Ghost Recon Wildlands Preview – Wild Thing (PS4)
The Ghost Recon franchise is a third-person shooter that has been around since 2001, and has seen its combat and setting range from modern to futuristic; always following a strict path and storyline, with little room for choice when it came to moving through the game. It would send you from point A to point B and then on to C with little to no room for deviations, always directing you to your next objective. Those not a fan of that style of linearity, rejoice! Ghost Recon Wildlands does not follow that same path.
Ghost Recon Wildlands is set in a living, breathing, open world that is Bolivia. This has to be one of the largest open world map in a console video game ever designed. It has 21 regions with 11 different ecosystems ranging from desert to snow capped mountains to jungles, each helping to create unique battlefields that seem to change with the time of day. To say it is massive is an understatement. Each region also has its own inhabitants with varying densities based on real world scenarios, and each belonging to different factions or groups.
You’re Never Alone
We started out playing a solo mission in the Itacua region so we could each get a feel for the game and its controls. The game allows up to four players to co-op, with a seamless jump-in and jump-out intergration of play, but starting out solo went a long ways to help us re-acclimate back to the third-person style of shooters. When playing solo, you have three other highly trained AI soldiers backing you up that are ready to do your bidding with simple commands. These commands will have you directing them to a certain areas, either quietly or as loud as can be in assault mode, or retreating strategically when necessary, or just following directly behind you. They seemed pretty smart and accurate for AI and have come a long ways since titles like Rainbow Six: Vegas and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter introduced us to low IQ soldiers whose aim was worse than any Star Wars Stormtrooper ever encountered, and didn’t seem to understand even the basic concept of cover.
After an extended time of solo play, we were matched up in groups of four to take on the Montuyoc region. Using teamwork, we were able to take over several outposts without too much trouble. Using drones you can mark up to four soldiers for elimination at a time for a nice “syncshot,” that when executed properly, is just awesome to watch unfold. We found that having one spotter with a drone outside the perimeter of a compound can make clearing it out much easier than just assaulting it and hoping for the best. One soldier with a decently upgraded drone can guide the rest of the team and prevent any big surprises from jumping out at them.
With the world map being as large as it is, it was nice of Ubisoft to make sure you could get around it quickly when necessary. If you can see a vehicle in the game, you can control it and this includes all cars, motorcycles, tanks, several types of helicopters, and even some small planes. Be sure to have the parachute unlocked when getting in the aircraft, though, as you never know when you’ll need to bail out, and some enemy forces are armed with surface to air missiles, so always be prepared for the worst.
Some vehicles like the tank and attack chopper allows for your co-op partners to man the guns while you control the vehicle. This adds to the fun of assaulting an outpost or base and lets you partners in on the fun when you decide to man one of these vehicles. We found that having a couple of soldiers on the ground, supported by a couple of soldiers in an attack chopper, was a very effective mode of death and destruction when executed properly.
However you decide to take on the cartels in Bolivia, you’ll be doing it in a game with topnotch graphics and a world map larger than any Ubisoft has created before. From the sea to the mountains, the game looks incredible and ran smoothly, even when in the middle of a massive firefight. We encountered zero stuttering or glitching in the large amount of time we played. Side missions popped up everywhere it seemed like, so it looks there should be plenty of distractions if ever you want to take a break from the main story missions.
Based on what we’ve played, Ghost Recon Wildlands should be on your radar if you’re a shooter fan. And given how fantastic Ubisoft has supported Rainbow Six Siege post-launch, more content after launch shouldn’t even be an issue.
Fortunately, you can pre-register for the beta now and possibly get the chance to play Wildlands before its official release on March 7, 2017.