Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Wildlands: PS4 Review
Released by Ubisoft
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands had a massively successful BETA.
The thriller game had a simple concept - possibly in line with Donald Trump's War on Mexico - crack the cartels and their grip on an area in Bolivia.
It's a simple MO and it's been translated through to the full games as well - and despite some complaints that the game's a Western Imperial take on non-American issues, the game's playability makes it easy to jump in and get involved in the massively open world.
Multiplayer or solo are on offer, and to be frank, the solo campaign already opens up a world that takes so much of your time, that jumping in with mates is the last thing on your mind.
After customising your character, it's into the world you go, and into a squad of 3 others. A first mission sees you tasked with getting intel from a captive that begins to open up the wealth of objectives on offer and the reasons for doing them.
From using drones at your disposal to tag enemies or simply going in all guns blazing, Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Wildlands is a game that will thrive on your choices and will be played many different ways. The guns blazing approach certainly quickly brings brutal combat to life and the fight can get quite difficult quite quickly. But being tactical can also pay off as well - there's nothing better than tagging an opponent and the joy of the stealth kill rather than the shoot and hope approach.
In many ways, Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Wildlands feels like it's been more heavily influenced by the last iteration of the Just Cause game series. Sure, there's not the comic edges and over the top physics mentality within, but there are touches of it that remind you of Rico's exploits.
From gently hitting a car on the road and seeing it flip wildly in the air, to careering backwards down a mountain, the game hits a fun level early on. And while there are also elements of Far Cry and Just Cause's narratives within (free the checkpoints, take on a dictator etc), the game's made them all their own.
It's also a world of exploration too with there being plenty to see and do around the wildlands.
Complete with a star ratings system for the areas (1 being easy, 5 being punishable by death), the areas are easier to engage with once you know what you're doing. There are a few issues with the scope of the game, in that a lack of vehicles will see you troubled by spending a lot of time traversing the admittedly beautiful and lush-looking terrain.
But that's no bad thing given the scale of Ubisoft's open world though the game is infinitely improved by a few online colleagues to come along for the ride.
From avoiding killing civilians (which abruptly ends your game) to getting revived once only by your colleagues once you fall, there's more than enough in the game mechanics to stop you from actually achieving the missions on offer.
But those missions themselves are worth getting involved with. Each one unlocks another and sees you zipping around the countryside to complete them. As you hurtle on the red barren tracks that double for roads, there's a wealth of life out there.
If anything, Ubisoft's ensured that the NPCs are certainly in attendance (watch them cower when you order an attack by your squad from your car) and are reacting to what's around.
All in all, Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Wildlands shows it has the spirit to keep the rather passe and gung-ho premise alive. While the missions may be of a similar nature to what's encountered before, it's clear that the sheer scale of the open world and its secrets within mean many will fire it up; if anything, its occasional hollowness and episodic feel means it's perfectly playable and equally disposable.