Tom Clancy's The Division Heartland

I enjoyed the original the The Division when it came out. Although I was not a fan of the bullet-sponge shooting mechanics, I absolutely loved running around in the highly detailed, trash- and snow-covered version of Manhattan the The Division was set in. If the action would’ve been more akin to another Ubisoft and Tom Clancy franchise, Ghost Recon Wildlands, well, then I really would’ve had a post-apocalyptic stew going — albeit one with rats that can be cooked using a blowtorch confiscated from a rogue faction of murderous garbage men.

I didn’t find nearly as much to enjoy in The Division 2, despite it being arguably better overall — and inarguably longer-supported. There’s just something boring and uninteresting about running around in a sweltering Washington D.C., though you might chock that up to personal preference. I bounced off of the The Division 2 pretty quickly, yet to this day I’ll still fire up the original from time to time.

So with the announcement of a new f(r)ee-to-play entry in the series, Tom Clancy’s The Division Heartland, I have to wonder if this will be the game to fully submerge me into The Division franchise. It’s said, I should mention, that this will include some degree of survival elements, although I’m not sure they’re the kind I actually find interesting.

Ubisoft released a minute-plus Developer Intro trailer for The Division Heartland at their recent Ubisoft Forward presentation, so we got a little peek at the game. Of course, we see very little of the actual gameplay (with few snippets that last longer than a couple seconds at a time).

For the most part, it looks fine, although to my eyes the graphical fidelity looks off. This could be simply a problem of stream quality, though it does give me pause. This seems less like other The Division titles and more like State of Decay — as in, this looks like a budget-friendly indie game rather than a tentpole title from a triple-A publisher.

In fact, now that I think about it, The Division Heartland reminds me of State of Decay quite a bit. For starters, both take place in small rural areas. And both utilize the title Heartland — State of Decay 2 had its Heartland DLC. And according to the new trailer, The Division Heartland will also include some sort of a deadly contamination. Will this include zombies? Probably not. But to be a contrarian with zero evidence on my side — also maybe yes?

I haven’t beefed up on the overall lore of The Division, or spent any time delving deep into the story, but I get the impression that the original outbreak was specific to Manhattan, and it was then set loose in Washington D.C. in a separate attack, as opposed to slowly spilling north by osmosis. But now we are tasked with defending some rinky-dink small town from invaders (and possibly — although probably not — also zombies), which suggests to me that the in-game team — or division, I guess — are either terrible at their jobs, or are simply spitting on a raging fire hoping to extinguish it one loogey at a time.

Tom Clancy's The Division Heartland

I guess we’ll just have to wait for more details as they develop. There is no release date or even release window, so it’s hard to say when we might be able to get our hands on The Division Heartland. Of course, you can sign up for an upcoming closed alpha test, so maybe we won’t have to wait too long before some hands-on impressions get out into the wild.

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