Hands on with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands

With the retail release for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands approaching in March I flew out to Ubisoft studios and spent about four hours playing the game and getting a feel for what to expect when it releases. To start off, we had a presentation that went over the highlights and changes that Ubisoft had implemented with this newest installment in the series. The biggest point that was stressed was the open world aspect. When I say open world, I mean OPEN world. From minute one, you can go anywhere on the map. Now, it is not recommended as you will promptly find yourself dead, but you are free to move wherever you want. The draw distance is astounding, and anything you can see you can access. If you look out into the distance and see a mountaintop, you can physically go to that mountaintop. Every vehicle that you come across is able to be driven. Cars, planes, helicopters and boats are all available for use from the start, you just have to get them.

After going over all of that and hyping us all up for this mythically open world adventure, they released us on the game. They explained that the first two hours are solo and the second two hours will be done in co-op squads of four. I was immediately taken aback by the character creation, which is more in-depth than anything Ubisoft has offered up thus-far. I moved through the creator relatively quickly so I could get into the meat and potatoes of the game, but would like to spend more time customizing things when the game releases.

Being a cynic and the tester/editor that I am, I immediately set out to prove Ubisoft wrong. I went in to find the limits and waited for the illusion of open world to fall away, but I have never been more misguided. Everything they promised was there. The world is ASTOUNDING and beautiful beyond compare, and the draw distance really is cutting edge. I grabbed a chopper and flew to a mountaintop and jumped out, and there was an environment there. I found a herd of llamas on a mountainside. There isn?t an objective there; there are no people, no settlement, nothing. Just a herd of llamas hanging out on the side of a mountain that 85% of gamers will never find, but it is there and it manages to bring a feeling of life to every bit of the world.

On top of the incredible visuals, Ghost Recon FEELS good. The movement, aiming, running shooting and all of the other mechanics feel fluid and natural. Everything runs so smoothly and intuitively that you can easily get immersed in the experience and not pay any attention to the controller. Everything comes natural and there are no commands that seem counter-intuitive or out of place. Your team commands that you can issue to the AI teammates are also simple and in line with the overall feeling of the game.

This is a Ghost Recon game for anyone, whether this is your first foray into the series or you are a long time veteran, there is something here that will draw you in. This is a beautifully designed, populated, open world third person shooter with a lot to do and explore.

In my short time I found a number of offshoot missions and side quests that begged for attention while I completed some of the main quests. You can see the abundance of content that they have lined up here and it all looks good. After going hands on I absolutely cannot wait to see what else Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands has to offer.