Kyle Nakasaka ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, the most recent installment in the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series, is a much welcome game in which game releases are few and far between. In the game, players take the role of the most elite U.S. Covert Ops unit and are sent to Bolivia to aid the country in trying to erase Santa Blanca, a major cartel, from its borders.
The first thing noticeable thing is that the map is quite large and boasts quite a bit of content. Scattered throughout each region are several story missions and resource missions, which help the player level up, plus plenty of collectibles and upgrades. While it doesn’t seem like that much variety, there is a playful amount of difference in the missions, ranging from stealing cartel helicopters to defending radio towers streaming counter propaganda.
While the content is vast, it does become redundant. There are plenty of missions within a region, with a single type of mission being repeated maybe once or twice. However, there are quite a few regions in the game that all have the same mission structure. This results in some extremely redundant content as there is never enough variety in the goal to keep the game from getting slow and dull. Another issue is that the vehicle controls are quite clunky, and with a lot of the game requiring the player to get anywhere, it can get quite irritating to crash the car off a cliff because it handles about as well as a child’s toy SUV. Helicopters also handle weirdly, as it tilts seemingly at random and has led to mountain crashes on more than one occasion.
That being said, the mountains are beautiful. The in game assets are beautiful and flying over the Bolivian landscape is incredibly satisfying as the trees waver in the wind beneath your helicopter. The towns encapsulate the feel of a country overrun with drug and gang problems. The plot, however, does not. The plot is so lacking that ninety percent of it could be surmised just by looking at the box art. The plot is delivered through cutscenes that can be skipped and mission dialogue that makes the plot seem like an afterthought rather than a focus. Killing cartel higher ups until finally facing up against the head honcho is a rather basic plot and understanding who these people are doesn’t reward the player at all, ultimately making the plot not worth a damn.
As a single player game, Wildlands doesn’t feel polished, and currently is not worth the $60 price tag. Multiplayer, on the other hand, is a different story. In single player, the player is accompanied by a squad of three bots, but during online play those bots are replaced with other players. In this way, the game becomes immensely more entertaining as it removes the reliance on the perfect aim of robot partners and trading them for much less skillful human partners. The player’s human partners can lead them to fail miserably at stealth, crash an escort vehicle or start an all out gang war in the streets, and while many of these will lead to the player struggling and perhaps even wiping, the struggle is what makes the game enjoyable. Barely surviving from a stealth mission gone awry is exhilarating instead of doing seventeen stealth missions flawlessly with a handful of robot buddies.
As a single player game, Wildlands isn’t particularly worth it. However, with a couple of pals or even with some randoms online, this is a fun game to play together. The cooperation required makes the game strategic and challenging for all and the tedious nature of the game manages to be a lot more tolerable when playing with some good buds. Overall, Ghost Recon: Wildlands is refreshing in a rather dry time for games. It’s a solid third-person shooter at its core, but at its best, it is a refreshing and well done cooperative game that presents plenty of content for those willing to party up.