Ghost Recon Wildlands takes Tom Clancy’s franchise and gives it a new spin where it’s not based on future tech and linear missions where you’re deployed, get the job done and get out. This time you play as one of four Ghosts as you enter the narco-state of Bolivia to take down a cartel leader called El Sueno. This guy’s a bad dude covered in tattoos and seemingly in fashion because cartels seem to be ‘cool’ right now, but of course you can’t just go straight in and get him, you have to take down the faction leaders that lead to him first.
So in you all go to spoil the party either in solo play or with three friends or randoms partied up online.
The first thing that struck me is that this is basically Ubisoft’s Far Cry in third-person with a multiplayer option. The similarities are uncanny. You’re in a lush world, it’s open world, you can go anywhere you like on the map, and unlock and find plenty of collectibles. You can scan areas you’re about to attack with binoculars or a drone and mark bad guys in advance, and there are even radio stations with voices interrupting the broadcasts with witty or insightful remarks as you drive. You also have rebel factions that you can employ to help you as you clear out zones, and you can leave tags for resources for them to collect which boosts their XP so you can unlock and call in new support items such as vehicle drops, mortar strikes or distractions.
This may sound like a moan but I guess it depends on your stance. Don’t come to this expecting something that feels really fresh if you’re playing on your own. However, if you love the Far Cry style experience and want to jump into a sandbox game with your mates then you’ll love it.
What the game does do well is it let you play the game the way you want to. For instance, you can approach an enemy camp all stealthy, marking enemies and taking them out silently as you go, or you can just go in there all guns blazing and murder everyone. Of course what comes with co-op is someone ruining your careful gameplan. You might have everything ready to go in like a thief in the night and then your friend accidentally presses the wrong button and lobs a grenade, causing everyone to go on alert and the paramilitary organization called Unidad with extra firepower and armour to rock up! You’ll then be hunted GTA style until you can lay low for a while and let the heat die down.
Sync shot is quite a cool device here. In solo play you can mark people for AI teammates to kill Captain Phillips style as you all take a shot at once. In co-op you use it to tell your teammates which one you’re going to shoot when you give the order. It’s quite satisfying. Customisation of characters and weapons is also cool. At the start you can choose a male or female Ghost and dress them up how you want, and in the game you can earn skill points and find medals that give you improved abilities like thermal imaging, more stamina and bullet resistance. There is a sense of progression here which does have you moving round the map to nab those side missions and find all that tasty intel.
Vehicles range from standard cars to armoured jeeps, you can travel via river on boats, or hop in a plane or a helicopter to travel across the map quickly. Helicopters are really tricky to control though. I get how a real helicopter works but if I hold RT to give thrust and push forward, I don’t expect the thing to nosedive into the floor, even though I know that’s what would happen in real life. This game is by far any kind of simulator so I don’t expect the vehicles to behave that way. The others certainly don’t as they careen down cliffs or bounce all over the road!
Ghost Recon Wildlands is certainly very rough around the edges and gets repetitive very quickly but it has that moreish quality where you see an objective on the map and can’t help stopping yourself to achieve it or collect it. It’s also a lot of fun when playing solo or in co-op so it gets an almost excellent 7.5 out of 10.
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