It’s hard to believe that Ghost Recon is a decade old, and the first title in the series came out over a decade ago. It’s equally shocking to know that the last time that Ghost Recon came back into our lives was at the tail end of last generation, other Tom Clancy games have dropped into our lives but the love of my life: Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell, but mainly Ghost Recon has been dormant since Future Soldier.
Like the Ghost Recon’s of yesteryear, Wildlands drops you into a troubled land that is absolutely overrun with guys that needs a dose of the US of A and this time around, the Ghosts are dropped into a South American country where they must bring order to the land. Plenty of artistic liberty has been taken with both the politics and the environment but it does it’s best to fit the storyline into something that might resemble a modern-day affair and thankfully you’ll be doing alot of things to be in that world to care how everything will respond to your actions and how the story will play out in this massive open world.
From the very first mission, you know who is your target and your target is the boss of bosses and he holds the entire region thanks to the massive business that is cocaine. Every single thing that you do in the game will contribute to his downfall and the downfall of his business, and even when you do the side missions that will also contribute to his demise. It’s an interesting premise that everything you do contributes to this one man’s downfall and that everything somehow matters in this overall world. Wildlands is a massive open world game and it is truly an open world, with doing anything you want and the frequent clash-ins with Unidad who happens to be corrupt and Santa Blanca, the main force within the game. You’re given complete and total control on how you do things, complete story missions, who and how you want to kill, and complete freedom to go wherever you want a and how you do it: From being stealthy to going in loud with helicopters, driving through the encampment to get the target, going in at night or going in at midday. Everything is at your disposal.
The one goal of getting the main antagonist and doing everything to contribute to hurting him and ultimately bring him down a notch sets it apart from not only the entire Ghost Recon franchise with some throwbacks and memory-sparking to Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm, Ghost Recon 2, Ghost Recon: Desert Thunder, but it also sets itself from other open world games. The map is split into different sectors, something similar to The Witcher 3 and each sector has several mini-bosses and one big boss to take down, but it doesn’t matter in what order you do it. Some of the sectors might have more reinforcements, heavy units, or better and more sophisticated tactics but there isn’t an invisible wall, barriers stopping you from going anywhere.
In the single-player portion of the game, you’re given 3 A.I squadmates and they’re really not that smart but they’re helpful and useful when it comes to certain situations. However, Ghost Recon is meant to be played with your friends and the game becomes somewhat boring when it’s just you and your A.I friends. As soon as your friend appears in your game or vice versa, the game becomes something else and becomes really fun. The game takes you from 4 man squad to a dynamic duo with 4, 3, 2 players but the only issue I have with the co-op is that the game still acts like you’re with your 4 A.I squadmates so the conversations still happen as if you’re with your squadmates. Last night, my friend and I were driving in a car, but the drive came with a chat with imaginary pals and that kinda bothered me.
Customization is another strong point for this installment, and it’s very much clear that this game isn’t The Division. The Division had alot of cookie-cutter customization options like creating your character down to weapon customization, in Ghost Recon there is an infinite amount of customization and it’s so crazy to have a wealth of customization options at your disposal: Your warrior can look like a Seal Team Six member, a US Army Ranger, down to a Delta Force Operator or you can look as silly as you want. A friend was decked in full tactical gear that was painted black, while I chose to be a Delta Force operator. The best part comes with the cutscene, the cutscenes are rendered with how you look. I was watching my Delta Force Operator gal talk shop with her squadmates and it was so cool.
That level and depth of customization also extends to your arsenal of weaponry. You have tons, tons, and tons of weapons that can be customized and this is also cool. Each of them can be customized down to the inner workings of the weapon. Barrels, sights, scopes, triggers, grips, grenade launchers, stocks, everything can be customized and if you’re a completion, you might want to rethink some things. This game is very, very, deep.
All of this rounds out to being one of the biggest, deepest, detailed game that I’ve ever played in my history of playing videogames. In truth, Wildlands is as far removed to any Ghost Recon game that has come before this and it stands alone amongst the pack of the franchise and of any game, it’s got legs and a body to stand on it’s own. I’m excited to see where the future of Ghost Recon goes from here, stay tuned for the review.