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    The Division Preview

    Being a member of this titular band of sleeper agents has its perks, not least when it comes to your timepiece. They may not be made by Apple, but the watches worn by Division members are mighty impressive. As well as blipping out holographic maps and inventory screens, they’re also home to an intriguing new gameplay function called ECHO.

    Every moment of every day in the pre-apocalypse past of The Division, digital data was being stored, from CCTV footage to recordings of phone conversations. The ECHO function gathers all of this data simultaneously and visualises it around you in vivid orange 3D tango-vision.

    It looks spectacular in motion, like a strangely tragic fireworks display going off in focused, controlled bursts. But it serves an important function, slotting in story and exposition in a neat-sounding solution to the conundrum of crowbarring plot into an MMO.

    Agents are able to stroll through these displays, interacting with the things they depict to glean information as to what has happened in a given area. This could reveal insight into a long past event, some tragedy of the pandemic or, perhaps more pertinently given New York’s current status and your fragile existence within it, it could point to a nearby hidden loot cache.

    Divide and conquer

    One of the things that ECHO will help shed light on is the larger mystery surrounding the Black Friday pandemic. Much of the story will focus on the reasons behind the terror attack and the wider enigma of how it unfolded. There’s also the rise of enemy factions to contend with.

    The Cleaners, who have made a brief appearance in a previous game trailer, are a band of vicious individuals that have  reacted aggressively in the wake of New York’s fall. They’ll attack anyone they suspect of being infected which pretty much means anyone that they don’t know with home-made flamethrowers.

    Once certain areas have been cleansed of faction influence and you’ve sufficiently helped the locals in their bid for survival, you’ll be able to set up your own base of operations. These bases will be scattered around, providing moments of calm in the tumultuous urban wilderness. Who’s ready to make a house a home?

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