmetic flexibility, because it’s a military-based shooter, and soldiers don’t wear pink Syndanas to battle.
With all that out of the way, I urge fans of looter shooters to give it The Division 2 a try. It is worth your effort and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with one of the most satisfying games of 2019, I mean, just look at our review score, even the public beta was fun.
Trust me, put your Anthem and Destiny 2 aside for a few days, you’ll thank me for it.
Picture courtesy of Ubisoft, Bungie and u/pacading.