Ghost Recon Wildlands might be Ubisoft’s most ambitious project yet, with a breathtaking open world and a seemingly endless list of activities that will drive any video game completionist insane. The newest third-person shooter is receiving excellent ratings across the board, and for more reasons than one.

Story

If I had to choose the weakest element of Wildlands, it would be right here. The narrative fits the cliché of any standard drug cartel movie: destabilize the druggies who are shipping that illegal stuff to other parts of the world (which is bad). Players assume the role of the hero, who happens to be the only capable body with the skills and resources necessary to get the job done. The only difference is, this time, players run the entire show behind enemy lines with the smallest covert ops team known to man. Seriously, a four-man team set to eventually overturn the entire Bolivian drug reign? Sign me up.

Once players get past the somewhat generic story-telling rattled with ridiculous and repetitive voice-lines, they are introduced to the multiple personalities throughout the cartel hierarchy. I applaud Ubisoft for assigning memorable faces and attitudes to names and crafting an experience players will actually want to experience. The big bad bosses are not simple target dummies that fit one objective and are long forgotten once players move on to the next. No, El Sueno is not only a name but a face that everyone is going to remember. This makes taking down the drug lords all the more satisfying.

What’s more is that Ghosts have the total freedom of choice to participate in any activities at any time. Need resources for player skills? Side missions are there for you. Want to disable the security branch of the cartel? Get back to those campaign missions. Your loadout lacking some luster? Weapon caches are spread out throughout each province. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses too—nobody is stopping you.

Character Customization

The character creation process in Wildlands, also known as the Charactersmith, is arguably one of the title’s most prominent features. Upon logging in and, from that point, whenever players decide, various facial and body features can be customized with a list of camouflages too long to count. Long hair, short hair, blonde or brown, ballistic goggles, tattoo sleeves, male or female—players define the specifics of their Ghost right from the start. Players then tailor their Ghosts to be the captain of all general badassery with urban backpacks, blue jeans, white hoodies, black heavy combat vests, American equipment patches, and so on. The options are endless; the system’s limitations rest in the hands of the player’s imagination.

What players appreciate most, myself included, is that most customization options can be changed on the fly. Want to infiltrate a local cartel jungle encampment all ghillied up? Decide to hit the whitest salt flats and invade a Unidad base to acquire intel? The game provides the gear sets and camouflage options to get shit done—whatever and whenever.

Weapon Customization

The Gunsmith is a returning feature in Wildlands that appeared in the series’ predecessor, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Since the release of the Future Soldier in 2012, the Gunsmith has received a graphical and mechanical overhaul. Not only does the weapon customization process work harder and smarter with a redesigned user interface, Wildlands offers more options to players than Future Soldier ever could. Players have access to sights, barrels, triggers, magazines, muzzles, rail attachments—all at the touch of their fingertips. Whenever the current op requires a little less accuracy and a little more firepower, weapon customization can be swapped on the fly. The coolest part of this system, though, is that individual weapon parts can be equipped with individual camouflage skins that differ from the chosen skin of the weapon itself.

This goes without mentioning the list of weapons available in Wildlands. The standard archetypes are all there—assault rifles, submachine guns, shotguns, snipers, light machine guns, pistols—and two primaries can be equipped at any time.

Thanks for letting me carry and play the way I want Ubisoft, kudos to you.

Map Size

You have probably already heard that the map is big, and you are probably thinking, “I’ve played big games before, so what?”

No, you don’t understand.

Wildlands is big – really big. While Ubisoft has not disclosed the exact parameters of their in-game world, we know that there are 21 regions, 11 ecosystems, and 26 bosses that are sure to keep players busy for a very long while. Additionally, there is not a single loading screen once players drop into the world, which makes the game feel even that much larger to the player as they progress through their journey.

In-Game Store

Easily the most controversial aspect of Wildlands is the in-game store. Prior to launch, Ubisoft hadn’t disclosed any related information regarding an in-game store for micro-transactions. So, as you can imagine, the store’s appearance in the first place was a surprise to everyone. Now that it is here, and here to stay, its contents are leaving players scratching their heads. Micro-transactions range from the typical DLC and season pass contents to all weapons and wacky character customization items. Sure, the convenience is there if players simply do not have the time to play but, in a title that prioritizes exploration and collecting weapons, players are cutting themselves short if these weapons are simply purchased instead of earned. Use that $60 however one feels is best, I suppose.

PVP

Wildlands launched on March 7 with no PVP included, but that’s not to say it is not coming soon. Just a few months after launch Ubisoft plans for one tactical 4v4 PVP mode to be patched into the game for free. As Wildlands is mostly a cooperative experience, the PVP announcement came as a surprise to most players. I personally welcome the adversarial mode with open arms, keeping in mind that Wildlands is a finite experience with its extensive but numbered PVE missions. If PVP is done well as a polished experience, it will only add longevity. I can’t argue with a longer-lasting Ghost Recon.


Ghost Recon Wildlands - Review
Pros
  • Extensive Customization
  • Smooth Gunplay
  • Huge World
Cons
  • Average Story
  • Microtransactions
8.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Anthony G
Review/Editorial Writer

From posting videos on YouTube to livestreaming on Twitch, Anthony enjoys immersing himself in all things video games. Starting with a NES, his love for gaming expanded into handhelds and eventually everything first-person shooter. When he's not shooting ALL THE THINGS, you'll find Anthony reporting on popular and upcoming titles.