Review: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon – Wildlands

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Wildlands - Open Beta_20170225214411I’d like to start off by pointing out how miraculous it is that since his death in 2013 former game designer and novelist Tom Clancy seems to be able to still put out a new game every year. I hope I’m that active when I pass away.

As close to Sarah Connor as the game would allow, which is actually pretty close.
As close to Sarah Connor as the game would allow, which is actually pretty close.

Right off the bat we need to make one thing clear about Ghost Recon: Wildlands, it’s pretty much The Division. At least it’s everything The Division should have been. It’s also a little GTA5 when you drive anything, and feel very Far Cry with the missions and factions, but we’ll get to that in good time.

The driving feels a lot like your in GTA, and the car physics are more cartoon and feel out of place in this game.
The driving feels a lot like your in GTA, and the car physics are more cartoon and feel out of place in this game.
This was moments before I fully flipped the vehicle, the NPC's popped out for a split second before the game noticed I had recovered, and then teleported everyone back inside. Also the vehicle took little to zero damage from this fall.
This was moments before I fully flipped the vehicle, the NPC’s popped out for a split second before the game noticed I had recovered, and then teleported everyone back inside. Also the vehicle took little to zero damage from this fall.

The character generator for the game is where you start off. It’s actually nicely dumbed down from other games Ubisoft has made recently, which is quite nice. I of course opted to make my character looks as much like Sarah Connor form Terminator 2 as possible. Looking at the options I was provided, it seems like this can only be what the developers had in mind, so I went with it. I did have the option of fancy backpacks, ghillie suits, and fancy pants, but I opted for simple all black. I was disappointed I couldn’t get the aviator glasses right away, which would have made my character look uncanny to her T2 counterpart. I think I did pretty good anyway.

The game looks and plays a lot like The Division
The game looks and plays a lot like The Division

The game engine itself looks very much like everything they rolled out for The Division, which is about 6 months old at the writing of this article. You’re in a third person viewpoint until you look down sights, and the world around looks fairly pretty. I have zero complaints about how this game looks, and surprisingly little about how it plays.

The Squad leveling menu. If you're playing solo this is a necessity, but I believe a waste of skill points if you'll be playing online with friends.
The Squad leveling menu. If you’re playing solo this is a necessity, but I believe a waste of skill points if you’ll be playing online with friends.

Moving your character is easy, targeting and aiming are the same. Which is actually a huge step up from the fumbling around in recent Ubisoft shooters. It feels somewhere between The Division and Tomb Raider, smack in between the both of those. Switching weapons is fast and easy, as is targeting enemy characters.

What I find unique in this game is the AI which follow you around and help you complete missions. They aren’t as stupid and dependent on you as previous Rainbow 6 games, they move semi fluidly with you, and if they don’t I found they just sort of appear where they need to be. It’s nice to have a mechanic in game that works as well as this does, because the game is really meant to be played online with friends or strangers. I’ve been prompted several times in games to join a “random” game or invite friends, but it’s nice to have the option to play solo.

Here's a sample of the game map, and you can see how similar it looks to previous Tom Clancy game, and even Far Cry in terms of how the missions are spread and their types.
Here’s a sample of the game map, and you can see how similar it looks to previous Tom Clancy game, and even Far Cry in terms of how the missions are spread and their types.
A first look at the factions you can align yourself with.
A first look at the factions you can align yourself with.

The gameplay on the other hand I cannot praise as much as the aesthetics and mechanics. It plays just like every other game of the genre, all of the missions kind of feel the same. There are multiple things to do at any time, multiple factions you can murder people to impress, and all kinds of small kill and fetch quests to gain XP for the inevitable character leveling. There’s just nothing that makes it stand out, it’s very formulaic, and for that it hits all the right notes, but had it hit some new ones it would be more worth the initial price tag.

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