Developer: Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Annecy, Ubisoft Bucharest, Ubisoft Montpellier, Ubisoft Milan, Reflections
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open world third person shooter playable in single player with AI companions, or in online co-op.
You and up to three other players or friendly AIs are free to explore the large open world of Bolivia. You play as a member of the ghost recon team sent into Bolivia by the CIA to find intel, locate cartel members, and dismantle the entire organization one section at a time. There are some interesting main story missions, but for the most part, the main plot and the characters are not all that memorable.
The core of the gameplay revolves around completing missions. Combat plays a huge role in the vast majority of these missions. The combat can be approached stealthily or you can just run in guns blazing and start blasting enemies to bits with various weapons or explosives.
If you want to ghost missions, synchronizing kills with your allies is an absolutely necessary, and effective tactic. Attempting to fully ghost the game with all HUD indicators turned off makes Wildlands feel like a completely different (and more challenging game). I hated being spammed with notifications and prompts all the time, so I’m very glad that there are HUD options available. I turned most indicators off, but I did keep some on to help keep tabs on enemy movement. Spotting enemies using a drone or binoculars is extremely helpful, and I used the drone quite often.
Leveling up your character requires you to kill enemies, complete main missions, side objectives, or find collectibles. In addition to earning skill points by leveling up or finding them in the world, you also need to collect resources that are earned from completing rebel side missions or gathering resource items to learn any new skills.
The online co-op is definitely more enjoyable than single player. Public matchmaking is available, but I prefer playing with friends and communicating over voice chat. Inviting friends to join you, or just dropping in to their games is easy, and the peer-to-peer connections work fine. It’s also nice that players can spawn on allies in co-op if their revive timer runs out instead of having to restart the mission like in single player.
Playing single player with the three friendly AIs isn’t too bad, but the AI could use some improvement. They weren’t really a burden, and they didn’t get me killed or anything. At times they felt completely useless though, and didn’t offer me much in the way of cover support. They also revive you with enemies standing right next to them. It was a bit annoying to be revived and instantly shot at again. The AI companions don’t stay with you very well, but at least they teleport to you anytime you get in a vehicle.
- good variety of other missions types, including spy-like infiltration, car chases, killing, kidnapping, interrogating targets, hijacking vehicles, and defending objectives, etc.
- easily accessible weapon loadout, and attachments the can accomadate different playstyles (i.e. grenades, and grenade launchers are great for on the move, or you can also take a more tactical approach by setting up traps using mines and C4, and creating noise distractions to lure enemies into them)
- Bolivia is quite large, and there is a lot of content; there are tons of main story missions, sidequests, and collectibles
- character progression occurs at a reasonable pace
- character and weapon customization is excellent, and there are plenty of cosmetics to discover
- environments look good; the provinces with different structures and ecozones are a nice change in scenery
- music during the gameplay is decent, sound effects are great; the voice acting is mostly good, but occasionally there is too much talking
- controls are fully customizable, and there is full controller support
- some mission types can start feeling repetitive (i.e. collecting intel)
- annoying music and announcers on the radio may make you wish there was a way to permanently disable radio option
- (nitpick) the mountainous terrain often makes for lengthy driving route if you plan to stick to the roads; also, there’s too much travelling, and you can’t toggle vehicles into first person view (on a side note: I suck at driving, and prefer to drive as little as possible)
- (nitpick) some texture popping, and some areas that look very bland and other areas that look like more of the same
- (nitpick) performance isn’t perfect, and the game could use better optimization (using Win10, i7-6700k, GTX1070, 32GB RAM using custom settings somewhere between very high and ultra typically, maintained above 60fps, but periodically when driving there were noticeable, but brief hiccups in performance)
- (nitpick) microtransactions are available to unlock cosmetics, or weapons and attachments immediately, or for purchasing xp boosts to level 50% quicker (you can find the weapons in game, and leveling faster without having enough resources from doing side objectives isn’t that helpful; these microtransactions are completely unnecessary, but their mere presence along with the season pass is bound to irritate some people)
I played entirely with the mouse and keyboard, but I would have really preferred a controller for driving and flying. The vehicle controls feel a bit wonky with the keyboard: sometimes it felt almost too sensitive, and different vehicles took a bit of getting used to. The plane and helicopter controls seem simplified compared to other games like GTA or BF. I find it easier to fly in Wildlands, but flying does feel kind of clunky.
After fully completing the main story missions for any 2 of the 4 cartel operations, you can finish the main story and see the ending. It took me roughly 17 hours to do so in single player, and that was with gathering any convenient collectibles, but skipping almost all of the side missions. There is still a ton of stuff to complete including half the story missions, just about all the side missions, and a whole lot of collectibles. Even though I saw the ending, I intend to continue playing more missions in co-op.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands has a whole lot of content to keep you busy. There is a good variety of mission types available, but even then, some of the missions and constant travelling may feel repetitive after a while. Overall though, it’s a decent game. The single player is fine, but playing online co-op is the best way to play it, since there’s even more fun to be had with friends.
Press copy was provided for this review.