Hey whats going on guys, I’m Jay Carteré and in this post I’m going to be sharing my Ghost Recon Wildlands PS4 review.
First off, let’s start with my experience.
I think the last Ghost Recon I played was Advanced Warfighter 2 on the Xbox 360. I played that for some time but I’ve never really been a big Ghost Recon fan. I however, played the Ghost Recon Wildlands BETA and I thought it was okay but I didn’t think it would have enough varied content to hold my attention for too long. Now I have finished Ghost Recon Wildlands. Meaning I’ve reached the end boss, but there’s also more missions for me to do in order to unlock the true ending. I think I’ve played the game more than enough to let you know whether it’s worth the price, I mean I’ve played for about 30 hours and I’ve gotten to grips with the gameplay which is the main focus of my reviews.
Let me just start off by saying this game is long. It’s a typical open world game with side activities - not side missions - to complete as well as a main set of missions.
The mission structure is similar to something like “Crackdown"or" Mercenaries”, you have four main heads of the Santa Blanca Cartel that you need to take out and capture before you can take out or capture El Sueño, the boss if the Santa Blanca Cartel. You only have to take out or capture 2 out of the 4 of these Heads of the cartel to complete the game and get the first ending, however before you can attack the heads of each aspect of the cartel you need to take out their underboss and take out their 4 or 5 captains or Buchons before you can attack the underboss.
Each Buchon has around 4 - 6 missions to complete in order to work your way up to them, these missions range from tailing people, killing people, capturing people, getting a specific item or blowing stuff up. But in order to get access to those missions you need to find and scan information located in the open world and generally in outposts.
Taking out outposts are the core loop of the game, similar to the Far Cry games and many others. Almost every mission requires you to get into an outpost full of enemies and complete some sort of objective. You’re usually able to go in stealthy or guns blazing but some missions force you to use stealth only and the game seems to expect yo to play stealthy. This is cool with me - I’ve been waiting for a splinter cell game for years and this is the closest thing we have to it although the stealth mechanics aren’t the deepest.
First of all the stealth only missions are flawed because you fail automatically if the enemy begins hunting for you, which is the second alert stage, before they find you and start engaging in a fight which is the third alert stage. This means the game expects you to maintain full stealth, meaning no enemy knows you’re there whatsoever. This is possible if you just focus on not being seen and don’t try and kill too many people but if the enemy finds a body or hears a shot then you have to restart. Seeing as you have no ability to move bodies, I think thats a bit unfair and annoying, you also can’t create a big explosion or something as a distraction to sneak in as that would make the enemies hunt for you and make you fail the mission. So these stealth missions seem rigid in a way that I don’t think gels with the rest of the game, luckily the stealth missions aren’t the bulk of the game but the issues don’t end there.
The AI in this game leaves a lot to be desired. As I mentioned before, when you miss a shot or blow something up you start being hunted. Somehow when this occurs, the enemies gain psychic abilities and know exactly where you are 99% of the time. Whole groups of them - I’m talking 6 - 10 soldiers - will converge on your position and at that point you have a few options. You can fight them all head on, you can hold a choke point and wait until each one of them comes around the corner and kill them one and two at a time or you can sneak away and wait for an undetermined amount of time for the enemies to go back to their posts.
First of all almost a whole outpost leaving their posts undefended to come towards your position based on the suggestion of a psychic is bad strategy. And when I say psychic I mean it, the enemies come to your exact position - not even just your general area, it’s silly - but the fact that most of the outpost is now unguarded makes it easy for you to bypass them and get to your objective. A better way of dealing with this would be for a group of about 4 soldiers to come out and hunt for you for a fixed amount of time, something like the alert mode in metal gear solid, and then going back to base and reporting that nothing is there if you don’t kill them.
This gives you the choice of killing those soldiers meaning you’ve got 4 less enemies to deal with, but maybe they send out a larger or stronger hunting party, or letting them live in order to remain stealthy and undetected. Adding a timer to the hunting and alert statuses would also make it much easier for players to make informed decisions like “do I wait out this hunt even though it’s going to take 40 more seconds or do I go in guns blazing”. Having a time on screen would make it less likely that we crawl around with our tail between our legs waiting for the enemies to get off our trail while we play a game of hide and seek.
