Real Life Museums Make Great Levels in The Division 2

The Division 2 is set in Washington, D.C. and that city is famous for all of its wonderful museums. Because Ubisoft is focused on making their game worlds feel real The Division 2 is also filled with many of these museums. These places make up some of the best levels found in the game and they are impressively authentic to the real locations they are inspired by.

In The Division 2, there are a handful of missions that lead players into some of the various museums dotted around D.C. Usually, these museums are overrun with deadly enemies, which does make it hard to explore them. But after all the bad folks were killed, I was able to snap some photos of these incredibly detailed museums.

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One of my favorite museums is The American History Museum. This location is based on the National Museum of American History, located in D.C. You can find different elements of the real world location recreated in the virtual version of the museum. Like this cool looking train!

When you first arrive at this place it isn’t exactly tourist friendly. The militaristic True Sons have taken over the site and are using it as a prison for their enemies. Your objective is to get in, kill them and get some intel.

Exploring The American History Museum, I loved how varied the environments were. As I moved through the building I encountered old statues, exhibits about the Thirteen Colonies, the Western Expansion and eventually I reached a large jungle-filled-section of the museum all about Vietnam.

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This area really surprised me. Suddenly I was no longer in the urban streets of D.C. but instead, I was creeping around the jungles of Vietnam. Of course, if I focused on the walls or other details I could tell I wasn’t actually in the jungle, but the change of scenery was still a great way to transform the entire feel of the mission.

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The Vietnam section of the museum is based on a similar area in the real world counterpart of The American History Museum. Ubisoft even included the helicopter that is found in that exhibit.

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The jungle section of the mission culminates in a battle using a giant turret against waves of True Son soldiers. It almost feels like an entirely different game during this climactic fight.

This is the brilliance of these museum levels. They change up the look and feel of the game. I also love how these museums feel like real places, largely because of Ubisoft’s attention to detail.

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Another favorite museum level of mine found in The Division 2 is the Air & Space Museum. Here, you can find old planes and drones...

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...but keep exploring this museum and you will also find space capsules, a shuttle that has seen better days and rockets.

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Easily my favorite section of the museum is when I rounded a corner and abruptly I found myself on Mars. I wasn’t expecting this at all and it caught me totally off guard. I ended up dying in this area the first time I entered because I forgot that I was in the middle of a deadly combat mission involving heavily armed soldiers. Whoops!

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The Mars section of the museum, similar to the Vietnam area in the other museum, almost looks like a different game. At least briefly. Then a bunch of shotgun-wielding soldiers rushed me. I don’t think shotguns are on Mars. At least not yet.

Another great moment in the Air & Space Museum is when players enter a large planetarium. This section, like most of the areas in the museums, is actually based on the real-life planetarium found at the actual National Air & Space Museum in D.C.

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This area is almost overwhelming to fight in as planets and stars whiz by, as well as bullets. Getting to fight in a giant planetarium is another reason I love the museums in The Division 2. It helps make these missions more memorable and interesting.

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These aren’t the only museums in the game. In my time with The Division 2, I’ve encountered others including a museum focused on indigenous peoples and another location focused on media and news history, based on the real world Newseum. All of these museums are filled with an incredible amount of detail and care. They make the world of The Division 2 feel more believable and immersive.

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An example of how much detail Ubisoft put into these museums is how many of the exhibits actually have placards with writing about the various topics. So while you play The Division 2 you can learn a few things too!

Some may think The Division 2 is just a boring military shooter, but the museums are a great example of how colorful and fun the game can get. Maybe some of the themes and story elements are heavy-handed and gross, but this is also game where I got to explore museums and fight bad guys in planetariums.

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These moments show how the game isn’t always grim and really help make these missions stand out from the others.

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About the author

Zack Zwiezen

Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for Gamecritics, USgamer, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.