Good Job With The Graffiti, The Division

Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i

I’ve been playing the closed beta for Tom Clancy’s The Division, an upcoming fantasy RPG about patrolling Manhattan and murdering Black Friday “rioters.” The game’s version of New York City isn’t the most convincing I’ve ever seen, but the graffiti is solid.

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I’ve complained about bad video game graffiti in the past, so I like to highlight good graffiti when I see it. In my book, bad graffiti is the stuff that seems explicitly informed by the plot of the game. When Ubisoft’s artists were coming up with wall decorations for The Division, they could’ve gone with the usual post-disaster stuff like, “Where is our food?” and “Down with the government!” and “Anarchy in NYC!”

Rather than doing that, they went with the sorts of chaotic scrawls that we’d probably actually see should something like The Division’s city-clearing bioweapon attack come to pass. Hell, parts of Manhattan already look like this.

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Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
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Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
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Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
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I liked this one in particular:

Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
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Aw!

The best graffiti is down in the subway, though the stuff around the streets is fine, too. The other, non-graffiti signage around the city is more generic and unconvincing:

Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
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Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i
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Illustration for article titled Good Job With The Graffiti, iThe Division/i

I do love to run down to “Chicken Place” every so often, though.

Maybe it’s a beta thing, and they’ll have a few more distinct #brands when the full game launches. Even if they don’t, it’s good to see another game playing it cool with graffiti.

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To contact the author of this post, write to kirk@kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

paperscissors
paperscissors

Kirk the Grafitti Guru! :P

Good video game grafitti is like good CGI. It looks best when you don’t even notice it. It just blends so well into the surroundings it becomes basically believable.

While I’m disappointed that the game doesn’t look as incredible as the intial trailers did (I blame myself — I really need to stop getting my hopes up with Ubi trailers immediately), the detail and environment dressing in this game is really well done, in my opinion. There’s enough uniqueness and variation in the abandoned NYC streets that it’s not offensively repetitive. Many areas are built so well that they tell a story without outright telling you the story. Lines of haphazardly abandoned cars at a gas station showing the population’s last desperate attempts to prepare for a mass exodus of NYC. Bumper to bumper abandoned vehicles clogged on a once busy street, showing traffic direction of where people were trying to go to evacuate the city. The gameplay of the beta is decent, but the city itself may be enough for me to hold onto my preorder.