Ghost Recon Wildlands is a Blast, Even When the Mission Goes South

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Ghost Recon Wildlands is a Blast, Even When the Mission Goes South

A VIP finally tipped us off about the drop location.

He had been stationed at a small farm off a dirt road, a mountain looming on the horizon. Our task: approach silently, eliminate the relatively small security force assigned to the VIP, and escort him back to base for questioning.

My squad of four waited for darkness to cover the valley before we began our approach. My drone skimmed overhead to tag possible targets. With everyone marked, my crew moved in fast and I eliminated the main sentry with a silenced rifle. The squad took position. I aimed down the scope. I pulled the trigger… and my bullet ricocheted off the windmill right above the enemy’s head, alerting the entire group. Oops.

This encounter — or some variation of it — is central to Ghost Recon Wildlands. You’re presented with a massive open world filled with outposts, VIPs, and missions, and given the choice to approach them any way you want.

You can go loud, dropping explosives, lobbing grenades, and firing assault rifles until no one is left standing. You can go quiet, knocking out non-essential targets and pave your way to the payload. Or you can plan to go quiet, wait for everything to go to hell, then get very loud while escaping for your life. That seemed to be what happened for me in my limited hands-on time with the game. It wasn’t quite as clean as we had planned, but we got our intel and witnessed some beautiful mayhem.

Wildlands is the first Ghost Recon game on PS4, and the first game in the franchise to feature a truly open world. After spending a few minutes with it, you can see the comparisons to Ubisoft’s other open world ensembles, including Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed. Wildlands is set in a sprawling, unstable Bolivia where multiple factions struggle for power and try to resist the increasing influence of the Santa Blanca drug cartel.

The map seemed truly huge from the limited time we had with the game. Flying over hillsides in our (stolen) helicopter, you could see for miles across rich jungles and open plains, even to some snowy peaks. And as you might expect, the world is filled with stuff to do. Raid outposts, steal and tag supplies to gain favor with the locals, and maybe stumble across some intriguing opportunities: an enticing convoy of oil tankers, a piece of intel leading to a high-value target, or some weapon upgrades. Of course there are weapon upgrades.

The gunsmith is back, letting you customize gear to your heart’s extent. Unlock and add on various scopes, suppressors, stabilizers, extended mags, and grenade launchers to a huge variety of rifles, pistols, and machine guns. Make sure you pick a paint job that suits your personality, too. The customization extends to your character’s appearance: choose gender, hair style, tattoos, and outfit, and then invest in skill trees to emphasize drone, shooting, or driving abilities.

The sheer number of systems at play — especially the land and air vehicles, along with squad mechanics — means the potential for mayhem is high, and often results in hilarious, memorable moments. The tone of the overarching narrative is certainly serious, but the player created stories in moment-to-moment combat can run the full gamut from tragedy to comedy.

Although I only scratched the surface of the main missions, I was excited by the potential I saw. The world is rich, the game looks beautiful (we played on PS4 Pro, so no surprise there), and the co-op opportunities seem limitless. Ghost Recon Wildlands is out on PS4 in March, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of exceptional shared clips coming out of this…

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1 Author Reply

  • Hello Zac,

    I’m very excited for this amazing game!!!

    I wanted to ask if you would make available some Avatar pictures and more Dynamic Themes when the game launches? Also it would be cool if some of these avatar pictures could be of previous Ghost Recon games (for us that loved those games)?

    When is the PS4 Beta for the game coming? I and many of my friends really want to try it out. Also can you on your website and here give more insight on the Season Pass and the content release schedule (roughly).

    Thank you,

    Rob aka Graf

    • Hey Rob! Ubisoft has shared that the closed beta will start on PS4 on February 3rd. You can sign up over on their official website.

  • DId it run at 1080P 60?

  • Zac, did i just hear you right, “Ubisoft has shared that the closed beta will start on PS4 on February 3rd” OMG im ready, to stop playing the beta on my PC and ready to try it on my Pro, thanks for the heads up!!!

  • Hey Zac,

    Thanks for the quick response!

    I’m really looking forward to this amazing game. All check out their website.


    Rob aka Graf

    P.S. I’m also looking forward to watching the short movie on Amazon Video in February.

  • Between this, for honor, and the new Assassins Creed I think Ubisoft is looking at a great 2017. Would really love to know how competitive the different Ubisoft studios feel towards each other because it looks like they seriously push themselves.

    • I dont think we will see a new assassins creed this maybe in 2018 ubisoft can take all the time they need to make it right.

  • I cant wait 1 of the many games im excited for in march. March 7th cant come fast enough

  • Will this have any round based PVP like past Ghost Recon games?

  • Really nice write up, Zac. I’ve been on the fence about this game, but reading this article, I’m leaning towards getting it now. The real and deep customization is super exciting. And Division has been fun with a group, so I can only imagine that with a huge, truly open map, the co-op play will be even more frantic.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Pretty cool the gun customization seems crazy.I’ve played Ghost Recon games in the past and never liked them much,always clunky and not satisfactory to play…putting faith in this one because of the open-world,so far the game overall looks great and gameplay videos I’ve seen looked good enough.I hope the game delivers,signed up for the beta I also hope I get selected.

  • So its open world but is it only the 4 people in your squad you get to see/play with? Or can you find and fight/help other squads in the world?

  • Actually this is about my only remaining question on this game, do the encounters reset if you fail them / run away? How long does an alerted camp stay alerted?

    oh and is there a New Game+ mode, what is there to do after you beat the main campaign and side missions?

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