Published and developed by Ubisoft, we welcome another installation of the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series called Wildlands. One of the most ambitious project that Ubisoft have created, taking us into a massive open-world, which on its own will let you astonished with beauty and freedom. Unfortunately, the people of Bolivia do not have the same freedom that you and your team of ghosts will have.
The fictional story is a hunt for the drug cartel called Santa Blanca, a Mexican drug running operation, which has taken the country under its control where even the government can stop; all being controlled by the Santa Blanca’s boss, El Sueno. Under El Sueno, there are four bosses that control the operations, who control the regional bosses called the Buchons. The Buchons control a territory and each territory is a part of the map. I have played the closed beta of the game and thought well, the size of the map is quite big, after playing the real game, I decided to zoom out on the map view and was astonished by the enormous map that the game provided making this the biggest open-world game Ubisoft have ever created.
What is a game with a huge map mean if it does not have the right content and feel? I bit you to differ. The game immediately gives you that feeling of astonishment and visually it is a masterpiece in experience and its lush and varied places on Earth. The landscapes are very detailed with foliage, water effects, lighting and textures. The map is hardly repetitive and it immediately shows how much Ubisoft have put time and dedication to make each part of the map unique with its details and characteristics. Enough said on the level of details of the graphics, one must take in consideration the dynamic weather effect which to me was the final touch on the gameplay to make it uniquely wonderful and superb world to play in. One time you will be having a sunny morning, you will see the sky darken slowly with rain gradually falling, and all of a sudden, the atmosphere put you dull in rain, bad weather and mud everywhere.
After the rain stops, mud puddles will show on the map with foot prints and tire marks on the road and totally random in size and form, making them look like these were hand crafted. The way the weather changes from one state to another is fascinating and life-like. At night, the map takes a different shape and shading giving you like another gameplay mode where everything changes, even game play and your own approach to the particular mission. We can stop our review right here as Ubisoft have done one of their best works into making a grand map filled with complexity, detail and life that put other open-world games like GTA to shame. I just enjoyed strolling around an area trying to find some kind of repetitiveness but was could not find anywhere. Truly amazing and a masterpiece on its own.
Wildlands is an open-world game in all senses, which gives you complete freedom of movement with no limitations and a lot, and I mean many things to do around the ginormous map it delivers. Your team will be helping the rebels to combat the cartel but you will be eventually be facing opposition from other corrupt factions who will make your life a living hell. Sometime rebel forces will be assisting your fights, well it depends if you do some mission favours for them. I think the worst faction I went against is the Unidad, which is the corrupted armed forces of Bolivia who went alerted will hit you hard as hell coming to you with mortars, helicopters and armed vehicles. The Unidad forces can be as low as bunch of troops to full fletched army against you, depending on the level of alert. On the maximum alert, I would just flee the scene and come back when the waters have cooled down.
As said, you are in total control and that is what I love about this game, you can go easily and tactically into an area or just go Rambo style. You can stalk the enemy by hiding into bushes or go singing the Valkyrie with a fighting helicopter spitting bullets everywhere, hell yeah you can also go with a farm tractor again an Unidad military base throwing grenades around. It can go as stealth or as fun making co-op, which is another impressive addition to the gameplay and make tractor racing with your friends, which I will be covering soon in this review. You will die a lot and to help you out, you can revive co-op/AI friends one-time in a mission and then you will die. The loading times are fast during restart after dying or fast travelling around the whole map.
What about gameplay? Gameplay is as awesome as the hype was. First of all let’s talk about customisation as to be honest I have spent a good amount of time trying to get the character right with immense customisable features including facial, tattoos, backpack, trousers, t-shirts, vests, hats, headphones and more. Customisations do not stop there as it also extends into weapons as well. There are many of guns to find around the map and add to your arsenal, each with their own components, which you can swap out like barrels, sights, scopes, triggers, grips and launches. I you consider yourself a perfectionist or a completion freak, there are a number of accessory cases around the map, which you can collect to even, customise more. Anyway, gameplay is a superb experience with bullets flying everywhere and moving around on foot or vehicles feel very smooth and well responsive. The covering system is also a clever mechanic which when crouched or standing will smoothly cover behind an object without the player sticking and making you an easy target or cover when you do not want to. When covered you can use the R1 button to change your stance. When the fighting begins, the game excels in graphics, sound and that wow effect you would expect from an action game like this. When playing in single player, you will get a team of three AI team mates which although they might not seem smart, they are terribly useful and really help you out in shooting and healing you, also loved how they interact with you by telling jokes or missing a babe back in LA. Now for the crème de la crème… the co-op mode.
Co-op mode is played with four players which you can co-op with them in a mission or vice versa. You create a squad by being open to friends, which will directly joining the squad, or by exclusive invitation. You can see who amongst of your friends are online or browse through friends and recent players you have played with. It is easy to play co-op, you can either enter a public matchmaking or invite your friends over. I had great co-op moments taking it against Unidad forces in a greatest of all sieges around a city with friends. I had fun moments also trying to make awesome stunts or making the farm tractor racing a sport. You can makes the most of it by going through missions, but the great experience I had during the single player mode, during co-op it tripled.
Ghost Recon Wildlands was an ambitious project by Ubisoft, which turned out as an amazing experience for the players and a stunning achievement of a final product. The game is aesthetically amazing with a humongous map filled with life and colour, dynamic weather system and great AI. Although some small bugs in the AI players where you can find some NPC going round in an infinite loop or having half a player moving in the floor, but after looking at the really good job to Ubisoft for this amazing game, it didn’t affect my experience especially in the co-op mode. A game well built and well crafted.