Updated: Sep 8
New York Exploration - "Well, not a lot of it"
Ah yes, this game. The reason I am starting the article off like that is because; The Division is a game I really wanted to play upon it's release in 2016, but unfortinately was unable to. Around that time, my life was a bit all over the place, so I wasn't able to invest any money into buying this game, which is a shame, because playing it (for the first time in 2022) is kinda fun! I mean, it's only me and my mate walking around a barren wasteland, since player population is near zero on Xbox, but the mechanics feel great and this also gave me the chance to appreciate the graphics on show.
Back then, the graphics were very impressive. However, the E3 trailer showed us better graphics, which unfortinately didn't transale completely to the consoles. On the other hand, being able to walk around (mostly peacefully) this fictional part of Manhattan offered a calmer way to appreciate the environment. The lighting is one of the most attractive parts of taking pictures in this game, since the dynamic time of day enhances the variety of pictures to take.
Taking pictures (in this game) is not an easy task. I wasn't able to simply use a 'photo mode' some games posess nowadays. Being a third-person view game, my custom character is always in the way of every shot. In order to tackle this problem, I had to move my character against a large object, or wall, and angle the camera to render my character model invisible.
After that, it's a matter of carefully maneuvering the camera to get a good shot. Bare in mind, there are also AI enemies who spawn in some locations, making some shots difficult to get. This is made especially more difficult when I am a noob level, and my mate is level 200 something, so every AI enemy is incredibly powerful and kills me in 1 hit. But, I kinda needed him around to protect me while I took pictures carefully. Cheers, Pam.
In addition to the random AI attacks, the time of day seriously affects the quality of a picture. Since the only time I played the game was on the one night (before I flew to real New York), I wasn't able to take a lot of photos I was happy to edit and keep. The time of day required me to 'wing it' in a lot of situations. If I saw a cool shot with beast lighting, I'd take it and move on. Whereas, if I had more time, which I may have when I eventually return to the game, I'd have waited around for the sunlight to angle better on some locations. The image above is an example of good lighting at the right time.
Sadly, every image suffers in quality by rendering at a lower resolution. You see, it's possible to remove most of the HUD in game, but it is impossible to remoe some waypoint icons and the names within my squad. As a result, every image is cropped, or otherwise edit to reduce visibility of these HUD elements.
I imagine the PC version would have mods to remove all HUD elements, but alas, I'm too lazy to find out and will stick to Xbox, like the scrub I am. Not to emntion, there's a stronger sense of satisfying challenge knowing I can use a limited Xbox as a machine to take cool pictures in game.
I'll be producing a part 2 to this. The next theme will be about comparing in game shots to real life pictures of New York (based on my travels to the city).
I still have a lot to explore in The Division, and it'll be a lot of fun viewing the differences between virtual landmarks and the real life counterparts. Also,I'll aim to provide better shots and experiment a bit more with different angles, lighting and all sorts.