Tom Clancy’s The Division takes place in a post-pandemic New York after a mysterious virus has swept through the city and the rest of the country, prompting the activation of a secret government agency.

Special-ops forces of the agency, known as The Division, are being called into action to restore order in Manhattan — a task easier said than done. Players create their own Division agent, who will not only battle the lawlessness but attempt to identify the culprit behind the pandemic. The focus of gameplay is on methodical combat. In firefights, players must take cover and outmaneuver thugs lurking on the streets by accessing a wide array of skills, from tossing out a sentry bot to healing the ill and wounded.

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New York, as depicted in The Division, is as dense as the real city, but with the shattered storefronts and subway shanty towns created by the pandemic. Conspiracies and “Walking Dead”-style desperation permeate the game as agents investigate the source of the superbug that has killed millions. Clues are buried in cellphones, files and other items the agents come across. There’s also a book titled “New York Collapse,” which gives a street-level view of the unfolding destruction, as well as hidden messages and secret codes. While players attempt to solve these puzzles, they also create their own stories of narrow escapes from death. A lot of the unpredictable action occurs in the Dark Zone, a no man’s land where both loot and the most savage enemies can be found.

With The Division, the shooter game has been pushed to an impressive new level.