Wildlands is fun but has its issues. Here are a few fixes.
Even with all the negative buzz heading into its release – much of it well-earned because those betas were buggy as hell – Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands has actually managed to emerge in a well enough shape. It’s a fairly solid game with lots of different story missions and a wide map to explore. We may even go as far to say that it’s fun because really, it can be, especially when playing with friends.
However – and you knew this was coming – there are many ways that Ghost Recon: Wildlands could be better or at least improved upon.
Whether it’s general performance, quality of life changes, more options or just making the game feel more tactical, there are plenty of ways that Ghost Recon: Wildlands can be improved upon. Let’s take a look at 15 of them below. Don’t worry – we won’t advocate for enemies to turn into bullet sponges like The Division‘s early days though there’s certainly a lot that the dev team could learn from Massive’s shooter (among other titles).
Tagging Supplies Once in Co-op
Perhaps one of the most annoying things about Ghost Recon: Wildlands is having to tag supplies. Don’t get us wrong – it’s a somewhat tedious thing to do when playing solo but otherwise a neat diversion to have during a mission. No, we’re talking about playing in co-op since tagged supplies have to be tagged by everyone in order to count. The most obvious change that should be made is that one person tagging something should count for everyone, no questions asked.
Ubisoft is aware of this and still trying to make improvements. So why not harp on it once more? The cars in this game control like cats in a tumble dryer. Either the physics feel too wonky, the response is too slow or we have to deal with all sorts of clipping issues. Also, strangely enough, you can one-shot Apache helicopters with the grenade launcher but not cars. Anyway, improve the handling on vehicles and perhaps on aircraft as well, thanks.
Reduced Texture Pop-In
A lot has been done with the texture streaming and draw distance technologies in Wildlands but Ubisoft needs to work on texture pop-in issues. Granted, the issue is more prevalent when traveling by vehicles or watching the scenery from a helicopter up high (and at higher texture levels no less). But it’s still annoying to see pop-in occur, especially on high-end PCs. How Ubisoft decides to fix that remains to be seen but in the meantime, some fixes for the occasional freezing wouldn’t be too bad either.
Better Enemy Intelligence
For a game that’s all about tactical infiltration and espionage, Ghost Recon: Wildlands sure doesn’t punish you much if you don’t play stealthy. Much of that “punishment” should be doled by the enemy AI which is smart and reasonable enough to flank you. Or, you know, search for longer than a minute after you evaded detection. Or just do anything that’s reasonably smart. Smarter intelligence in a post-launch update shouldn’t be tough – heck, if The Division can do it in update 1.4, so can Ghost Recon: Wildlands, even if takes some more time.
Something you may have noticed while playing Wildlands, at least on the PC, is freezing. At times, the game will freeze for a few seconds and then resume as normal. It depends on which settings you run the game at but for the most part, it doesn’t happen all that often. When it does happen, it’s when you’re flying in a helicopter and most likely due to the sheer scale of the world being showcased at once. Again, it doesn’t occur a lot but it can be annoying when it eventually happens (especially if it causes you to crash in the meantime).
More Tactical Options
It also wouldn’t hurt to have some more variety in our combat. You can take cover behind objects and poke out to shoot from them but you can’t blind-fire. You can still lay prone so it’s nice to see that mechanic hasn’t been sacrificed. But as a whole, we just want more tactical options in Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Something or the other to remind us of the earlier games, if not Vegas. If enemies ever did receive an update to their intelligence, we wouldn’t mind having more options for tactical combat either.
Dynamic Open World Events
In the open world of Bolivia, you’ll often see rebels fighting against the Santa Blanca cartel. That’s all well and good but the world could really use some more dynamic events, emergent side-missions and better usage of all this digital real estate. Remember how you were walking through the streets of Manhattan and just happened to discover a mission requiring virus scanners being activated? Or JTF soldiers assaulting a position for a rescue op? More emergent events would be a cool addition, especially given all the toys at our disposal and the variety of locations. I mean, seriously, a cartel ambush in the desert. Would that be so hard to implement?
More Enemy Variety
So there are the Santa Blanca cartel members, the Unidad guys and the different drug lords you can interrogate, murder, whatever. I know there wasn’t all that much variety in previous Ghost Recon titles but surely there could be more in Wildlands given its open world nature. I’m not even sure how you go about such a task, especially given the game’s realistic roots, but surely there’s more that can be done. Again, look at The Division with its three different factions and even that was criticized for not enough enemy variety. Some melee enemies or even flame-thrower dudes wouldn’t be all that far-fetched in the Wildlands version of Bolivia.
Not Losing Weapon Pickups When Fast-Traveling
Call this is a nitpick but guess what? It’s still a big nitpick. Imagine you’re battling all kinds of Unidad forces and just wiping the floor with their brain matter. You pick up their high-tech weaponry and make your escape in a snazzy vehicle. Awesome! Suddenly you find yourself using fast-travel to reach another side of the map. But where did that Unidad weaponry go? Long story short, if we pick up enemies’ weapons, they should at least persist until we die and respawn, not disappear because we didn’t want to travel half-way across the map to battle Santa Muerte.
Cross-hairs For Attack Helicopters
Barring the fact that they can be downed with a single shot from a grenade launcher, attack helicopters are probably the best vehicles in the game. Why don’t they have cross-hairs though? Is it to keep them from being OP? Shouldn’t their vulnerability be their main weakness rather than the player’s inability to properly line up shots because of no cross-hairs? Cross-hairs on attack helicopters – get on it Ubisoft. And why stop there? Give us the ability to customize said cross-hairs with a variety of reticles.
Less Ambient Radio Noise
Another common complaint from the betas was concerning radios in the environment. Now, in a game like The Division, you only have these radios in safe houses and you can just walk a short distance way to avoid hearing them. In Wildlands, these damn radios are more frequent and somehow much louder. Toning them down or giving them a much more narrow range would be appreciated. We don’t care if that’s not realistic – it’s certainly less annoying in the long run and will prevent us from brutalizing the locals.
Play Solo Without AI Teammates
When infiltrating a base, it’s not uncommon for your AI teammates to be spotted for some reason or another. Why not allow players the option of playing solo without their AI teammates? Some fine-tuning may need to be done with regards to enemy numbers, objectives and whatnot but many players are essentially doing all the work solo anyway. Plus, this offers hardcore players an even more difficult challenge to overcome. Heck, make it a post-launch update with additional rewards for those who just want to play solo. It would certainly make the experience more intriguing for those who do everything.
The SyncShot in Ghost Recon: Wildlands may not be as potent when playing with other people (because actual coordination and communication is needed). But with the AI, it’s a piece of cake. In fact, at times, you can just command your soldiers to SyncShot enemies endlessly and clear out an entire base this way. A longer cooldown would of course be better (which the higher difficulties offer) but why not go back to the Splinter Cell Conviction days and require stealth take downs to recharge your SyncShot? That would at least encourage stealth play a bit more and it doesn’t impede your ability to annihilate a base in other ways.
Ah clipping issues. If you ever wonder what’s the other half of terrible vehicle controls, it’s the clipping issues. Ghost Recon: Wildlands had much more severe clipping problems in the betas for sure and while many of these have been eliminated, there’s still work to be done. And said work will take time but that’s not going to stop us from complaining about it.
Improved Aiming Controls on Consoles
Ubisoft isn’t exactly renowned for its third person control schemes on consoles. But even with the criticisms against The Division‘s aiming, Wildlands is somehow worse. Even at 100 percent sensitivity, there’s some fairly slow panning and the dead zone has been cited to be too large. There should be more advanced controller options along with some fine-tuning for the overall sensitivity.