Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands is an open world action game available on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC that launched on the 7th of March, 2017. Developed by Ubisoft Paris, Wildlands is a game that I was looking forward to since it was teased a while back. Between the large map, the various weapons and slow paced shooting, Wildlands seemed like a gem… Unfortunately, my excitement levels slowly declined the more I played.
The story sees you taking the role of a "ghost", a member of a special forces splinter group who have been sent to Bolivia to take on the drug cartel. Your goal is to take down the various cartel members figureheads, destabilizing the group as you work your way to confront El Sueno, the big bad wolf. That is basically the entire narrative, it is at times forgettable and sadly, is anything but deep.
Gameplay is as advertised, a third person shooter with tactical elements, spread out across a large open world Bolivia. There are two factions that you fight, the Unidad and the Cartel. The only real difference between the two factions is as follows - the Cartel shoot you, while the Unidad shoot both you AND the Cartel. The Unidad are by far the biggest threat across Bolivia, mainly due to their military affiliation. During combat they have the ability to send helicopters and various other heavily armored vehicles and weaponry at you, providing some extremely tense battles.
Luckily in battle your character has a slew of skills at their disposal, one such ability within the skill tree gives you control of a drone which can be used to scout enemy compounds from multiple angles while also tagging enemies, or better yet, turn it into a suicide bomber, taking out enemies in glorious explosive detail. It's a handy tool which I found myself using extensively during my time within the game. The skill tree provides you improvements to your character, your squad and even the drone itself. Sadly there isn't any real replayability in terms of tackling the game with different builds, the overall experience simple comes down to the weapons you are using as well as how you communicate with your other ghost squad mates.
The co-op aspect of Wildlands is the biggest strength of the game by far, trying to coordinate stealth missions with three other squad mates (friends or otherwise) is extremely fun, regardless of if one them goes rogue and triggers enemy alarms, if anything it makes it even more entertaining.
Whether it be flying around out of sight in a helicopter, parachuting into a compound in darkness from 1km in the air, synchronizing long range sniper shots to take out sentries or just generally causing insane amounts of chaos, the multiplayer aspect of Wildlands is the strongest as aspect of the game and makes for some memorable moments. Running around Bolivia with 3 friends is the optimum way to experience the game, creating your own forms of justice and chaos is some of the best multiplayer to be had in 2017. Sadly it doesn't translate as smoothly when playing alone, the AI seem to do everything, often taking out targets or enemy encampments before you have a chance. I often felt like I was merely a passenger.
On the other end of the spectrum, resource gathering tends to become monotonous. You do so via side missions provided to you by the rebel forces from around the region. You are tasked with collecting various resources, confusingly the rebels seemingly have no need for said resources, instead you are the one using them as they are the only way to unlock abilities in your skill tree. Adding further to the monotony, stealing said supplies sees you regularly steal a helicopter followed by a plane, doing this over and over again gets extremely tedious and feels like nothing more than filler.
One other minor gripe I have with the game is the in game radio, it's bland and repeats the same small number of interviews, segments and songs. It's a welcome addition at first, giving you local insight to the goings on in Bolivia, providing "breaking" news of various events you're often directly a part of. Sadly there only seems to be a very small amount of unique radio content, after a few hours of game time I found myself nearly having the entire radio station memorized.
Overall Wildlands delivers some memorable moments, albeit, littered with missteps. The repetition of tasks, coupled with a story that is paper thin and lacking that final hook left me wanting more. Online play is the best part of Wildlands but sadly the previously mentioned shortcomings made a potentially great game just OK.
3 out of 5
+ A Gorgeous and Varied World
+ Fluid combat and Vast Customization Options
+ Very Fun with Friends
- Not So Fun without Friends
- Gets Repetitive Very Quick
- A Dull Storyline
GHOST RECON: WILDLANDS WAS REVIEWED USING A RETAIL WINDOWS DOWNLOAD KEY