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Letters from the Front

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After a year, I have finally 100 percent-ed Ghost Recon: Wildlands and also hit the level cap.

The map for Ghost Recon: Wildlands is the largest I’ve seen in a game in a long time. If you played the beta back in 2017, that only limited to you to one section of the game of the map; here in the final game, the map is huge and includes more than 20 different districts for you to explore and each district is packed with activities and missions to complete. Each district includes one mini-boss, hidden weapons and attachments, medals, raids, and much. Wildlands is filled with things to do.

No matter which area of the world you’re in, Ubisoft’s rendition of Bolivia is absolutely breath-taking. From the beginning, you can go anywhere you want with no restrictions and the landscape varies: From deserts to jungles, salt flats to swamps and quarries. These different environments aren’t just for your viewing pleasure; they have an impact on how you play the game. Wildlands leaves strategy up to you, so you can go in guns blazing or be quiet and stealth your way across. The wide-open landscape is filled with opportunities like this.

The controls here in Ghost Recon: Wildlands is pretty standard TP controls but with the sticky cover mechanic instead of the hold “RB” mechanic that games like Gears of War has and if you want how does the driving controls feel? Absolutely atrocious, the controls for vehicles feels like Ubisoft took them directly from GTA IV instead of creating something tight, majority of the vehicles outside of the dirt bike doesn’t control well, majority of the cars feel like they’re skidding. After a good couple of hours sunk, it just got frustrating and stupid hence I just started using the dirt bike. For choppers, it’s much worse but at least you’ll settle in after a few hours with it. What’s worse is that one of the high-value targets you’re sent to interrogate or pick up will jump into a vehicle and flee, and if they get too far away from you, you’ll fail the mission. This and the 2008 driving style push you to be frustrated.

However, it’s main problem is repetitiveness. For the first couple of hours, the game is exciting and awesome but after 15 or 17 hours, you just get bored and the game just falls into the usual trappings of a Ubisoft game. It all starts with the boss hunts, each region has a mini-boss, and to learn who the boss is you have to complete 4 or 5 missions before the identity of the boss is revealed. That’s nothing too major, but the missions usually follow the same thing: Blow up this cache, extract and interrogate someone of importance, steal or photograph something, or just kill someone. It doesn’t help because you get so bored that you fall asleep, I won’t lie but the game at certain points made me fall asleep because each mission is the exact replica of the one in the previous district. The missions are way too similar in design.

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One thing I really liked about Wildlands is that you’re able to upgrade your character. Most of the upgrades are better than what you had before you leveled up. Your sniper scope will sway less, you’ll get access to C4 charges, you’ll be less detected, get access to thermal and night vision goggles. All of the upgrades are helpful and meaningful, I really like how Wildlands is grounded in realism. Only problem is that the skill trees are very short. By the time I had reached max level, I had everything unlocked which is shame because I was hoping that there would be incentive to continue playing the game. When you’re playing solo, I appreciate that I unlocked everything because your A.I squadmates are so dumb that you have to be good at absolutely everything but I also dislike how the game doesn’t allow you to be what type of player you want to be, it’s limited.

As for the weapons, it all comes down to what you like the most. Since I like to be accurate with these things, I carried an M40A5 silenced sniper and a silenced M4A1 equipped with a Holographic Sight and a laser sight. Most firefights begin at long range so it’s always handy to roll a sniper rifle and an AR, one thing I love about this game is how there’s hidden upgrades and attachments everywhere, and customizing the parts and paint jobs of your weapons to make them how you want it is so cool and satisfying. Also, one thing I want to point is that no enemy is a bullet sponge unlike The Division so you’re welcome to use starting weapons well into the game.

Co-op:

This game is best played in co-op. It is single-handily one of the best co-op experiences this generation has offered. It’s also harder. I died far more when playing with a buddy than I ever did solo. When you play with your friends, you’re trading up useless A.I teammates in favor of actual teamwork, a more tactical experience that allows Ghost Recon: Wildlands to fully shine.

As I detailed in my first impressions a year ago, the A.I teammates are pretty dumb. They’re not there to support you at all, you forget that they’re even there because you have to do everything on your own. You have to be good at everything in this game or else your teammates won’t even blink an eye, they’re good at following directions but there’s no sense of teamwork when you’re with your A.I pals like how there was in Jungle Storm or Ghost Recon 2.

In co-op, forget all of that. Yes, humans are stupid and dumb as you are but at least they have your back and with good friends who knows how to play goes a long way. In one mission, me and a friend were making our way up to a well-defended village. I stayed back on a hill as he went in to retrieve some documents, I covered him with my sniper although he had to use some elbow grease but we completed the mission undetected. And in another mission, we had to remain undetected and we covered each other and without killing anyone or even firing a shot, we got out of there undetected. Playing with someone who knows how to play goes a long way in this game.

Also, the best thing is co-op is drop in / drop out meaning that whatever mission you’re on it is unlocked for everyone to do. There’s no red tape about each missions you have to, everything is unlocked and ready to go. Also, it’s works seamlessly.

Final thoughts:

Ghost Recon is finally back and I can’t wait to see where the franchise goes next. I’ve missed you, Ghost Recon. Wildlands constantly shows it’s flaws but it doesn’t get in the way of fun and memorable experiences, it’s seamless co-op and beautiful environments kept me coming back for more

 

 

 

 

 

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