These lands are running wild, bro- [This excerpt has been removed by WordPress for violating Terms and Service agreement about the maximum references to “Hulkmania”]
Played on: PS4
Also on: Xbox One, PC
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Strangers in a Wild Land
Date posted: May 28th, 2018
Ah yes. Ghost Recon. A series I always sucked at. Whether it being caught in the very first mission, to letting my entire squad die, Ghost Recon, and squad based shooters like it have never been my thing. One day, I might actually try to get though one of the classic campaigns of Ghost Recon 1 or 2, but for now, I guess I’ll stick with the newest, and admittedly more casual games in the series, Ghost Recon: Wildlands- which is more of a MGS V clone then an actual squad based shooter- and that might be a good or bad thing, depending on what you like. And that’s a good thing!
Indeed, GRW takes a departure from the typical squad-shooter genre it used to be and trades it for an open-world third person shooter- where tactics seem to be purely optional. GRW takes place in a fictional version of Bolivia (and boy, they were NOT pleased!) where you and your brothers in arms (either friendly bots or other players, depending how you play it) go around killing drug dealers and occasionally sneaking around and doing espionage stuff. You know- like how terrorists are killed in real life! So is it any good, or does it stray too much from its tactical shooter roots? The answer, surprising enough, is that the game does stray too far from its roots- but is still a great open world game, somehow!
Unlike other open world games, Wildlands actually lets you go in any direction and complete any area you want after completing the first area. That’s right- unlike other games, where your’re road blocked into doing missions and tasks you really don’t want to do, Wildlands takes a non linear approach to the games progression. The only thing you can’t do is head straight for the major bosses, which is understandable- but everything else is pretty much up for grabs.
So how are you going to get there? Don’t worry- there’s loads of different vehicles, from your basic pedestrian cars, to helicopters with mini guns and tanks, there’s always a vehicle for any given situation. You also have a parachute that you can use to fall from whatever height you wish.
Add to the vehicles the amount of weapons you can find, and you have one hell of an arsenal! What’s really cool about the weapons in GRW is that you can find where you can unlock the weapon and all of its upgrades on the loadout screen, which can be found all over the huge sprawling map. No waiting to get to a certain part of the story, or waiting for random drops- if you want a gun, you can go get it! The only exception to this is guns you can only get from bosses and such, but that makes sense.
Let’s talk about how great the map is- this, in my opinion, is probably one of Ubisoft’s best open worlds. There is just so much variety here- almost every area feels different! You have a coastal region, huge deserts, mountains, and even jungles- all sprinkled with towns big and small, not to mention enemy bases and other landmarks. A lot of care seemed to go into the map, and it shows- easily one of the best parts of the game!
Gunplay is actually pretty solid as well- you can do your standard stuff, like use scopes and throw grenades and such- and everything works as it’s supposed to. You also have some explosives and gizmos that help you along the way as well- although some don’t seem to work as intended. (I swear to god, smoke grenades are f@#king useless!)
Despite the story being simple, I even found some enjoyment out of it as well. It’s your typical “we need to go to this war-torn third-world country and stop this tyrannical ruler- who just happens to be a drug lord!” story. Some of the buchons are actually interesting, and “that one chick who integrates the people bring in” is pretty badass- in fact, what she does in the “Bad Ending” makes it better then the “Good Ending” (which is honestly not worth it)
Finally, a mention about the crazy DLC for this game. I didn’t play it, but it’s enough for me to at least look into it. Predator? The return of Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell fame? Hello, operator- I would like one order of CRAZY please!
Forced stealth sections with “You fail the mission as soon as your’re spotted” mechanics. Why. It’s 2018 (or 2017 when this game came out) and yet, this is still a thing. MGS V got this right- punishing the player for getting spotted, but allowing the mission to continue. Wildlands? LOL NOPE. That one guy you didn’t see, who spotted you across the map saw you! MISSION FAILED! There’s no lee way. No breathing room. An enemy spots you in these missions, and your’re done! End of story! Easily the worst part of this game by far!
More annoying features include how extractions of major characters are handled. You see, each area of the game’s world is ruled by a Buchon- the area’s boss. You can kill some of these, but the game forces you to extract most of them, resulting in some misery. See, no only do you have to chase them down and make sure you don’t kill the target, but you also have to drive them all the way to the extraction point. This is tedious, and is just needless filler. The missions should have just end when you capture the suspect, but NOPE! Gotta take all the way up the mountain- a 12 minute drive. What were they thinking?
Finally, as I pointed out above, there really doesn’t seem to be a strong tactical note to the gameplay- in fact, you can easily dismiss this as another third-person shooter. Sure, you can tell your teammates what to do, but everyone usually does their own thing, and always, the mission gets completed either way. That’s good news for anyone who wants a third-person shooter…. but bad for anyone who went into this looking for a tactical squad based shooter of old (a lost art form, if I’m to be honest!)
Ghost Recon: Wildlands may not be the tactical shooter that long time fans wanted, but at the end of the day, it is a pretty entertaining third-person shooter with awful stealth mechanics. If you like open-world games like Far-Cry or MGS V, you might find something of value in GRW- especially if you like military style games. (Also multiplayer co-op games. I didn’t mention it because I have no friends) However, as I said above- fans of tactical shooters might want to look else where.
Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!