On the one hand, a virgin land (videogame speaking) like Bolivia, a stage less used by the various open world companies that now perform more and more frequently on the market. On the other hand, a software house like Ubisoft, prolific and with all due respect to its detractors, always ready to get involved, even in months that are not simple like this March. In the middle? A rich experience, with some flaws but also a lot of content. In two words: Ghost Recon Wildlands.
In the hands of Ubisoft, the name of the writer Tom Clancy has become a sort of umbrella for series that are also very different from each other: from the most recent rookie The Division to the most "senior" franchise of the group, Rainbow Six, the mission was to bring those who play to reasoning, rather than charge each other low without weighing tactics and movements. And, despite this time the natural tendency towards less claustrophobic settings than the aforementioned Rainbox Six has definitely exploded, Ghost Recon Wildlands does not forget this imperative and manages to mix planning and open world. Even at the cost of committing some lightness, as we will see.
Version tested: PlayStation 4
Keep the sign in line
The Santa Blanca cartel finally did it: years of machinations, intimidation and bribery finally brought El Sueño, the boss of the bosses to the top of this underworld organization, a stone's throw from his dream: to create a land of dreams to be able to cultivate and prosper the cocaine trafficking, and then export the goods to Mexico and North America. A full-blown narco-state, where politicians and law enforcement officers are on the payroll of the cartel (or on their very personal black list) and Santa Blanca is free to dictate the law, without apparent worries and oppressing the population with their maneuvers aimed at earning. But as in the best traditions, tyranny sows the seed of its own defeat, and in the shadow of the influence of the cartel a rebellious force is born, which together with the CIA and its affiliates on the spot will give way to the Kingslayer operation, aimed at making come out and put El Sueño and Santa Blanca out of action for good. Like? Relying on the field work of the four strongest elements of US intelligence, the Ghost unit.
Bolivia made in Ubisoft is truly a wild nation.
The name Wildlands was not printed on the title cover randomly: not only is it linked to what, as we will see, is an open world philosophy that brings to its maximum the predilection of the Ghost Recon series for more open and less suffocating environments, but summarizes in one word the approach with which the player is called to set up the Kingslayer operation. Basically, to get to the clash with El Sueño and overthrow the Santa Blanca his four lieutenants must be sacked, in turn surrounded by their buchones. With absolute freedom then you choose from which piece to start attacking the sign, with the possibility (if desired) to ignore the difficulty of the chosen area in which to operate in search of a more substantial challenge. From mission to mission, from dossier to dossier, you get to knock out the hierarchy of the cartel backwards, until you finally reach the top. From a playful point of view the choice certainly helps the nature of Wildlands, especially if you look at the multiplayer picture. Since there is no real common thread (if not the goal of getting to take out El Sueño) and having built everything above all through documents and intel to be recovered on the field, the latest iteration of Ghost Recon allows the player to pass easily from the individual to the online cooperative, to play with your group of friends or try your luck with matchmaking, without affecting the appeal of the product: to deepen, eventually, there is time a posteriori after having cooled the buchon on duty, and there is no danger of any anticipation if you move from one area to another by completely changing the objective depending on the team's decisions, given that in practice each of these is fundamentally independent from the others. The reverse of the coin records a perhaps not very cohesive narrative e characters who, to be fully appreciated, require to go beyond the movies that Wildlands proposes as an introduction for the target, going to retrieve extra information on the field from the files and then examining the content. Not a big problem, given that the focus is definitely shifted to the action (more or less reasoned) pad in hand and that in any case, also thanks to high-profile collaborations (we will return to the appropriate paragraph) the prominent members of Santa Blanca succeed to capitalize on almost all the minutes on the screen dedicated to him, also taking away the satisfaction of some more direct in-depth analysis if he lends an ear to the in-game radio (since it happens to come across interviews and statements released by the "big" of the area that is exploring and by the boss himself).
