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The Division’s Mage-Like Mobile App is a Great Companion

/ Jun 18th, 2013 1 Comment

The Division

Since the reveal of The Division at Ubisoft‘s  E3 conference last Monday, the game has generated a swarm of buzz and accolades for how it is evolving the Tom Clancy’s franchise. As an open world, online action RPG, the game looks hard to beat. Stellar graphics and intriguing gameplay brought a devastated New York city to life with rich detail.

During the presentation, Ubisoft said a companion game was in the works for The Division. This game would be used on smart phones and tablets and allow those players a chance to get a bird’s-eye view of the world while influencing gameplay. Most of what Gaming Illustrated saw at E3 was similar to the demo shown at Ubisoft’s conference. The littered streets of New York gave that eerie post-catastrophe vibe that should be familiar to any Tom Clancy fan; but it was even more realistic because of developer Massive Entertainment’s attention to detail. Destructible environments were also a highlight as bullets chipped away at concrete and made dents in police cars.

The Division’s take on a “classless” RPG is a clever one by allowing players to craft their own hero. Instead of being a typical rugged Future Soldier or deadly Rainbow Six member, the hero of this RPG really is the player – just an everyman (or woman) looking to survive. But having the ability to make dedicated attack or support classes always enriches the online experience instead of making the game feel like it’s just about going in guns blazing.

The Division App

A look at The Division’s Companion App Interface

At the end of the demo, however, we also had the chance to see the mobile game in action. Referred to as the “Companion”, this app is a great way for players to participate in The Division’s world without having to be tethered to a console. During the demo a fight was breaking out on the rooftops of New York City and two characters were pinned down. On a tablet a drone (the “companion”) was activated and flew above the battle. We were able to see the drone’s view of the action below. Impressively, there couldn’t have been more than a second’s delay between the action in the game and the drone’s view from the app.

Through the Companion feature, another player will be able to participate in matches while on the go or if they want to get their fix of The Division without playing on their TV. The player who controls the drone almost acts like a traditional mage in an RPG. It can provide support through support buffs, enemy targeting and it can even attack. When the drone targets an enemy they are highlighted red and visible through cover. Team not doing enough damage or low on health? Through some futuristic wizardry the companion can increase damage or grant health. It can even lower enemy resistance. After enough support an orange meter at the bottom fills up allowing for a special attack. In the case of our demo a missile was shot at a large group of opponents.

With the possibility of skill trees and more on the Companion app, it looks like a great addition to The Division. It will be interesting to see how players take advantage of such a helpful tool in online matches. Will there be drone on drone combat? Can human players get negative buffs by a particularly mean mobile owner? Hopefully those answers come soon when The Division releases on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene

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  • Bill Ellis

    Definitely excited about this one. I’m curious what kind of connection is required for all of these “second screen” apps, as well as how you find players to help. Do you connect with random strangers, do you automatically connect and appear around your friends? How friendly is it to mobile data?

    Not sure why they call this a Tom Clancy game either. It looks like a lot of fun, and it’s not quite in the Tom Clancy wheelhouse of spec-ops, squad based shooter. I’d have just left it as its own IP if I were producing it.

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