So, the Ghost Recon: Wildlands Beta has been available for the last few days and I managed to fit in a bit of time on the game.
The game itself is set across a number of Bolivian Provinces, the beta is set in 2 of the games provinces, Itacua (1 star) and Montuyoc (5 star) – The easiest and toughest, respectively, provinces that will be in the full game. The player plays as a special ops operator who operates in an operation to take out a cartel.
When starting the game, there is no tutorial or easy start mission with such hints as “hold o to crawl under the log”. The game seems to assume a certain level of competency, so you will spend a few minutes testing the buttons and checking the menus.
Now I played the game purely as a single player without going online and I found it to be very enjoyable. The starting province Itacua starts you out nice and smooth and lets you get used to taking out a base without the occupants knowing they’re being killed. In Montuyoc the developer gives us a glimpse of the level we will be playing at after we work our way through the mid-level provinces.
Either that or they’re a sado-masochist.
The player controls in the game are very good, typical refined and well thought out Ghost Recon setup – Swap between main weapons with one click or side arm with 2, attach or remove a silencer by aiming and pressing up, select a grenade launcher by hitting down while aiming (bit sloppy if you have a scope) or use the command wheel to order you squad with some basic commands and call in support.
The drone and sync shot are very nice additions. You can scout an area for all the baddies and then paint a target for sniping by members of your squad (great for sneaking).
Most of the vehicles are useable if not brilliant – the cars don’t really obey physics and fly around a bit while driving and the accelerator has 3 settings. Stop, crawl or full speed. Remember car games in the 90’s? no traction and just glide around, a little like that but still useable.
The only thing I disliked about the game was the Helicopters.
If you put a helicopter in a spec ops game, I want to use it properly. I want to be able to fly into a town full trot, land on a penny, drop my guys and take off again in the space two seconds. If I’m playing multiplayer I want to be able to leave a guy in it to provide air support, cruise along on strafing runs, bust a few rockets or even just be able to land accurately and quickly for a speedy exit from a town. Battlefield always managed this, GTA always managed this. Hell even the remote control helicopter from GTA San Andreas had better controls.
- If you try to go forward it nose dives unless you lean forward then back then forward, feathering along as slow as a balloon.
- If you flare back, you stop dead. It should pull back as the air is rushing away from the base of the helicopter – essential to a quick landing.
- You can’t pivot. You can only pitch and roll. There is no Yaw control. How was this overlooked? It’s a basic principal of aircraft design.
- There is zero physics. I mean ZERO. No feedback, no wind no nothing, I can only imagine this is to compensate for the terrible controls.
As I said this is a good game. But it’s too big to not have well-functioning aircraft. The enemies get aircraft and they’re HARD to kill, so the player will need aircraft to play the game well. This issue makes a well playing, polished game feel sloppy and cheap – when you’re going to be paying €79.99 for it.
It’s something I really hope the developers fix for the main release or I foresee many people buying second hand. For €20 within 3 months.