‘Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands’ lets you play as your favorite American superhuman who brings peace and stability to a third world country by killing a lot of brown skinned young men. I like that it’s 80s action movie old school in making drugs the excuse for your mass murdering instead of terrorism.
Racist stereotypes in computer games are nothing new (look at every Call of Duty game for example) and a solid part of pop culture (look at every Hollywood movie for example), but Ubisoft really have outdone themselves with Bolivia. More than half of Ubisoft’s Bolivia’s population are made up by wife-beater wearing young men armed to their teeth. The rest are corrupt police men and some clichéd indigenous civilians who can cost you your mission if you kill them by accident. Ubisoft want to make clear that they only support mass murder on the people that deserve it. It doesn’t help that everyone has the tendency to jump in front of your car.
‘But what about the actual game?’ you ask. ‘Ghost Recon Wildlands’ is all that is wrong with today’s video games. Clearly planned as ‘games as a service’ instead of a game that’s good and entertaining. It provides you with a neat sandbox where you can have fun with your friends, if you have any, or no fun at all if you don’t.
I like the 80s action movie vibe and I enjoyed its pseudo-realistic looks and – this might sound horrible to any non-gamer – I prefer games that provide me with real world guns and give me virtual humans (not aliens, not robots, not dragons, not zombies, etc.) as enemies. It just makes games much more satisfying and immersive experience for me. ‘Ghost Recon Wildlands’ gives me that. I liked the look of the its vast world and I thought the third-person perspective with the first-person iron sights was neatly done. Everything else about the game I hate.
1) it’s repetitive as fuck. Every mission is the same. Go there shoot everyone. Sometimes it’s go shoot everyone and do a thing (e.g. shoot a car). Sometimes it’s don’t get seen shooting everyone, but as soon as you did the thing go shoot everyone.
2) there’s no story. The cut-scenes are as dull and repetitive as the missions. ‘Why do you care? It’s a co-op game!’ Because I payed money for it and they didn’t tell me it’s a shit single player experience. They didn’t pass on the savings for their incredible lazy production to me. Why is this full price? Even ‘Arcania’ appears ambitions in comparison.
3) its unnecessary, tagged on progression system. Call me nitpicky, but why do I have to open a certain gun-case to own the gun in it? What about the one I just took from a dead enemy? How is it possible that I can change my loadout instantly at any place? Why do I have to use skill points to be able to throw a flash bang? I’m just glad they didn’t put enough effort in it to add a crafting system. ‘Collect 10kg of cocaine and a soda can to make a steam boat.’
4) it’s an Ubisoft open-world-sandbox-game. It’s a map with a lot of icons. You’ve been there before.
5) bugs, but that’s a given.
I had fun with this game. I like shooting virtual humans and I played it with friends who feel the same and this in itself resulted in many entertaining hours. Sometimes the gameplay delivered awesome, surprising moments, but in no way did it make ‘Ghost Recon Wildlands’ a good game. It’s the laziest Ubisoft-formula-game I encountered yet and if they sold it as a sandbox for less than 20€ I would be okay with it, but they don’t. I do feel the urge to apologize to young men in white tank tops now.
Info: ‘Ghost Recon Wildlands’ was developed by a lot of Ubisoft studios and released in March 2017. If you still want to buy it, wait for a sale at Uplay or Steam.