Yeah, I’m aware that this game literally came out months ago, but guess what? That’s the beauty of the Platinumist. I don’t have to review games on time and quite honestly, that’s because I’m all about those trophies and good games. Regardless of the timeliness of the review, today I am covering none other than Ghost Recon Wildlands. I first played the beta for this game a few weeks before release and I honestly wasn’t impressed at all. However, after some significant time, and a drought of games, I decided to give it the good ol’ college try. So is it any good? Is it fun? Does it have a good trophy list? Read on and find out!
In open world games the first thing to typically go is the story. This is due in part to design. It’s harder to weave an interpersonal story when players are given the freedom to do as they please. Some games have gotten around this stigma by either making individual stories or even making the experience a story itself. The best part about Ghost Recon Wildlands is that I was never bogged down by a story, but what was there was entertaining and a lot of fun. For those of you who know very little about the story here is a nice little explanation.
It is set in Bolivia in the current day. There is a cartel that has taken over called Santa Blanca, their leader Sueno has pissed off the wrong country. America. So now your character who is genderless killing machine and his/her team of ghosts have to go and stop Sueno from his reign of terror. Completely fictional of course *cough cough*. This simple plot may seem like one that is much too simplistic and even at times would lead me to dislike the story, however I was impressed.
(The short cinematics to introduce characters are amazingly well done, I want to see more of this in games)
Instead of getting an epic 10-15 hour experience that took me through corridors and hiding from bad guys, I got an 80+ hour experience in an open world where the story was about the characters. Sure the stories main protagonists is paper thin, but the story of the bad guys was definitely entertaining. This is mostly due in part to how they are introduced and explained. Every area in the game has a type of leader running it, your job is to get them out of that area, either by killing them or by even kidnapping them and using their info for your own needs.
When you enter a new area you are given a dossier that explains who that leader is and why they are important. Some are just brutal thugs who like to hurt people, some are cocaine smugglers, some are DJ’s who simply give propaganda through the air waves man…. This type of setup made me care about the overall story. Seeing the type of gang that Sueno had (because I killed them all) was a totally immersive and interesting concept. I just loved going after someone new and then learning little tidbits about them along the way.
(Giant skeletons that shoot fire from their hands, yeah this game has it)
Of course this does come at a huge cost like I previously mentioned, the personal story. You do have three teammates with you and a few additional cast members. Most of these characters aren’t explored very far, Bowman is a very shallow character and you never feel like you know her. Your three teammates are about as dull as can be, sure they crack a joke once in a while, but there isn’t much individualization there. As a result if you are expecting a deep personal story, look somewhere else, but if you want a fun story that plays around with the ideas of bad guys and their characterizations, then this is an utter blast.
Ghost recon wild lands isn’t going to win any awards for it’s graphical presentation. That’s not to say that the world of Bolivia isn’t beautiful, it is. What’s wrong is the amount of graphical issues that show up to the table while playing the game. There were far too many times I would be flying through the world and items would just appear in front of me or even more common the textures on items wouldn’t load, or were extremely slow to load. Of course these are pretty common complaints for an open-world game, but they are worth mentioning.
The biggest presentation problem though is just the number of glitches that exist. If they were graphical issues only I could let this go, but the reality is it seeps into the gameplay and causes issues there as well. The first one is invisible items. While flying a helicopter and trying to land it in certain areas the copter would just explode. This was funny the first time, but after a few dozen times, it got old…really fast. There are also animation glitches that cause characters to look like they are holding their guns straight out while driving a motorcycle, or there are even ones that cause some objectives to be pre-completed, but the game won’t count it so you have to die and start all over again.
(These moments are so great, they are just a much more rare occurrence)
These are not gameplay issues because it’s literally the game showing you something that isn’t either there or it is doing something in anticipation of another thing happening. Not all is bad here though. I love the amount of customization the game gives you. Your character can be just as different or weird as you want them to be. You want to be a girl with a Mohawk and an eyepatch (I was) you go right ahead slick. This gave me some closer attachment to my character because I knew she was my creation. Weapons also have presentational options to them as well. Like making your weapon have specific camo options.
