Slight “Maybe” Spoilers Ahead
I’m still in the very early stages of The Division. I’ve been hitting a few hours on it each night, and have only just reached level 15. Somewhere between two-to-three levels of it happened in last night’s session, which was nicely split between running around by myself doing side content, a mission, and a paired-up roam through New York with my mate Benny.
He’s a little further ahead on level than I am, but I’ve been judicious in my gear-choosing, so while I mightn’t be the bullet sponge he is (particularly when we’re facing tougher enemies), this glass cannon can at least drop our assailants.
We did the usual filler bits – taking the Cleaners out while restoring water pumps, helping JTF secure locations, rescuing hostages, walking around with briefcases, and taking pictures. Lots of pictures.
Once we realised that you could zoom in on an item you were wearing and use that HUD-less camera to take more pictures of our characters, that’s exactly what we did. It was a pretty swell time.
The enemies we faced were either Rioters or Cleaners, and you know, even when there were purples surrounding us, we made our stand, had each other’s back, and ultimately won the day. We had a range of levels from say, 14 up to 20 in our opponents, this when we were both a little younger in experience, and the world a little brighter.
Then we did a mission.
We went to the Police Academy.
Now I don’t know how many of you were around for Police Academy, or how many will be around whenever they decide to reboot it, but it’s a comedy. It’s lighthearted. It’s not a gruelling bastion of abject darkness.
At least, it’s not unless you’re playing The Division.
That Police Academy, whoah. Like whoah shit, wow.
We even changed our outfits as if it was a buddy cop movie. That’s how un-ready we were.
There was that moment early on, descending the ramp that led to the underground car park beneath the academy, where we were full of hope, radiance, and that certain bit of naivety that hasn’t gotten how the world works; how it really works.
Like I said, we were taking on purples that were a few levels beyond where I was at, and doing well against them. It wasn’t a blitz, but we did it.
But shit, the Police Academy. These guys, oh man.
It only took a few rounds, a brief conversation of bullets between us and them proverbial Mahoneys and Joneses for it to click, and not with clever mouth-formed sound effects either.
Uh oh… these guys… shit, they’re not dropping.
What came next was a gruelling battle, us inching into their territory, and them, the Last Man Battalion (or LMBs for short), constantly flanking us, routing us, and generally testing our teamwork and tenacity. Like shit, the academy man. Just… shit.
It’s satisfying to hold out, intercept a flanking manuever, and regather long enough to get control over the battle again. Finding ways to use the environment is key, but the real test is just being ready to struggle. Whatever it’s been for you up until here, expect your experience in the Police Academy to be a war of attrition, and each win hard fought and never something just assumed as an outcome.
I’ll leave talk about the story elements that happen out just to not spoil it, but everything – everything in the Police Academy pushes you. I’ve done some cool stuff already (running around the Napalm factory boss fight reviving teammates that dropped every thirty seconds is a particular highlight), but here’s where The Division gets real.
Yeah, the Dark Zone is a clusterfuck of death and betrayal, but you know that! And if you don’t know that, it’ll tell you soon enough, but the Police Academy.
Whoah man. Just… wow.