This past weekend, the Ghost Recon: Wildlands Open Beta hit Xbox One. Featuring two areas for exploration and gameplay, the Beta opened up Bolivia to players as they worked to take down the Santa Blanca Cartel.
With full character customization and gameplay options available, plus the ability to play via online co-op, the Beta showed off all the game has to offer before it’s March 7 release.
As with any open-world game, there are moments where you’re simply running or driving to your next objective, and these moments felt largely similar to other games. There were certain location you could fast-travel to and the occasional helicopter to get around even quicker, but there were still plenty of moments where you had to hoof it or drive on winding Bolivian roadways. These moments weren’t entirely painful, but they still managed to take you out of the action.
Speaking of action, the Beta showed off the relatively tight gunplay one can typically expect from a Tom Clancy game. With the open-world setup, the various mission and side-quest locations, and the roving bands of baddies, there was a lot to explore and subsequently shoot.
Taking time to set up timed takedowns with your co-op or AI buddies was incredibly satisfying, especially when the plan went off without a hitch. However, the AI teammates weren’t always reliable and flipped between all-out warfare and hanging so far back you were left high and dry. There was no real middle-ground, and even though you had a radial menu from which you could order them around, the AI wasn’t always responsive to the orders. In addition, roving groups of Rebels – a faction you can help and utilize – would sometimes wander into the middle of your flawless plan and wreck everything. Plus, those damn Unidad helicopters and patrols enjoyed popping in at inopportune times.
Though the gameplay and weapon handling feels fairly polished – except for your third-person viewpoint sometimes being a bit wonky when not looking down your sights – vehicles and AI need some work. There were multiple instances of AI teammates getting stuck or confused, Rebels continuously walking into fences or buildings, and helicopters wigging out when they clipped something. Mostly entertaining, these issues still need some attention to make the game feel truly polished.
The Beta also showed off the game’s variety in terms of character customization and playstyle but highlighted the overall lack of mission variety.
You can really tweak your character’s appearance and make them into the Ghost you want with full customization options and a whole host of clothing, accessory, and weapons skins to choose from. As you progress through the game, you also unlock more weapons and weapon upgrades to help you play the game in your preferred style.
However, the mission variety seemed lacking. There were so many “steal the helicopter” side-quests that it felt like they made up 1/4 to 1/3 of all side-quests. This could be a product of it being a Beta, but we’ll know for sure here soon. In addition, the main story quests felt a bit generic, which was exacerbated by the fact that there wasn’t really much of a “story” overall. It’s essentially a standard “take down the big, bad organization” story with a side of revenge – nothing revolutionary. But really, what do you go into this kind of game looking for? Mind-blowing story or crazy-fun action?
Overall, the Beta was largely entertaining. Yes, there were some quirks and issues with AI, but the gunplay, world, and crazy moments were ultimately engaging. With seven total areas to explore, it’s sure to be a game that’ll keep you running and gunning for hours on end.
Game: Ghost Recon: Wildlands Open Beta
Platform: Xbox One
Play Time: Approx. 10 hours
- Variety of character customization options
- Relatively tight gunplay
- “Perfectly executed plan” moments
- Solid graphics
- Co-op opportunity
- Opportunity to play to your playstyle
- Little gameplay introduction/tutorial
- Moments of boring open-world travel
- Derpy AI teammates
- Depry non-teammate AI
- Vehicle operation/texture issues
- Uninteresting story
- The annoying af radio programs playing literally everywhere
Would I buy for $60 on launch-day? Probably not
How much would I spend on it? Up to $50
Overall Grade: 8.0/10