Tom Clancy’s The Division – (Map) Size Matters?

In a recent video from Youtuber Arrekz, we got to see more gameplay of the new addition to Ubisofts Tom Clancy’s franchise with The Division. This game apparently takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where survivors are all players and sort of play The Last of Us but in a multiplayer format. Whilst the game it self looks interesting the big topic of discussion today is the Map the open-world game takes place in.

The general consensus is that the map is quite small compared to other titles made by Ubisoft, for instance the Assassin’s creed series which in Black Flag you had the whole Mediterranean  to explore as well as in Watch Dogs you had a giant city to mess around with. The Division has also been compared to GTA V for map size, seeing that they are roughly the same. However, does the size of the map actually matter that much? its the age old question of quality or quantity.

Lets go back a bit and see when really this craze of map size actually came about. The practical use of making the map bigger was used as a unique selling point for sequels of big titles, sort of matching with the though of ‘the bigger the better’, it can be dated all the way from Pacman with its sequels constantly trying to work on making it fresh. However, the need for a big map really came into play with the birth of open world RPG games because it expanded on the world that the player can immerse themselves in. Think about it, you are exploring the lands of a mythic place, connecting with your characters emotions then bam, you hit an invisible wall or a message saying to turn back. It doesn’t help the company.

On the other hand, when do  you know to stop? sure, you can make it keep going and going with random generation but then that breaks the experience for players knowing that the game doesn’t even know that they will walk into and the user starts to break this immersion and realises its just walking around in a load of scripts and algorithms. You also have the case of being too big meaning you have to walk for hours to reach that sweet loot on the other side of the map. You could argue that’s part of the fun for games like Fallout and Skyrim but then after the walk, you find yourself just fast travelling there anyway so what’s the point?

The perfect recipe for a map? there isn’t one, because games have constant variations in  environments means you can never be too sure how well you have done it and normally cant base it off another game. In addition, the only way you know when you have done a good job is when the community doesn’t bring it up and it sucks that you put so much thought into it to not be even considered. In a ideal world, its quality in a vast land but since we have to be realistic, I think The Division have it pretty spot on.

You see The Division is selling that its set in a devastated New York City, and that means they already have a boundary sorted out for them. Basing your game in a place people can recognise means that they cant really argue map size because it already being a thing! Sure, it might miss out a few provinces here and there (sorry Brooklyn) but in the end, you aren’t playing The Division to see how your apartment looks after a germ pandemic.

To wrap up, map size doesn’t matter, as much as the publishers want you to believe so you can buy another sequel, it doesn’t. What does matter is in the map to explore and find by yourself. A recent example of this is Just Cause 3 which brought a giant world for players to destroy stuff in, but if you go into a town and just watch you see the emptiness of personality through out the streets as well as glitchy AI where a old lady looks at you and immediately runs into a wall, take this video for example.

Hopefully The Division will  now put extra effort in the map knowing that people will be paying close attention to the content. I hope its good anyway, they got siege right at least.

 

Clean your bank notes,

-Sam Burdis

 

 

 

Tom Clancy’s The Division – (Map) Size Matters?

Battlefield, Published by a Bad Company

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January is the point in all media where things start to drag. Spoof horror movies, news reports on the same topics, but in the gaming industry its sort of a drought from the big Christmas rush for triple A companies and more of a dribble of indie games. So in this break I am going to discuss something that I have gone back to recently and found a new love for.

Battlefield has always thrived being an immersive FPS and impressive graphics, Its key point was always the destruction. This record can be tracked back all the way to Battlefield 2 and 1942 with its easy to use, hard to master style of play (expect for Air vehicles, they are and always will be made for Pros). Yet, this style of play let players experience a more realistic side of this genre compared to its counter part, Call of Duty.

 

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was made back in 2010 by the Swedish company DICE but published by the notorious Electronic Arts. This game received great reviews on its release because of its destruction and impressive graphics that still hold up to this day. The variety in weapons and playstyles kept it refreshing for people who had put hundreds of hours in the game and the map sizes gave the player a great satisfaction if they ever managed to capture every point. Skip forward to 2016, here I am looking for a game to play when my friend asks to download it. Now I had experience with B: BC2 before but never with a clear insight of its mechanics. So I jumped in and was immediately back in the swing of things.

As I played, I noticed that I didn’t really get bored with the game itself like I had with the more recent ones. Sure, you got the common problem of max levels flying around in jets destroying every living creature or a sniper that manages to land on top of an aerial and get a clear vantage on your spawn but something made me want to keep playing, then I figured it out.

This Happens a lot….

 

One answer could be that there isn’t any newish players on the game anymore because of its age or another could be because of nostalgia but I just think it’s because of the company to put it out there, EA. In Battlefield 4 right now, we are seeing microtranscations available to fill in the skill gap of most players. We also saw a buggy release when it dropped with the servers because EA just went with the old “shove it out there and pray” tactic that these big publishers like to do. There’s also a giant amount of DLC available which really splits the community from being to access those other maps. Whilst in B:BC2 its forgotten about, so if you do find a weapon OP or your pistol is shooting peas at the them then you can’t do anything, you just stiffen your upper lip and keep playing and that’s refreshing. I see B:BC2 as Battlefield’s peak. The gameplay is solid and not filled with game breaking bugs, the maps offers vastly different experiences and environments and even the accessibility of the game, just being on steam, helps it out for players to just simply load it up besides opening their web browser or Origin.

Now not every reason is EA’s fault, that’s just like blaming your homework on your dog eating it. The community as stated before aren’t as welcoming as B:BC2 because it’s still the most current game filled with a wide range of players and different personalities. There is also some blame on DICE for not sorting the hundreds of bugs the game had on its release not to mention the balancing of guns. However, is a subsidiary of Electronic Arts and so its decisions are probably made by EA themselves. I can tell you for a fact that it was EA’s decision for the battlepacks that give you ‘unique’ skins and dog tags for your killed victim to view.

I guess what I am trying to say is B:BC2 is good because it’s the newer battlefields without all the gimmicky crap that makes it up now. We probably will never see Battlefield reach its peak again and that’s sad but it doesn’t mean we can enjoy this game, well, at least until EA decides for some more cuts and switches off the servers.

But the one thing that is consistent is the campaigns.They will forever be forgotten in every Battlefield game.

We are losing, Fight Harder,

–  Sam Burdis

Battlefield, Published by a Bad Company