Beta’s are meant as a testing ground for not only the player, but the developer. In my recent experience with Ghost Recon: Wildlands I was able to get a first hand look at a game that has some strengths, and quite a few weaknesses.
Bolivia is known for being a hot bed for cocaine, and is supported by the Santa Blanca Drug Cartel with operations spread across the entire country. The Cartel and their narcotics have decimated Bolivia, and its inhabitants must live in this new world. The United States government needs to act quickly, and do so by dispatching an Elite Operations Unit (that’s you) to deal with the growing drug trade.
The customization of your character was a highlight in Wildlands (imagine the Division on steriods). You have the opportunity to change facial features such as hair, eyes, etc . Where GR:W shines is in the more intricate areas such as camouflage and beards.
The beta allowed me in the Itacua region. All of the main missions and side missions were available to me in not only single player, but co-op as well. The map for Wildlands is extensive, so even having just this one area; I had plenty to do.
The online play was nice as I was able to meet up with two people rather quickly and start upon our mission. The Main story missions were fairly easy to find on the map as they were indicated in yellow. Whereas the side missions and collectible missions were marked in green. The map allowed for us to mark the destination and then set a course (as is typical in most Ubisoft games).
We had access to the weaponry from the outset and you could see other guns that were locked. The gun switch system seemed very intuitive and as with the rest of the controls to crouch, crawl, and run.
Being able to get into every vehicle was also a blast as we were able to hijack a plane, helicopter, and truck. One of the funnest parts for me was walking into the middle of the street as a car was coming, but the vehicle was not stopping. In most other games they come to a halt. However, in Wildlands, the car kept trucking along; hit me, and I died. The realism in certain areas of this game with death are very apparent. Bullets can and will kill you quickly.
Decision making on where you are going tactically is extremely important. You are equipped at the onset with a drone that is able to move on the ground and in the air. This drone helps to mark enemies in certain areas. There is a catch though, the drone only has a short battery life before recharge is necessary. Also, the area in which the drone can go is limited and becomes fuzzy if it goes to far. I appreciated this as it wasn’t a way for you to tag an entire map from one spot. The drone was similar to that in Watchdogs 2, but the restrictions on it were a nice touch.
Being that it is a beta, connectivity issues and freezing, and such will be left out of this. As much as Wildlands is realistic in its gun play and tactics, the gun play didn’t feel all that fun. I had the chance to run through quite a few of them, and they all had the same feel to me. In comparison Division has that smoothness and individuality of each weapon, this did not. Automatic weapons seemed to all play the same, and explosive weapons all had the same area of range and dynamic.
Weapons also had a difficult cycling through period. Your character has a primary weapon and a secondary weapon, but the switching of those weapons takes seconds. This can be seen as a positive on the realism of weapon swap out, as well as tactics. However, in the middle of a gun fun with ten NPC’s charging; it just wasn’t fun.
The vast open world in Wildlands is fantastic. The problem arose for me that every mission felt like I was traveling a distance to get to. Bolivia is mountainous and with rough terrain, getting from point A to B on land wasn’t difficult just lengthy. The game almost encourages you to fly from point to point. This became evident in three separate missions when planes were sitting in view, without anyone protecting them.
While driving feels GTA-like, the realism (running you over aside) just isn’t there. I put four separate vehicles through rigorous driving terrain. Each vehicle went up mountains, ravines, and rocks. The vehicles looks worse for wear, but none flipped over, exploded, or just plain couldn’t do it.
The missions themselves were interesting, but none pulled me in. We would attack a camp, take out all the NPC’s, grab loot, take then plane, and then leave. The missions felt very rinse and repeat. With this being a beta, investment is little and it appeared the story was thin. This is fun for a bit, but for me became stale about an hour and a half in.
I had an ok time with Ghost Recon: Wildlands Beta. I didn’t leave the game thinking it was good or bad. In a time when games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Mass Effect: Andromeda are coming out; that isn’t a good thing. This game struck me as trying to do to many things well, and not one thing great. You can see the lineage of Ubisoft throughout it and definite strides in many areas to its predecessor’s. The game is vast and will have plenty for you to do, my concern lies that it may be lost in that vastness with no one to do them.