Ubisoft’s development team has been hard at work in developing the next entry in the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series, and it was something rather ambitious. With a heavy focus on cooperative multiplayer, where you can bring up to three others into the mix and tackle the game’s story missions, we were excited to see exactly what type of adventure you would tackle in a game focuses on pinpoint accuracy and team communication.
To sum it up, there is a drug cartel that is taking over parts of South America. It starts affecting U.S. and Canada when drugs are being smuggled north of the borders, and the group known as the Santa Blanca has manipulated several government enforcers, and now, nearly has complete control of their country.
Wildlands loses its mojo when experiencing it by yourself. Witty conversations between the game’s characters make for an entertaining laugh, but the experience feels empty, next to dull when you are coordinating shots with other team members. The same can be said about most activities in real life, typically, the more friends you have involved with said event, the better it is. With some exceptions to the rule, Ghost Recon Wildlands takes advantage of that social aspect and encourages the support of four-player themed missions. Even playing two-player modes made the experience feel richer, as you time your shots with your friends to ensure flawless execution of the enemies, but when those enemies appear in mass numbers, you feel the need to add a couple more friends to the mix to make the experience smoother.
Ultimately, the game feels complete when you have four people communicating and talking with each other. Co-ordinating operations, picking off members of the drug cartel in sequence, to even flying around aimlessly with the squad is what made the game’s true colors shine.
The solo experience, not so much.
One annoyance of mine is that there are often too many civilians in random areas of the map. They appear to be sprinkled in such a way that taking a dirt road will often lead to your own destruction. The random placement of civilians in the wild sometimes ends up placing the player in utter disaster, especially when you accidentally veer off and kill a couple random, hidden civilians in the bush that force you to restart the mission, and the same mixture of civilian vehicles coming at you no matter the direction you decide to pursue.
There are plenty of activities to complete in Wildlands, like stealing a specific piece of equipment, raiding supplies, or wiping out a camp. There are a handful of weapons and attachments to collect throughout the land, and there is quite a bit to explore, albeit, as with any game like this, there are several bare open areas. With nothing to get in your way regarding loading times, cutscenes or full tutorials, the multiplayer aspect feels smooth and entertaining, whereas the single-player element shows how empty and non-interactive the game is.
Placing the game’s structure as realistic is a bit of a can of worms. Driving and exploring the areas isn’t too exciting, and the missions feel like they are just baseless operations to build up to the actual story. There isn’t any meat and potatoes to the Wildlands missions and that is where this game really falls off the point. The game no longer feels like a game when you are completing repetitive missions that have no contribution to the end goal. Multiplayer helps spice this up as there are often many times you can turn a mission into a bag of hijinks, but the solo experience falls flat.
If you are picking up this game and playing with friends, chances are you will end up with some memorable moments, but that isn’t because of the game’s story. It is because of the time you are having with friends, attacking camps and destroying everything in your path. The solo experience doesn’t have that same interaction, thus, leaving you with an empty, rather uninteresting title to invest your time in.
Ghost Recon Wildlands is available for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Thanks to Ubisoft for providing us with a digital copy of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands for the Xbox One.