It’s really too bad that The Division didn’t become as successful as Ubisoft wanted it to be. I wound up buying the Division on sale last winter in order to play online with a friend. Surprisingly I really enjoyed myself. I hadn’t played The Division in a long, long while but then wanted to jump back in because I read that year two of DLC for the game would be free. There wasn’t really anything more for me to do in the game besides collect all the side “intel” files scattered throughout NYC, which is exactly what I set out to do while deciding if I wanted to invest more time in decrepit post-apocalyptic NYC.

Phone recordings, incident reports (recordings of different personnel responding the the crisis within the game), crashed drones (text describing sights in NYC), and ECHO’s (holographic recreations of incidents which previously occurred) are scattered throughout the many alleyways and rooftops within the districts making up the lower portions of the very accurate yet fictional Manhattan. All of these collectibles are ostensibly just that, things to pad out the game and earn you a trophy upon complete collection.  The phone recordings really flesh out the what-if fictional world of The Division and are the whole reason I began writing this. Most recordings are part of a set with an ongoing narrative of that character leading up to the outbreak and then post-outbreak. Some recordings are standalone. They chronicle what those people were like and how they dealt with and reacted to the outbreak. You can listen to examples here. The voice acting behind the recordings great. Each character was totally believable: you feel the fear, desperation, and sadness behind each character in this terrible situation. There is total hopelessness and frustration in the sighing between characters. The recordings capture the forgotten citizens of NYC. I truly felt sorry for each of these people and my heart broke for some of them. There was a daughter calling her mother to come out to her finally, and then a separate recording of the mother calling back to say she had always known and didn’t care. It became my mission to track down each of these ethereal digital footprints of the lost souls of NYC so that they would not be forgotten. The recordings lent a real weight and depth to the despair and descent into chaos that occurred after the outbreak in this fictional world. It was well worth collecting as many as I could find because these recordings were so good and I feel like they’re easily overlooked.

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