Exterminators of Kings
Given what is the process that, having arrived in a new area of the map, leads to free it from the influence of the Santa Blanca, it is time to go into more detail and go to scratch the playful aspects proper of Wildlands. And, from the first hours of the game, on this front you realize how the last chapter of Ghost Recon possesses a double soul, then bringing out one or the other depending on how you decide to play it. Let's start with the single player experience: during local matches three of the four team members are (obviously) controlled by the CPU, but in accordance with the tactical nature of the series the player is in fact having to manage some aspects of its behavior. Familiarize himself immediately with squad orders, which allow for example to recall members if they are scattered, order to wait in position while reconnaissance of the perimeter or (when driving) to open or close fire to engage or disengage from enemies. But probably the most impactful aspect on the game mechanics (in the end, if you go too far, the three allies moved by the CPU are transported in the immediate vicinity) is the Synchronized Shot. Basically it is possible to hook an enemy (being able to increase the number of targets by enhancing the relative skill in the skill tree) by marking it with a signaler, and then ordering the allies to take it down at a command. A useful practice to eliminate multiple targets at the same time, so as not to cause alerts and be able to reach your goal in a stealthy way. And it is at this point that the skill just described goes to perfectly combine with the Drone, which allows you to carry out reconnaissance operations remotely and in significantly reduced times. Clearly, as soon as you start playing the quadcopter's possibilities are limited, both for the battery of the device and for the distance that can be reached before losing the video signal with the device, but also in this case by investing in the right skills more time is dedicated to Wildlands and the easier it is to bring out the potential of the Drone, if you decide to invest in this resource. Almost easy to the point, once a certain level of confidence has been exceeded, to make the experience tend to be more affordable, especially if in parallel to the drone, as mentioned, skill points are also spent on the Synchronized Shot. Especially because then it happens that using the latter the characters controlled by the CPU are able to execute shots at the limits of the impossible, shooting down targets that the player would not be able to hit (or in any case not with the same ease and effectiveness in elimination).
Once online, however, the simplifications disappear and the four Ghosts can only count on themselves.
When teammates are human, you can no longer rely on these miraculous shots, much less on the ability to see allies appear instantly if you stray too far from the group or on the guarantee of being revived (in single the first spin is free, and Ghosts manage to get the player back on their feet without too much effort usually). The tactical component therefore takes on a whole new dimension, which alone, to make the experience as less frustrating and arcade as possible, can only be glimpsed. And it is precisely here that, as mentioned, the choice to structure the campaign in absolute freedom pays and rewards, cashing in much more than he sacrificed narratively speaking. Wildlands, while remaining an absolutely enjoyable product even alone, undoubtedly plays its best online, perhaps with three other friends, communicating via voice chat and exchanging dubious jokes and puns just like the four Ghosts do each other in fiction in-game. Especially because then anyway there is no shortage of things to do in Wildlands Bolivia, and even if in the long run the risk of repetition there is (undeniably) the playful system, especially if exploited to the maximum online, manages to compensate for the defect. How does it manage to compensate for some more rough elements on the technical front.
You drive worse than Aiden Pearce
We spoke a few lines ago of arcade. And having to add an adjective to the Wildlands driving model, arcade would probably be the best choice: driving on the road, the physics seems to work properly, returning quite plausible feedback, but once you venture on some dirt road, things change. Unlikely rebounds, rollovers that always seem to be resolved with the vehicle, in the end, able to get back on the wheels and in general a realization that appeals a little too often to the suspension of disbelief, all however partially mitigated by the good "characterization" of vehicles, with Wildlands being able to make it clear right away that a 4 × 4 SUV has different performance when you go off the road than a Station Wagon. On the performance side, things are better, since (it must be said, the PS4 hardware has certainly not been squeezed by the developers in different environments) the experience manages to settle on an average fluidity, online and offline, even in situations more excited. The final result therefore is up to the occasion, perhaps a little rough if you look at collisions and interpenetrations, but suitable for what was the goal of the developers. Acoustically speaking, El Sueño in fact benefits from Luca Ward's vocal cords, and in general the adaptation work done is convincing and manages to give the characters (at least, the main ones) the right vocal depth. From this point of view, as mentioned, the presence of interviews and audio insights on the radios of the different areas is appreciated, which give a few extra minutes (and a few more lines of dialogue) to the voice actors, which is undoubtedly capitalized properly. The soundtrack is also suitable for the setting, which always reaches the player thanks to the radios, rich in Latin sounds and definitely capable of bringing the player into the Bolivian setting.Verdict 8/10 Pablo Escobar was an amateur Comment Ghost Recon Wildlands, at the end of the games, convinces. There is no shortage of flaws and flaws, and those looking for a great story would probably be better off looking elsewhere. But undoubtedly the Ubisoft creature knows how to have its say alone and played with 3 other friends is nothing short of phenomenal, managing to give hours and hours of fun, especially since there is no shortage of things to do. But beware of the risk of repetition, always around the corner after a certain amount of hours spent in the game. Pros and cons ✓ Lots of content
✓ Original and varied map
✓ Solid gameplay ... x ... That looks its best online
x A little rough
x At risk of repetition