+Amazing back story building for players to understand the start of the game
+Smallpox played a dangerous role in the games universe
+Shows how political and social collapses occur for the new title
+New York City’s Ground Zero sets up a dangerous premise
+A short, but sweet film from YouTubers and Ubisoft
–More character back story would have been appreciated
–Dark Zone being shown off would have created more interest
Reviewers Note: While it’s easy to see that I’m used to reviewing games, there was a few things that bugged me about the film as listed in the cons and discussed earlier in. The review currently is a “soft review”, meaning it may be added to at a later date once I get to sit down and analyze the film more than twice in one day.
When opening up a game series, Ubisoft has been the masters of creating spin-off short films that give us more detail on what’s happening, and why. They first displayed this capability with Assassin’s Creed 2’s short film “Lineage”, which had shown off how Ezio’s family was tied into the “Creed”. Again they had also displayed their finesse for doing this with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier’s short film called Ghost Recon Alpha. This time around Ubisoft has teamed up with YouTube talent Corridor Digital, RocketJump and devinsupertramp.
Teaming up with YouTuber’s, Ubisoft has been able to reach out to an established fanbase. One that allows the company and the YouTuber’s to put out content to an already established fanbase, which helps bring forth promotional and supplementary content to that fanbase. In doing so we’ve been given a glimpse at what this can do for those wanting to see what such talents can do in order to bring such a world to life.
The Division: Agent Origins tells us the story of the games four operatives that we currently know of such as John (Matt Day), Mia (Amanda Day, The Center, The Seeker) , Everett(Sasha Andreev, See Jane Run and Best Man Down), and Daryl (Danny Mason, The Club House, Jive Tales). Within the opening seconds John gives us the layout of how the Smallpox Virus spread through contaminated money on Black Friday. Doing this allowed whoever set off the attack to do so without being easily noticed. By the time anyone that could do anything to stop the virus, the death toll had reached epidemic numbers, within weeks it became a full blown pandemic and there seemed to be nothing that could stop it besides setting up quarantine zones for those that had ye to be infected by the virus. Shortly after the explanation, we learn that the United States Government had put in place a secret directive where sleeper agents would come out of hiding in order to calm the chaos and keep peace. While it sounds easier said than done, the show proves just how difficult that actually is as our leading characters quickly come under attack.
What’s most interesting is not the fact that the show picks up rather quickly with minimal origins behind each character. We learn that John is a family man. One that takes pride in both his wife and daughter, but hides the fact he’s secretly a government agent waiting to be activated. We learn that Daryl is a scavenger, a medic of sorts as he is hunting down medical supplies. Mia fits the role as the teams tactician and sharp shooter while Everett serves as the teams muscle and heavy hitter. But as quick as it sounds to establish all this, we first have to look at the fact each lived their normal lives. Daryl’s being the one we know little about as we know Mia was in hiding with her boyfriend and their conspiracy theorist friend. Everett we learn was a fireman in his mean time, helping with public duty in order to keep people safe, which didn’t seem to last long once the world around him collapsed.
As the story unfolds we get a look at two of the enemy factions. The Rikers from Rikers Island appear rather quickly within the short, but not quite as quick as the ever-so-brutal “Cleaners” who do just what they believe is right. Build everything from the ground up just as it had with time. Their method includes burning everything down in order to do so be it infected corpses, buildings with infected in it or the people that just happen to be around and might be infected. After all, the way the bad guys see it? Survival of the fittest.
Where this short shines brightest isn’t just in the fact that it doesn’t look like a low-end budget short, the short does a great job at casting actors to fit the roles of the characters that they are portraying, but also matching voices to those said characters. Let alone is their acting spot-on, the tone, the score, but even the overall appearance to the short gave the short the authenticity it needed to bring forth the game. While narrative was lacking in the sense of building a back-story for fans to understand, it does give some idea behind what The Division was meant for as a Joint Task Force in case such an event happened. While it has been troublesome to pinpoint just how much it’ll affect or bleed into the game is yet to be seen as the game is still roughly a month and a half out before we’ll get to walk the streets of a very different and dark New York City. With the direction the short film did go, it fit the role and did its job giving us an idea of how the squad got together and why they headed back out into the streets of New York. We just have to wait and see how well the gaps between game and short film do starting March 8th, 2016.
Our review is based upon the version released via Amazon Prime Video. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.