The 4 player co-op we’ve been waiting for. Ghost Recon: Wildlands (Beta Impressions)

This weekend, Ubisoft passed around closed beta keys for “Ghost Recon: Wildlands” to those who signed up prior. They are kind enough to let you invite up to 3 friends so you can get the full co-op experience. For those that didn’t know, GR:W was announced at E3 in 2015 & 2016. I’m one of those people that had no opinion on this game. I did not expect much from it because I’ve never played too much of the Ghost Recon series. Now, after playing this beta, I have to say my opinion has gone up with regards to this franchise.

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Quick overview of the plot;  the game is set in Bolivia and the local drug cartel is getting out of the control. The US feels threatened by them especially when they bomb their embassy. This is where you come in, an elite team of special operatives known only as “the Ghosts”. You get full customization of your character, variety of clothes and gear with camo colors. From my experience in the beta, this is a game that is meant to be played with your friends. You can go solo if you wish and control your AI teammates but it feels like the game will lose value IMO. Plus AI teammates have never been good in any game, so go out and make some real friends to play this game with. Which brings me to public matchmaking in this game. You can start your own game, set it to public and hopefully other lonely gamers will join you. This also works vice versa, when you start up your campaign, you’ll get recommendations of friends’ game or a stranger’s session you can join or invite to your own. A good note is that you won’t get AI teammates when you have at least one “human” partner.

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I think the big selling point, for this game, is the open world. This is the first time in the “Ghost Recon” franchise to feature this element. I think that this is a phenomenal step in the right direction for them. If you guys remember, “The Division”, branded with Tom Clancy as well, had open world but didn’t seem to live up to expectations. Based on playing the beta this game just oozes potential. With the addition of open world you’re no longer tied down to main missions and you’re free to explore the map however you want. There are side missions, convoys to stop, supplies to steal, and even weapon crates lying around to build up your arsenal. I know what you’re thinking, “with so much to do how am I going to get around the map?”. Well let me tell you that there are tons vehicles, including choppers and boats you can use to traverse the lands. As an added compliment to open world, there is a fast travel feature to “rally points”. These points are basically your safe havens where you can fiddle with your loadout and resupply your ammo. More importantly these are where you turn in most of your missions, if not all of them. Of course if you’re escorting something or someone, fast travelling will not help you complete the mission faster. I expect there will be a little bit more variety to the missions when the full game releases.

My expectations for this game have gone up quite a bit after playing this beta. This is a third-person tactical shooter, so cover and stealth play are your best friends usually. Open world gives you the freedom to play however you want. Going Rambo with some friends might be more enjoyable than tactically eliminating your enemies. I’m going to use the word potential again because this could put 4 player co-ops back on the map for some developers. If you’ve noticed with the gaming trend lately, there’s a lot of focus on Single-player and Multiplayer (PvP), so if there’s any co-op at all it’s usually only for 2 players. There are a few questions that arise of course from playing the beta though. There’s no base jump, just “press A to climb this object”. And always with Ubisoft there are the server issues when playing online with friends. I’ve only experienced one bug from my playthrough, in which a friend joined my session and after ridding the area of baddies we proceeded to the helicopter I had used earlier. I couldn’t use said chopper because I crashed into the side of a mountain and the blades broke. My friends could use the chopper just fine but all I could see was him in a dead chopper floating up and down. Beta, am I right? Hopefully they’re able to fix all the bugs and glitches. Definitely take a look at this game and try it out if you get the chance. I’m looking forward to the advances they make before its release next month.

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