5 reasons why The Division will be best played on PC

After some hands-on time with the closed beta, here’s why The Division is a dish best served on PC.

5 reasons why The Division will be best played on PC

For those who pre-ordered or were fortunate enough to snag a key, this weekend marks the first semi-public taste of Ubisoft Massive’s twice-delayed open-world game, The Division. I recently had the opportunity to have an advanced play of The Division, which included content from the closed beta (plus more), and it quickly became clear that even though PC wasn’t announced as one of the original platforms, it’s the best place to play the game.

Here’s 5 quick reasons why you should be excited for The Division on PC.

It’ll scratch the Destiny itch
If you’re like me and feel a little dejected at the thought that Bungie and Activision (still) haven’t seen fit to bring open-world sci-fi title Destiny to PC, The Division will help ease that pain. While The Division might not be set far into the future or far beyond our planet, it’s occupying a similar genre-straddling space with shooter, RPG, solo, co-op, competitive and MMO-lite elements thrown into the mix. It helps that Ubisoft Massive is poised to actually deliver on the kind of comprehensive package that Bungie was selling with the pitch for Destiny, too.

Headshots are supremely important
I’ve played The Division on both Xbox One and PC, and given how important headshots are in terms of quickly dropping enemies (no, one headshot doesn’t kill in The Division), it’s clear that precision aiming is key to survival, particularly on higher difficulty levels. Being able to land consistent headshots on a moving opponent, while compensating from the kick of your fully automatic weapon can mean the difference between collecting loot and your teammates having to collect your incapacitated character off the ground. That’s just against the AI, too. When you move into the PvPvE space known as the Dark Zone (more on this later), you’ll want to take down rogue players as quickly as possible to ensure you get to keep your hard-foraged loot.

It has the right PC trappings
Ubisoft Massive doesn’t want to call the PC version of The Division a port, which is fair enough given the attention to detail it’s put into making it the best platform on which to play. Aside from the usual expectations of keyboard and mouse support, a range of graphical options, multi-monitor support and an unlocked framerate, there are some PC-specific features that make it an even better version. For instance, there are options to automate vaulting over cover or onto elevated positions, or to perform 180-degree turns on a dime. On top of this, it’s a lot easier managing inventory with a combination of mouse clicks and hotkeys.

Snowdrop is prettiest on PC
When Watch Dogs and Rainbow Six Siege were first announced, the term ‘bullshot’ was used to describe the initial high fidelity gameplay reveals compared to the less-pretty final results. With The Division’s Snowdrop engine, the initial engine-feature videos look a lot like what I’ve played on PC. Sure, the destructibility has been toned down somewhat as it relates to some of the bigger explosions, but I’ve been consistently impressed with the dynamic lighting, the ways in which the weather impacts gameplay (specifically snowstorms) and just how pretty, overall, Massive’s faithful recreation of New York City looks.

The PC community is perfect for Dark Zone
In the Dark Zone, you’ll be torn between wanting to rob loot-laden fellow humans and avoid the rogue indicator that incentivises other players to take you down without repercussions. On consoles, microphone-using players on public matches are something of a rarity, but during my time spent with The Division beta, more players are using mics than not. (Side note: why isn’t this the case in Rainbow Six Siege, PC community?) Given that The Division uses proximity VOIP, it adds to the overall tension of the place when you, say, overhear someone discussing whether they should rob you, or they thank you for not shooting at first sight.

At least in terms of the beta, the PC community has the right balance of agro shoot-on-sight players; those eager to preserve their digital lives, Dark Zone ranks (you lose experience if you die) and infected loot; and the majority who sit in the middle: ready to fight, but hesitant to shoot. It adds to the by-design tension of the space, and guarantees there’ll be longevity in the Dark Zone on PC after The Division launches.

For more in-depth information about The Division, be sure to check out my feature in the upcoming issue of PC PowerPlay magazine. Until then, if you’d like to know anything else, or have some thoughts to share about the closed beta, let me know in the comments section.

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