NARRATOR: The labyrinthing subways and tunnels of New York are an ideal setting for "The Division's" first paid expansion, which introduces Underground Operations, special missions that consist of randomized dungeons and objectives. We had a chance to check out one of these missions at E3 2016. Specifically, a quick one phase operation, and came away ready to dig deeper into the depths of Manhattan's underbelly.
But before getting started, let's take a quick tour of the new tactical operations center, an extension to your base of operations. In the center of the room sits a table where you can start planning your operation beginning with four difficulty options, normal, hard, challenging, and heroic, all of which have a recommended gear score. Going for the normal difficulty setting means you can only select a one phase mission. For more complicated runs, you'll need to pick hard or above. In addition to difficulty settings, Underground features directives, a collection of modifiers that can make the mission more difficult. To give you an idea, there's Fog of War, which removes hud elements like the mini-map from your screen. Waste Not, Want Not makes you lose any remaining ammunition in a clip during reload, and generally gives you less ammo.
Mad Skills makes it so that when you use a skill, it sets the cooldown timer on all of your skills, while using a signature skill forces the cooldown on all of your teammates' signature skills. Special Forces gives enemies special ammo types. And finally, Sickness constantly depletes your health bar until it is down to its last segment. The look and layout of the dungeons in Underground are randomized. We watched other agents play through before getting our own turn, and it was interesting to see just how different they were. The opening moments of one mission had a relatively large space dotted with subway trains to run in and out of.
The start of another mission for an entirely different squad directed them towards a room that featured far more stairs and ladders, which allowed for more vertical movement, but in a much smaller space. Underground levels are filled with environmental hazards caused by damage the system has taken since the collapse. As you make your way through a dungeon, you might run into electrical traps or fire hazards that you have to somehow turn off or skirt around before moving on. And just to make things extra tough, enemies have tech that can disable your abilities just by emitting a pulse. Destroy them, and you're good to go.
There are even tougher firefights at the end of these dungeons, but new loot awaits you at the end of a successful mission. But if you don't make it through and your entire squad wipes, you'll need to restart with a new, randomized operation from the tactical operations center. The Underground expansion for "The Division" will be available on XBox One on PC on June 28 and on PS4 August 2nd.
For more on "The Division" and other Ubisoft Games, keep it at UbiBlog.