One of the most talked about and hyped up games, Ghost Recon: Wildlands finally had a beta. It wasn’t an open beta but was a closed beta meaning only certain players that signed up for the beta on Ubisoft’s website and were invited were able to play. Obviously, this beta was only a preview of the game and only offered about 6 hours of gameplay for the players to experience.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands takes place in an open-world environment based in Bolivia. With the drug trade market being ran by the Santa Blanca (a dangerous drug cartel), the Ghosts are called in to dismantle the Santa Blanca group. Gameplay is through one of the Ghosts and players are able to play main and side missions by themselves or co-op with up to four players. The game is played through a third-person perspective and features tons of weapons and engaging environments. Settings can range from forests to snowy mountains stretching across the huge open-world environment. Now that you are informed of what the game has to offer, let’s talk about how and if they delivered.
So, the first thing is, and I’ve heard many people complain about this but when you first launch the beta, a pop-up prompts you to pre-order the game before any second has been played. That’s rather odd that they would try to make you pre-order before you have even tried the game at all yet considering that’s what you’re in the beta for. Considering I have already preordered the game, I quickly exited the prompt and went on to trying this game out finally!
First thing to do was create my character. I never really focus on this feature in video games because I don’t really care about the appearance to be honest so I just flipped through the options quickly but was blown away. There were plenty of options ranging from face paint to ghillie suits and for once, I actually took my time in creating my character. I chose the rugged lumberjack look with a ghillie suit though the suit had no effect on whether the enemies could see me or not. I finished off my character with a few tattoos and added an iconic battle scar to his right eye and then carried onward to what would come next. It’s kind of odd that they added ghillie suits into the character appearance when they have no change in outcome of the battles but nonetheless, it was pretty cool!
Now that we are all set up, it was time to start the warfare! What’s cool about this game rather than other shooter titles is that this one allows you to play your way. Whether you are the run-n-gun player or the stealthy strategic player, you can play the game as you wish. I am more of the run-n-gun type but as I played more and more and realized that you can die pretty quickly, I chose to be more stealthy. Pulling off headshots was a breeze and with the enhanced scopes and variety of weapons, and I flew through each mission. Though the game lets you choose how you go about the missions, it seems that they encourage the stealthy route. The game features sync shots which allow you to take down multiple targets quietly. Honestly, gameplay was flawless and the only thing I can really complain about is the time-to-kill and how quickly you can run out of ammo.
Let’s start with time-to-kill. So, I often found myself since I am the run-n-gun type, storming into the enemy's territory and quickly falling to my death. Clearly, I had more thought to it and didn’t run right into them, I chose to go into the buildings and go straight into the action. No matter the case, I often died quickly or lost a lot of health in a short period since only a couple bullets can do tons of damage. It’s a small complaint but I hope that they allow for players to sustain more damage so that we don’t have to constantly be revived by a teammate.
Second issue was about how quickly I ran out of ammo when in game. This is by far the biggest problem I had while playing the beta and it’s very simple. Most of the clip sizes for the assault rifles were around 20 to 30 bullets which is a decent amount but just not enough. I often found myself dying due to running out of ammo. Now don’t get me wrong, they try to counter this issue by keeping ammo crates where you can refill your ammo nearby but when you are in an intense battle with a horde of enemies around you, there just isn’t that opportunity.
Like I stated before, this game stresses on the use of stealth and often times you can find yourself wanting to use a suppressor attachment on your weapon so that you can take out the enemies correctly. Enough about the shooting and gameplay though, you came here for the open-world aspect that you expect to be as great as GTA. Well, I am here to tell you that it just isn’t. With a small variety of vehicles and way too many obstacles in the way, driving wasn’t that fun. Yes, swerving around the curves of the hills was interesting, I still found myself having to drive a long time to one specific location while hitting at least a million trees on the way. Before you start calling me a bad driver, which I’m not, just know that in certain parts of the map, trees are basically placed at every inch. I just think that they have to open up the environment a little bit more so that we can have more range.
Highlights of the beta for me was when I got to hop into an airplane or helicopter and fly endlessly. Most of the time I played online with friends and since teammates are able to destroy your own vehicles, I often was jumping out of the helicopter to avoid it crashing from them destroying it. This was funny at first but grew into being annoying until I found the solution: the parachute skill. This skill is not achieved easily and the only way to gain it is by discovering medals in the game world. Once I found the medals needed, that problem was long gone and I enjoyed parachuting into enemy bases as an even stealthier approach.
This was merely just a quick review of the beta and first impressions but to sum it up, the game is fun, but even more fun with friends. This is truly a great game to play online with friends as you and your squad can dismantle the cartel and roam the open-world activities. Playing with friends also allows you to play through missions quicker since when playing with AI’s, they tend to let you do all the work and just follow. I believe that the graphics could use a little bit of an improvement and also some minor fixes like I mentioned earlier. The full game is set to release in March which is a little scary since the game is still not perfect at least in my eyes. I am going to end this review by stating that this game was awesome to play and I look forward to the full game. Though it’s minor flaws, they should be easy fixes that Ubisoft can account for and solve before the game’s launch. I look forward to playing the full game on March 7th.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands releases on March 7th to all major consoles including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Be sure to pre-order the game since it is shaping up to be an awesome game!