Warlords of New York has been a long time coming.
When The Division 2 came out, fans were left wondering why it picked up on a plot point that didn’t tie up anything about what happened in the aftermath of the first game. Even crueler, Ubisoft planted audio logs in the game that referenced the original game but never gave a definitive answer.
Well…now we know the reason why. They’ve been saving a return to the Big Apple for Warlords of New York, The Division 2’s latest content update. It’s going to piss a TON of people off that the update’s not a part of the Year One pass though.
The reason that the review’s coming out now (when the game has been out for awhile) is that I wanted the time to really play through the game. Warlords of New York allowed you to jump in with a new character, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to experience everything The Division 2 had to offer with the latest content update from Warlords of New York.
It’s taken a bit longer than I anticipated but I’m finally done with the main game and expansion! So…is Warlords of New York worth the extra moolah you’re going to have to shell out?
Read on and find out!
What is The Division 2: Warlords of New York?
Warlords of New York is the latest expansion for Ubisoft’s open world third person shooter, The Division 2. Taking place after the events of the game, the expansion takes gamers back to Manhattan (where the original game took place) to tie up loose ends.
As an agent of the Division, you are tasked with the mission to take down Aaron Keener, a rogue S.H.D. agent that managed to escape justice in the first game.
This time round Keener’s recruited four lieutenants (who are also rogue S.H.D. agents) to take over control of New York. Keener’s even utilizing the old gangs from the first game (such as the Cleaners and Rikers) to execute his plan; unleashing a new wave of bioterror attacks on New York.
The main objective of the expansion is to hunt down Keener and stop him before he unleashes the biological weapon. This time round Ubisoft’s made it like a manhunt whereby you have to locate Keener’s agents before tackling the big man himself.
New York’s not been treated kind since it was shown in the original game. Its streets have now deteriorated even worse due to the elements. It’s remarkable how dirty the environments are, with trash piling up along walls, covering streets and everything in between.
As you hunt for Keener, you will travel along a hurricane-devastated Lower Manhattan with visuals straight out of a post-apocalyptic movie. Realistic recreation of landmarks like Civic Center, Battery Park, the Financial District, and Two Bridges will be your base of operation, though they aren’t resembling anything you’d expect from real life.
Each of these areas will also be the hideout for one of the four rogue lieutenants. You will be presented with a choice to hunt anyone of them at any time and you will be able to switch targets mid-hunt if you chose. I didn’t and focused on taking the heavy weapons lieutenant first.
Defeating each one of them will not only allow you to obtain crucial intelligence to the whereabouts of your final target but will net you a new Division Tech which you can equip as skills. Still, I didn’t use them much, preferring to stick to my tried and trusted solo build; the portable turret and the Chem Launcher with healing ammo.
I have to say Ubisoft put in quite some effort on the storyline, especially in regards to the audio logs. I normally don’t pay much attention to these details in shooter games, but this time round I made the effort to find all the audio files to get more in-depth details on why the rogue agents turned.
A good feature of this expansion is to be able to create a level 30 boosted character, which is great for new players to the Division franchise. It’ll allow them to jump right into the Warlords of New York expansion without needing to play through the original Division 2 campaign.
For existing Division 2 players, you will be able to continue with your character and equipment which you would have already amassed in Washington D.C. Just know that your favourite gear’s going to become obsolete about an hour or so in the game as you get newer, more powerful weapons on the road to Level 40 (which is now the level cap).
It’s not that hard to reach though, and I got to it before I even completed the expansion, somewhere around 6 hours of gameplay.
As in the original, level scaling is in effect with enemies slowly growing stronger as you do. The levels of your enemies will also be adjusted accordingly to your level to make the gameplay more leveled and keep you on the edge when you run into a machinegun touting maniac.
Trust me, I died a few times while fighting mobs alone thinking that I could overpower them. It took me quite a bit of tinkering with new weapons, skills and tactics and a good 10 hours of gameplay to finally get to Keener.
Yes, I took an additional 4 hours from average to complete the final mission. I wasn’t able to defeat Keener in the final battle with all the drones that he is able to command and had to revert to getting assistance from other players, matchmaking and forming a squad of 4 to finally clear the final mission.
Even with the four of us, we flatlined like 4 times before finally managing to kick Keener’s ass. I mean that’s the beauty of the game right, some people prefer to play alone (like our EIC Sal) and others like to be more interactive and play with friends or anyone at all.
Once you defeated Keener, you will activate the endgame activities and the whole of Manhattan will come under the attack by a more formidable foe, the Black Tusk PMC. Remember them?
They are basically the last major faction that comes in to take back control. Along with their robots and drones, these are hostiles on steroids, bigger, meaner and tougher.
Also, just like in the main game, you will be able to replay the missions with the upgraded enemies to hunt for better weapons and upgrades. Trust me you will need better gear to take them on. You will also get an upgrade for your SHD watch, which you will be able to customize your specifications like Offensive, Defensive, Utility with every SHD points you obtained.
Theoretically, you can keep on leveling with this new feature as each new level now awards you points in one of the categories. If you’ve played Diablo 3, think of it as this game’s Legacy levels.
The completion of Warlords of New York unlocks a new endgame function “Seasons”, Seasons is basically how Ubisoft keeps you engaged in Division 2 and makes this expansion more worthwhile than the 6hours of gameplay to level 40. You will be able to join in new missions, activities, and objectives to hunt for rare and exotic gears.
The Bottom Line.
I honestly think that the Warlords of New York is by far the better if not the best looter shooter experience in recent times. It’s certainly more cohesive and solid than The Division 2’s original campaign with a much more intriguing premise. Although it ends in a cliffhanger (AGAIN?!), it’s still a satisfying conclusion nonetheless, particularly after that intense last battle with Keener.
In terms of visuals and open-world experience, you will be able to appreciate the details that the team had put in to recreate lower Manhatten which had taken a bad beatdown from mother nature and the remnants of humanity.
The new missions are great but once you played them over and over again it just feels boring, especially since there’s not really much incentive to farm for better gear other than to tackle the endgame.
Seasons will basically be the answer to keep you from recycling missions and keep you interested longer in this franchise though I doubt how long that will keep me interested too.
Despite my misgivings, I still think that Warlords of New York is Ubisoft’s best Division 2 content drop yet, even if you need to shell out extra cash to play it.
Good expansion, but needs more to keep players interested and playing.
- Back to NYC!
- Open ended gameplay.
- More endgame content.
- Not enough endgame content to keep things fresh.
- Cliffhanger ending sucks.