Ubisoft’s latest open-world title is called Ghost Recon Wildlands and is a pretty interesting one, in many aspects. Ubisoft had been working on this particular game since the release of their previous Tom Clancy title “Ghost Recon Future Soldier”.
Wildlands is a third person tactical shooter, with the ability to change into the first person while aiming. According to Ubisoft, it is their biggest open world title to date and upon starting the game you realize how vast the world in Ghost Recon WIldlands actually is.
Ghost Recon Wildlands takes place in a fictional modern version of Bolivia, Mexico. You play as the squad leader of a team called “Ghosts”, which have a special mission to infiltrate the drug cartel, which has been established across whole Bolivia and has taken control of the country. The Ghosts are, essentially, CIA agents who take on various, dangerous missions around the globe infiltrating, destroying and collecting intelligence. The Ghosts are in Bolivia based on the mission “Kingslayer”, which is a mission dedicated to eliminating El Seno. As
you go through the missions, you are assigned to find out the connections between the drug cartel and the local government, which do not intervene with the cartel’s plan of Bolivia’s domination.
Your end goal is to eliminate El Seno, the cartel’s big boss. El Seno has established a huge network of people and connections underneath him, which he calls “The Santa Blanca Cartel”, which you must dissolve and eliminate in order to get to him. El Seno has turned Bolivia into the biggest worldwide cocaine producer, with distribution networks all around the world. El Seno has four major underbosses, which have to be captured. Every major Underboss has five to six smaller underbosses, which, you guessed it, have to be taken out before you can reach the big underboss.
The Ghosts, which consist of Ghost Leader “Nomad”(you), Tactical Gunner “Midas”, Engineer “Holt”, and Sniper “Weaver” land on Bolivia by helicopter, are accompanied by their female supervisor with the codename “Bowman”. After landing on the island, the Ghosts are free to infiltrate, destroy, threaten or go in silently. The game consists of 21 regions, with each region having their own boss and a certain “boss Missions” which have to be taken on, in order to get to the boss. Every region is filled with side-missions, which reach from protecting a “propaganda vehicle” against the cartel’s firepower to stealing a helicopter or a plane.There is no limitation in the way you choose to play. Everything is possible within Wildlands, where the player is left with tons of options on how to accomplish missions.
The game has 21 regions, which are all free to explore with no loading screen between
them. You can grab a helicopter and choose to fly from where you are to the most far away region and start your game from there. There is no particular order on which missions to play first. Start with one mission in the middle region of the map and then fly or drive to another and play that mission. Options are endless, as you find yourself lost in this huge open world game.
In your effort to destroy El Seno and his drug cartel you have allies, the Rebel Forces, which are inhabitants of Bolivia fighting against the cartel, in order to get their freedom back. Your side missions are supportive towards the rebel Forces, as you provide them with medication, planes, and helicopters as well as with intelligence on El Seno and his subordinates. Apart from that, you have to do side missions to get points for you to upgrade your weapons and abilities.
Your enemy, besides the cartel, is the Unidad, which ultimately are Bolivia’s corrupted
police forces. The cartel and the Unidad work together because El Seno has bought off Unidad’s officers to help him with his dirty work. Unidad forces can be pretty annoying because they have different “engagement levels” and they are heavily armed. It is better to avoid them if possible. In certain missions, you are obliged to eliminate or gather intel from the Unidad forces. It is always recommended to play stealthy when doing such kind of missions.
The game is playable in both Single-player where you are followed everywhere by your AI teammates as a 5-man squad and Multiplayer where you team up with either a private squad of friends or search publicly for available players. You get the most out of the game by playing with others in multiplayer, although, as the game gets really exciting and fun to play with others. However, you can try it out yourself and share your own opinion of the game.
Here is a Single-Player walkthrough video provided by Ubisoft:
Combat, Gunplay, and Vehicles
Ghost Recon Wildlands gives you a ton of options and freedom on how to optimize your weapons. There are a huge plethora of weapons available to choose from and customize. Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, SMG’s, Automatic Weapons. Every category of weapons is available with absolute customization freedom, even within combat. You
can change the color, the weapon’s parts such as the silencer and much more. customization options are endless and are only being enhanced as you play your way through the game.
The combat system is particularly interesting and well designed. At first glance, the combat system looks a lot like the one from “The Division”, due to the fact that both are third person shooters. However, in Wildlands, the aiming is done in the first person, which provides a
totally different experience from “The Division”. Gun sounds and feel are top notch and are some of the game’s greater aspects. Besides guns, you can use grenades, C4, Anti-Tank Mines, and flashbangs. You also have binoculars to spot enemies as well as your own drone, which you can use to fly over your enemy and even fill it up with explosives to tackle and surprise them. The drone is really practical, especially in the later stages of the game after upgrading its abilities. You can explore the whole mission area with the drone. Your only limitation is either the distance which the drone can cover(you can upgrade this to reach further) or a radio plant which disturbs the drone’s field of view completely.
You also have binoculars to spot enemies as well as your own drone, which you can use to fly over your enemy and even fill it up with explosives to tackle and surprise them. The drone is really practical, especially in the later stages of the game after upgrading its abilities. You can explore the whole mission area with the drone. Your only limitation is either the distance which the drone can cover(you can upgrade this to reach further) or a radio plant which disturbs the drone’s field of view completely and, therefore, it becomes unusable. Of course, you can destroy the building with explosives.
