Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Game review on PlayStation 4
Josiah Roche / Sun 26th Mar 2017
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First touching on development in 2012, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands is the tenth instalment in the series. It's safe to say that the franchise has established some serious backbone.
Ghost Recon traditionally uses a mission to mission structure; however, Wildlands conforms to the open-world genre similarly seen with the MGS franchise.
We've taken our time to produce a solid review; though If you want the short version in one word, this game is unfinished.
Wildlands focuses on an elite group of soldiers (known as Ghosts) under the US Joint Special Operations Command.
This unit, known as Operation Kingslayer, is sanctioned to destroy a powerful Mexican drug cartel known as the Santa Blanca. The Santa Blanca have secured Bolivia - turning it into a narco-state and the world's largest cocaine manufacturer.
With authorities in their pockets and connections beyond Bolivia, the Santa Blanca have initiated drug trade in further states.
Operation Kingslayer must dissolve the cartel and reveal their connection with the local government.
The gameplay is the most disappointing element of the game. Lacking basic combat mechanics, such as rolling, manual in-cover options and vehicle manoeuvrability comparatively worse to that of Grand Theft Auto III. Yep, this game feels unfinished.
Players start out customising their main character - the leader of Operation Kingslayer. It's not as in-depth as that of Skyrim, but it's worth mentioning as a positive. The highlights for noteworthy content are few and none are game-changing:
The impact of bullets hitting enemies is most satisfying. A new feature called a Drone, which can mark enemies in the air is an incredible covert option in this game. The character levelling and skills system isn't addictive, but it's not bad either. The map is a mammoth, with repetitive encounters and situations throughout. Weapon customisation is probably the major highlight of the game, with hundreds of weapon mods to unlock.
Now, let's touch on some of the other non-irritating features (you're right, that was sarcasm): Let's talk about the ghosts. They spawn randomly near the player if they're too far away. They float on water when they die. They can shoot through solid structures, and at impossible distances/weather conditions. They are either too far away to support the player or too close and ineffective - leaving the player to die. They don't understand the concept of 'Regroup'. You could almost say that the functionality of this unit is broken (tested on all four AI difficulties).
Animals - great to see, but you can't interact with them. Yes, you go straight through them, no cow-tipping in this one. Let's talk about auto-driving, wait, there is none. The player has options to sit in the passenger seats, but no crew member (NPC) can drive the vehicle. The passenger seat feature is only useful in multiplayer.
Players can disrupt a group of enemies, inducing suspicion, however you'll find one enemy still talking to the air, as though the enemies that are searching for the player are still present.
The side and story missions are not only repetitive, but they're predictable. After players kill one of the 26 bosses, the process of luring or investigating the other bosses is rinse and repeat. This doesn't stimulate investment into the storyline (except for mission audio correspondence), merely run in, kill, next.
In multiplayer, teams that matchmake have no obligation to stay as a group. Any player of the team can wander off and do their own thing. Teamwork is not forced; therefore, it seems like it's not encouraged.
The beauty of Wildlands is that players can customise almost every aspect of the HUD. The quality of forestation textures and weather animations such as lightning are superb. Structures are very much repetitive in nature, but there are distinguishing factors to most locations.
Although most of Wildlands is a gorgeous sight to behold, it can be hard optimising the default settings to visually see properly in dark areas - while retaining realistic lighting (tested on PlayStation 4, UHD).
AUDIO Firing weapons, both with suppressors and without are the crispest, most delightful audio outputs in the game. Kudos Ubisoft & Massive Entertainment, kudos. Another huge plus is that the Ghosts will often have random conversations to stimulate the storyline. The whistling of birds and weather combinations are now standard for most open-world games, so there's nothing that stands out there.
Ubisoft has produced several reputable titles that have been praised by fans. However, Ghost Recon: Wildlands is fuzzy for the time being. It'd be satisfying to see major updates to improve on the game's flaws, in which case we'll revisit the game when the time comes.
If you're a hardcore gamer with loads of time on your hands, give Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands a go on 'Extreme' mode - it's highly tactical and you'll get a kick out of it.