Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands hands-on

We’ve got hands-on with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands and took the fight to the drug cartels. Read on to discover what we thought…

27 Feb 2017

By 2019, the Santa Blanca drug cartel has taken over much of Bolivia. As their power starts to spread beyond the country’s borders and cocaine production spirals out of control, Santa Blanca start targeting U.S. embassies and agents in the region. Something has to be done.

This is where you come in. A special operations unit known as The Ghosts are sent in to take down the cartel in any way they see fit. Sneak in and complete your objectives without anyone knowing you’re there, or burst in guns blazing – it’s up to you.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands is an enormous open world tactical shooter where you can team up with other players and work together to beat each mission. If you can imagine a cross between Far Cry and a less OTT Just Cause 3, you’re sort of on the right track. You view the game in third person, which makes stealthy tactics much easier as you have a more open field of vision to spot threats while you’re in cover.

First things first, even in the Beta version we played, the game world is absolutely enormous. The full map is around 200 square kilometres, which is roughly three times the size of GTA V. You’ll be able to travel through towns, over mountains, across lakes and rivers, through varying types of terrain.

To travel the whole map on foot would take hours, so it’s lucky that you’re able to take control of a huge number of vehicles. With over 60 different vehicles, ranging from cars and motorbikes to military vehicles and helicopters, you’re spoilt for choice – there’s everything here you’d expect to find, plus a few surprises, and you can control them all.

Here’s some more good news; we played the game on PC and found it to be quite well optimised. Our system isn’t the fastest in the world and was probably last called state-of-the-art a few years ago, but we were still able to get super smooth gameplay at High detail settings. For those who like to tinker, there are tons of graphics options to help you get the perfect balance between performance and beauty. And it should be pointed out that this is a very good looking game, even when its not on the highest possible settings.

So, how does the game play? Well, we enjoyed ourselves immensely but not always for the right reasons. When you get a good team who want to play properly, you can really feel like a group of crack operatives. You’ll recon your target, sneak into position and at the given signal… mission accomplished, and they never even knew you were there.

However, every so often you get a group of lunatics who decide their mission objectives are slightly different to yours. They just want to shoot everything that moves, including teammates. Missions then tend to turn into a bit of a free-for-all where you never get anywhere near your objectives. It’s still fun, but we prefer teaming up with a more serious crew. It might be worth making sure you log on with your friends to avoid such carnage…

Missions can be tense and exciting, especially when events don’t quite go as expected and you end up in high-speed vehicle-to-vehicle combat. One of your team drives as others lean from the windows, trading fire with the escaping enemies and trying to shoot out their tyres to capture them. It’s even more fun if another member of your team can provide airborne support from a helicopter.

We loved what we played of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands and can’t wait to see what the full package has to offer.

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