Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands (2017)

Ghost Recon has been so many different types of games, it was hard trying to wrap my mind around the concept of the game for a while. Was it a shooter? Was is a third person cover shooter? Was it a collect-a-thon? Was it a mainly online game? Because the trailer, the coverage around the game was just all over the place. I couldn’t even tell what the game really was, even after seeing it.

A couple years later, I got the game as part of a freebie promotion and after having an amazing time with Assassin’s Creed games, and the Far Cry series, I came to realize how much I enjoy Ubisoft's games. And with nothing else on the horizon I sat down and got into Wildlands.

Wildlands is an open world game that requires dozens of hours to pour into, to fully complete the game. The basics are easy, collect intel either by finding documents or computers in compounds or interrogating enemies. Then you uncover the big bosses, disrupt their operations and pull them out of hiding and eventually take them out. All while climbing your way to the top, the main big bad, dubbed “El Sueno”. Doing these missions are the best way to complete the game, but for me, it’s not the main draw. These are the secondary part of the game for me. The story is the typical meathead army “hoorah” type of character development you get out of something like Call Of Duty. I never skip cutscenes in games, but I felt myself picking up my phone and scrolling through social media so often when these came up, that I just eventually realized that it’s the same thing as skipping. So I started just opting to skip the cutscenes, and it honestly was much better.

The main draw of the game for me, is Ubisoft’s open world. They create these huge massive open environments in the game, and they are absolutely breathtaking if you just take the time to stop and admire it. Flying from one checkpoint to the next is the majority of the game. There are so many collectables and skill points and customizable parts to pick up, that is what I mainly did in the game.I put on some music, and just started going from control point to control point within the large zone that each commander controlled. Once I grabbed all the collectables, I moved onto the story missions.

The story missions are of several varieties, either you have to destroy certain things that the commander controls, for example, one commander was in charge of cocaine distribution, so I had to destroy the plants producing the cocaine. Some missions were centered around an informant who needed to be extracted, flying right in with a helicopter and taking out the few guards and stuffing the informant into the copter, and then flying away while a hail of gunfire was rattling the exterior was really suspenseful. Another mission type could be just finding information about the  commander, usually with the drone and then finally taking them out once their location was revealed.

Wildlands is what I deem as a “podcast game” by that, I mean the game’s story is so bland and boring, skipping the cutscenes altogether is probably for the best. The gameplay mechanics are enjoyable, but there isn’t a whole lot to it. It’s a game you can pick up and get most of everything the game has to offer in about an hour. But it was just fun enough to warrant me playing through it till completion. Throwing on some good tunes and zoning out a bit, or catching up on some podcasts that I have fallen behind on is great, as I don’t really need to pay attention to the game. It’s mindless fun, a game that you can just throw on without having to put too much thought into and just enjoy what it is. It doesn’t need to be the greatest story, or the most complex systems, as long as it’s fun, and that’s exactly what Wildlands is. It is fun, just not a huge deal of fun.