Review Ghost Recon: Wildlands | With 17 years on its back, the Ghost Recon series takes its first step into open world games. Was it worth waiting for? Did it reach the expectations Ubisoft has created? Let’s take a close look at it in this review.
- Talking about graphics, the ambient is incredibly beautiful and very detailed. You’ve got dry deserts, valleys with tall mountains (even with some snow-covered ones), big farms and lots of small villages. Everything you see in the map is a place for you to explore. The transition between day and night, sun and rain is also very well designed. You can travel through air, land and rivers admiring their beautiful work. It’s a delight for me to take a helicopter or a small plane to travel around the map just to see how much effort they put into creating an environment that feels alive. Just be careful not to be shot down by an AA artillery
- The shooting goes very smooth, with plenty of weapons that feel unique and are fully customizable. You can carry a combination of two guns between assault rifles, SMGs, LMGs, shotguns and sniper rifles plus a handgun that suits your play style or the different situations you’ll face across Bolivia.
- Besides your guns, you also carry grenades, land mines, decoy grenades, flash bangs, explosives and your new best friend, a drone. I can’t describe how much It will help you during the game, be it tagging enemies, doing some noise to attract their attention, carrying explosives or even healing your teammates. Trust me: this is the buddy you’ve been looking for.
- The progression in the game is also very good and totally optional. You get XP completing missions, fighting enemies and finding specific items that grant you skill points on the map. There’s a skill tree divided in 6 areas (Weapon, Drone, Item, Physical, Squad and Rebel) and tiers that becomes accessible as you gain levels. Except for the skills on the Rebel branch, you upgrade skills using skill points and resources you find through the game. And you find resources at a comfortable rate, what means it doesn’t take forever to upgrade a skill (except the high level ones, which require much more resources to be liberated). Getting access and upgrading skills in the Rebel branch, you complete special side missions indicated on the map. And there’s really A LOT of them, like any other open world Ubisoft. But again, totally optional.
- The game world and story progression are very solid and convincing. Aided by the many history trailers Ubisoft has released since it first showed us the game in E3 2015 (the pre-alpha trailer is still my favorite) they created a very realistic criminal organization (Santa Blanca Cartel, the bad guys in the story) that you really want to take down. It really drowned me in as I was fighting countless enemies, gathering information and taking down low-level bosses to reach the top cards of each deck (Mercenaries reference in here). It’s an enemy I really want to defeat and I can barely remember other games that had the same immersion.
- If you’re a lone wolf, you will enjoy the game. But if you have some friends to play with, you’re really going to enjoy it a lot more. While playing alone, you fight besides three NPCs controlled by the AI, that you can give simple orders (like going to a place you indicate, regrouping or eliminating targets) and that works relatively well. If you have up to three more friends to play with, the NPCs will disappear giving place to them. And this is how it’s meant to be played.
- Talking about your NPC team, they feel alive and likeable: they talk to each other, tell jokes and stories that make the roaming around very enjoyable. One weird thing I would like to add, and at the same time a very weird design mistake is that while playing with a friend you still hear team mates that aren’t with you. They have conversations with invisible crew members.
- As a gamer who enjoys pursuing the 100% completion, I enjoy exploring every single place on the map looking for collectibles and easter eggs. If you, like me, don’t leave a rock unturned, you’re going to have a very good time with this game… specially because hundreds of rocks waiting for you.
- Ghost Recon Wildlands is a game that suits different play styles: If you like to play sneaky, without killing anyone, you can do it. If you prefer a silent and stealthy approach, eliminating targets before they even realize you’re in there, you can do it too. If you like all guns blazing, blowing everything and everyone in your path, you can do it. Just remember to grab some friends with the same play style to avoid confusion.
- For the first two or three hours I loved the radio in the game, after a while it becomes repetitive, you can always shut it down but the game doesn’t remember that, when you enter the same car it starts playing again. You can’t escape it either, it’s not only cars that feature a radio, towns and enemy bases frequently have it on too. The chatter on the radio is beyond annoying too, it is causing some frustration for streamers too, causing a major avoidance for some big known streamers. I’m not 100% sure why and how but it has something to do with the music licenses that prevents them from streaming in a legal and easy way.
- The enemy AI works very well most of the time (according to the difficult level playing).There are some situations that really doesn’t make any sense. Like when sniping an enemy from more than 300 m (328 yards, if you prefer) other enemies start shooting you back, knowing exactly where you are hiding, despite wearing a ghillie suit while sitting in a bush.
- This is a personal preference, but I believe more blood in the gameplay (not the CGs, which already have a nice amount) would have been welcome. Something closer to Gears of War, would be great, although that’s a little extreme. A better example would be Sniper Elite, that isn’t afraid to show some gore.
- The dubbing work in the game is great! I’ve played it in Brazilian Portuguese and English (half time in each). The main characters received very close attention at choosing the most adequate voice actors and the dubbing direction. But there are others voices that doesn’t fit the characters (think about Anderson “The Spider Silva, UFC fighter and you will understand) and some phrases that become meaningless when translated.
- Since the first Watch Dogs, Ubisoft have been working really hard to improve the driving feeling in games. It has been improved a lot, but it still has a long way to get better and become something more pleasurable. I always have the impression that cars are floating on the road. Controlling cars remains acceptable but controlling helicopters… oh my God. It’s really hard to keep flying straight. When you need to do fast turns to the left or to the right… my advice: use them only when you really need. And avoid fighting other helicopters while flying one.
- Even being a truly amazing game, sometimes you get tired from its pace (gathering information, killing minor targets to get access to the bigger ones). Specially when playing alone. So, try to get a good group of ghosts to make this trip the most enjoyable possible.
Score: 90% | Ubisoft nailed it again, with a truly fantastic, believable world and exquisite gameplay! I really hope you all have an opportunity to try the game and mess up with El Sueño’s dream.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.