Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a game I was looking forward to for a while! I played the closed and open beta and that’s not something I normally do. The last time I did that was with Destiny and I ended up putting hundreds of hours into that game. Now that I’ve put around 70 hours into Wildlands I can say that it does a good job of living up to the hype.
The setup for the story is an agent was taken by a cartel group in Bolivia called the Santa Blanca Cartel and the Ghosts are called in to take care of it. The antagonist, El Sueno, is literally in the opening cutscene and your main goal from the start is to take him down. The story is very straight forward here but I feel it works. Cause the point of the game is gameplay and collecting/upgrading guns and your character. That’s not to say the story is bad, I think it’s pretty interesting. Each member of Sueno’s cartel has a video to explain backstory and another one when you take them down. It’s about 50/50 of killing them and keeping them alive to use them. There are four main operations in the cartel with one person as the leader and after I took care of the first one I had a phone meeting with El Sueno to try and convince me to stop. It’s a very interesting way to have the main antagonist through the entire game without him actually being there. I really feel like he’s the boss of the operation and he’s used well!
The four main operations under El Sueno are: Security, Smuggling, Influence and Production. Each branch has several Buchon’s(Soldiers), and one Underboss. Once you get the Underboss it forces out the Head of the Operation out. It’s a really cool system that feels authentic. Cause it makes sense to deal with the people under the boss before dealing with the boss directly. And once you deal with two Heads of Production, then you can unlock the El Sueno missions. A good bit of the bosses are cool and have interesting back stories but some just feel shoved in there and there’s not really a payoff with them. The interesting thing about the bosses are the videos that play during the course of trying to find them. They go into detail about the production and distribution of cocaine and what role they play with it. Some are chemists that actually make the drug, some are on the social end and bring the big buyers in and others just sit back and let others do the work for them. I learned a decent amount about the making of the drug and I find that kind of stuff fascinating. It also doesn’t feel forced or corny…well one is corny. One is a pop star and your commander is kind of a fangirl of his and that was a little odd to have that in there buy oh well. There’s also another group in Bolivia called Unidad. They’re heavily armored police force that does not mess around. if you kill one of them while spotted they will immediately be on alert and reinforcements will come and at level four multiple choppers will come and they’re tough to lose. Think wanted levels in GTA.
The gameplay is pretty typical third person gunplay with tight controls. When you aim the game is defaulted to going into first person and I dug it. It took a while to get used to but it feels natural now that I have. You can play with four of your friends online or matchmake for the entire game and that works well. In single player you can control the other members by syncing to kill four guys at once or telling them to shoot while driving and a slew of other things but those are the main ones I use. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of guns but there is a good bit and you can customize every part of them. You do get a custom gun every time you kill a boss but you can’t customize them. They do look cool though! There’s also a wide variety of side missions that you’ll need to do in order to get resources and upgrade your skills. It takes a load of resources to level up all the skills so you’ll need to do a bit of grinding in order to get them all the way up. The side missions are things like tagging convoys, stealing choppers, stealing planes, interrogating gang members and so on. You also need to do the side missions to level up “Rebel Skills” that you get throughout the game. Things like being able to get a car whenever you want or call in mortar strikes.
This is a gorgeous game! The character animations are fine and the lip sync is kinda meh, but the environments are stunning! Flying over a lush jungle and seeing all the cartel statues and empty salt lands can make you just stop and stare. Some of the decorations are fantastically violent and disturbing. Seeing statues with blood stains, dead bodies and a pig head on it is unsettling but oddly fits in this world. This is also one of, if not the, biggest games I’ve ever played. Only The Witcher 3 might be bigger but not by much. There were a few moments of pop in when flying in a chopper from place to place by it wasn’t a deal really.
I do have a few negatives I want to mention. The driving isn’t that great. I never felt like I fully had control of any vehicle and the flying controls are different and kind of confusing. Some of the banter you have with your crew is cringeworthy. Too many cliche lines and trying to be funny and most of the jokes just come off as lazy writing rather than what dude bro soldiers would say. The main thing that annoyed me is the radio! This is probably the worst music/radio DJ in an open world game! Really lame not funny jokes and the music selection just plays the same three to five songs on repeat and its annoying!
To sum everything up I had a ton of fun with this game, I even got my fourth Platinum Trophy with it! It does have some rough spots with driving and some weak characters but the shooting feels good, the co-op is great and there’s a ton to do. If you’re like me and find stories about drug cartels interesting then you’re going to enjoy this game! It doesn’t take it’s self too serious but it’s serious enough to tell a good story with an interesting main villain. Theres also two endings. You can beat the game only taking down just two Heads of Production, like I mentioned earlier, but if you beat Sueno after you deal with all four then you get a different ending. The second ending leaves the door open for a sequel and I’m hoping this game does well enough for us to get one. Would love to see more of this universe! Just change the radio DJ next time Ubisoft!
- Fun Combat
- Great Main Villain
- Big Open World
- Videos of the Bosses
- Gorgeous Graphics
- Radio DJ
- Crew Dialogue