I entered this weekend very much favoring the Playstation 4 version of The Division, because quite simply “it just worked”. Friday and Saturday both I had all manner of problems with the PC version of the game, but it seems like most of those issues were server side. Sometime during the day on Saturday they either ramped up new servers, or did sometime to improve the processing… because when booted up the game Sunday morning, everything seemed to magically “just work”. It is funny just how much network and loading lag can destroy your game experience, because a lot of the problems I had associated with the game client itself… simply went away. Before I thought the console interface felt more smooth, but in truth the PC one works just as well once you are no longer fighting with input processing delays. Additionally I was shocked and amazed at just how well I managed to get this working on my elder laptop. It isn’t perfect and it isn’t nearly as pretty as it looks on my upstairs desktop…. but it works, and enough for me to get in and run missions or explore the world while watching some television. Last night I even managed to do more than that, as I took down several bosses that I apparently forgot to pick up from the Hudson river camp. I had no problem whittling down significantly higher level mobs, and it feels like the longer I play this game… the more I get used to the third person tactical style.
The other big takeaway I have is how much I am now seeming to not only enjoy the PC client… but lean towards it. One of the big reasons for me is Teamspeak and to a lesser extent Discord. Both of which are simple voice solutions that sound so much better than Playstation party chat. Also it allows me to hang out with people who are not necessarily playing the same game I happen to be playing. Since I am part of a very social gaming community, this was a huge problem I had when it came to Destiny, because the entire time I was playing that game I felt walled off from my friends. Another problem I am finding starting to disappear was the whole lack of “space guns” issue I talked about. This game seems to have a really wide variety of weapon options, that cover more than just the AR/AK realm of assault rifles. I’ve picked up no less than four different flavors of shogtun, each of which felt completely different in the way it handled. I also managed to find what seems to be my “Ideal” weapon which is the Enfield L86 LSW rifle that you can see me firing in the above image. It has pretty great single round accuracy and also fires some really tight bursts that while they travel up… seem to do so in a more predictable manner. I guess this isn’t super shocking because in World War II games back in the day I used to love firing the Enfield MK1.
Now the challenge that remains is where exactly to pre-order the game from. Everyone seems to be offering pretty much the exact same stuff for digital copies of the game… with Gamestop being the only retail difference offering the Hazmat Suit seemingly in addition to the National Guard outfit that comes with the gold version. For years I was absolutely opposed to darkening the door of a Gamestop, however at Pax South I met someone that made me start to re-evaluate that line of thinking. Any company smart enough to make @JetPackHattie a manager… and give her free reign to create awesome events for her store seems like a place that cannot be all bad. I also went int the other day when I was tracking down a Hori Fight Commander 4 controller, and no one tried to up sell me on anything…. which was always the problem I had with going in the first place. Problem being at this point… I am not sure if I can pre-order in enough time to guarantee that I get the special bonus stuff. I also hate physical copies of games, but it seems like GameStop now has a download only option for UbiSoft games at least. The problem being… part of me kinda wants this game tracking through Steam even though I still have to launch a horrible horrible secondary UPlay client. So I begin to ask myself…. will I ever actually wear the Hazmat suit? The answer is probably not… whereas I can absolutely see myself wearing the National Guard uniform… or at least parts of it.
In any case I will need to decide something since the game launches in roughly two weeks. Of note… just for the sake of anyone wondering how this game will look on their own aging hardware. Every screenshot I posted this morning is pulled from my laptop which is essentially running 720p and the lowest possible graphical settings. The game still looks really decent, or at least better than a lot of the previous generation of shooters. As far as frames per second… at the high end I could hit 50 and at the low end I was hitting around 35… both of which I consider very playable especially given that I was playing the game on a three year old laptop. Focusing in on targets that are a significant distance away is not the easiest thing in the world. However with the Enfield I was able to headshot enemies that were on a rooftop from the safety of my hidey hole behind a planter box. Sure I was targeting a blurry mess, but it was easy enough to determine where the “head” was in said blurry mess. Essentially at least until the official PS4 Remote Play app releases…. the PC version seems to give me the most options given that I can play upstairs on my desktop, where my PS4 is sitting… or I can play downstairs on my laptop… and in both cases I can play with or without a controller. The PC version also makes it significantly easier to take screenshots given that with the PS4 I have to constantly be swapping a thumb drive back and forth to copy the files off. So yeah… over the course of the weekend I shifted allegiance and am now leaning heavily towards picking it up the PC.