My Ghost Recon Wildlands hands-on impressions come from the closed beta that ran over Super Bowl weekend from a code send to us from Ubisoft. Ghost Recon Wildlands is a massive open world video game coming soon (March 2017) that favors full four player co-op and feels like a mix between The Division and the Far Cry franchise.
Let’s start with the good. From the small bit of the beta that was available it was clear that the open world was a priority. The map is huge (maybe too big) and is littered with encampments and missions to take on. The beta didn’t have the entire map open, but in looking at the map it’s clear to see how big the scope is. The game also has a solid amount of equipment and customization for your character. Don’t confuse this with the character creator, which is subpar, this is equipment only. Once done creating your character’s looks you get to add gear, of which there are many options. As you play you also unlock more, and pieces of weapons to continue upgrading your favorite guns. Those are probably the best two parts of what we’ve seen so far. Unfortunately, these are pretty much the only good things from my time with the game.
My overall experience with the beta was mostly negative. Some of the downfalls are things that can be fixed before launch, some aren’t. First up, bugs. Bugs can (hopefully) be fixed. The beta was insanely buggy. In playing the PS4 version, I experienced things like player models sitting as if they were in cars, but they were not, a player reviving me forever, when in their screen they had revived me and ran off and got on a motorcycle, which then to me looked like a ghost driver. On top of those, the game doesn’t look great (possibly beta/small download related), had a ton of pop-in, and did not run at a smooth frame-rate at all. At times I felt nauseous because of the extreme drops and dips with the frame-rate, which seemed to differ based on what was on screen (cows=low frame-rate). Also, the game itself just wasn’t much fun. The mission we played first was decent, rescuing a VIP and stealing a chopper to get him away, but most of the missions were similar and not all that deep. The gunplay also needs work. Aiming was slow at times, and just didn’t feel good, despite settings for sensitivity and dead zones. Vehicles were tricky to drive, with a chopper that had no real rhyme or reason to how its physics operated, to land vehicles that (no matter how big or what type) could drive over any terrain and up any mountain. The experience just wasn’t good.
Final thoughts on my Ghost Recon Wildlands Hands-On Impressions:
As mentioned, some of my issues could be beta/download size related, but some (gunplay, missions) just need work. For now my recommendation would be to be wary of the game if you’re a Ghost Recon lover looking for a Division-style game set in that world to play with friends. Wait for the full game to come out, read reviews, then decide if you and your squad (because the squad AI is bad, so you’ll want 3 friends) want to drop $60 on the product. I could see this game getting better and better over the next year, but it almost feels like a game that’s a year out at this point, not one that is a month away. Be aware, do your research before buying Ghost Recon Wildlands.