It is still early days but the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands beta has made this game go from a potential purchase to a must buy.
Firstly – the world. Even though the beta gives access to one area out of a full twenty one different areas it is massive. You set a way point in a mission and it is 3 kilometres away (about 1.8 miles). Even by car this takes a bit of time because of the winding roads in the jungle like paradise. The open world nature of this game is apparent from the first few minutes you create your character and enter the world.
Speaking of character the customisation options are really good. You can customise the type of face you want, hair colour and shape, eyes, facial hair, tattoos and then the starting clothing you are after.
So how does it play? Well even playing solo is good fun, although you’ll find it harder than teaming up with a few of your friends. The reason why, the three AI buddies are serviceable in a fight but nothing beats proper coordination with real players. I find the giving orders menu for the AI a bit painful as you need to hold right bumper, then use the left stick to pick the order, then hit another button to confirm. This is quite hard to do when you are under the pressure of a fire fight because you can’t move while in the order wheel. I would like to see simply releasing the right bumper on the order you’ve selected as an option, or better still, voice command support for your AI opponents.
You can use a drone and binoculars to plan out your infiltration. The skill tree that allows you upgrade abilities means you can increase the power of the drone, the range etc. When you do infiltrate you can tag supplies for the rebels to pick up. Taking out the enemies silently so far is the best approach. It is tough too. Give away your position and expect enemy reinforcements pretty quickly. Some of these guys are really armoured up too so it takes a few bullets to kill them.
Don’t worry though – we are not talking about The Division type antics where you have to unload multiple clips into the enemy to kill them, a few well aimed bullets will generally do the trick. Your AI team mates can revive you to a certain point when you get shot but expect to die if you get caught in a grenade blast. When I played with one other mate I felt we did a much better job of coordinating the attacks. You can mark enemies (for your AI mates too) so you can try and coordinate and this is definitely easier with real players.
Graphics are really good – Ubisoft has done a good job here. The day / night cycle and random weather is great as well and really can make a difference visually. There are a number of vehicles, planes and boats are your disposal and even though the game mechanics are fairly simple it is good enough for the job. The key to success it seems is quiet coordination and doing your best to not give away your position.
From the few hours I’ve played of the beta so far I am very impressed with this. Much more open world than The Division and it is fantastic playing with friends, but more than serviceable as a single player game as well. Taking on the drug cartel will be one fantastic ride and I’ll be grabbing this March 7th, 2017.
Previewed on the Xbox One.