In the decade since the release of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfare 2, the Tom Clancy-licensed franchise has gone through the ringer. The Rainbow Six series has been well-received with few games, while The Division was divisive at launch and remains so to this day despite many content updates. Wildlands is the first entry in the Ghost Recon series since GRAW 2 and offers up a new generation of gamers and gaming devices an experience unlike any other. The recent open beta demonstrated that the game offers up a blend of stealth, action, and tactical shooting that should please a wide variety of players.
Newcomers to the Ghost Recon series will have to retrain their brains a bit to how this game works. If you’re used to a fast-paced shooting experience akin to a Call of Duty or Titanfall, you’re not going to find that here. The action-heavy portions come from brief moments of having a few enemies nearby, and then getting from point A to B quickly. Vehicles allow you to move around the terrain and plan your strategy with your team. You can go far way from your enemy base and then plan to succeed, or you can go closer and take a riskier approach.
Teamwork is the key to success whether you’re playing for the first time or the 50th. Coordinating your approach with teammates allows each person to play a vital role in the mission. If you have one person act as a scout, another go after one area, one other face a certain group, have the third go after another group, and then meet together you’ll be able to divide your enemies up and conquer the group. In doing so, you’ll gather intel that you’re after, find items you need, and take things over room-by-room. There’s tension in every area and there’s never a dull moment as a result. For a game that requires a lot of waiting and strategizing, this is quite a feat. The open beta didn’t show off a lot of mission variety, but it did showcase how well-crafted the core game is.
Moving around is a breeze, as is driving – which is something that Ubisoft struggled to get right with the original Watch Dogs. Shooting and aiming feel fairly natural, and as per the norm, having the Xbox One controller’s enhanced rumble makes each shot feel that much more damaging. It isn’t an easy game and it is one that you need to be in a patient mindset to excel in, but once everything clicks into place for you, you’re golden. Going in guns-ablazing is a great way to fail, and selfish players looking to be glory hogs are doomed to fail as well.
The open beta was brief, but gave enough of a look inside the game to see that it will be worth your time and money when it’s released on March 7. There are a few different versions available, with the standard game costing $59.99, the deluxe edition costing $69.99 and the gold edition with the season pass setting you back $99.99. Newcomers should definitely rent it if they didn’t have a chance to try the beta since this is such a different kind of shooters – while veterans of the series can rest easy and drop their cash instantly.