Potential unrealised in vast open-world shooter
Ghost Recon Wildlands is a vast, open-world shooter that interchangeably delivers either tremendous fun, or repetitive tedium. Suffering from the infamous pitfalls that have plagued Ubisoft games time and again for the past number of years, Wildlands is a game that feels half-baked, oozing unrealised potential while still giving just enough to move copies off the shelves.
Ghost Recon Wildlands, PC/Xbox One/PS4, 6/10
You play as a Ghost, part of a squad of four US spec-ops operatives sent to Bolivia to take down the Santa Blanca Cartel, a monstrous drug empire that drew the fearsome gaze of US foreign diplomacy when it bombed an embassy.
Anyone who has played Shadow of Mordor and experienced the incredible boss system will immediately feel at home in the - albeit, harshly dumbed-down version - Cartel system in Wildlands. Your overarching goal is to bring down the kingpin, El Sueño, but to do that you must first take care of the various other heads and underbosses making up the hierarchy of the Cartel.
Destabilise an operation enough and you'll unlock missions to take down the higher ups-first the underboss, and finally the head. The storyline is low hanging fruit of the lowest hanging variety, but once you get over that you might find yourself even enjoying some of the more eccentric and depraved characters that enter the fray.
Overall, the missions and story leave a lot to be desired. Very early on, you will realise that there are very few permutations to the typical Ubisoft objectives. You'll kidnap targets, blow up cocaine stashes, interrogate victims and so on. Thankfully, the combat and weapons are both brilliantly visceral, responsive and the latter are extremely customisable.
Many of the skills have several levels, but the skill tree itself is fairly short. That's not really a drawback, however, as it allows any soldier to be good at just about everything, which is crucial during solo play.
Wildlands is best played online and in co-op mode, which is a real shame for people who like to game alone or who have vastly different schedules to their gamer friends. That being said, this game truly shows its full colours in online modes, where the drop-in-drop-out matchmaking system is absolutely seamless. It really feels like Ubisoft dropped the ball with this one.
While it is fun in patches, the consistency just isn't there to be able to rank it alongside some of the stellar AAA titles released this year so far.