Ubisoft’s plan to push their sales succeeded, I’ve proudly bought Ghost Recon Wildlands.
Every January I sit down and roughly figure out what games I’ll purchase for the Xbox over the year. Ghost Recon Wildlands wasn’t on that list, hell I don’t even think I’d heard of it back then. Since that time, I’ve have seen the early game play footage of the four guys performing a snatch and grab, and I knew this was something I had to own. Fast forward to last weekend when I found out Ubisoft was offering gamers 5 hours as a demo, I was addicted.
Ghost Recon’s back story is pretty simple: a Mexican cocaine cartel has moved down to Bolivia and has taken over the country, turning it into a Narco-State. The USA sends down a few people to keep an eye on the situation, the Santa Blanca (the cartel) decides they don’t like the US poking their nose around so they bomb the embassy before capturing, torturing and murdering a DEA agent.
This is where the game starts, you’re a part of a spec ops group called Ghosts, who are being flow into Bolivia by a CIA spook and your job is to pull apart and bring down the cartel.
The first thing I noticed was the superb graphics, this game looks absolutely fucking stunning. The second was the sheer size of it, Ghost Recon has twenty-one massive provinces to be discovered and pacified, each one with several operations that lead to the area’s boss, also plenty of side missions to help both the local rebels and yourself with weapons and attachments.
The game is set in 2019 so all the gear is based on today’s tech, the most fun has to be the drone, perfect to find out how many bad guys are in that village before you assault it.
The only draw-backs I’ve found so far are the driving controls, they are so basic and rough, you barely feel in command of the vehicle; the other is the missions do become a bit repetitive. But that is it for the whole thing, which is fucking good when in this day and age games are more or less released unfinished and glitchy as hell.
Be warned, Ghost Recon isn’t for the faint hearted, the first mission is hunting down a pair of torturers, all the while hearing all about what they’ve been up to, and the language is funny and atrocious, I’ve been using the word ‘Fuck-Stick’ for years now and barely hear it anywhere, five minutes into this game and your character calls an enemy this as you interrogate him, so be prepared to learn new stuff.
The game has also raised some controversy with the country of Bolivia actually expressing its dissatisfaction as being portrayed as a Narco-State, even hinting at it might take legal action over this. Ubisoft had to issue a statement more or less saying “This is a work of fiction, we chose Bolivia because of its beautiful countryside”.
I didn’t play too much of the online co-op but what I did see was pretty good, match finding was a bit long but nowhere near as bad as GTA’s can be. Once you’re in, it’s just a case of running through the missions with a bunch of likeminded people, I think I was with my group for about 40 mins and loved every second of it. I may have been the low-level newbie hanging out with the big guys, but it allows this because even though we were facing off against the same enemy NPCs, they were a lower level of difficulty for me. I’m looking forward to getting back out there.
Ghost Recon Wildlands is an unexpected but awesome surprise for me, it is one of those games I hadn’t planned nor thought about, but I’m glad I came across it, I can see myself spending months if no the next year really sinking my teeth into it.
The ability to strike out of nowhere at a cartel encampment, wipe it out while picking up Intel on the next officer you're chasing before sneaking back into a jungle as the enemy reinforcements arrives to try and fuck your shit up, seriously, I’m loving this and recommend it to all fans of tactical and/or shooters. You won’t be disappointed.