Ubisoft’s The Division: Resurgence is hardcore experience on mobile | Hands-on preview

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Ubisoft showed off gameplay from Tom Clancy’s The Division: Resurgence, a new free-to-play, third-person shooter RPG mobile game from the Tom Clancy’s The Division franchise.

The Division Resurgence is a “canon opus” featuring a new storyline, different classes, and challenging enemy factions. The game is coming for iOS and Android devices on the App Store and Google Play. The company highlighted gameplay at its Ubisoft Forward event today, and I played with it hands-on.

This mobile game is a big deal for Ubisoft, and it’s consistent with other similar moves in the game industry. Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Mobile had more than 500 million downloads and it helped to dramatically expand the franchise’s reach. Ubisoft wants to show it is taking the mobile market just as seriously as its rivals have, as mobile is still the biggest game market.

The Division: Resurgence

The Division: Resurgence has a new and independent story set in a “vast open world” where they will be free to roam around a detailed urban environment with high-end graphics, the company said.

The game is playable solo or co-op with a variety of player-versus-environment (PvE) activities, from story missions to world activities. This new chapter builds on all of the original game modes, while bringing new gear and weapons to try out.

The story and setting

Action in The Division: Resurgence.
Action in The Division: Resurgence.

The Division Resurgence takes place in a contemporary post-crisis New York City and offers a new perspective on key story events that have taken place in The Division and The Division 2.

In The Division, a pandemic spread by paper money wipes out much of humanity and the social order collapses in places like New York City. In the mobile game, chaos continues to wreak havoc in New York, and as first-wave agents representing the Strategic Homeland Division, players will be tasked to protect civilians against hostile factions and help them build a better future. Players will discover new characters with deep backstories and powerful enemies.

Hands-on gameplay

The view of New York's skyline in The Division: Resurgence.
The view of New Yorks skyline in The Division: Resurgence.

I joined a session that was set in the middle of game. It took place in New York, starting out at one of the safe houses still held by the orderly forces of The Division. The game takes place after the events of The Division One.

I played it with an Xbox controller connected to the iPhone. And there were no delays in the connection as I moved around with joysticks and fired with the triggers. We started on a quest to take out an enemy control point and blow up its resources. I followed the Ubisoft escort to the mission location, which was always highlighted with an orange line leading in the right direction.

Then we went inside the building and started walking into battle environments. I was part of the Vanguard, relying on my firepower in the form of a shotgun, a pistol, and an assault rifle. Amazingly, all of that felt just like an experience on the consoles or the PC. But it was hard for me to see everything happening on the small screen of the phone.

All the controls were familiar, as I had the game controller. I also had a grenade and a med kit that came in handy during the battle. As I entered the battle zone, my colleague went upstairs and I stayed down below. We opened fire on the enemies who were hiding behind short walls. As they peeked their heads out, I took them down. And fortunately, they weren’t bullet sponges. A reasonable number of hits took them down and I was able to move on to the next target.

The guns have auto-aim that helps you initially target enemies, but you have to stay on them as they move around. The enemies tried to maneuver, but we had them with a fighter on top and another below. One of the biggest boss characters, armed with a flamethrower, came after me and roasted me. But I was able to take out the flamethrower in the next fight. The med kit was a lifesaver, and the grenade came in handy when a bunch of enemies clustered together.

Once they were all down, I fired at some oil tanks and blew them up. I did pretty good in this fight and was pleased with how efficiently we cleared out the mission’s objectives.

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