With the open beta of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands happening this weekend I thought I would give it a try and talk about my thoughts and first impressions. This is not a review of the game and I am fully aware of the fact that it is a beta and is likely to be different from the final release.
How does it look?
When I eventually managed to get connected the first thing I noticed was that the character models and animations looked a bit dated and out of sync. The graphics on the other hand do look impressive although there are couple of minor details missing that would make the game seem a bit more realistic. Such as vehicles actually making tracks in the dirt which pretty much all games do now. You can see straight away as soon as you start that the world is huge. The beta only had 2 regions unlocked but even with that you rarely felt restricted and didn’t come across the borders much. The scale is impressive. There are other cars driving around, civilian villages, patrols, guard towers and outposts but to me the world doesn’t feel alive. It all still felt quite empty.
The gameplay does feel a little rough around the edges hopefully down to the fact that it is a beta. I tried the game with an Xbox One Wireless controller on the PC and it was touch and go on whether or not the controller would actually work in the games menus. Regardless of controller or keyboard/mouse the menus felt slow and unresponsive and even sometimes kept you waiting about 10-15 seconds from pressing the pause button to the menu actually appearing. One thing I did enjoy was the stealth element. It doesn’t really bring anything new but the sync shot feature and the use of a drone to scout the area are welcome touch.
Driving vehicles isn’t too bad, as you’d expect different vehicles have different handling and performance. You can throw vehicles down some pretty steep hills without taking much damage and keeping quite good control of them. For some that may ruin things but it does make it a bit more entertaining. I did find the camera angle slow to adjust. The helicopter controls definitely need some love as it is very hard to keep at the same altitude and I often found myself flying towards the ground quite easily, it’s not very responsive.
In some way, Wildlands also feels like it has taken some things from The Division with your loadouts and character customisation and the way the controls work. This is understandable being made by the same developers. There are a variety of missions available. The ones I did were mostly extraction, interrogation and supply capturing related and I didn’t get an opportunity to try the game in co-op so can’t comment on that.
I was looking forward to this game releasing and I kind of wish I hadn’t tried the beta. Betas these days are sometimes the closest you get to being able to demo a game before release so can sometimes ruin your impression of it. I was going to buy the game on release but I wasn’t really drawn in by what I saw from the beta. Ubisoft have released a string of disappointing games recently and promised this game would be different. At the moment I’m divided and think I may hang on a little bit before buying to see what people say about the final release. Hopefully my niggles from the beta will be gone.
Did you take part in the beta? What are your thoughts?