Ghost Recon Wildlands is an upcoming open world third person/first person action adventure game with extremely light RPG elements by Ubisoft, currently in it’s Open Beta stage. After playing about for about 10 hours of the Beta on PC, forming conclusions about the gameplay would be fair. (I guess?)
Note: This is not a final review of the game. This is just a Beta and hence we will point out any and all positive & negative aspects that we could find, in the hope that it reaches the developer’s attention and can be improved upon final release.
Performance is up first and here is the PC we tested it on:
Nvidia GTX 1070
8 GB DDR4 RAM
7200 RPM HDD
The game is terribly optimized honestly. It hovers around 45-60 with every setting to the extreme on 1080p, occasionally dipping to even low 20s, and even freezes sometimes when going very fast across terrain. Now, the surprising thing is, when the resolution scale is pushed to the extreme right (I am guessing that it is 1440p downscaled to 1080p), the fps stays at a constant 30 most of the time and is a less intrusive experience.
Disclaimer: I wasn’t able to try out the co-op much, so I am only going to talk about the game mechanics.
Starting with the character creation, it is pretty much bare-bones. There are some previously generated faces, accessories and clothes varying in color and that’s pretty much it. Yes, it is a good way to personalize the character, but it can leave a few, if not a lot of people unsatisfied in that regard.
Now coming to the gameplay, I have am very mixed on this aspect of the game. I have to admit, Ubisoft has done decent with the shooting mechanics. I think this is the first open world game that I have played in which damage can be done through walls. The transition from third person to first person is very smoothly done and doesn’t feel janky. The movement is also well done, apart from the few hiccups in complicated scenarios such as cars stuck on cliffs when the game bugs out.
The worst aspect of the active gameplay loop has to be the driving though. Driving anything, be it a car, bike or helicopter feels very disorienting. The collision system and car physics seem to have been picked up directly from Watch Dogs 2 and bumping into walls is akin to air hockey. Rather than crashing into the wall, the cars bounce off the walls like they are made of rubber. The bike controls relatively better, but not by much. I preferred riding the bike, over cars and only once ever fell from the bike. It seems that unless you hit an obstacle head on with the bike, there is 0 possibility of falling off. Oh and don’t get me started on the helicopter, controlling it felt like a diarrhea ridden kid trying to adjust it’s tight underwear.
As with other Ubisoft games, there is a detection metre for AI which starts filling when you come into their field of vision, and it fills up faster as the player ramps up the difficulty. Personally I started with the hard difficulty and was able to breeze through the Beta without dying much.
Now off to the passive gameplay elements- there are skills, loadouts, weapon upgrades, a world map etc, and having said that, I can pretty much say that it is every Ubisoft game ever. Collecting nifty little objects littered throughout the map to upgrade weapons.
I got annoyed when upgrading skills also required these collectibles apart from gaining skill points. I, as a player don’t want to go around a huge map, looking for little things to upgrade skills. The skill tree and customization of character is what gives it those ‘extremely light RPG elements’ and the system is just bland if anything.
The graphics are another aspect where I can’t really call it good or bad. On 1080p, there is a lot of aliasing and it really makes the game look weird. There is a lot of texture inconsistencies even with anti-aliasing in full effect, though I did get good images once I slid the resolution scale to the extreme right. In conclusion, I would say the game looks better with the downscale, but on 1080p it looks ‘meh’. I generally switch off the motion blur, and because of that, the ample jaggies on a 1080p screen were really annoying. (I am not sure if you’ll be able to tell the difference between the native 1080p and the resolution upscale, but these are the screenshots that show it quite blatantly).
Talking a little bit about the story and missions, from what I played the mission variety is not much and from what I experienced, the the player will most likely be doing the same repetitive things again and again till he/she reaches the final boss (End of story), finishing off mini bosses on the way (Side quests). The main mission is clearing the Santa Blanca Cartel, which is basically taking out the boss.
Apart from that there is a lot of texture popping and loading issues. As you are traversing across the map, you’ll see a lot of texture pop-ins, whether you are running or riding a bike/car. While it is not much of an issue, it still is distracting when textures start appearing on the ground right in front of you.
Below is a series of screenshots showing the whole transition. You can imagine how slow it loads when I was able to take screesnhots of it.
Last but not the least, I would say that this is just a third person run n gun game, rather than a tactical shooter, because the AI is not very smart. Instances, I hear you ask. Well, for one, I flew a drone right behind an enemy’s head and there was no reaction from him.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend the game to anyone, because it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, IE, it’s not a tactical shooter and it is not really good gameplay wise. It takes a lot of aspects from various games and just jams them together, something like jack of all arts, master of none. The lack of depth in any one sector really put me off personally.