One of the selling points to loot games is that your time and effort will be rewarded. Typically, expansions add to existing content, making it so those who put in the time have a head start. The Division’s survival expansion goes the opposite direction. Instead of offering people at the end something new to do, it’s a new mode where everyone starts at the same point and have to survive. With new things to do, no restrictions and various different mechanics, is Survival mode a must or is it a tedious way to play the old game?
Survival starts with a brief explanation of your situation. You’re cold, infected and need to find your way to evacuation or you’ll die. After that you’re given a brief overview of the mode, which equates to needing food, water, warm clothes and complete a couple of objectives to survive. On paper it sounds simple, but looks can be deceiving.
What makes Survival both fun and frustrating is that you’re at the mercy of luck. If you’re lucky you’ll quickly find warm clothing, which will allow you to easily explore the city and collect the resources you need to survive. While clothing helps a lot, you also need to find food, water and medicine or you’ll be at a disadvantage or potentially die. This can be hard, since you might find a lot of food and no water, lots of water and no food or just resources.
Even though this mode has elements of luck, you can overcome these elements by planning ahead. Like you can make basic clothing to increase your chances outside, craft medkits and even make weapons. Ultimately, your biggest limitation is how much effort you put into surviving.
For instance, you can craft all the best gear and have a fighting chance in the Dark Zone or you can rush it and try to make the most of what you have. This offers fun ways to play, but is held back by the amount of time you need to invest. Just casually playing the mode, looking for supplies and getting ready to go into the dark zone, I had put in over an hour. So if you were looking to get good gear and prepare to take on the world, you’re looking at a two or so hour investment.
This is part of the problem with Survival mode too. In the starting area, where you’ll spend a lot of your time, there is very little to do besides managing your vitals and collecting materials. To put it another way, I saw about 20 enemies in the 45 minutes to an hour that I spent trying to progress. So if you’re looking to shoot things or have an exciting mode, this isn’t for you.
Despite the shortcomings of Survival mode, it’s a lot of fun if you’re willing to invest the time. Everything you pick up and can do will positively or negatively impact your adventure and it’s a lot of fun once you start to progress. Sadly, this makes it less accessible than your typical expansion, but it does offer a different take on the core concept of The Division. Those who brave the mode will be awarded high-end or better loot, making it a decent way to progress, but only if you actually make progress in the mode. If you can’t make it to the Dark Zone or escape, you’re likely better off playing another mode.The Division Expansion II: Survival - Review,