Ghost Recon: Wildlands review: Hunt down druglords in this ambitious but flawed open-world shooter

Sam White
Ghost Recon: Wildlands

In Ghost Recon Wildlands, the latest open world game from Ubisoft, you head to Bolivia, here a narco state overrun with junkies and drug lords who’ve corrupted those in power and killed anyone that stood in their way. You traverse and shoot your way across mountains, deserts, woodlands and floodplains as a four-strong team of “Ghosts”, ultra-capable specialist soldiers who have free rein to do as they please.

Your target is the Santa Blanca cartel, whose merciless rule over the South American nation has rendered it a chaotic and crime riddled place. The top dog, a tattooed pitbull called El Sueno, is protected by his immense nationwide organisation and, as any kingpin should, has a number of lieutenants doing his bidding. You must kill them all, however you see fit.

On paper it’s a great idea. You’re free to approach missions how you please, whether it’s on foot in broad daylight, or in a helicopter under the cover of darkness.

Teaming up with three other players is clearly the best way to play, communicating with one another to launch tactical offences against the enemy, even if the game’s onslaught of bugs and scrappy design decisions often turn these freeform strengths into frustrating and difficult to overlook weaknesses. Don’t even bother with single player.

The game also tells a crappy story with some truly terrible writing, exploring themes that dumbly glorify American interventionism and the most tedious brand of military hoo-hah dick-swinging.

It’s fun with friends, but only sometimes. The bugs give everything an unfinished feel, and you’re otherwise having to listen to a brawling squaddie say “shitballs” for the millionth time. There’s an unforgivable air of laziness to the entire affair – one thing’s for sure, Wildlands misses its mark.

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