Only a few years ago, military shooters were the “in” thing. Tough men with big guns went to defend freedom, liberty, and the right to bear very large arms. Now open world games are the genre de jour. It was only a matter of time before someone took a stab at mashing the two together. It’s fitting then that Ubisoft, the father of the modern open-world template, have given us Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
“Wildlands” is a word that implies some crazy fun times. Explosions, quadbikes, maybe some Kenny Loggins on the radio to accompany a helicopter missile attack. Instead, Ghost Recon: Wildlands is more comfortable placing its bare bones mechanical palette and showing you the door.
You really do one thing in Wildlands – shoot. You shoot standing, you shoot crouching, you shoot prone, you shoot cars, you shoot helicopters, you shoot faces, you tell your friends or AI team mates to shoot for you, you shoot anything the open-world tells you to shoot. Thankfully, shooting has a satisfying weight to it. Hitting a target gives a bass heavy * THUD * and there is no shortage of targets to find around the absolutely massive locale of Bolivia. Dozens of rifles, shotguns, and the like are handed out like candy, with most being customizable with findable parts.
Attempting to separate itself from the usual open-world ilk, Wildlands wanted me to think tactically. Enemies aren’t dots on the radar until I spotted them through a scope or air-borne drone. Attacking a compound guns blazing is a recipe for disaster, so picking a few guys off with a suppressed sniper rifle before the big guns come out was always a winning formula. But Wildlands doesn’t want to actually be difficult, just methodical. Bullets kill quick, but the AI is dumb as mud and rarely put up resistance unless you stand in the open. Then it pulls back the map and tells you to do it again another hundred times.