Q1 is a period of betas, it appears. With For Honor being already tested twice, now the time has come for Ghost Recon Wildlands.
Nowadays, closed and open betas are another tool in the marketing process. That’s a truism, but one worth noting when we realize how many people bought The Division with the season pass after it was tested in betas. I’m one of those people and I regret that decision every day when that game is not on my PS4’s drive. And that’s quite a lot of days.
The worst problem is that my Spider-Sense is still active after playing the whole beta of Ghost Recon Wildlands. There are many claims that it isn’t the second The Division and those people are right. But both games share some structural similarities, which happen to be crucial when reviewing a title.
To start, don’t think that it’ll be easy to play Ghost Recon Wildlands as a single player game. AI is dumb to the level that you are okay with soloing the whole mission in a squad based game. Our companions are not the brightest ones, they are good at stealth, but when it comes to action you quickly realize that the game was designed for real players. And when you have to decide whether or not it’s worth buying, you have to ask yourself: “Are there three people, who would like to find some drugs with me?”
I hope there’s no sound of silence.
I like the character creator. It’s not MMO-detailed-like, but there are enough elements to customize looks and change our Ghost. My friend managed to create his look-alike, but I’m not sure if everyone will get a “clone.” There are some additional unlocks, but I got hypnotized by the number of clothes and gadgets. While one of my companions went with a casual style, and another with a more militaristic theme, I’ve created a Stalker-inspired set. And the greatest feature is that the character editor consists of six randomly generated sets for you to check.
The only thing that I will not understand are the sunglasses that aren’t taken off at night. While flying a chopper. Doh.
As it happens with Ubisoft’s games, when you open the map you quickly realize that there are tons of things to do and items to collect. And that’s great. My team was always looking for gun upgrades, additional resources etc. My only objection is the fact that there are a few types of those stocks and they are used for character progress. That’s really bad idea, which locks some of the more interesting skills/items (e.g. parachute) until you clear some part of the map. I prefer a single progress bar with experience, even if that would be “resources gathered” and not XP.
On the other hand the main element of the gameplay, i.e. tactical take on missions, works great in a well-knit team. Maybe the stealth aspect is a bit lenient and the enemies are quite easy to kill when alerted, but I appreciate that even though it’s not required the game encourages players to plan and execute rather than run around (that always happens with friends, but you understand the idea…).
The shooting mechanic itself is enjoyable. While The Division’s enemies were bullet-sponges, it takes just a few bullets to take down a NPC here. Their strength comes in numbers and it’s good when our team is always on alert. One time we’ve cleared the mission area and focused on gathering collectibles. At first we didn’t notice that reinforcements arrived and got medieval on our asses. As you see, crowd control is important. Sometimes a well-placed sniper might do the work.
Some random thoughts:
- The driving here is hilarious. In many ways it resembles the arcady model of Watch Dogs 2. It’s strange. Sometimes unresponsive, other times very good. I guess it’s just okay for such a game.
- Sometimes I had problems with hearing the voices of my NPC teammates. No idea why because the whole game has nice audio.
- I expect that the final release version will include a much more expanded system of queues for missions. It’s impossible to have your own 4-player team everyday!
- Missions are not that interesting in a stand-alone form. They are fun because real friends playing with you are fun. Except that it’s always “shoot peons, hit the boss, travel, shoot peons, kill the biggest boss” and variations of this formula.
- It appears the beta is really a small portion of the map. It’s hard to judge how populated with tasks will the world be because the available side missions are very generic.
- Framerate seems stable when you are not driving. Don’t ask, I’m not #PCMR.
After playing all main missions from the beta and some side activities (and meeting the Death in a plane, and dancing around a grenade) it’s hard to unambiguously recommend against or advise the Ghost Recon Wildlands. If you have a team of friends at your disposal it will probably grant you numerous hours of entertainment. Otherwise, it might be good to wait with the investment.