The Division 2 hands-on: are we still calling these Tom Clancy games?

They say that if something ain't broke, then you shouldn't fix it, so there's a good chance that the crew at Ubisoft behind The Division thought its first effort was pretty sound.

That, or the demo put together and shown off at the Xbox booth at Gamescom is a rather... conservative slice of the new game.

The demo focused on four-player co-op, and in the tradition of these things, was confusing as fuck. At least our on-screen selves had proper names ("Jesus, Meghan, would you stop getting shot!"), but with no adequate way to put those names with the voices in our headsets, and no background as to what our mission was or what we were going to face... nor even much of a heads-up as to special talents and weapons... It came down to "shoot the guys with red details on the HUD - don't get shot in turn".

But for all of that, The Division 2 is looking as tight as you would expect. Sharp controls make traversing cover and the rest of the environment as smooth as you could hope, and if there is a suspicious amount of hip-high objects to duck behind and mantle over, at least there is a rich variety of them.

It's hard to pin down where the game has changed - the environment we fought over was your typical expanse of build up areas that gave way to more open expanses, but sight lines certainly felt a little longer. Being a co-op mission, the enemies came thick and fast, backed by an array of specialists, from ones layered in thick armour to snipers and more.

But if I had to say where The Division 2 earns its advance in digits, it's in the way co-op play feels tighter. With a group of complete strangers, and some mild attention to voice comms, we were able to negotiate complex battlefields, stay on top of complex enemy movements, and more or less come out on top. Conversely, enemy AI feels more of a threat; this is from both complex level design that presents interesting tactical challenges, and an on-field AI that's capable of at least looking like it's creating a base of fire and trying to work around your flanks.

So if I had to say anything - and with a mere 20 minutes of hands on time on a platform I am less than comfortable on - it's that the The Division 2 does what the first game did... only more of it.

And that's a compelling proposition.