Online multiplayer games are a dime a dozen, and open world shooters are becoming more and more popular. Combing the two genres can be hit or miss, but as long as they add something new to keep people interested it should work. Forcing people to repeatedly do the same thing over and over until some overpriced DLC hits is a quick way to lose players. So, will Ubisoft’s latest wind up with the longevity of Destiny or quickly grow tiresome like The Division?
THE STORY: The country of Bolivia has been taken over by drug cartels. You play as a special agent sent to the country to take down the organization piece by piece. So yeah, just a generic plot, but no one plays these games for the story. C
GAMEPLAY: The map is divided into over 20 sections of varying difficulty, each with 5 or 6 missions that lead to taking down a key member of the cartel. In order to put an end to the drug trade you must take down the members one at a time until you can take on the big cheese. You can also interrogate various NPCs in each area in order to find collectibles and new weapons. If you’ve ever played a Far Cry game, you know exactly what to expect. B
CHARACTERS: Truthfully, the cast is completely irrelevant. You create a nameless avatar who runs around with three interchangeable NPC soldiers to take down named characters who have no distinguishable personalities. Zone bosses, who you really only interact with for very short periods of time, show much more personality than your character. The lack of dialogue for your player is incredibly frustrating. Hearing the same comment every time I picked up a collectible was irritating. F
COMBAT: You have a choice in the way you approach a fight. If you prefer a stealthy approach, you can survey the area via drone or binoculars, and direct your squad to pick the bad guys off one by one. Or you can run guns blazing into a firefight and hope for the best. Having the option is a nice choice, but unless you are on the highest difficulty you will rarely find yourself overwhelmed. B
CONTROLS: As far as the controls go, there’s good and bad news. The combat controls are fairly straightforward, and typical for most shooters (though using the left trigger for grenades instead of right is very odd). Where the controls really suffer are when you need to control any sort of vehicle. Driving cars is awful. Every land vehicle slides around as if the roads are slick sheets of ice. Air vehicles are even worse – getting helicopters to gain forward momentum is a challenge in itself. It got to the point where I just started fast traveling and running to where I needed to go. C
MISSIONS: The main story missions are, for the most part, fairly exciting and aren’t all the same. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the many side quests. They are fiercely repetitive, and there’s only 5 different types to choose from. The sad part is they are more or less necessary to complete as they provide much needed resources required to upgrade your character. B
GRAPHICS: The open world looks amazing. The level of detail put into the landscape and various biomes is incredible. Character animations are very realistic, and I barely noticed any glitches (though I did fall through the map a couple times). Where the graphics really suffer are during cut scenes. Honestly, they look like they were ripped from some old direct to VHS computer animated movie. [what’s a VHS? -Ed] Thankfully, there are not too many of them so it isn’t that noticeable. B
MULTIPLAYER: While the game can easily be completed in single player mode, up to three friends can join you in your adventures; replacing your AI companions. This adds a different dynamic to the game, as it can make it significantly harder. If you want to succeed, you need to work together to achieve the goals. If someone runs in and “Leroy Jenkins” a base, everyone pays the price. Hopefully your pals aren’t a-holes though, and you can all enjoy causing destruction together. B
As of this writing, the servers are extremely buggy. Some people are unable to join their friends, and others keep getting kicked from the online servers. I’m sure this will be fixed soon.
REPLAYABILITY: The campaign should last you 40-50 hours if you choose to do all missions and pick up all the collectibles. Everything serves a purpose, so I don’t recommend skipping anything. Once that’s done though, any need to replay the game rests in your desire to play in multiplayer. Apparently a PVP component is being added in the future, but I’m not sure the style it will be. C+
FINAL THOUGHTS: My main hope for this game was it didn’t turn out to be another The Division. There are many similarities between that game and this one, but this one has a substantial campaign and significantly more to do. Yet, halfway through, I started getting bored. I found myself rushing through story missions I should have taken more time to enjoy and skipping unnecessary side missions if I didn’t need the resources they provided. I have zero tolerance for other players who don’t help in multiplayer games, so I lost interest in the MP aspect very quickly. Ghost Recon: Wildlands is by no means a bad game, but I hate being bored when I should be enjoying myself.