Community Review: Ghost Recon Wildlands

Image: Ubisoft

Even with Andromeda, Breath of the Wild and Horizon around, I've still been keeping a little eye out for Ghost Recon Wildlands. And after getting some time in with it over the weekend, I'm rather keen to go back to Bolivia.

I argued earlier this year that Wildlands should be treated more as a fun romp than a serious tactical affair, even though the difficulty options certainly allow you to go full Tom Clancy. Heather found the moment-to-moment action was satisfying enough, and the size and scale of the open-world was fairly impressive too.

Ghost Recon Wildlands: The Kotaku Review

Ghost Recon Wildlands seems innocuous at first glance. It is a passable open world shooter where cooperative play leads to exciting gunfights and silly vehicle stunts. But Wildland's core is far more insipid. It is propaganda. It is jingoism made playable, perpetuating the failed logic that all it takes to solve the world's woes is enough ammo.

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The Wildlands story, at least from what I've experienced with the preview and the full game, is completely forgettable. I started a campaign in full knowledge of that, however, and as long as you treat the game as a series of extended firefights, with breaks in between involving helicopters and bikes flying off cliffs, you'll probably be fine.

I can understand the criticism that Wildlands, and Ubisoft games like these, should strive for a little more though. A system akin to Shadow of Mordor's nemesis system would have been fascinating in pseudo-Bolivia, with the influence and power bases of various faction leaders rising and falling in response to your actions.

I'm treating Wildlands like a trashy action movie, a place where expectations are low and explosions are plenty. As a regular remarked in Heather's review, games can be fun without necessarily being good. And while I'm not ready to level that sort of judgement yet, I've enjoyed my time with Wildlands.

How are you finding Ghost Recon: Wildlands?


    I've been enjoying it in co-op with a buddy, pretty much with a similar attitude to you - completely ignoring the plot and just enjoying it for what it is. Although we're playing it more as a stealth game (extreme difficulty and just two people) so explosions are perhaps a bit less plentiful.

    A little more polish as far as the core gameplay would've been nice though. Like, in a game with this kind of budget it seems like we should expect better vehicle handling, right? And the AI definitely has some wonkiness at times.

    And I do think it's kind of a shame that tactical shooters are basically a dead genre - I'm talking about games like the first few Rainbow Sixes, the original Ghost Recon, SWAT 3 (and SWAT 4 although to a somewhat lesser extent) etc... but I think I just kind of have to accept at this point that AAA developers won't make games that require that much thought in a post-rise of the console shooter world.

    But for what it is, it's fun enough.

      Hit up Escape from Tarkov if you are looking for a tactical shooter. You can try and rush, but you normally just end up catching a bullet.

      I feel they are keeping the hardcore shooter action to Rainbow Six Siege. Although not as in depth in terms of the original Rainbow Sixes in terms of approach and planning, but the online multiplayer of that feels so good I feel they see that as more of an Esport trend than a full game on its own...

      I played the beta of this and it lacked substance. it seemed to lack the fear of engagement and came across a lot more like Just Cause 3 but with buddies....

    Its Farcry 4 lite. They added coop, but managed to make the usual sandbox even less interesting.

    I'm having a fucking ball. Also, I'm turning off more and more HUD elements as I go, just to appreciate the scenery. I've never actually seen game environments this lovingly rendered, and I've recently watched the GF play Horizon, and I've played Witcher 3, GTA5, and Destiny.

      Even in consoleplebland, this game looks great. Stopped on a hilltop with a chopper more than once and just had a look around. Purty.

        I was driving around a mountain road that was forming a kind of barrier between mountain snow and tundra, and it looked exactly like where we'd been driving in New Zealand a couple weeks ago. Just amazing attention to detail everywhere.

          Definitely. I had a moment where the size of the map really dawned on me too - you look at the map and you're like 'Hey, this map is big.' Then you get in a chopper and fly like 15kms to your destination and it's like 'Holy shit, this map is big!'

          Last edited 20/03/17 4:06 pm

    Having great fun. The story is of zero consequence to me thus far. Just jumping in and progressing here and there between Zelda BotW and The Division. It's working quite well for a several hour session, or just a quick 20-30 min run to knock off a few missions off or collect some thingies. Dipping in and out happily, feel I'm enjoying it more as a result. I feel like I'd burn out on it if I went too hard - open world games tend to do that to me.

    I started off going loud as default, but quickly found the stealth approach yields far better results - for me, anyway. If it goes to shit and I've cleared 3/4 of my objective, I'll happily clean the rest up at full volume. But if it goes sideways early, and if fucking Unidad shows up, it usually goes bad more often that not.

    I'm finding the weapon and bullet mechanics fun too - bullet drop on rifles, etc, really adds to the fun. Keen to unlock a lot more weapons and see what different calibers and weapon behaviours are.

    I think I said this before, but it's a fun game without necessarily being a good game. It's great fun with friends, looks pretty, the map is very nicely realised. But it also has a lot of glaring flaws, Luke repetitive mission structure, arbitrary limits on play styles, bad AI, terrible vehicle handling, etc.

    So yeah - fun, especially with friends, but not necessarily great.

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