Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Review
Drugs, religion and corruption are all things connected to the fictional hands Mexican Santa Blanca cartel and its glorious leader El Sueño. No stranger to death, destruction and all things in-between El Sueño basically runs the country of Bolivia. Naturally the government of Bolivia isn’t overly pleased about this and after their previous attempts at solving the situation have failed who else could they turn to other than the US special forces. Enter you, the player, to save the day and dismantle the ruling cartel.
In a similar way to Just Cause titles, there are hundreds of points around the colossal map, varying in size, for players to interact with. Small points include things such as manned checkpoints and convoys patrolling the highways. Medium points can be buildings within settlements or farming buildings in the countryside. Large points take a lot more planning than the rest. These range all the way up to full on military style bases, equipped with Surface-To-Air Missile sites and plenty of gun placements to avoid or neutralize. These are a great way to kill a few hours at a time plotting a course from one to the next.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands is extremely fun to play on your own, with the content easily scalable by raising or lowering the difficulty levels. This being said, the enjoyment players can get out of the game is almost exponentially increased as players team up and take on the game cooperatively. The squad AI is more than acceptable to play the game with but the fun that you can get out of Wildlands by working together with friends is on a completely new level. Marking out targets, droning to see if routes are clear and synchronizing shots on multiple targets are all better when you can communicate either in-game or on Skype to friends. On top of this, making decisions together to progress through regions can result in completely differing gameplay experiences, which only goes on to advance the replayability of the game.
Visually Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands is nothing short of stunning. Driving across the landscapes going from the snowy mountains, to thick jungles ever where has been expertly designed. The biome are all extremely distinct without leaving the player thinking this isn’t a plausible locations. Multiple times playing I have come to a standstill to watch the virtual sunrise or sunset the map is just the pretty to look at. The landscapes are only enhanced by the weather effects that elevate the visual experience to the next level. The atmosphere that the day night cycle creates, for instance, is only topped by the inclusion of rain and thunderstorms. The lightening cracking, lighting up the environments and the rain leaving them wet and dripping. Everything feels more on edge, and that you are up against it, when the heavens open.
Across the huge map there are plenty of biomes to explore. The environment changes from large open swamps to thick jungle to desert and finally to glorious salt plains. Each of the biomes offer unique gameplay challenges. Weapons that are brilliant in the closer quarter combat in one region become less useful in another, and vice versa. Also, the way players can easily traverse the landscape change as mountains or vast lakes start popping up. On top of this, the difficulty levels, which change from region to region, allows players to further choose how much of a challenge they wish to face early on; before unlocking better gear and gaining skill points to spend.
As with many open world titles, which feature changing biomes, the edges of these areas are noticeable. When in the air, piloting a helicopter or an aeroplane, it is slightly jarring simply as you can sometimes see multiple biomes at once. The transition that comes to mind is from a thick mountainous jungle biome into a desert biome with a deep gorge, almost a ravine, cutting through it. In the air, you can see the desert coming from far away. Conversely, when driving along the roads the transition is much more gradual so your method of transport, due to the traveling speed, will massively determine whether the biome to biome changes feel natural or more forced to fit all the environments together in one open map. Overall Ubisoft has done a great job in smoothing the transition between some rather distinctive biomes.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands Review,