Ghost Recon: Wildlands or The Perfect Narcos Sandbox – With a Blight

After two betas, we can now finally roam all of Bolivia in Ghost Recon: Wildlands – and it is a massive country! And the beauty of it is not just the size and diversity of the map or the dozens of weapons and attachments, it’s the fact that Wildlands is a true, proper sandbox, probably one of the best in recent years!

Whether you want to play co-op or solo, whether you want to go in stealthy or very loud, whether you like long fire fights or sync shots, whether you want to even go in along or just rain mortar fire upon your enemies, whether you want a crisp challenge or just drive around to explore, whether you recon with a binocular, your drone or your weapon, all of this and more is entirely up to you.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands comes very, very close to great sandbox legends such as Just Cause 2 or the first Mercenaries, and the more Rabidgames plays, the more it feels like a mix of these two games. Add a pinch of Far Cry fuck-ups when things go wrong (enemy patrols can show up at very inopportune times), and perhaps there are also traces of pinch of Phantom Pain’s DNA in here (gathering resources or tagging enemies as well as how you should approach enemy bases).

A word of warning though – like in Just Cause 2, you pretty much do the same couple of missions over and over again, and approaching an occupied city, base or building changes only depending on the size and weaponry of your enemies. It’s entirely up to you and your creativity how to approach it. Even if you play the game solo, all the scenarios above and more are possible. Most missions allow various approaches. Even stopping an enemy convoy can be tackled in many ways – grab an armoured APC and let your guys fire away, ram the vehicles with a truck, or simply lay mines or C4 on the streets.

In a nutshell, Wildlands is a massive sandbox that gives you plenty of freedom to do things your way. For some, the mission variety might seem lacking – “go there, kill that, abduct him, destroy this” don’t vary too often, sure. But that’s not the point. The point of Wildlands is to write your own stories as you tackle your objectives.

So far, so good. But while Wildlands is great fun, it is blighted by one big issue – motherfucking micro-transaction! True, it might be mostly cosmetics, but what the flying fuck? Why is the only leather jacket hidden behind a fucking pay-wall? Couple that with the 30 quid season pass, and it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Come on Ubisoft, for fuck’s sake! Look at Horizon Zero Dawn, or look at Nier: Automata: There are no fucking piece of shit pay-walls, folks! You buy the game, you get all of it! Please, for the love of gaming, stop this shite already!

Apart from that monetary blight, the single radio channel looping its 5 or so pieces too quickly and a few technical hick-ups, Wildlands is a fucking brilliant sandbox. So brilliant that it has been the biggest launch seller so far this year, beating both Horizon Zero Dawn and Zelda! It seems this is a sandbox for everyone. And while the game might be rough around the edges, it can also look amazing.

wildlands1

Rabidgames recons: If it wasn’t for the disgusting practices of locking away stuff behind a fucking pay-wall, Wildlands would leave only a sweet taste in the mouth of sandbox fans. But the sour taste of mindless monetisation is lingering on despite the many positives. It is a shame, but the shame there is entirely on Ubisoft!

 

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