Picking up seven months after its predecessor’s conclusion, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 once again finds players assuming the role of a secret government agent attempting to restore order in the aftermath of a population-wiping pandemic. While the set-up is similar though, the sequel’s fresh setting offers thrilling new opportunities to loot, level, and lay waste to evil-doing factions.

The follow-up trades the post-plague New York City of its predecessor for a dystopian Washington D.C., complete with all the iconic memorials, esteemed museums, and famed structures you’d expect to see on a trip to the nation’s capitol. This is no sightseeing tour, however, as the game’s near-future take on D.C. has been carefully crafted to offer a compelling – and chilling – peek of what the city could become following such a catastrophe.

For players, this means exploring one of the most immersive, detailed open-worlds the medium’s ever seen, while also tackling uniquely engaging missions and objectives. The game begins, for example, with your Strategic Homeland Division agent taking back the White House from a group of scavengers determined to make it their new home. It’s a pulse-pounding opening that’s made all the more powerful by the fact 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. serves as its battleground.

While storming the south lawn kicks the story off with a literal bang, it barely scratches the surface of The Division 2’s ability to creatively leverage its richly-realized, 1:1 representation of the capitol city. Before long you’ll also find yourself scoring sweet loot in secret tunnels beneath the Lincoln Memorial, infiltrating the National Archives to secure the Declaration of Independence, and booting well-armed baddies from the city’s most famous museums.

These latter institutions offer some of the game’s best settings, featuring fantastic attention to detail and clever encounters. The museum’s explosive firefights unfold around exhibits, displays, and statues that will feel familiar to any one who’s ever visited one of these famed tourist destinations. Battling through the Air & Space Museum’s working planetarium and full-size Mars’ landing replica is especially memorable, as is fighting through the detailed recreation of a Vietnam jungle in the American History Museum.

The game’s interiors have been painstakingly recreated – right down to the murals painted on the Capitol building’s rotunda ceiling – but players will find just as many fresh twists on familiar sights in the game’s sprawling outdoor environments. Whether walking past the graffiti-tarnished Lincoln Memorial or trudging through the flooded National Mall, you’re constantly reminded, in scary-real detail, of the D.C. that once was. 

One such exterior skirmish tasks you with grabbing intel from a downed Air Force One. The iconic craft sports its familiar Presidential seal, but its fuselage has seen better days. As you battle through the missions’ enemy swarms, you’ll pass by the plane’s detached wheels, take cover behind one of its uncoupled engines, and even walk along its cracked wings.

Plenty of open-world games invite players to explore the ruined remains of real-world locations, but The Division 2‘s post-pandemic Washington D.C. sets a new high bar for its authenticity and amazing detail. More than just providing an eye-popping backdrop though, the immersion-ratcheting setting also serves as the stage for inspired missions, clever objectives, and even a task or two that’d make Nicholas Cage’s National Treasure character proud.

You can sink weeks into The Division 2‘s absorbing take on D.C., but if you prefer a day trip, the Box has got your back with $3/night and $7/night rental options.

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