I’ve only played around 2 hours of Ghost Recon Wildlands (GRW) and while I may not be the most qualified to review it at this point, I can still say that I’m loving it so far. I’d upload some videos except YouTube is not playing nice with my PS4 right now and won’t let me upload any GRW video. It just sends me on a sign in loop, it did the same thing when I first got Mafia III and I’m not sure if it’s some sort of protocol so that only the super big wigs can upload the latest videos. At any rate below are 6 things that you should know about one of the best military shooters of all time.
- You can play the campaign (solo) offline. This was never really in question but if you had your doubts, it’s understandable in light of Ubisoft’s 180 on For Honor, an always-online game, which was originally announced as playable offline. Have no fear, in spite of Ubisoft’s communist agenda, you can play GRW offline and you actually own it when you buy it.
- You can absolutely aim in 3rd person (over-the-shoulder). Every official gameplay video released by Ubisoft featured first person aiming (iron sights). This was almost a deal breaker for me and countless others. Although in rare gameplay footages many have pointed out that you can toggle between 3rd person and first person aiming by clicking the right stick, there was always the question of whether or not Ubisoft will remove that feature. You can now rest assured that 3rd person aiming is there. You can even set it as the default aiming for all weapons without ever having to toggle.
- There is a snap-on cover system. Another feature that Ubisoft never gave a straight answer for is the cover system. The general consensus prior to release was that there was no cover system, only a lean mechanic. Well now it’s official, there is a snap-on cover system very similar to most 3rd person shooters. Biggest difference is it’s contextual, meaning there’s no button for it. You get close enough to a wall or any barrier and you will press up against it and assume a “behind cover” position. You can pop out to shoot and pop back into cover. What the cover system does NOT have is the ability move from cover to cover the way you can in The Division.
- Open firefights are solid. Ubisoft never released footage of an actual firefight prior to launch. We’ve seen tons of footage on stealth kills and sneaking around but it almost seemed as though Ubisoft was deliberately not showing any footage involving gunfights. The important thing to know is that they are fun and as intense as we could hope for. The enemies are not Mafia III brain-dead. They will flank, get behind cover and rush you, sometimes simultaneously. Gun battles are very involved.
- Missions are replayable. Ability to replay my favorite missions is a huge faktor for me (see what I did there?), and some games that don’t have this feature honestly bum me out. GRW lets you replay any story mission so you can relieve your best moments or try different approaches or paths.
- Bodies disappear too quickly. This so far is the ONLY complaint I have. Enemy corpses vanish in seconds, literally the moment you look the other way. When I’m going full-on Rambo I’d like to see a trail of bodies in my wake, but GRW has denied me this pleasure, instead only leaving a blood stain and a weapon. Disappearing bodies ruin immersion more than anything else. You’d think that this console generation would be powerful enough to keep the bodies from disappearing, at least until you leave the general vicinity
So these are my early impressions. Ubisoft has been emphasizing freedom and player choice for Wildlands and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t run into to any forced stealth missions where detection will result in an instant fail. I also wonder how the big bosses will get killed. Every enemy I’ve killed only took one or two short trigger squeezes. I’m hoping that the game won’t break its own rules by making the big bosses huge bullet sponges that would require dozens of clips to put down, or arbitrarily handicap my character to make it artificially challenging. What about you? Have you played some Wildlands yet?