'Ghost Recon: Wildlands' review: A repetitive game that requires creativity
Talks of a Tom Clancy game will almost always get me excited. For a time, it has always been an underrated shooter, eclipsed by games like Battlefield and Call of Duty.
Despite the lack of recognition, Tom Clancy will always be on top of my list for its tactical take in the shooter genre.
When Ubisoft first revealed Ghost Recon: Wildlands, my heart raced. Their sprawling take on Bolivia was jaw-dropping, and the trailers made it seem like it would be an adrenaline-filled game.
For a while it did meet my expectations, until I unlocked the 7th or 8th province. And while I did want to love this Tom Clancy game, its redeeming qualities aren’t just enough for me to pick it up from the shelf again.
Gorgeous views with little else to offer
Yes, Ubisoft’s take of Bolivia is beautiful. It has everything you expect when you’re looking at an open-world Ubisoft game: amazing views, rich environments, and vast spaces. It also has enough variation to maintain that wondrous feeling.
Running around Bolivia with my ragtag group of squad mates was a joy just because of the sheer size and variety of the map. It gets even better once you acquire a helicopter early in the game.
Once you start paying attention to the details, however, you’ll quickly realize that Ubisoft fell into the same trap it did with some of the Assassin’s Creed games, or any of their other long-standing series for that matter.
Despite the gorgeous views and jaw-dropping moments exploring the game’s world, too many of the missions were repetitive. Additionally, there was also a little too much space between these missions and activities which made the map feel a little more empty.
We’ve seen this before
At one point I realized that I was doing almost the same thing with the almost all the provinces on the map: gather intel, do a couple of side missions, seek out the cartel boss, then assassinate him. While there may be slight variations here and there, they’re almost never significant enough.
Worse still, the enemy AIs are bland and formulaic, making them sometimes predictable.
You can even see the framework of the entire game early on in the cutscenes if you pay enough attention.
Therein lies Ubisoft’s inherent problem: Just like some of the most repetitive games, the flow and the objectives of Wildlands are too easy to map out. By the middle of it, the objectives feel more like forced routinary chores and does nothing to improve on the game’s narrative.
The narrative is also straightforward and reminded me a bit of Far Cry 4, with the stage being set in a country ensnared by a dictator-slash-druglord.
While the set of characters are completely different, the main antagonist, El Sueno, felt like a more downplayed version of Pagan Min, with a similar amount of charisma and inflated ego.
I wish my character could have also been fleshed out more, though I did enjoy watching her command a team with a lot of authority and just enough sarcasm.
Infused with Just Cause elements
The overall gameplay on the other hand felt like a combination of previous classic Ubisoft formulas. Whether such is a good or bad thing will depend on the player, however.
If you’ve always wanted to merge Just Cause with the Tom Clancy series, then look no further than Wildlands. In fact, there’s even bits and pieces of Far Cry found in the game if you look at how the map is set up. It may have even inherited Far Cry 4’s bad driving.
While that may sound fun, I would argue that the Ghost Recon series is mostly known for its strict military discipline and stealth when it comes to tactical shooting, not for wild rides and bombastic Michael Bay-esque action.
Multiplayer is its key strength
If you are willing to trade in tactics for some mad experiments with friends, then you’re going to love this game.
Wildlands redeems itself when played with friends or random people. In fact, if you’re up for some GTA-level madness then this is game is truly for you.
Go out guns blazing, prep a chopper for a wild chase, crash bases with 4 vehicles, it’s all up to you to make Wildlands a memorable experience.
Thankfully, the interface will make it easier for you to slip into multiplayer mode and set-up a co-op game so you can go wild, fast.
All in all, Wildlands wasn’t everything I hoped it to be. While I had a lot of great and satisfying moments in the beginning of the game, the repetitiveness bogged me down. Ubisoft has replaced its tactical shooting with an open world sandbox game that will reward those who choose to go all out.
If you are coming into this game expecting the need for discipline, precision, and fresh concepts then perhaps you may want to skip this, but if multiplayer shenanigans are more of your cup of tea, I would recommend that you check this out. – Rappler.com
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