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When The Division was announced way back when, it was extremely fascinating. The gameplay demo had gorgeous graphics, unique movement mechanics (including closing a car door as you slide along it’s frame for cover), and an immersive HUD. When it was released? It actually lived up to the hype (or, at least was good enough to be fun).

Is The Division worth playing in 2023, though? That’s what this series is designed to explore as I start the game over from humble beginnings.

Getting started in The Division in 2023

When a game is 7 years old and is from a developer that clings to microtransactions and DLC like a baby clings to it’s blankie, you can expect a lot of notifications upon getting into the game after creating your character.

For about 5 minutes or so my HUD was populated with notifications of unlocks for various collectibles and more that I couldn’t even access until I made it to the central HUB of the game.. So much so that I just decided to let them scroll on by, as they were blocking a significant chunk of my vision on the right side of the screen.

Once that was done, though, I was sufficiently impressed: The Division still looks damned good in 2023.. And performs very well on modern hardware.

The Division’s ongoing success is because of it’s core gameplay loop as a loot shooter with optional PvP, but it captured a lot of folks because of how visually immersive it is, which the next part of this series will focus on.

I will say this: World design in The Division makes up for any lacking graphical features common in more modern releases.

Exploring a trash-strewn, disease-riddled New York is spectacular, especially as you move from cover to cover to select the best spot to engage from.

Moving through the story of The Division solo

Speaking of exploring, The Division has a lot of DLC available to it, including major gameplay functionality.

I could’ve lept into it with an older character, but instead I’m choosing to focus on the core gameplay that The Division launched with.. At least, for now.

One thing I’m noticing is that they seem to have tweaked the combat a bit to be more in-line with The Division 2; while enemies are a bit bullet-sponge-like, they aren’t as bad as I recall they were back at launch.

This has made playing the main story much more entertaining to me than when I first played it. I felt like combat as a solo gamer was quite frustrating, but now? Now I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

Of course, the difficulty does ramp as you progress, and if you don’t manage to do the 1 thing a loot shooter is designed to do – upgrade your gear – you’re going to have a bad time.

Still, I haven’t had too many challenges maintaining powerful gear with the crafting system, vendors, loot and mission rewards available to me.

We’ll see how things progress, but initial impressions? The Division is still very much playable (and even better than it was at launch) in 2023.

This series began as an attempt to relive a better time before major AAA games came out a buggy, near-unforgiveable mess costing $70. Check back later for parts 2 and 3!