Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands is now out, and it seems to be is quite fashionable at the moment for some to dislike Ubisoft. I’ve read a lot of people calling them unimaginative and a company who just keep churning out the same type of games. I’m fed up of reading this negativity – yes, a lot of Ubisoft’s games share many a similar attribute but who cares – if the game is good and offers something new, then surely it is worth a play.
This is exactly why I never played the Beta for this title. I also tried to stay away from the haters suggesting how the graphics aren’t good enough or how there isn’t a PVP mode. Sadly, I couldn’t completely avert my eyes from all these fake journalists (anyone with a keyboard) and started to believe all their hype. “This can’t be a good game, I thought” …how I was wrong. Just shows us all, some people prefer to hate than love.
Having never played a Ghost Recon game, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I was letting it load to my fully-powered PS4 Pro, now connected to a portable hard drive. I knew that it is a tactical shooter that you could play multiplayer or solo. The intro started off setting the scene: you’re in Bolivia and it is overrun by drug cartels who are slinging dope out like Co-Op and new shops. El Sueno is the leader of the Cocaine organisation, and unlike most CEOs, he really does look like a bad man. Tattooed completely and bold to the point of the sharpest blade, El Sueno looks like the kind of final boss I want to rip open. You are part of the US Government special group called Ghosts who have been sent it to sort everything out. The story then undertakes a number of twists and turns, but overall, is interesting enough to keep you entertained… and keeping you entertained is certainly something this game does. You play in a unit of four, consisting of you the Ghost Leader, a tactical gunner, sniper and Engineer.
After a few hours of playing I had noticed one area where this game does stray from Ubisoft’s usual plan. It is incredibly open. I mean, yes you have your main mission that you are meant to do. However, if you want, you can just run off and get involved in a number of side missions. You can take control of enemy areas, steal gasoline trucks, gain new weaponry, attachments, supplies and pretty much anything else you can think of. After about 8 hours of gameplay, I found myself only having done a couple of story missions and spending far too long on all the other side ones. The thing is, I was having an incredible amount of fun – you can fly around in helicopters, drive around in cars, ride motorbikes, boats and planes.
Exploring the open world is a treasure in itself, but it does throw up one of the most obvious shortfalls of Ghost Recon: the foreground graphics just don’t match up to the background graphics. If you fly high in the sky or find one of the highest points in the game, you will look down and find yourself hitting that share button. It looks mind-blowing and potentially some of the best graphics I have seen on the PS4. Sadly, if you look carefully at the helicopter you are in you will notice it’s a little square and basic. The textures of the foreground don’t quite work and the background looks incredible. The faces are just what you would expect from a tactical shooter. Overall, I would give the graphics an 8. It is just such a shame that they couldn’t use the same detail for all of the graphics because it could well have been the best visually-pleasing game I have ever seen.
Coming back to the vehicles and the general gameplay, for me this game plays just like Grand Theft Auto and that shines as a positive in my eyes. The vehicles are easy to use and you won’t find yourself spending ages trying to learn how to use them. An element that was a little disappointing, is that you couldn’t fall off the motorbike. I suppose this made it a little more fun but felt a little too unrealistic at times. Then I realised that this game isn’t actually trying to *be* that realistic. For example, if you get in a car on your own and press the up button, your whole crew will appear from inside the car with their guns ablaze.
If you send your drone up to the air and sync a shot, one of your squad can shoot any of the targets. There’s also a number of other things you can do that oozes the fictional and not the realistic. So I stopped trying to treat this game as a form of realism, just in terms of fun. That way, you’ll find it being easily the most enjoyable game you’ll play this year. There are a large array of guns and a decent amount of attachments that you can spend time having a play with. As well as this, you can also upgrade your character and learn new skills (like using the parachute).
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands offers a solid experience if you are playing in single player or multiplayer. The campaign will take you around, 40 hours but if you want to complete everything within, I reckon you’ll double that, at least. Personally, multiplayer is the most fun you will have and if you have three mates who are going to play through with you, you’ll have a great team experience. With so many people being able to tackle an enemy area from different angles, you will find yourself deeply immersed in the experience. For example, you could be in a car driving through the area while one friend is in a helicopter, a sniper is using a drone to highlight the enemies, and a fourth is just going on a rampage. Beware though, if you do play it this way, you’ll have to be ready to get to a friend within the 60-second time limit to revive them, especially if they are a little gung-ho, like myself. Overall, I found the gameplay a fantastic experience which has its flaws, but nothing which you can’t see past. Easily a 9 from me.
The game doesn’t particularly offer much with sound and music and could have done much more. You have dialogue which is solid and some music at times but overall you will find that you are craving a little more. However, if you are playing with friends, music won’t be required as you’ll be chatting away with them. There’s nothing particularly bad about the sound effects or the aural addition, just that you don’t quite have enough of it all. Saying that, it gave me the perfect opportunity to listen to the relatively new Spotify app and explore some new tunes. Due to all of this, I can only really give the sound a 6. This is a shame because you would have thought they could have quite easily added more sound and songs.
The last area is the area where the game really shines: enjoyment. I’ve had the joy of playing a number of different amazing games recently, but I haven’t played any quite as fun as this. I still chuckle about how I was playing with a mate online and we went on the rampage. Then I got myself in a little trouble and he had to come rescue me with a helicopter. We flew to some dizzy heights and he then parachuted out. What he decided to ignore, was the fact of me not having the parachute yet and therefore spiralling to my death. Irrelevant of that, I was having so much fun and have since spent a number of hours having more excellent times. Sometimes, we get stuck playing games which are more frustrating than enjoyable, while at others, we play games for the challenge. Here, we have one which you can play to enjoy. And believe me, I will continue playing this for many more hours. Enjoyment wise, this is definitely a 10.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands is available in both Standard and Gold Editions, the latter also including:
- Season Pass giving you access to two major expansions
- All Deluxe Edition content:
- The Huntsman rifle
- The Huntsman motorbike
- 3 emblems
- 3 weapon camos
- 3 character customization items
- XP booster
Overall: 8.5 – a game well worth buying which will remind you of reasons why you play games.
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Players: single-player, multiplayer
- HDTV options: up to 1080p
- Sound: DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Writers: Shane Salerno, Sam Strachman and Don Winslow
Boyer ‘Boston’ Reed: Mark Holden
La Plaga / Priest / Meeting Member / La Santera Priest: Jackson Gutierrez
Soldier: Ethan Korver
Various Voices: Bayardo De Murguia
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.