Ghost Recon Wildlands

How Wild is Ghost Recon Wildlands? Beta Impressions

Ghost Recon Wildlands has long gestated in the machine that is Ubisoft Paris.  Announced at E3 2015, fans of the long-running Tom Clancy franchise have been asking “Where’s Wildlands”?  Quiet about the project since the first gameplay reveal, Ubisoft even held the release date announcement until June 2016.

Over the last few years, the Ghost Recon series has had an identity crisis.  With each entry in the series being radically different from the last, Ghost Recon Wildlands continues that tradition in a significant way. The good news is that Ghost Recon is finally here and back into the hands of gamers. Also, Two Left Sticks is proud to provide almost an hour of footage from the Ghost Recon Wildlands closed beta.

How Does It Feel?

Ghost Recon Wildlands mixes some elements of past open world shooters such as Metal Gear Solid V and the Far Cry series, as well as some light RPG elements. In the closed beta there are three factions, skill trees, and even skill trees for rebel factions that you can befriend. The Rebels serve as basic AI buddies to help you through larger skirmishes if you happen to stumble upon them in captivity. The faction system remained behind the scenes in this phase of the beta unfortunately. The skill tree also remained limited in the beta as well.

The gameplay is very reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid V in a lot of ways. Mechanics such as scouting outposts, tagging enemies, dropping in under the cover of shadow are similar but functional, to what players have seen in MGS V.  With this inspiration, Ubisoft Paris took the formula and expanded it to a larger world with a focus on four-player co-op.

How “Big” Is It?

The Bolivian landscape is massive in Ghost Recon Wildlands. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a ton of activities to do in the open sandbox world. Random mini missions appear throughout the map to distract you.  These tasks are small and usually consist of either tagging a vehicle/supplies, or running a vehicle off the road.

Other than that. You shouldn’t expect too many side activities available in the open world aside from hacking computers to reveal locations of guns and weapon parts for your Ghost to collect. Whether this is indicative of the final product, or a scaled down experience compared to the final game remains a mystery. Perhaps these elements will become more clear once the open beta rolls out next month. But only time will tell.

Ghost Recon Wildlands
Vehicles in Wildlands feel loose and fast to control and take minimal damage to go completely off the road. Player damage, on the other hand, isn’t displayed clearly.  Not only is it visually difficult with no health meter, but players can’t take much damage before dying. The visual feedback from taking hits is also minimal.  On the brink of death players are met with a giant orange text prompt saying “Fall Back”.  Consider that your final warning before a swift death in the harsh world of Ghost Recon Wildlands.

A Flawed But Entertaining Experience

Many shortcomings in Ghost Recon Wildlands’ mechanics are actually upgrades via the skill tree. Be it health upgrades, AI teammate health upgrades or extra battery and range from your drone.

One thing for certain is that the beta feels like it the game meant for co-op play. The AI teammates the game sticks you with will do the job most of the time. But A.I. teammates can’t be the fun you’ll have rolling a minivan down a mountain, or stealing motorcycles with your friends.

Ghost Recon Wildlands releases on March 7th, with an open beta available shortly before release.

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