Tom Clancy's The Division, the duck-and-cover third-person tactical shooter set in a virus-ridden future, is already an E3 stalwart. First shown back in 2013 to critical acclaim, we originally thought the title would be playable at 2014's show and make its way to PS4 and Xbox One soon after.

But Ubisoft isn't rushing this one. Due in spring 2016, this year marks the first E3 show that the publisher has offered hands-on gameplay. And it's a lot of fun. 

Thrown into the "Dark Zone" with a bunch of other human players as part of our tactical team, the task is to search out contaminated loot ready for extraction as a means to further your main game. Only you'll need to defend yourself and the team from the bad guys.

In among such enemies are other human player teams that, while neutral by default, may also be eyeing up your loot and can choose to attack, steal and get that loot out of there via chopper. Your team can do the very same - it's all about choice.

The Dark Zone isn't accessed through boring menus either: in this instance it was a case of climbing a gap in a fence from the main game and getting in on the action. As with most things Ubisoft these days, it's all about seamless intergration.

Getting to grips with The Division is simple if you're familiar with cover-based games. You'll need to use the environment and dive between cover spots to get the right vantage points, stealthily where possible, while guns and additional weapons such as grenades and throwable machine gun turrets are also available.

Each character has a specialism, so playing as part of a team requires thought. You may be able to heal, for example, or you might have sticky bombs that your team members don't possess (get one of those stuck on a human target and the result is quite spectacular).


Like most team vs team multiplayers you can be injured, where a time window allows healing from a team member, or you can get completely annihalated, after which you'll respawn following a short countdown timer. As the Dark Zones are all about capturing that loot, the time-based extraction - you need to fire off a flare to get a chopper to come and collect - is what rules this section of the game.

In many ways our biggest take-away from The Division's multiplayer is how well everything handles. And as we're most interested in the game's single player prospect, we get the feeling that The Division will be every bit worth the wait.

This might be the third year The Division has shown face at E3, but we're still every bit as excited about it. Roll on 2016.