Well folks, unless you have been living under a rock and not paying attention to the latest gaming news, then you know that this past weekend was the Closed Beta test for Ghost Recon: Wildlands. I was lucky enough to be able to participate in this and lets just say, it made me want this game even more than I already did. Now all I have to do is wait another month for the full game to release on March 7th, 2017. So lets get into why I absolutely loved this game.
For starters, the story line behind this game is very compelling. Taking part in the present day, you are a member of the infamous Ghost Recon team sent to Bolivia to help take back control of the Government from the Santa Blanca Cartel. The Ghosts are an elite group of warriors that specialize in covert guerrilla style, and unconventional warfare. The Ghosts often operate in a manner that no one really knows they are there and the US Government deny they exist. Using methods of espionage and special warfare tactics, the Ghosts typically use the help of local rebel fighters to aid them in their mission. Also the Ghosts, while highly decorated members of the special forces community, often do not receive public acknowledgement of their achievements.
The map size is something unlike I have ever seen before. For the beta, we only had access to 1 of the many different areas of the map, and for being only 1 area, it was enormous, taking about 10 minutes to drive across it. The area we had access to was a rural mountainous region, and the view was fantastic. While in the flying around in a helicopter, I would just like to look around at the scenery, and every now and then, I would see an explosion on the ground below me, not quite sure what was happening but it was interesting. The rendering was phenomenal, especially for a beta test. I felt as though i could see clearly for miles if there wasn’t mountains in the way.
The physical mechanics were also something I really enjoyed. Weapon handling felt like it should, though the driving was a left a bit to be desired, but it isn’t the worst driving mechanics I have come across. Flying takes some getting used to, especially if you are used to flying in games like GTA V, but you pick it up fairly quickly. At no point during playing did I feel as though I wasn’t in control.
Gone are the days of enemies being bullet sponges, requiring you to unload an entire magazine to take out a boss. Wildlands offers a much more realistic approach, requiring only a few hits to take out a non-armored target, armored targets take a bit more effort, but it is still more realistic than an entire magazine.
Play alone or with 3 friends, but always have a fire team of 4. This is something that I truly enjoyed. It didn’t matter if I was by myself or with 3 friends, I was never truly playing alone. While playing “Single Player” you still have 3 AI controlled squad mates, that can actually do some work for you. If you get in a situation where you need to shoot your way in or out, and you give them the go ahead to unleash hell, they will, and if you don’t react fast enough, your AI squad can actually rack up more kills than you. The nice thing is that no matter what they do, or where they go, they will not alert enemies or set off alarms if playing by yourself, the AI enemies will only react if they see you.
This game offers so many different ways to complete any mission it is fantastic. If you want to play as a true Ghost and sneak in and out before anyone knows you are there, you can, if you want to just go in guns-a-blazin’, you can do that too, the possibilities are endless.
Leveling up in this game is fairly simple, you gain XP for completing missions and side missions, as well as for finding supplies in the world. When you level up you gain skill points that can be used to upgrade your characters stamina, health, weapon handling and other things such as a parachute, or drone upgrades. Each upgrade seems easy to obtain, though some are locked behind Level requirements. Also you can find special items in the world that automatically give you 1 skill point, which I thought was really cool. Sneaking up on some enemies, you will have to option to interrogate them to reveal the locations of new missions, weapons or supplies, including these automatic skill points, and you can choose which one of these “beans” you want the guy to spill.
Customization is king in this game. Offering a healthy dose of different faces for male and female characters. Ubisoft really knocked it out of the park for me when I was seeing real life brands being used for apparel as well. Things such as Oakley providing sunglasses, and gloves, and other brands such as 5.11 Tactical, providing pants, backpack and vests for your character to wear. There were so many different options from long to short sleeve shirts, to polos, jackets, hats, pants, boots, you name it, there is and endless number of combinations that can be put together.
This beta test was a real treat, and did nothing more than solidify my NEED for this game. When it was over, which only took several hours, I was left wanting more….to the point that I deleted my saved data just to play it again. I for one cannot wait until March 7th when the full version of this game releases, and hey until then, maybe we’ll get another treat and have access to an open beta test like Ubisoft did with For Honor just recently.
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