Ghost Recon: Wildlands is the newest game from the Tom Clancy series and also the follow up to the last Tom Clancy Game, The Division. If you haven’t played The Division then you may not understand some of the comparisons I’m about to make. So, before we get into Ghost Recon, we should quickly talk about the game that it’s essentially replacing or following in the Tom Clancy eco-series. Let me start off by saying, The Division was a really good game. Interesting story concept, great scenery, solid gunplay, good character design and decent multiplayer but it wasn’t perfect.
The problems with The Division were mostly in its multiplayer (particularly the Dark Zone) and Co-op play especially with Incursions being full of glitches, cheating and manipulation. It was a huge problem and Ubisoft had to constantly patch the game to make it “fair”. The other major problem with The Division was in the end game and what to do afterwards. Ubisoft had no plan and by the time they came up with one it was too late. Most of the dedicated gamers left. A crushing end to what could have been an incredible game. After that debacle would Ghost Recon: Wildlands suffer similar fate? I can tell you over the past 10 days that I’ve played it. I think it’s a great game just like The Division but it may suffer from a similar issue in the end.
Overall look and gameplay
Ghost Recon is a beautiful game. It’s set in what’s supposed to be Bolivia and it’s an extremely large world and open world. You can basically go anywhere you want. It’s full of deserts, mountains, forests, villages, rivers and all of the settings one would come to expect in a South American country and a cocaine cowboys drug cartel style movie. It’s a game that plays really well as do all Tom Clancy games. It has a cohesive story, you never feel lost and you want to complete your missions as they come to you.
Ultimately, the goal is to capture or kill the big bad ass cartel leader El Sueno. He’s a dangerous man with a complexed network of Underbosses, Unidad soldiers, employees and deadly big gun wielding sicarios at his disposal and they’re scattered all over the map. Each one of the underbosses has a set of 5 or 6 missions to complete before you can kill or capture them. Ghost Recon is designed to be reminiscent of what an actual Intel operation and infiltration would be like. It gets that right. Ghost Recon is not just about shooting and killing though. There are some politics and Intel recon involved in the game as well. A good portion of the game is also predicated on how much information you gather from cartel defectors and cartel captures you intimidate. There is also a rebel faction that provides you with Intel and essential support as you go through your missions if you are willing to do the side missions and gather resources for them to be useful to you. This can be weapons, food, gasoline, and medical supplies, whatever. It’s a balance you have to strike in the game to make it all work and I love that aspect of the game. Everything isn’t laid out for you. You have to work for it. You can’t get away with not doing so. You won’t succeed.
This is the best part of Ghost Recon. This is where the fun is but it’s also where the fun kind of dies after a while. Ghost Recon has a problem with repetition. Once you start the game right away it’s exciting. You’ve got your team and you’re completing missions and shooting every enemy but after the first couple of hours and orders from Bowman you begin to realize that all of your missions are basically the same. Rinse and repeat. I found it hard to keep focus and I wish that Ghost Recon would have been a little more random in the missions and more inclusive with the co-op multiplayer aspect of the game. I would have liked to see bigger strike teams than just a four man team because some of the missions, especially those that involved Unidad stockades were extremely difficult just because of the sheer number of soldiers and snipers to be dealt with and they’re all heavily armed and armored. You’ll die faster than quick facing them.
The gameplay in Ghost Recon is really good. It’s an engaging game and you can’t help but come back for more just because you want to kill every underboss on the map. If not anything else this is the reason to play Ghost Recon but there are other reasons.
Weapons and Side Missions
Ghost Recon’s best element to me is the weapons and accessories that are available to you. There are a shitload of weapons for you to scan the map and try to find. Trust me, you’ll need to find as may weapons as you can because some of the enemies are armed to the teeth and they’ll kill you quickly but if you’re prepared that won’t happen (At least not as quickly). The good part about finding weapons is in the fact that you can have some guns that are more powerful than the early areas you’re going to start playing but be warned. Ghost Recon is not a linear game and there is no set path and some of the places where the best guns are stashed are in some of the most dangerous places guarded by Unidad soldiers. It’s totally worth it to do this early and as often as you can.
Weapons aren’t the only thing you need. After all guns are only as good as their add-ons. There are also accessories for those weapons. Scopes, grips, compensators, suppressors and so on all make the gun you choose either a beast or just a gun. It would be in your best interest to get some accessories and trick out your gun. It’s all about your play style. Either you’re a stealthy guy or the terminator. You have assault rifles which are the most commonly used guns. I use the TAR 21 personally and the MSR sniper rifle. Then you have light machine guns and the heavier machine guns so you can spray the place with a ton of bullets if you wish. It’s all relative and it all adds to individuality of the player.
Side missions are also a big deal although annoying as hell because there are so frikkin many of them. Once you go around the map more you’ll have to grab Intel files and shake down captains and lieutenants who will ultimately give you valuable information to the whereabouts of supplies for rebels and guns and everything else. After that you’ll be running all over the map trying to get rewards to assist in building your character, weapons and drone. The points they give depending on the mission are invaluable. If the missions become too hard then this is your best option. You won’t run out of things to do.
The character you use in the game has to be built upon to be an elite soldier so it only makes sense that there’s a grid with which you build your character from. You have 5 categories. Weapons, Drone, Items, Physical, Squad. When you complete missions and side missions you obtain points to build yourself and your team but the side missions, just to reiterate, are how you’re going to essentially build out your character. They give you resource points like gasoline, comms, medical, etc. and that combined with the skill points you’ve earned dictate what skills you update. It’s not too hard a thing to do just mundane. It’s essential to do.
There are tons of vehicles in the game to use from trucks to cars to mobile gunners, Humvees and helicopters. Vehicles in this game are plenty but they’re a pain in the ass to use and if you didn’t have to use them to get somewhere quickly then I wish Ubisoft would have fixed how they handle, especially helicopters. My advice, use fast travel as much as you can and minimize how much time you have to spend driving one of these vehicles.
Overall, Ghost Recon is a hell of a game. It’s got all the makings of an incredible military style game. I knew when I played it at E3 last year that it would be a really good game but it could have been better. I spent about 37 hours playing the game and now that I’ve completed it. What’s next? This the same problem with The Division. Great game and almost no replay value. This game has so much to do that it’s tedious. I’m not sure if I want to power it back on and try some more. Getting to 100% completion is a bit of a waste too, you’ll find out what I mean. Don’t let my critiques take away from your experience. I’m supposed to be critical but objective. Objectively speaking, I don’t feel like my money was wasted. I love the game. You will too. I just want more after it’s over. Ubisoft, you can make that happen right? Please do.