“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands” is setting the bar high for all other games arriving in 2017 and could very well end up being the best open-world action game this year. “Wildlands” is the tenth installment in the Ghost Recon Series developed by Ubisoft Paris and is the first game in the series to feature a fully immersive open-world map. While all other Ghost Recon games featured a linear campaign that would take a player around eight hours to finish, this year’s game features a huge map filled with dozens of story missions and an extra 10 hours of side missions and loot hunting. The game can take anywhere from 20 to 40 hours to complete and provides a massive amount of content for its 60 dollar price tag.
Wildlands takes the player into the South American country of Bolivia. The country has been nearly taken over by the Santa Blanca Cartel, who had once operated in Mexico but moved into Bolivia to grow in size and power. There is no one in the Bolivian Government who will interfere with the cartel’s operation due to the threat of violence, and Santa Blanca continues to turn the country into the largest cocaine production location in the world.
Due to concerns of the drugs coming into North America, the United States Government decides to initiate Operation Kingslayer that will send in four elite operators called “Ghosts” who will attempt to dismantle the cartel one piece at a time. While in Bolivia, the “Ghosts” must take down various cartel leaders with the help of local rebel forces in an attempt to take down the drug production and expose the link between the Bolivian Government and the Santa Blanca Cartel.
“Ghost Recon: Wildlands” brings along great gameplay that was featured in “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” back in 2012. Like other games in this series, the gameplay revolves heavily around stealth, and completing objectives without being detected. The stealth is pretty fluent in this game, the player is given a powerful recon drone that can be used to scout out any mission area while staying undetected.
Most enemies have a fairly short line of sight and the player can get close before they are seen. Using teamwork and specialized equipment, completing a mission without being detected is easy after some practice. The gunplay in “Wildlands” is one of the best to be featured in the third person game. The game has a strong focus on stealth, but it has actually turned out to be a great tactical shooter that can rival any game in its genre.
The iconic Gunsmith has returned from prior games and gives players complete customization over the weapons that they bring into combat. “Wildlands” features a collection of dozens of firearms, ranging from long range to close quarters weapons. Each gun has tons of camos and attachments to customize the players’ weapon and make it unique to their playstyle. Combat has never been a strength for Ubisoft shooters, and “Wildlands” is their best work in that area yet.
This new development of Ghost Recon may end up being regarded as Ubisoft’s best work yet, and a lot of that praise comes from the impressive world they have created. The company has stated multiple times that the map in “Wildlands” is the biggest they have ever put into a game. The country of Bolivia that has been recreated in the game is truly a work of art, and is noticeably larger than the open-world maps inside Ubisoft’s “The Division” and “Watch Dogs 2.”
Various missions and objectives are scattered around throughout the different regions of the map and will take the player from desert terrain to the tops of snow covered mountain ranges. Each region on the map is controlled by a different leader within the Santa Blanca Cartel, and the player must complete different objectives within the area in order to take care of the boss. Once the region leader is taken care of, the player can move on to the next area. Progress can be tracked through a map tree of Santa Blanca, officials who remain in the game, and others who the player has already taken care of. The layout of the game is very easy to understand even for beginners. Once a certain amount of the Santa Blanca tree is completed, there will be an opportunity to take down the leader and, if successful, finish the game.
“Ghost Recon: Wildlands” brings one of the biggest open-world environments and combines it with some of the best shooter gameplay in the series, but not everything is flawless in Ubisoft’s latest title. One of the biggest features of the game is the two to four player co-op gameplay, which lets players do their story missions with friends instead of with AI teammates. Co-op can be fun if players join with the right people, but usually it becomes very uncoordinated and teamwork goes right out the window. The game actually plays best in solo when the player has complete control over his or her teammates. Combined with many server issues, online co-op isn’t a great experience and could use some overhaul as the game progresses into 2017. Co-op is both the highlight and the demise of “Wildlands,” but other than that, the game excels at almost everything except vehicle driving and a feeling of repetitiveness over time.
While “Ghost Recon: Wildlands” has a few flaws like every game, Ubisoft has done a great job at creating a game that is refreshing, fun, and gives the franchise a brand new look for the future. “Wildlands” is a must play and receives a solid 8.5/10 rating for this review.
Categories: A &E