Ubisoft’s GR: Wildlands recently released and I absolutely had to try it since it was so abysmally horrible during the open beta. Would you be surprised if I told you that so much has changed since then that it almost feels like a different game?
During the open beta, one of the biggest complaints that I noticed was the horrible vehicle physics and how bad/floaty driving felt. Well, Ubi went ahead and changed the driving physics for the vast majority of the available vehicles to feel more “real” and significantly less floaty. Honestly, this was the first thing I noticed in the open beta and also the first thing I noticed in the full version. With a keyboard + mouse, driving is still pretty bad, I’m not gonna lie, but who uses kb+m to drive in games like this anyways? Aren’t we all swapping between controllers & kb+m depending on what we’re doing? I do, I know that much.
Next up is the performance issues… During the open beta massive amounts of people were experiencing severe performance issues, especially while driving – I was one. This seems to have been fixed as well but if you leave Vsync on you’ll still experience some ugly frame drops regardless of your system specs – turning Vsync off effectively eliminates the frame drops, something to keep in mind until it’s patched. Otherwise, the overall performance seems to have increased significantly, and has only gotten better since Nvidia’s most recent driver update geared towards Wildlands.
The actual gameplay has been left mostly unchanged as far as I can tell, weapon handling and things like that all still function the same, but the cover system seems to have received a small tweak. Cover is now slightly more useful and easier to shoot over/around, but now your char will constantly get hung up on invisible walls causing you to get stuck and die. There’s still a big issue of getting stuck in rocks also, and I don’t know how many times I’ve had to fast travel to another location because I fell into a small crevasse. Very annoying.
Character customization is very bland in terms of the basics like your face, tattoos, and things of that nature – even the clothing options feel very limited and there are only about a dozen of each item max. There’s no real “customization” to be done to your characters face (not that you’ll be looking at it often) and there are only about a half dozen hair and facial hair styles for male chars. For female chars it’s about the same without the facial hair of course. I’m not saying I’m disappointed with the level of customization options, but there definitely could have been more done to allow for a wider variety of characters.
Squad AI is still pretty bad and your AI teammates will often ignore enemies 5′ in front of them. They also don’t seem to use the cover mechanics which is kind of lame as far as I’m concerned. You’ll often see your AI teammates behind cover, but clipping through it in a crouched aiming position. AI teammates are also able to shoot through absolutely anything when you set up a certain skill, this is very immersion breaking… but also very useful when you exploit it. That all being said, I think everyone knows by now that Wildlands is significantly more entertaining when played with friends or even randoms through matchmaking.
The map is absolutely massive and potentially one of the biggest I’ve seen implemented into a game like this, if not the biggest. Honestly, it almost feels too big and a lot of your time is going to be spent driving/flying from point A to B – I would definitely suggest the latter as helicopters are placed all over the map and offer a massive tactical advantage when you’re hitting an outpost or something like that.
There’s a variety of mission types available, but as far as I can tell after beating a few of the areas, they’re all the same thing with a different backdrop. This is to be expected in a game like this, I mean it’s definitely not uncommon and games like Farcry and MGS5 both have the same kind of repetitive missions going on. If nothing else, it’s much less repetitive than dedicated FPS games like Battlefield or CoD.
SPOILER ALERT – Don’t read this paragraph unless you’re not gonna die from a spoiler. Ok, so, in Wildlands we all know that the main idea is to take down a drug cartel, right? Well…. I have a huge issue with how they executed that, although it might seem minuscule it’s still an issue I have. Being tasked with taking down a drug cartel that has literally taken over a country sounds legit, right? Well, it gets A LOT less legit when you discover that the ONLY reason you’re even doing this is to avenge your bosses dead buddy who happened to be an undercover agent. No, you’re not doing this to save a country or to liberate the citizens of said country, it’s purely a blood vendetta started by your powertripping boss. This bugged me, massively. Basically, you ignored this cartel as they took over the country, but now it’s time to do something because ONE agent was killed by them…. 😮
All-in-all, unless you’re a massive fan of the GR series or you’re just big into this type of game, GR:Wildlands is hard to recommend picking up for its current price tag of $70. Personally, I enjoy this type of repetitive grind, so I didn’t mind paying the full price, but I have no doubt that others will feel better about their purchase if it’s done while Wildlands is on sale.
Have you picked up Wildlands already? Are you enjoying it? Not enjoying it? Let me know in the comments!