The Charm of ‘Tom Clancy’s The Division 2’ Rests With Its Lore and Villain

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Tom Clancy's The Division 2

Tom Clancy’s The Division, which debuted in 2016, is published by Ubisoft and developed by Massive Entertainment. I remember seeing the cinematic trailer in 2014 when it was shown at E3, and I was immediately intrigued. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 follows the events of the first game which led to the fall of New York City and subsequent quarantine due to the Dollar Flu during Black Friday. No one is able to leave the island or get in. To bring balance to a crumbling city, The Division was activated: a clandestine sector of the government that trained everyday civilians for situations such as this. No one knew just who was an agent; it could be your mother, father, sibling, or spouse.

Being a native New Yorker and a lover of dystopian films and books, I instantly fell in love with the series. I remember watching the trailer over and over, getting hooked on the gameplay when showcased, and being impatient for release after playing the closed and open beta. The feel of the game and the RPG elements were amazing. When the full release debuted, I tried to find familiar landmarks and neighborhoods in New York. In my real life of commuting around the city, if I was unfamiliar with the area, I would immediately snap back to a time I played The Division and know where I was. 

Despite hiccups and issues, Massive Entertainment has had to develop and shape The Division. The games charm comes from its lore, worldbuilding through audio logs, and the elusive villain, Aaron Keener, also known as Vanguard. Before the events of The Division, Keener was sent in the Dark Zone on a mission. The Dark Zone, also coined as the DZ, is a much more lawless zone than other areas of Manhattan. It was used as the first line of defense when the outbreak hit. Things went downhill fast, from the city going under Martial Law, shortage of food and medicine, and the increase in violence. Keener was among the first wave of Division agents trying to bring order to the Dark Zone, however his views changed when the Joint Task Force (JTF) retreated out of the Dark Zone, leaving many to fend for themselves. Keener went rogue and disavowed The Division. He recruited other first wave agents that aligned with his cause of trying to shape New York City, possibly the world to the way he saw fit.

Players have never seen Keener, up close and personal. We only hear his voice, hear about his actions, or see an ECHO from ECHO Locations. He’s pretty much a shadow and a great strategist playing all sides in the fight for order in New York City and Washington D.C. Agent Vanguard is that golden goose agents have had to chase for years, more valuable than any item needed to round out their gear and abilities.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

At the end of the first game, Tom Clancy’s The Division, you and other agents try to bring order to New York City by apprehending Keener who is the person who started this entire disaster. Although The Division had some life left before the release of The Division 2, there was not a lot of story content extending the story or the whereabouts of Agent Vanguard. However, with the use of audio logs and ECHOs, which detail small events involving either civilians or major characters, the player can piece together some of the missing storylines between the games.  This includes specifics about Keener. Whenever I came across an audio file with Keener’s voice, detailing his conniving actions, I had a suspicion that we would be seeing him again really soon.

Fast forward to Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, 6 months after the Dollar Flu hit New York, you find yourself creating a new agent in Washington D.C. While seeing how the United States handles this pandemic in different states is great for content and continuing the franchise, the hunt for Keener has left a part of the story untold. That is until now, with “Warlords of New York” dropping at the beginning of March. With games like these, after the story is complete, you’re simply looking for the best gear to maximize the efficiency of your build and participating in end game activities such as raids, or, if you’re froggy, heading into the Dark Zone for PVP action.

However, “Warlords of New York” changes things up. Not only are we getting more activities to do, we finally get to go after the big bad, and he’s got friends! From what Massive Entertainment has shown us, we’ll have to go through his henchmen before going toe to toe with Keener himself. My hope is that if and when we take Keener down, it will be satisfying. As an invested Division Player, I need this cat and mouse chase to come to a close. This will mean so many things: an end of a chapter but hopefully the start of a new one. There have been a plethora of enemies that are interesting but don’t have the charm and charisma as Keener.

You can pick up Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 for $3 now on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 4, while the next expansion “Warlords of New York” hits March 3rd!