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Ubisoft has released "Tom Clancy's The Division 2" for Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Windows PC. As an agent of the Strategic Homeland Division, respond to an emergency at the White House headquarters.
USA TODAY

Empty the swamp compared to the problems that plague the nation's capital in the new video game "Tom Clancy's The Division 2".

The White House is under attack. An enemy force occupies the Lincoln Memorial and a wrecked Air Force One crashed at the foot of the United States Capitol.

Chaos reigns as the result of a pandemic, which left Washington decimated. As an agent for the Strategic Homeland Division, the player is tasked with protecting the White House Division's makeshift headquarters and assisting survivors to improve their radical existence.

Among your opponents there are several groups of enemies trying to extend the illegality set in motion by the virus that killed millions of people.

"From the very first minutes of the game, we really want to create urgency," said Chadi El-Zibaoui, associate creative director. "We really want to thrill players with fiction and make them curious about what's happening in Washington, DC"

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"The Division 2," released Friday, for Microsoft Xbox One, Sony PlayStation 4 and Windows PC ($ 60-up, age 17-up) is a sequel of the much "The Division" success, released in March 2016, which attracted 20 million players and remained playable online.

Players must not have played "The Division" to face this new game. The story so far: a virus broadcast from the US currency during Black Friday has deci the population, first in New York City. As society institutions crumble, a team of SHD dormant agents have been mobilized to maintain order and protect surviving civilians.

At the beginning of the new game, seven months have passed and the player character, a division agent still in New York, gets a distress call from Washington. This "can only mean one thing, their headquarters is under attack," said the game's creative director, Julian Gerighty. "They hang by a thread and this means that America is hanging by a thread."

From the third person's point of view, you can see your character, so personalization is an important part of "The Division 2". You can choose from an arsenal that includes pistols, machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, turrets and looking for grenades.

A mix of an action game and a role-playing game, "The Division 2" offers you different ways to play. Your game console or computer must be online, but you can explore on your own. Game designers recommend that you team up with one or three other players for main missions (you can organize your team or let the game join you automatically). "The game really sings when you have a good group of players you can count on," Gerighty said.

Inside the game there are three online multiplayer "dark areas" where you can cooperate to fight players and choose to become illegal agents

Players can explore a vast photorealistic reproduction of Washington, created using the same geographic map data used by Google Maps and Waze. Players will visit famous landmarks such as the Washington Monument, Smithsonian museums and other places like Union Station and Capital One Arena.

The Ubisoft publisher has distributed photographers, artists, sound engineers and game designers throughout the city to create a gigantic virtual rendition of Washington for the game. capture its sound without the daily hustle. Local musicians have been enlisted to make background music for the game.

Seven Ubisoft studios has been involved in the development of the game. And even if Ubisoft designers in the past have recreated the ancient Rome, the Paris of the French revolutionary era and Victorian London in its games "Assassin's Creed", as well as in Las Vegas and New York in other "Tom Clancy" games, "for the first time in an Ubisoft game, and I think pretty much for the whole industry, we recreated the city one by one," said Gerighty.

This devastated version of Washington "is a character in itself," he said. The area has a very strong identity. "

The game creators talked to the local police, the fire brigade and the emergency about how the city would respond and would spread in the middle of a pandemic. The Lincoln Memorial would become a focal point" where you can leave supplies if needed, or you can set up field hospitals, "said Cloé Hammoud, Ubisoft researcher with Massive Entertainment studies in Sweden.

" The idea is to really have rooted scenarios in reality , and we combine everything to make something plausible, "he said.

A standard version of the game ($ 59.99) was released on Friday, but players who bought the $ 99 Gold edition and $ 199 Ultimate have been playing since Tuesday.

A first goal for players is to make their way to a besieged White House and get their marching orders – your custom character – it can be a woman or a man of any skin color – moves smoothly between hiding places to sneak up on enemies. Once inside the crenellated building, you can upgrade your skills and weapons, then launch new missions.

As agent of the Homeland Strategic Division part of your work in "The Division 2" is to assist survivors and help improve their radical existence in the wake of a pandemic. (Photo: Ubisoft)

"The Division 2" will probably become a blockbuster like its predecessor, says Mat Piscatella, an analyst in the video game industry with The NPD Group. That previous game was the No. 3 selling game for 2016, behind only "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare" and "Battlefield 1" and the seventh best-selling game in the US on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One combined, he said. Piscatella.

"The first comments of the player and the reviewer for (the game) seem quite positive, and while it does not exceed the number of Twitch viewers of" Fortnite "or" Apex Legends ", it is among the top 10," he said. . "So he has everything for what he would like."

This new game could have a long life, just like its predecessor did. After the players finish the story, estimated at more than 40 hours, they unlock a new expansion of the "Endgame" game in which previous enemies are stronger and rooted. And a new enemy, a private military group called Black Tusks, emerges to shift the balance of power.

In a few weeks: a new mode called Raid in which teams of eight players fight against new super-powerful opponents. And next year, Ubisoft will release three more free episodes that will continue the story with new missions in Washington and the surrounding area.

The launch of the game "is only a beginning," said El-Zibaoui. "The first game has been active live for three years and we have a long-term commitment for this too, we are already working on what will come next."

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