When I first started playing the game, I thought playing on normal was too easy (and it can be) but unidad (the military of Bolivia) provided a good challenge whenever I came across them.
When I tried to beat the story quickly for the sake of review I found the game to be getting boring and repetitive before I even took out the first Cartel head. Then I realised what the game was about and what I had been neglecting by not exploring and doing side activities.
The game is about levelling up your character and finding better weapons for your loadout. I had been totally missing this aspect of the game when I was doing each story mission after one another, using the same 3 weapons I had been using since my first few hours with the game.
Getting new guns, attachments, skills, equipment and new support options from the rebels - that is the main draw of the game. The story is just there to keep you moving forward and to provide some direction. And when you combine the clearing outposts loop that I mentioned earlier with the possibilities of getting new rewards such as skills, attachments and weapons, then the process becomes much more exciting. Levelling up my character was very much a background thought while playing through Ghost Recon Wildlands although I always got excited when I found a new skill medal, a gun or attachment I wanted and even levelling up skills for my character when I remembered to do it.
In addition to getting new equipment and skills, the side activities around the open world give you access to rebel support such as, spotting an area, using mortars, providing backup and delivering vehicles - most importantly the helicopter. These upgrades are quite useful and enable you to streamline your gameplay and make things easier or give you more options to play with.
I could go on about the gameplay and list all the other things you can do but that may be suited to a more in depth spoiler review and if that’s requested I may do that but for now let me just say that I played the majority of this game solo and I think it is generally better if you play it with friends. That is the same for all games, but this game seems designed as a co-op experience, the mediocre AI and the repetitive missions are much less annoying if you’re playing with a group of friends. I did try and play public co-op but I wouldn’t recommend it. The few times I joined a game the other people were either loud and annoying, didn’t speak English or everyone was just going about doing their own thing.
There were quite a lot of sound bugs, dialogue would cut out in cut scenes and it would take a while for vehicle engine noise to kick in after loading up an area. At one point when I loaded up the game there was no sound whatsoever but that was fixed when I restarted my PS4.
The story is not the main focus in Ghost Recon Wildlands and I doubt it’s going to win any awards but I was very interested in the story of El Sueño and the Cartel. I liked El Sueño’s narrations a lot and the videos regarding the cartel, the actual story and in game cut scenes left a lot to be desired. A lot of the voice acting wasn’t great and most of the story just wasn’t interesting. You could turn off the sound and put some music in the background and play this and you won’t be missing out a bunch. The first ending is mediocre - I will create an updated video where I talk about the real ending after destabilising the cartel 100% if it gets any better.
I think the main problem with the story is that the game was designed to be played in any order and in co-op. This means there is no character development at all and the team you play as has no real personalities. Since your team members were designed to be traded out for co-op buddies at any time, I understand why they have no personality but even your main character seems to be made out of cardboard. This is an open world game with a focus on open world co op mischief and fun so I doubt the story will be the reason anyone plays this game but again, El Sueño’s parts were great, he really made every narration he made sound epic and interesting.
Is it worth the price?
Ghost Recon is currently £42.99 on Amazon. I had a lot of fun with Ghost Recon Wildlands, I played it for over 30 hours and I want to play it more - although probably in multiplayer. I do think that if you’re going to play this game singleplayer you should be aware of the repetitive nature of the game. But if you love taking out outposts and finding new gear like I do, then you’ll have a bunch of fun planning your sweet smooth tactical outpost clearings and taking on the Santa Blanca Cartel. I also forgot to mention that the gunplay and combat feels very good and satisfying, despite the AI’s shortcomings.
I think this game is definitely worth the money if you have at least 2 friends to play it with and worth the money in single player if you like taking down outposts in these kind of games as there is a lot of content here. But if that’s not your thing then you’re better off waiting for a sale.
Pros And Cons
- A lot of Weapons and unlockables
- A bunch of outposts to take out
- A lot of missions to tackle
- Stable open world co-op
- Good gunplay
- A weak story
- Mediocre AI
- Repetitive side activities