Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Review
A massive open world tactical shooter in the Tom Clancy universe set in a worn down Bolivia. This game is big, brutal and fun. This is my review of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
The story of Wildlands isn’t a mind-blowing one, but it is a decent military tale. You and your squad mates are under the command of a CIA operative named Karen Bowman. Her partner is kidnapped and killed by the Santa Blanca Cartel, which kicks off the whole “Kingslayer” operation. You are tasked with taking out the underlings and right hands of the head of the cartel, El Sueño. Traveling across the large map of the war-torn Bolivia to take out the cartels branches and the corrupted police force Unidad. Which you are given the choice to do it whatever order you choose. Or if you want you only have to do half the missions to get to El Sueño himself. Although completing all missions will give you an alternate ending. A, in my opinion, better one. There is a small twist at the end that I honestly didn’t see coming. But the 50% completion ending kinda ruins it with an expected outcome. The missions and side quest were diverse enough to where I didn’t get bored with any of them. Side quests increasing your ability to get help from the local rebels come in real handy in the later game.
Seal Team Six to Team America World Police
The open world third-person tactical shooter works really well overall. You start by customizing an Operator and do a quick intro mission. Playing most of the game solo with the AI squad made me really appreciate the coop. This game is meant to be played with friends, the AI is incredibly frustrating at times and at others felt very over-powered. They can syncshot enemies through layers of walls, but also can’t shoot someone sleeping 10 feet away. Or not being able to be spotted by the enemies until I was detected pulled me out of the experience. The only thing I found consistently enjoyable from the AI squad was the banter while traveling from place to place.
On the other hand, the enemy AI is really quite intelligent. If you shoot too close to them even with a silencer they’ll investigate, and they will try to flank you while others suppress you. They will use cover as they started to dwindle in numbers, or if there is many of them they will full on charge. Luckily you are able to scout out every base, village, or whatever it is you are trying to reach, to avoid an all-out gunfight. The only time Wildlands feels like a ghost recon is the precombat/stealth combat phases. Using a upgradeable drone to scout areas and tag enemies, planning a stealthy attack on an enemy position. You will spend a lot of time flying a drone, especially on the high difficulties. Speaking of “upgradeable”, you, your squad, drone, and items are all upgradeable. None make a huge character difference, but just add to your arsenal or make you or your vehicle able to take more bullets. But they all pay off the further into more difficult parts of the map you go.
You are able to change your loadout on the fly to adapt to all situations, so you and your squad will be able to handle any of the missions. But this is a coop game. Whether its with friends or the matchmaking, play it with real players. There is nothing quite like planning an assault on an enemy base, make it about halfway through quite as a mouse and someone gets spotted. Then causing your target to try to make a run for it and it’s a mad dash to capture him. Moments like that make this game more incredible. Trying to plot an ambush for an enemy convoy just for them to turn down a road right before and your squad just starts attacking hoping for the best while someone saying “I told you they were gonna turn”. Minor bugs would appear here and there but nothing game breaking or experience ruining.
As for the look of the game, I must say it is beautiful. For a game of this size and all the different areas it looks amazing. From the jungles and deserts to the snowy mountains and rugged cities. No, it doesn’t look like The Division but it stands on its own very well. Again the map size is huge! The cities feel real. Civilians walking around, Santa Blanca graffiti everywhere. It is a convincing world. A few minor frame rate issues occurred but usually only when I just start the game after taking out the disk to do something else and putting the disk back in. That might not be a game issue, but it did occur.
All in all, I love Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Putting in 45+ hours and I plan to put in many many more. It doesn’t feel like a Ghost Recon game. The term “Ghost” is only used one or two times. There are a few small references to Future Solider in the squad banter but not much other than that. I feel like this game should be its own IP. I understand that “Ghost Recon” name carries a lot of fans, but they took a chance on The Division. They should have done the same for Wildlands. It feels like a Tom Clancy game mixed with Mercenaries. To give it a more Ghost Recon feel, play on a harder difficulty, or just get rid of the mini-map. That’s how I am doing my second play through and it is challenging and rewarding. A tip for anyone just starting the game, make your first or second upgrade the grenade launcher. Trust me, once you face your first helicopter you will understand.
With all of that said Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a good game. It’s a brave new take on the franchise and the open world gives the player so many new ways to take on enemies. No matter if its a reboot or a sequel it is a need to play for any Tom Clancy fan. With only minor bugs, clunkyish driving, and at times dimwitted squad AI, Wildlands is a much appreciated addition to the Tom Clancy verse. And I score it an 8 out 10. And I am very excited for the next installment.