Getting an invite to the last beta was like panning for gold, but this time anyone and everyone can drop in and play a good 10-hour chunk of Ghost Recon Wildlands right now. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series has a wild split in its fanbase, and so too does the incredibly divisive Ghost Recon Wildlands beta.
On the one side you’ve got those who love the tactical realism of Ghost Recon and Recon 2, while on the other you’ve got the tactics-lite explosive action of the Advanced Warfighter series. Both are drastically different approaches to Ghost Recon which makes pinning down what Ghost Recon actually is a tricky process.
In truth Ghost Recon Wildlands sits somewhere between the two. It’s borrowing the open-ended approach and large environments of Ghost Recon and twinning it with the over-the-top bombast of GRAW. Inevitably this means die-hard fans of both types of Ghost Recon hate it, although there is still much to love about GR Wildlands.
Having sunk some extensive time into Wildlands, pointing out a list of flaws is easy. This is by no means a perfect game. The AI is terrible. Gunplay doesn’t have the oomph you’d expect (chainguns sound like a rasping fart), vehicles handle like they’re on an ice rink. There’s a lack of diversity in the missions we’re being offered. The story is all kinds of awful, and the chatter between squad mates is enough to make your ears bleed. But despite all this, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having fun. I might be having fun at the expense of the game, but I’m having fun all the same.
Ghost Recon Wildlands elevates itself from tedious in single-player to raucous in multiplayer. Dodgy physics systems combine with a veritable toolbox of gadgets to create a sandpit of destruction. It hardy leads to the stealthiest of approaches but bombarding enemy encampments with mortars while a squadmate hightails in on a motorbike will never cease to amuse me. Neither will rounding up a field of cows onto a waiting landmine. My girlfriend said she’d never heard as dirty a laugh erupt from me as when I laid a deadly explosive trap for a teammate.
Yet for all that I’ve enjoyed it, the flaws are obvious. Ghost Recon Wildlands is a Ubisoft game through and through, make no bones about it. There’s heaps of unlockables, a mighty checklist of objectives to work through, and a general sense you’re just watching a percentage tick up rather than have a genuine impact on the world around you. It’s also racked with bugs. The physics glitches provide a great source of amusement but I’m not entirely sure that’s the mood Ubisoft was aiming for with its ultra-serious shooter.
Which side of the fence do you fall on? Are you still planning to buy Ghost Recon Wildlands? Let us know!