Overall it is a very pretty game and a lot of gamers will most likely be impressed upon initial viewing of the game. Just be prepared for a lot of graphical glitches and just weird bugs that will mar some of the experience.
(And then there’s some like this one)
I love the gameplay in Ghost Recon Wildlands. When I first played the beta of the game I wasn’t impressed, I thought it was slow and just required you to do stealth all the time. I couldn’t have been more wrong though. I fell in love within the first hour of getting to play the game at my own pace. I loved going to new areas to explore. One minute I was in a Bolivian jungle and the next I was in a part of Bolivia where salt completely covered the ground.
The exploration here is an absolute blast. Going to a swampy area was fun after spending the last 2-3 hours hunting down a DJ in the deserts of Bolivia. It kept everything fresh and fun. I loved taking a copter out and taking my dual Gatling guns to town on an entire town of Santa Blanca thugs. I could then get on a bike and journey through the different settlements to find little documents that added to the lore of the world or I could even find resources to allow me to level up my characters. All these side activities make for a lot of variety in the game.
(As well as give you lots of variety on how to take on different scenarios)
For a while anyways, because the game is so long and so big these activities can start to feel a little tedious at times. Sure it’s fun to sneak into a place to interrogate a guard so that you can upgrade your ability to hire armed thugs, but the 10th time in, it loses some of its charm. This is because of the open world gameplay. When it comes to things that have more structure in them, like stealing a car or even hijacking a plane for resources, it does get old the more you do it. The open aspect does make the missions much more fun to play though.
For example, there would be a mission where I had to capture a guy and bring him back to our leader. I would go into the place and set up a plan, storm the place, and then somehow the bugger got away. I started to chase him but then figured that I couldn’t catch up to him. For some reason though the Unidad (think the Bolivian police) were right outside the village in a small firefight. The guy turned around and came right back towards me. I shot out his tires and had a successful mission. These types of experiences can’t be had in a more linear style game, not naturally anyways, they would have to be scripted.
The unscripted nature makes it an absolute blast to play at times and then other it just feels like you are putting marks in check boxes. It’s not that it isn’t fun, it just gets dull over time. With over 50+ hours into the game though I can safely say that it is an absolute blast to play. Setting up traps with C4, sending my drone in to kill a target while they least expect it, or even sneaking into a place at the dead of night to interrogate a lieutenant. All of these things are an absolute blast to do and I fell in love with it.
Now the trophies here are actually pretty well done. The good news, it’s not a hard platinum, the bad news, it is a long platinum. There are some specific trophies tied to killing enemies or doing certain actions. Most of those will be easy enough to unlock, the trickiest ones are killing an enemy at 400m+ and getting 7+ people killed by a mine and 7+ people killed by C4. These can take a bit of set-up and a little too long to do, but they aren’t impossible.
The reason it’s a long one is due to the fact that you are going to have to get most of all of the collectibles. Now the game will show you where most of them are, but still expect to be looking around for quite a bit, that will be the majority of your journey. Now this is a multiplayer focused game as well, I personally played it only Single player, luckily the trophies are pretty basic. You have to melee and enemy that your partner has shot, again not hard. Then you also have to play 3 missions with a buddy. That’s it. It will probably take you over 50-60 hours to platinum, but it’s very doable and if there’s nothing you’re looking forward to, this is a great title to focus on.
The Final Verdict-
Ghost Recon Wildlands is far from a perfect game. It has tons of problems and it as a result it is constantly getting updates to make it better. That being said the best part of the game is that it’s fun as hell. Its huge open world is an absolute blast to play in. From hunting down cartel leaders and even protecting rebel radio carts this game never ceases to be fun. The repetitiveness is going to be a killer for many trophy hunters and regular gamers out there and as a result I can’t recommend this game for everyone. I found the story to be fun and a good way to get you invested in the world of Bolivia in their narrative. As a result, I give this game my Platinumist rating of: