Open world games have started to become a norm with the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation although there aren’t many developers who can pull an open world correctly. Ubisoft are at the top of their game when it comes to designing an open world and while there might be plenty of criticism to be had against their open world structure, it can’t be denied that they put a lot of effort into creating them.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is the latest game based on the popular Tom Clancy brand of tactical shooters. This is the tenth installment in the series and the 3rd one to release on the current generation consoles. Ghost Recon Wildlands is set in the fictional setting of Bolivia which is ruled by ruthless drug lords of the Santa Blanca drug cartel. The game’s story take no time to set up with an introduction to these drug lords and how they have began to slowly gain control over the government. While the drug cartel is restricted to Bolivia, its powers slowly begin to spread across the neighboring countries. Although it doesn’t come under the attention of the United States government until a bomb blast at their embassy along with the kidnapping, torture and murder of their DEA agent. This prompts the government to send its agents to take down the Santa Blanca drug cartel.
The main draw of Ghost Recon: Wildlands lies in its giant open world which is full of missions, quests and objectives to discover. The potential in the massive world is huge and will take several hours of gameplay time to be explored in detail. However, it doesn’t mean exploration itself is fun, especially if we are talking about playing the game in single player mode. While Ghost Recon: Wildlands features an offline mode that basically gives the player a group of AI controlled party members, it truly shines with its gameplay when played together with a group of team members.
Multiplayer is an important component of Ghost Recon: Wildlands and thankfully Ubisoft has made sure to keep it as seamless as possible. I initially played the game as an offline tactical shooter but soon discovered the flaws of the AI controlled party members. These flaws are even more evident thanks to the limited choices of team commands that the game provides to the player. These commands don’t leave room for proper tactics leaving the AI to do mistakes that might cost the player his life. Fortunately, this can be rectified somewhat by playing the game with friends. While I mostly played the game in co-op with a friend, it should work best if the party is full, which means there need to be atleast 3 human team members in the party. This also makes the game way easier and the fun factor is also multiplied several times in this mode.
If you are planning to get the game, I highly recommend to focus on co-operative multiplayer otherwise the experience can be rather dull. The game offers a story along with the open world structure giving the players full freedom of choice to explore it. The story missions are unfortunately boring and feel repetitive. They don’t offer much in term of innovation and usually revolve around the same mundane tasks. The world map, on the other hand, appears to be huge and when I say huge, I really mean it. There is a lot to explore and discover around the world map which is divided in sections, each ruled by a specific drug cartel. Each section of the map has its own set of missions and collectibles to discover and aside from that, there are optional objectives that can be discovered during exploration, but the reward for most of them is rather disappointing since it is just experience points.
The combat in Ghost Recon: Wildlands can be surprisingly good with some intense firefights. It is satisfying to use a drone to analyze the enemy locations before marking them. This helps in taking them down with ease although this method might make the game easier for the hardcore players, still I really enjoyed utilizing it on the enemy bases around the world map. Don’t expect the game to be easy if you are not paying attention since the enemies are capable of killing with a few hits, although if the player has other team members, then he can be revived by them. This encourages the player to formulate team-based strategies. I used to ask my partner to attack the base from one direction while I worked my way from the other side, leading to an ambush on the enemy. The game offers the choice of going full stealth or taking the action route to make sure no enemy is left alive. It just depends on how you prefer to approach each mission and objective.
Visually, Ghost Recon: Wildlands proves to be a gorgeous looking game and it looks particularly great on the PS4 Pro, which was my choice of platform for playing the game. I tend to notice visual inconsistencies like draw distance or aliasing but in this case, it was hard to spot any such issues with the image quality on the PS4 Pro. The IQ is rather clean and the game appears to use the same rendering technology, as the recently released For Honor, to render at a higher resolution, while also offering supersampling for users who play it on a 1080p screen.
Performance wise, the game manages to hold steady 30 fps for the most part on the PS4 Pro. I never really felt any major issues with the performance of the game. This is a remarkable achievement from Ubisoft considering the game is huge and technically ambitious with a lot of effects on screen at times. The loading times were also no issue as it took a few seconds after each death to get back into the game. Another aspect that is praise worthy here is how seamless the whole matchmaking and group invitations work in the game. I was easily able to invite friends to join my party while working on a mission and it never felt like a hassle. There is a simple menu which shows our friends playing the game currently and inviting or joining them requires a single button press for the most part.
Ubisoft has received a lot of criticism in the past with some of their games but judging from their output in 2017, they appear to be on the right track. Ghost Recon: Wildlands is an immensely fun game that tends to stray away from the usual Ubisoft open world formula while offering a fun and compelling experience that is amplified when the game is played with friends.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open world tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris. It is the tenth installment in the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon franchise and is the first Ghost Recon game to feature an open world environment.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is a fun tactical shooter offering unlimited potential with a group of friends.