While Wildlands is first and foremost a co-op game, it bears mentioning that the single player experience gives you a 3-man NPC squad to command. Their AI is serviceable for the most part, and a rudimentary command system allows you to control their positioning, though they tend to pick out better spots if you leave them be.
It's somewhat of an understatement that the single player experience is ripe for exploitation. While in co-op mode with friends, you use the Sync Shot system to mark targets to take out, but when playing solo, you are ordering your squadmates to fire on your command. In previous Ghost Recon games, you would line up your own shot, then everyone would fire once you did. In Wildlands, the system works the same... except if you use Sync Shot while piloting the drone. Using Sync Shot from the drone allows you to order your teammates to fire.
This is a fine thing and it lets you play the game as some sort of pseudo-RTS, but there's one problem - your teammates never miss. Not once. See a challenging outpost? Drone up and your squad will carry you. There certainly are exceptions, but whenever I was rolling solo and got impatient, I could always count on my squad to do the dirty work for me.
The tone of the game is often at odds with itself. Your character and the operatives you interact with are the flat, deadly serious sort you'd expect in any Clancy game, but the lieutenants of the Santa Blanca cartel whom you're trying to take out are often ridiculous to the point of parody. I feel like it's trying to make a statement about the war on drugs, but isn't quite certain how it wants to make its points.
It's also remarkable how much of a potty mouth this game has. Early on, while the game is still trying to establish itself, you hear audio logs of the first bosses making some of the most vulgar observations about a corpse. Your character has a few favorite insults to toss around which are not suitable for printing here.
It doesn't quite stick the landing, but I can heartily recommend Wildlands. The world is huge, the co-op features are all great, and it'll hold your attention for a lot longer than you might expect it to. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go race a dirt bike down a mountainside.
Ghost Recon Wildlands was reviewed using a retail copy of the PC version provided to us by Ubisoft.
For me Wildlands stands out in a few areas. Perhaps it's not the best Ghost Recon game, but take the series out of it, and it's just a damn fun game to its core. It cannot be understated just how much content the game has, how many things there are to do. Side missions have you defending radios, racing against a clock for hacking, speeding down a mountain side, or chasing enemy convoys down the highway. Almost every time I completed one of these movies I felt like I was in recreating a scene from an action movie.
The game is also a technical marvel. Graphic junkies on the PC are in for a real treat. The draw distance is enormous, the character and texture details beautiful, and the lighting is just insane. Once night hits, take a helicopter to the sky and turn on night vision - you’ll visibly see the white spots of light as far as your eye can see in the world. If you see somewhere, you can go there. You’re just likely to be distracted dozens of times along the way.
I didn't know what to expect going into Wildlands as I had avoided most press about the game except for a trailer here and there. One thing that stands out is the vast world they have created. Set in Bolivia, I was amazed at both the scale of the map as well as the variety of regions. One mission had us sneaking through a snowy mountain town, while another was set in a rain covered jungle. I never got sick of moving through the world and taking in the details they have covered this world in. For an open world game, Ubisoft have crafted a fun place to play.
The design of Wildlands is rooted in choice. The choose your own adventure model works really well here. Being able to take objectives quietly, like a masterful tactician is my method of choice... or you can dive from a helicopter onto a rooftop and start blasting everyone away. The emergent gameplay which stems from these encounters shines through, especially when you add a couple friends into your squad. It is a common Ubisoft design trait, but I think Wildlands really pulls it off.
The Co-Op Experience: Players can be joined by three other players to explore the game's world and to complete campaign's mission
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.