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RPS 2016 Advent Calendar, Dec 14th: Tom Clancy's The Division

United we stand

The next door on the calendar is ominous. The rewards inside are worth the risk but the whole area might well be contaminated. Day thirteen of The RPS Advent Calendar, which highlights our favourite games of the year, brings...

It's the year's best cooperative game, The Division [official site]!

John: The more I read about The Division after playing it, the more I realise people had a bunch of expectations from the game that hadn’t been met. I’m not sure how I’d missed it, but I barely knew a thing about the game before I sat down to it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll be honest though - I do struggle to remember much detail. In fact, I think I’ve confused quite a lot of it with the similar-but-not-as-good Homefront: The Revolution.

I’ll be even more honest. I thought I reviewed it. I didn’t - Brendan did. So I’m clearly losing my mind on some level. Fortunately, I did play it - I haven’t gone entirely crazy. I played it to level 30 and completed the single-player stuff. I wrote about that in a post confusingly entitled, “Everything Wrong With The Division: A Helpful Guide. Because it was one of those games that was so gosh-darned fun to play, despite itself.

For me it was a game about the shootybangs. I really enjoyed the combat, the use of cover, the sleekness of it all. And boy did I play it, in every spare second I had for ages. It’s so odd that it has almost entirely disappeared from my mind now, something that had so completely occupied me, a vague whiff of a memory.

But that’s one of the joys of gaming - not everything has to make an impact, has to stay with you and change your ways. Sometimes it’s about shooting enemies in their evil baddy faces, and then going to bed. The Division delivered that for me this year better than any other game.

Brendan: The Division is junk food. It feels good, numbers go up, you get better stuff, you shoot the mens. Dust your hands off whenever you want, you’ve had a grand time throwing grenades and setting people on fire. But it also had a great setting, a completely bollocksed New York dying of pneumonia in the snow.

I once shot a dog in the middle of the street because it was growling at a couple and I thought it might attack (they don’t, sorry dog). Afterwards, a man started shouting at me from a window, calling me a monster: “Who the hell kills a dog!” For a second I felt shame. Then I pointed my gun at the side of his window and fired a single burst of bullets. He screamed and ducked inside. I trudged on down the street, smiling. I was born for the Dark Zone.

Adam: Brendan is right - The Division is junk food. Specifically, for me, it's the kind of junk food I want to order from a takeaway when I'm hanging out with a few friends on a Sunday night and we're at a loose end. I've used it as a chatroom and hangout, and that feels a little bit disrespectful considering how much work went into actually building the place. I've also played a fair bit of solo, when nobody is around to share the family bucket with me, and even when I can see how the loot and shoot loop is working, it still manages to fasten around my limbs and trap me in its web.

Cooperative kitchen 'em up Overcooked might not do junk food very well (it's far too intense for that), but a recent fling with it has made it a strong contender for my personal cooperative game of the year.

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