For all that it shares Ghost Recon Wildlands’s third-person view, recon drones and four-man squad dynamics, Wildlands is another example of Ubisoft’s shift to large-scale open-world games. Tactics take a back seat, action grabs the wheel and the whole vehicle’s heading in a familiar direction: Far Cry via Assassin’s Creed via Watch Dogs. Still what works for Ghost Recon Wildlands is the fact that the Open World suits it. It felt more natural to roam about in a country torn by Civil War totting weapons, stealing cars and blowing cars than in San Fransisco (Watch Dogs 2) or in a tropical paradise (Far Cry).
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open world tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris. It is the tenth installment in the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon franchise and is the first Ghost Recon game to feature an open world environment. The game was released on March 7, 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Ghost Recon Wildlands
Narratively, Ghost Recon Wildlands could not decided whether it wanted to be Just Cause or Narcos, so it decided to be both. You are tasked with taking down a Narcos organization in Bolivia, which involves taking out their main operations: security, smuggling, production and influence. How you do it though is by blasting across the country, helping out the rebels, kill some high value targets while rescue others, intercept supply drop-offs and of course in true Ubisoft fashion take down strongholds. Its enough to justify an American soldier’s stay in a foreign war-torn country and it’s not your place to question Uncle Sam. Though don’t expect the usual Tom Clancy tightness in the script, that ship has already sailed with The Division.
The dialogue is a little stale and become repetitive quickly. And by quickly I mean in 1 hour or so. There is a single radio station in game, which means you run the entire recorded gauntlet in a little over 2 hours if you do a lot of driving. The debriefs not withstanding, chatter among your AI partners is mostly nonsensical and rarely contextual and quickly becomes noise.
Game-play & Mechanics
Visually, Ghost Recon Wildlands has not broken down on me yet. Its running smoothly, even when there is a lot of action on the screen. The vistas look beautiful and from time to time will give you an opportunity to take breath-taking screenshots. Its a win, that’s for sure.
Vehicle driving however is progressively getting worse with each Ubisoft open world game. Though I have to say driving a motor bike is one of the fun things you can do in the game. Having said that, mechanically there are some issues with the physics engine specially where sky-diving and falling is concerned. But don’t be alarmed, there is nothing game-breaking here and the glitches mostly result in hilarious situation more often than they result in rage-quits.
Size-wise Ubisoft have described Ghost Recon Wildlands as one of the biggest open world games that they have ever published, with the game world including a wide variety of environments such as mountains, forests, deserts and salt flats. This is accurately true.
The BETA had a single province, the complete game has 20. Each province slightly/drastically different from the others and offering a plethora of objectives. The game also features a variety of terrain, each one bringing more than just pretty pixels to the screen. Jungles are perfect for hit-and-run guerrilla warfare. Deserts and salt-flats have little or no cover, so fighting from range works well and having an escape vehicle ready is imperative. In the mountains, you can usually hike to the high ground and assault your enemies from above.
Ghost Recon Wildlands has a mission structure a lot of players would be familiar with. The game is scattered with side missions, weapons and collectibles which can be picked up to improve your armory and your skills. In a switch from normal proceedings though, you need to collect enough info about a boss to progress the story missions, and since this info is already scattered, you feel encouraged to pick up the collectibles and skill points along the way. Quick load times between fast travels also make it a viable option.
Apart from that there is little to pick out from Ghost Recon Wildlands. Complete enough missions to lure out a sub-boss, then beat him to get to the Province boss, rinse and repeat until you set up a date with El Sueno himself.
Most missions rotate around you laying siege to an enemy camp with varying strength. You can either Just-Cause it (which fails more often than not) or you can employ tactics best suited to your play style.
Ghost Recon Wildlands lets you decide what tactics if any you would like to employ, and while Open World and tactics might not go well together, having a plan in mind, almost always pays off. This is because Ghost Recon Wildlands can be difficult at times. Both in co-op and single player, though because of totally different reasons. Let me elaborate.
In single player, you are complimented with 3 AI companions, who are more or less bullet sponges, will almost always heal you when you are downed, and will always take sync-shots successfully. These advantages are tempered by the fact, that they do little else apart from that. They rarely help you out when you are getting flanked, you have little control over them apart from sync-shots and they can be unreliable when you want them to take down enemies. Plus their radio-chatter is not something to write home about. Which means that you have to do the heavy lifting. You have to kill the majority of the enemies, you have to escort the VIP and you have to drive the vehicle to have any chance of getting away. Its empowering and burdening both at the same time.
In co-op, you have (up to) 3 humans with whom you can co-ordinate attacks. They can be relied upon to at least come to your aid with covering fire, and anyone of you can complete the objectives of a mission, which increases your chance of completion. On the down side however, there is free-will. In the 30+ hours you will spend in the game, you will no doubt run into a team who are better suited for COD than Ghost Recon, only this time, there are no corridors and they can run off to basically anywhere in Bolivia. Even team-mates with good intention can sometimes screw up sync-shots which can raise the alarm and you can only watch as the situation descends into chaos. As such, co-op is like a coin-flip between poetry in motion and absolute bedlam.
Playing through the 2 modes however, it would be clear to you that Ghost Recon Wildlands has been created with co-op in mind. Even if the single player suffers from it. What feels uninspired in single-player, feels streamlined in co-op. There are no long cut-scenes, nor linear set pieces. All target briefing are optional, and can be viewed at any time. Wildlands’ design removes all the chaff that would prevent you and your friends from getting out into the world. Wildlands understands that its most entertaining aspect is the tension between stealth and chaos that arises when four people attempt to silently take down an operation.