Borrowing elements from just about every one of it’s predecessors (Far cry, The division, future solider). The setting is a living open world that offers significantly more interactions with civilians, weapons, vehicles, and everything in between. Bolivia is your stomping ground across 21 regions, all packed with different climates, vehicles, weapons, and subcultures. Each unique one gives you new and unique ways to combat enemies in what certainly might be one of the biggest open-world area the gaming platform has ever seen.
Players journey through the vast land with a crew of three other Ghosts and are tasked with taking down Bolivia’s Santa Blanca cartel. Ghost Recon: Wildlands goes into great depth for the reasons behind taking down the most powerful cartel in the world, but I’ll leave those for you to learn on your to avoid any spoilers. The team may seem to operate on the lean side, but the three companions are more than capable of laying waste to enemies. In fact, they saved me on a number of occasions. More specifically, once I walked stupidly into what seemed to be a rather large drug exchange during my first hours of gameplay. Thankfully my fellow ghosts took down the crew and revived me so I could continue the fight.
The first two missions are pretty easy, with minimal resistance from the Santa Blanca. You run in, take down some enemies after highlighting them on with your drone, and then dip out like you own the place. It’s pretty straightforward stuff, with nothing unique or groundbreaking. However, the next series of missions that followed really blew me away and exemplify why this title is a contender for game of the year.
Rather than give me one point of entry, as I’ve come to expect from any Ghost Recon game, I was essentially given multiple paths and angles. In other words, during my first few missions, I could have either went in guns blazing like I initially did. I also could have deviated from that path by sniping my way in or busting down a head boss and interrogating him.
The side missions consist of collecting intel and information about your targets before taking on the big bads in the main story. It allows players essentially, to create their own storyline on the way to taking down Santa Blanca. I found myself journeying through side missions to gain access to valuable details that all tied together in the end. The sheer complexity of is mind boggling when you take into account that every accepted and declined mission builds another layer onto the story.
Players can essentially interpret the game based on their direct actions, which means my experience is different from yours, even if we’ve all completed the final end mission.
The gameplay is certainly still Ghost Recon, with it methodical tactics, high cover, and general sense of realistic military black ops. In comparison to previous Ubisoft shooter titles the combat feels much more calculated and realistic than in previous years, which I think is long overdue for both the series and the genre.
Sniping feels authentic, with a heighten sense of difficulty, while the semi-automatics and side-arms feel powerful and tactful, yet human. The controls, as a whole, feel perfect, with just the right amount of precision.
Ubisoft added just the right amount of customization options to compliment the impressive and authentic open-world gameplay.
Skill Points allow you to upgrade your ghost’s attributes and how you handle your weapons, your team, and the resources around you. One of the more interesting skills comes in the form of increasing your ability to take down multiple targets with the sniper rifle.
This comes in handy when you’re attempting to tactfully complete missions, as opposed to going in guns blazing. Loadouts are pretty awesome as well and allow players to alter and modify their arsenal of weaponry either between missions or during a firefight via the weapons crate.
The Gunsmith, contained within the Loadout screen, is by far the most interesting accessory. It allows you to change every single aspect of your firearm, from the type to the grip, stock, barrel, suppressor, and even the sights. Heck, you can even slap a nice paint job on it and match your surroundings for the ultimate cover.
Road going vehicles just suck. -10 points
Missions that force you to go loud midway through can fuck off – 10 points
The special forces having unlimited respawns ruins the games balance. – 5points
When fast traveling the resources type for missions changes, especially annoying when your after a specific type -5 points
Wildlands gets a 7/10