Much-delayed and rumor-ridden, The Division has been the target of a great deal of speculation and criticism even before the recent release of its closed beta. When The Division's first gameplay preview came out, it looked absolutely amazing. Even after a couple of years passed and the release of a couple new Assassin's Creed games and Fallout 4, The Division's previews still look sensational. However, the title's repeated delays and rumors of cut-downs and workarounds have the gaming community worried about The Division. As many gamers have pointed out, bad memories of Watch Dogs failing to live up to its hype, have led many commentators and YouTube gaming prophets to suspect that The Division will be small, one dimensional and unremarkable.As far as gameplay goes, the closed beta would seem to have put to rest some of the rumors and feelings of uncertainty. While The Division may not be the most satisfying single player experience, its co-op gameplay has been praised. This would seem to be a hangover from its original conception. If gamers cast their minds way back to that very first preview, The Division was marketed as an entirely new experience in MMO gaming, promising to provide a massive, interactive world with drop-in, drop-out co-op and team-based combat. At the time, this seemed like a natural and sensible evolution for the MMO genre, but releases like Destiny and Unity would appear to have taken much of the shine off the idea as a unique selling point for a new release.
Now, in accordance with the gaming community's worst fears for the game, prospective players seem to be looking at a much more linear, much more constricted version of the original, sprawling concept of The Division. It would appear, however, that what players are probably not looking at is a small game. YouTuber Marcostyle, who makes something of a profession out of comparing the map sizes of open world games, has performed a similar comparison for The Division. Using a reasonably sophisticated set of metrics, Marcostyle has been able to compare the approximate scale of the maps for GTA 5, Fallout 4 and The Division. The surprising conclusion is that The Division's map, even the cut-down beta version, is of a comparable size to the map for Fallout 4.Many gamers who have been playing the beta would probably hotly contest this assertion. One of the most common comments is that The Division feels smaller. There are a few good reasons for this. Being a world tightly based on the claustrophobic city blocks of New York, The Division doesn't have quite as much to offer in terms of blue sky and rolling plain as Fallout 4, or even the northern section of GTA 5. This can create a false sense of claustrophobia, but Marcostyle assures us that, using his rough yardstick made up of travel time, map area and GPS, The Division's map is, in fact, comparable in size. Of course, size is not just measured in surface area. It's also measured in variety of experiences, and therein is another reason why The Division, in its current form, may not feel as big. Compared to Fallout 4, The Division does not have anywhere near as many explorable buildings or areas, and it lacks the random variety of vehicles and incidents built into GTA 5. In fact, according to Paul Tassi from Forbes, what players largely do in The Division is walk through empty and silent streets that largely look the same.
Remember, though, that the version of The Division that is being measured is emphatically not the full game. The fact that players can be reasonably sure that the current map is of a comparable size would indicate that the full version of The Division is going to be satisfyingly massive, which is yet another anxiety that gamers can now set free.
[Image via Ubisoft]