Written by Andrew Busch // Edited by Drew Beyer // Uploaded by Andrew Busch
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a four-player tactical shooter focused on the use of strategy and sometimes stealth to take on the Bolivian cartel and eliminate its very intimidating and very bald leader. After spending a significant amount of time inserted in Bolivia, I have returned to tell you that there are some wonderful things about this game and other things I wish I had never seen.
The first element that the game deserves some praise for is its array of diverse and utterly gorgeous environments that span from arid salt flats to rainy marshes clouded with mist. Exploring the massive scope of Wildlands is something worth your time and around every corner you will find another visually stunning element just when you thought you have seen it all.. The game’s customization system also allows for quick gear swaps so you can make seamless transitions between areas of the map. One minute you can be wearing civilian clothing while the next you can look like a rare species of tree nymph ready to frolic through the jungles. On a more serious note I mean, come on, you have to dress for the occasion.
The game’s combat is another success as it maintains a rapid pace and fluid action throughout each engagement. At first, the third-to-first-person aiming had me worried but I got used to it fairly quickly as the motion was actually quite smooth. The lose cover system was also an element I was skeptical about. But it really enhances the natural feel of moving in combat. You simply walk near something and your character will hide behind that object with the only difference being that you aren’t adhered to the surface. This creates a more realistic feel and freedom of movement that reduces the frustration that follows when certain objects don’t actually adhere to the cover system. At the same time , the sniping in Wildlands is extremely satisfying and one of my favorite elements of the game. There is nothing quite like hitting the driver of a moving vehicle or causing a helicopter to drop out of the sky. Each of these elements makes the game a formidable tactical shooter with some engaging moments team-based play.
But, not everything in Wildlands will take your breath away. PC players beware! You should expect a number of glitches, bugs, and even issues running this game. One of the main problems I was experiencing was a consistent skipping every couple minutes due to the way my hard drive was working with the game. As a result, you will definitely want the game installed on an SSD in order to keep these problems to a minimum. I can’t possibly list all the bugs and issues of this game, but one of the main problems is the sheer incompetence of the game’s AI. You can be crawling down a street in broad daylight dressed like a tree and NPCs won’t notice you until you are within their 50-meter range. The civilians are also quite similar and they remind me a lot of the holograms in Jerry’s dream world in the “M. Night Shyam-Aliens” episode from season one of Rick and Morty. Even though these NPCs won’t yell “My man!’ at you they will certainly throw themselves at your moving car, run you over, and sometimes lose all their motor functions. I also forgot to mention that they are everywhere. Sometimes finding their way into top-secret zones where civilians should not be. Even though they may make you feel like you are in an open-world teeming with life I assure you that they are very brain-dead.
I was also disappointed in the variation of missions. The differences between them are fairly slim and sometimes the only change is the location. I found myself trailing cartel members far more often than I would like and driving to remote locations to interrogate a single enemy. Additionally, considering the fact that you have to eliminate 25 bosses before you can actually face the final cartel leader, the game is bound to get a bit tedious eventually. I would be able to look past these issues if the game had an engaging story but it is extremely difficult connected to any central plot because the entire game hinges on the elimination of the cartel. As a result, the story-telling is fairly flat with not much room for surprises. The basic formula for each area is: go here, complete four-six missions, take out boss. These problems might be due to the immense scope of the game, but the open-world and relaxed structure really stops Wildlands from being able to develop characters or create moments in its story worth remembering.
Don’t get me wrong, Wildlands does a lot right and its environment is one of the most ambitious things I have ever experience in a game. It also has some incredibly stunning visuals granted that you have the hardware to support the game’s expansive open-world. The cooperative play and the combat are also a great time and if you have a solid group of friends with their own systems or computers that alone may be a good incentive to grab this game. My favorite experiences with Wildlands were definitely when I was playing with friends because some of the things you can do in this game are downright hilarious and worth sharing with other people. However, I would be wary of what you are getting yourself in to. First, the story is pretty forgettable with a limited mission variety that makes it difficult to keep soldiering on through the hundred-or-so missions within the game. At the same time, there are some major issues you might face when running the game if you are a PC gamer. And the NPCs are at the intelligence level of someone who could lock themselves in their car and starve to death. Each of these elements can turn Wildlands into more of a frustration than a fun time. As a result, I would recommend this game only if you have a solid group of friends that will also chip in to buy this with you. Its cooperative play will definitely have you entertained. However, if you are thinking about purchasing a solid singleplayer game you will definitively want to stay far away from Ubisoft’s version of Bolivia.
BUY, BORROW, or PASS?
VERDICT: This game is definitely a PASS unless you have a solid group of friends committed to playing it with you.