Underground is the first DLC for The Division, but rather than call it that, I would rather refer to it as the game’s savior. After reaching the level cap in the base game, players hit a wall of grinding and frustration, forcing them to abandon what we deemed to be an excellent IP. Underground takes everything that made the original game a pleasure, and induces it with a healthy dose of steroids.
Taking place mostly in the underground–hands up if you were surprised–locations vary from railways, sewers, and everything in between. Underground does not merely add mission stops and generic locations for you, but introduces core elements to the gameplay, story, and overhauls the leveling system.
All added missions and strikes are a no respawn events, meaning if you die at any given point in the mission, you are sent back to your HQ to select the mission again or find another one to take on. Underground is not for the faint of heart and offers a true hardcore experience for The Division’s core players; a wise choice from Ubisoft Massive.
Rather than hope all players will come back, this approach rewards the dedicated and opens up the opportunity for ex-players to log on again if they would like. I can not stress enough how great of a move this was, and how happy players who stuck through thick and thin will be. Well done.
Adding to the challenge, each of the new underground levels are procedurally generated. This means that no level will ever be the same, and if you were to die and return to your HQ, retrying the mission will result in a new area.
Here are some of the core changes that were applied to the DLC and update 1.3. For the full list, head on here.
- Player stash has been increased to 70 slots.
- Players will be able to convert three High-End Division Tech to any one High-End crafting material.
- Phoenix Credits that used to cost of 204 High-End and 240 Gear Set items and blueprints have been reduced in price.
- Exotic Damage Resilience is now capped at 90%.
- Nine new weapon types.
- A new High-End shotgun called The Showstopper.
- Challenge mode difficulty added to Hudson Refugee Camp and Queens Tunnel Camp missions.
- New Heroic Mode difficulty for some missions and Incursions.
- You can calibrate the Weapon Talent in the Weapon Recalibration corner.
- A new bracket has been added to the Dark Zone that will support players with a 231+ Gear Score. Be wary, however, you will come across level 35 enemies.
- You can stack more than one mod slot for each gear set.
- The High-Risk, High-Value Targets have been adjusted to match Gear Score increase.
- Normalized loot will drop from Main Missions in Challenge mode.
- Caduceus will now drop from Hard Mode Mission bosses.
- High-End gear will drop in Normal mode missions.
- You can now see the effects of your mods before applying them.
As always, what makes or breaks a game of this nature is its community. I jumped with a random team and although my gear score was low due to my extended leave from the game, they welcomed me, and we ended up doing wonders. The leader asked me what my setup was, and after I had told him I’m built for DPS, he instantly changed his gear to support to keep me alive. We lost at first, but by the second run, I was looting 220+ loot and turned myself to a DPS beast by the end of the mission.
Since each underground location will be procedurally generated, enemies also receive the same treatment: you never know what you are going to face. Regardless of their class, enemies will try their best to flank you, so camping and/or dropping your guard are no longer viable. Cleaners will do their best to cover the tanks, and so it would be wise to start with them. LMB soldiers are still bullet-sponge dicks, if not more so this time around, so make sure you’re prepared for the ensuing battle.
The visuals have also received a boost. I am able to clock in a solid 42 fps in most packed fighting scenes, and this is on PS4. The PC crowd must be able to cap their FPS in the hundreds.
Ubisoft have certainly done The Division a solid. The weapons, the tweaked vendors, the insane amount of new content, the mods…Underground has truly transformed the game to what it should have been from the beginning.