Is there anything like a new game? Imagine walking into your local game shop of choice: Maybe you are there for a game you have been eagerly anticipating for months – years, even, or maybe you are just there to look around and waste some time as your wife shops at a local store that you won’t go in because of the restraining order–you know, the usual (I hate you, Gap! Make large men’s clothes if you are going to call yourself a clothing store!). Regardless of how you ended up in your local gaming store, you are now safely inside its warm embrace with all of its gamie goodness. Blockbusters, hidden gems, and misleading titles all stare at you awaiting the chance to be picked up off the shelf and go to a new home. With all of the gaming purchases I make at my local GameStop, I tend to view these interactions in the same light as how I see single people looking to find true love. Love, you ask? Yes, love… let me explain.
When I was young, I would fall in love for moments. A girl would have a trait that I would adore, but after further inspection, I would realize that this was not the love of my life. In the same light, I tend to fall in love with games more than I care to admit. I’m often hooked for an instant, maybe it’s the cover or a great review from my friends and family at Playsomevideogames.com. Regardless, something will catch my attention to get me hooked on a game, and that love is instant. I just can’t wait to get home and jump on and play. After a fair amount of time, I run into one of my biggest problems as a gamer–the one-night game.
What is a one-night game? Well, it is the same concept as a one-night stand or hook up, but with a video game. We meet up one night, and though we both had the conversation/the connection that lead us to seal the deal (See what I did there? If you didn’t, I am making a joke about someone having coitus in comparison to new games being sealed upon your purchase of them), that spark just isn’t there and those games end up taking a walk of shame to my backlog resting place, to sit and wait for me to “call them.”
(Oh Titanfall, it’s not you, it’s me.)
Not every game ends this way. Some games get through the first encounters and we casually see each other over a few weeks or months, but it just isn’t enough and we eventually part ways as friends (Destiny, FIFA, and many more). A very select few take my breath away and we fall head over heels for each other, spending hundreds of hours together in bliss (Def Jam: Fight for NY, and Madden).
I do go back to my backlog when the mood is right and true love has evaded me over a few months. These games are picked back up at random or from conversations with you, my fellow gamers, who tell me to give a game a second chance. So in my case of gaming one night stands, I do, in fact, call and reconnect with many of them, and on occasion, have gone from fling to thing. For example, the new Walking Dead Michonne episodes started rough, but is now my favorite game of the year so far.
Not every backlog romance ends happily though; and, many just go back on the shelf and either end up covered in dust and ignored until the trading day comes. This was the road on which I saw The Division and I.
I tried, I really did. I gave it some small sessions, a few long spontaneous dates, and even a few planned ones but there was something missing. I just couldn’t connect with this game. My friends loved it, but as we have all said or thought, it wasn’t you, it’s me. That’s what I was feeling, at least, and I am allowed to love or not love a game especially when I have poured some time into it. Then as we were about to say goodbye, I decided to make one more attempt. That turned out to be a great choice as I stumbled onto this….
These two division agents died. I know what you are thinking, “Who gets choked up about AI characters who only lived in a memory dying?” I know the attachment to these characters is slim as their story is done in mere minutes but what the story is, what the story tells, that is what completely destroyed me. So to answer my own question on “who gets choked up?” Well, I do. This story didn’t just have some clever twist or amazing character development. This story, had a human element.
The mission is probably 5 minutes long, but the story it tells is one that really opened my eyes to the world around me. It’s a story of a group of Division agents and how they fought to the death for the city they are supposed to protect. These two were gunned down together and lie here captured in this world. Anyone could stumble across them and many may have and felt what I felt, what I still feel. This brought others worlds (books, movies, other games) into the game for me, but most importantly it brought real life emotions in. In the book, The Princess Bride, there is an excerpt where it boils down to this. I paraphrase drastically, but, “She is only his and he is only hers” That was the moment I had here.
As they lie there holding hands, having fought and died together, I am reminded of all the stories of love and memories of love I have in my own life. I wanted nothing more than to run and find the men who did this, but there are more members of this crew I still need to help.
With the fate of these two sealed, I ran around the corner hoping not to find the bodies of the other agents who were with them; but, I will leave that part of the story alone so as not to get even more spoilery than I have already been.
This moment was the one that got me hooked on The Division. I found myself hunting bad guys, not because I wanted loot, not because I wanted revenge, but because I didn’t want any other people in this world to fall victim to this cruel fate. It made the game real for me, gave me purpose to charge down those streets, and protect the city of New York.
My interpretation of the world the developers were trying to create began to twist and turn in front of me as I continued to play. They made a world filled with everything that I fear the most. Nameless faces committing violent acts hidden from judgment and the only thing left remaining is the devastation from their wake, left out in the open for others to clean up.
They were able to create an open world that, through my gameplay, tied together real and video game worlds into one Eco center. I was fighting a mixture of the Internet trolls wreaking havoc on others opinions: the Walking Dead survivors unsure of who to trust but having the environment and people trying to kill them; the apocalypse where everyone is struggling to believe in good while evil flourishes and grows in the hearts of what were once good men and women, but are now more demon than human. And who am I? A hero, a soldier, or the Punisher sent to be judge and jury? The questions streamed through my mind as I continued to play, diving deeper into this world only wanting to try and save the ones who were unable to fight.
That is what this game and its world became to me. I have now beaten the story and side missions, hit the campaign level cap of 30, and began my descent into the dark zone (multiplayer world). With update 1.2, I have been enjoying the search and destroy missions the most. I hope the folks at Ubisoft continue the great work and create more great content in the future.
Thanks, Ubisoft family, for a great experience.
As I sit here writing this, I hope that you, my personal heroes who took the time to read it, learn from my past mistakes with failed gaming relationships. I have done the one night stands, but sometimes, a good game just needs you to invest a little time first before the sparks fly. Give a game a second, or in my case, a third chance. You just might find something special you didn’t see before. As for me, I think it’s time to dive back into The Division, and I hope this helps you want to Play Some Video Games.