So we’ve all had a blast on the Ghost Recon Wildlands open beta Beta I’m sure. I thought I would share some of my initial thoughts and tell you how I thought the game performed against my expectations. It’s not long to go until the game releases so we would like to know what you thought of the Ghost Recon Wildlands beta and whether it’s convinced you to buy or turned you off from the game altogether.
With Ubisoft it’s become somewhat of the norm for them to reveal a beautiful looking game and then watering down that game in terms of graphics upon release. Not so with Ghost Recon Wildlands. I have to say I was excited for another Ghost Recon game but the reveal that we saw in 2015 looked very poor to say the least. Trucks moving in the distance were like a 3 year old’s toy truck and the whole thing looked pretty rough.
It’s a credit to the developers then that when Ghost Recon Wildlands reached the closed beta stage it looked a lot more polished and by the time it reached open beta it seemed to have been polished a bit more. Graphically I don’t have too many issues with Ghost Recon Wildlands. I never expected a top notch graphical experience but I must admit I didn’t think they would get it looking as good as they have. On console the game seemed to perform pretty decent with few issues except the odd drop in frame rate. On PC the performance seemed a bit more erratic depending on your settings. The recommended specs suggest the new series of Nvidia GPU’S but if you’re aiming for the 1080p resolution a GTX980ti should do you just fine. I myself ran the open beta with this GPU and even up scaled the resolution and managed a solid 60FPS after some tinkering.
I was running into an issue where I would get random frame rate drops and by drops I mean it plummeted like a dart being thrown off a cliff. Every 30-40 seconds it would drop to either 40fps or at worst 5fps. I was only using around a 3rd of the VRAM that my GPU is capable of so I dropped the setting to the mid range and began hunting for the cause. In the end I narrowed it down to some of the more subtle settings that you’d be hard pushed to notice, things like the sun rays. Basically the last few settings at the bottom of the options. I also decided to drop a few settings from ultra to high to squeeze out a bit of extra stability. Just a gentle reminder as well to make sure you have the latest drivers for your GPU as well. Don’t be a tool like me and forget to install them.
In the end I ended up with a nice looking game that performed well although I still noticed minor frame drops here and there (even after lowering to the lowest graphics settings). Optimisation is something that definitely could do with some attention before release and something Ubisoft really need to get a grip of. I can play games like Arma 3, Watchdogs 2, GTA V, The Witcher 3 and more all on ultra settings but this one was a pig to get running. There’s not even anything that would justify the issues as even when you do get it going it’s not the best looking game out there. Hopefully this is something that will be addressed upon release.
Let me say now that I enjoyed the Ghost Recon Open Beta but it felt like a departure from what we are used to with the series, much like Rainbow Six Siege wasn’t a true Rainbow Six style game. Unfortunately I don’t think Wildlands is a particularly good Ghost Recon title but I do think they have made a cracking game.
The control and movement feels like it’s been lifted straight out of Watchdogs 2 and for the most part works very well. The cover system, if you can call it that is poor and I can’t help but feel that the game would have benefited massively from having a lean function. I feel this is the weakest area of the gameplay and unfortunately it’s one that’s obvious with every firefight you get into. The vehicles for the most part handle ok and again handle just like they do in Watchdogs 2 however the Choppers are atrocious to fly which is a shame as you’ll be wanting to use them to cover large distances.
Speaking of the map I have to say I’m not a fan of the Ghost Recon Wildlands game world. Whilst it is big and I mean huge, it does for the most part feel empty and inaccessible in places. Steep drops and rocky cliff faces and swathes of unused areas make the game feel perhaps more linear than it was intended. I do think it’s most likely because we didn’t have access to the entire map and hopefully the final code will allow the world to feel more natural and open.
The civilians and animal life all feel a bit too fake and help break any emersion I managed to find. They either ignore you entirely or run around getting in the way. They don’t feel alive and instead felt very scripted in their movement and reactions.
Whilst the cover system isn’t great the gunplay actually felt pretty good I thought. With a mouse and keyboard especially it seemed to feel the natural and enjoyable. They all sounded pretty nice and shooting through cover was highly satisfying. The sniper rifles will be the go to weapons I feel but the Automatic Rifles all felt thoroughly enjoyable to use too. I even went 007 and took out a group of AI with my silenced pistol.
The level of customisation of your character and weapons is definitely a positive. You can pretty much give your character any look you want and the weapons have a ludicrous level of customisation to them. What’s more is that the choices you make when outfitting your weapons can be felt and notices when you use them.
The AI is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand they can be pretty dense but at times I did find they would try to flank me. I found ignoring my AI teammates mates gave me a much more enjoyable experience and I think that’s down to the poor command system. It feels like it’s been put in for old times sake and feels really clunky.
I enjoyed the missions I played and whilst it can be fun with other people I imagine it will be a bit frustrating playing with random people. I liked setting up to take an objective but felt it wasn’t really necessary as a full frontal assault always felt like a plausible tactic (even on the hardest difficulty).
To conclude then I think Ghost Recon Wildlands will offer a good fun experience. There’s nothing ground breaking and there are other games in the genre that do things much better but all in all it seems like it will be a good and enjoyable game. I don’t expect to much to change between now and the final code but there will no doubt be much tinkering going on now and post release.