The streets of New York City aren’t quite what you remember them to be.
Seeing bustling Manhattan streets emptied and in ruin was unsettling enough in Tom Clancy’s The Division. Its plot revolves around a viral epidemic spread by banknotes; on Black Friday 2015 it caused worldwide chaos, with governments crumbling and society as we know it collapsing. You took on a role as a government sleeper agent, sent into New York City to attempt to restore order as best you can. A tall task in a world already destroyed.
Taking place not too long after the virus hit, the New York City of The Division is still recognisable. Structurally, it’s more-or-less intact. It’s a mess, sure. But you can almost imagine the city could still recover, if a big enough clean-up operation was to take place. That’s not the case in The Division 2‘s Warlords of New York expansion.
“Returning to NYC in Warlords of New York feels like a momentous occasion; almost like going home. Except nothing is how you remember it.”
Returning you once again to the streets of Manhattan, NYC is in an even greater state of disrepair. If it’s not damage caused by the gangs now roaming and controlling the streets, it’s nature that has taken over, reclaiming its land. Buildings have been reduced to piles of rubble. Streets are torn down the middle as if a huge earthquake has ripped through it. There are, of course, still signs of life. Christmas music still rings out from a hotel lobby. Shopping malls – if they’re still standing – are festively decorated. As eerie as it all is, it’s good to be back.
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 moved its setting from New York to Washington D.C., putting your base of operations in the White House. While its iconic landmarks make for an interesting backdrop, the streets and parklands of Washington somehow don’t have the same charm as The Division‘s original setting. So returning to NYC in Warlords of New York feels like a momentous occasion; almost like going home. Except nothing is how you remember it.
It’s not clear exactly how much time has passed, but New York has undergone some major struggles since you last saw it. The JTF base of operations you once called your home is no longer standing, and many JTF and Division agents have been killed. The culprits? A group of agents gone rogue, hellbent on claiming what’s left of the city for themselves. But not if you have anything to do with it.
That’s the plot of The Division 2: Warlords of New York in a nutshell. Its campaign is split up into five main chapters: taking down four rogue agents and their crews, then turning your attention to the ringleader of it all, Aaron Keener. The four agents can be dealt with in any order you see fit, but you better make sure you’re prepared; they don’t put up an easy fight.
Warlords of New York is designed as end-game content; your agent needs to be level 30 or above in order to play. Ideally, you’ll have completed all of the base game’s content first before jumping in, but if you can’t wait to go back to New York City, you can automatically level your character to 30. Be careful, though; doing so will automatically complete story content up to that point, which messes up your progress (and negates the ability to unlock some achievements). The sensible thing to do, if you don’t want to wait, is create a new character.
“The fight sequences against each rogue agent is tough – fantastic and exhilarating, but tough”
Even at level 30+ with a wealth of High-End weapons and equipment under your belt, the enemies you find yourself up against in Warlords of New York will give you a run for your money. The fight sequences against each rogue agent are tough – fantastic and exhilarating, but tough. Each one leads you on a wild goose chase across different areas of New York City, first tracking down intel to discover their whereabouts. Don’t expect a one-on-one fight, either; every rogue agent has their own motley crew ready to assist. You’ll find yourself face to face with the likes of the Cleaners, equipped with flamethrowers, and the Rikers, who’ll bombard you with just about anything they can get their hands on. Expect to frequently come up against grenade launchers, sticky bombs being tossed at you, weaponised drones and hulking elite enemies with what sometimes feels like infinite amounts of armour.
Much like the base game, if you’re tackling The Division 2: Warlords of New York by yourself, you’re in for a rough ride. It’s a game made much more enjoyable if you can buddy up online. You can have a squad of up to four people, but playing in two-player co-op is enough to make facing off against New York’s gangs a much more enjoyable experience. Unlike other games of its type, enemy numbers don’t adjust depending on the amount of players in the game. Whether you’re alone or with fellow agents, you’re largely facing the same challenge.
Each boss fight feels epic, and despite the pattern of each mission being similar (find intel, kill gang members, kill leader), the fights themselves feel widely different. There’s Vivian Conley, who’ll lead you inside a huge, wrecked oil tanker before throwing legions of enemies at you. Theo Parnell, on the other hand, uses holograms of himself to mislead and deceive you every step of the way. Javier Kajika leads you through an eerie underground labyrinth beneath Battery Park, where you’ll encounter mining drills and explosives galore. Then there’s James Dragov, holed up in a Wall Street stock exchange, who lures you into a tightly-packed darkened room before throwing a shit-tonne of heavy artillery at you.
You can’t go into any of the battles all-guns-blazing; strategy is key, as is taking care, making clever use of cover and using the full arsenal of weapons and skills made available to you. Warlords of New York allows you to expand on your already-packed arsenal too; completing each main mission will reward you with a new skill based on the abilities used by the rogue agent you’ve been fighting. Defeating Theo Parnell, for instance, grants you the equippable ability to deploy your own decoys, while killing Kajika rewards you with sticky bombs.
“It’s excellent value for money, and proves to be some of the best content The Division series has had to offer yet”
Outside of the main missions, The Division 2: Warlords of New York offers up a wealth of side content to complete, too. The area of New York City open for you to explore is only a fraction of the size of the main game’s map, but it still feels huge, with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. Like every other part of The Division 2, Warlords of New York packs in plenty of secrets for you to discover as well as random events to come across as you’re wandering its streets. Expect to take over enemy territories, help survivors in distress, hunt for hidden loot and help out safe houses by completing numerous missions for them.
£24.99 for a piece of DLC sounds like a lot, but Warlords of New York feels like a fully-fledged game in its own right. The only difference is you need to own The Division 2 to be able to enjoy it. You’ll be looking at at least 10 hours to complete its main missions; more than double that if you want to complete everything else it has to offer you. It’s excellent value for money, and proves to be some of the best content The Division series has had to offer yet.
Needless to say, if you enjoyed The Division 2 and are looking for more content to stick your teeth into, consider The Division 2: Warlords of New York an essential purchase. Its missions are some of the most nail-bitingly tense and exciting yet, and returning to New York City is a pure delight – even if the state of its streets is even more harrowing than before.