Every mission has certain characteristics. You can choose to power off the facility building or area you want to infiltrate, destroy the radio plant and the surveillance and alarm system. By doing this, you make sure that no reinforcements arrive. Turning off the power plant will open up the prison cells where some of your allies have been incarcerated and it will give you more freedom if you have decided to go stealthy. Your best bet is always using your drone to spot your enemies, especially if you have to capture their leader because once the enemy spots you, their leader will try to escape. It is better to go stealthy than having to fight your way through waves of enemies, only to chase their escaped leader across Bolivia.
In Ghost Recon Wildlands you can choose to drive whatever vehicle you like. From simple cars, which can be stolen from Bolivian people to armored vehicles used by the Santa Blanca cartel, to helicopters and airplanes. You can even drive a boat to reach certain areas of the map. The way you approach your mission is totally up to you. For example, you can fly over the base you want to get into and parachute into it. You can drive with your motorcycle or car and approach the mission by hiding unseen in the grass, planning out your next move. Every vehicle is available. Even expensive fast cars are available if you want to get quickly from one location to another.
Open World Graphics
Upon loading the game for the first time, you realize how beautiful it actually is. The detailed open world with its spectacular graphics is really one of the game’s stronger points. Besides Battlefield 1 I have never seen an AAA title with such graphical detail. Everything from mountains to rivers is simply beautiful. Even smaller environmental details like grass and vegetation look as close to the real world as possible. Ubisoft has done a great job, creating a sheer beautiful open world which leaves the player speechless. Even the people of Bolivia, the “civilians” have been designed with graphical supremacy in mind. Nothing else to say on the graphical aspects of the games, except for checking it out yourself!
Everything in Ghost Recon Wildlands is customizable. In the first minutes of the game,
you are prompted to customize and create your own character. You can play around with hair, face, clothes and even small accessories like backpacks, tattoos, and stickers.
Gun customization is also quite impressive, especially the ability to change and customize your loadout during combat. Some would argue that it is too much, but I really like it. Individual gun customization is also a great advantage in Wildlands, as you can give each gun a personal touch. The upgrade system also gives you access to more customization options as you move forward.
The game might be beautiful in terms of graphics and playing freedom, however, Ghost recon Wildlands is far from being considered a perfect game. The open world game, while being beautifully designed, is plagued with emptiness. The game’s mechanics are pretty much the same throughout the game and after the first excitement, after a while, you realize that the game gets quite repetitive. Mission structure is the same, enemies are predictable, especially when you play the game on easy or medium difficulty. A few hours into the game you understand that there is no actual depth in Wildlands. Repetitiveness is a major disadvantage of the game.
There is no actual effort to display any sort of connection between the Ghosts and their allies or even the population. Developers could have made an effort to incorporate and display some traditions or customs in Bolivia. Such a huge map with tons of empty places to go is a real shame. Civilians are treated as being collateral damage, as they have their cars stolen by the Ghosts, or are even getting killed with no consequences, during missions.
Soon you realize that the Ghosts are actually big assholes. They do what they want in Bolivia, destroy, steal, kill and always blame the Santa Blanca Cartel as being the evil figure in the game. But soon enough you realize that the characters you are playing are pretty evil, too. The chaos they cause in Bolivia is tremendous and in the end, after dissolving the cartel, Bolivia is left behind with no leadership, only for civil war to break out and make things even worse than before.
A consistent story line is what is really missing from Wildlands. I understand that Ubisoft wanted to focus on playing freedom with this game, however, a few hours into the game it is noticeable that there is no actual storyline. You only get bombarded with information on all the cartel bosses, along with some videos and specific cutscenes whenever you catch an “underboss” and deliver him or her to Bowman. Apart from that, the only form of interaction between you and your boss is through phone calls after reaching a new region where she provides you new intelligence for the next target. The characters are also blunt and no one stands really out as being different or interesting. They are all just a complete bunch of assholes who murder and fight their way through to El Seno.
Single Player can also become repetitive over time, playing all those missions alone. I do not think that the fact that you are accompanied by your squad all the time is a good thing. It would at least be great if you could choose to either play alone or with your squad in Single-Player, which is not an option here, sadly.
Another huge letdown is the game’s optimization. When the game launched back in March 2017 gamers complained about the game’s poor optimization, which is not illogical given the fact that a Gtx 1080 can barely push 60 fps in 1080p. A 1080ti can barely get 60 fps on 1440p. Ghost Recon Wildlands is a pretty demanding title, for sure, due to its open world aspect and all the graphical details, however, the best graphics card on the market should be able to push more than 100 fps in 2k (2560×1440), which it does not. Mid to high range cards from the Gtx 1060 or Rx 480 to the Gtx 1070 are not capable of delivering solid performance in 1080p resolution (1920×1080). The good news is that the game is mainly GPU dependent, which means that your processor will not have trouble keeping up with your graphics card. Nevertheless, the poor optimization really is a major letdown for the game. If the game had been optimized better, the whole experience would have been much smoother and better.
Ghost Recon Wildland’s latest DLC “The Fallen Ghosts” really brings in fresh air to the game and is an excellent addition for those of you who want new missions, a new enemy, and new bosses. The latest DLC focuses more on a stealthy approach and represents what the game should be in the first place. Check it out here:
- Amazing graphics
- Great customization
- Great gameplay
- Playing freedom
- Great Multiplayer
- Nice combat system
- Huge open world with tons of things to do
- Empty open world
- Missions can get repetitive
- No interaction with the Bolivians
- No actual story
- Uninteresting characters
I hope you liked my review. If you have any questions or would like to add your opinion of the game, please leave a comment below and I will answer as soon as possible. If you have a different view of the game, I would be more than happy to hear it.