This last week and a half i have been playing through Ubisoft’s new game and the huge world it offers. Playing as a Ghost with a total freedom to solve every problem the way you best see fit. Primarily an experience best enjoyed with friends in the coop part of the game, which is identical whether you play alone or with others. In this review i will go through the good and the bad for each category and i will try to give you as a consumer an idea about the game and if this something you should acquire.
The story is about a country under siege by the ruthless Santa Blanca Cartel, corrupt politicians and criminal public figures. The leader of this drug cartel, El Sueño, has the country on it’s knees praying to a twisted version of the the Catholic religion and has enslaved and murdered countless countrymen in search of his sick vision of a free country for his empire. The place is the very real country of Bolivia, but other than this the story and characters in it are totally fictional, but surely inspired by reality.
You play as a Ghost which you can customize to look like you want with the limited tools available, i will go through the customization later in this review, and the large weapon and gadget arsenal you have at your disposal.
You are assigned here by the government and your handler is Karen Bowman. A tough woman ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. You also get help from the rebel group Kataris26 and their leader Pac Katari. They help you with assistance in various ways from vehicle drop offs to diversions on the battlefield. In return you have a variety of resource missions and simple pickups that that you gather for them and yourself in the process. These resources are also for raising your skills and abilities.
The story in itself is not a very broad story and it is not something i feel they were focusing on in this title. The only interaction where you get some story and dialog about the main bosses or your handler is in short video clips before missions and after you capture or kill a main targets.I like the different personalities and character design of the bad guys.They are presented very cool and you really see the gritty and bloody world they live in.
Some dialog between the squad is usually played when you travel for sometime without something interrupting the general gameplay.
Personally i don’t mind this but the game for me is not so much about the story as it is the gameplay itself. All in all in would say i liked the story parts of the game, but the quality could be much better and it failed to get me very interested in what happened to anyone other than getting the next weapon upgrade and killing the next boss.
GRAPHICS,LOCATIONS and AUDIO
The map in this game is very big, i guess one of the biggest i have ever played without knowing exactly the size, compared to a huge map as for example GTA 5, i would say roughly double or triple the size. The scenery is dense green jungles, huge wide open salt flats and mountain tops covered in snow. Small villages and outposts breaks up the landscape in a place that seems like it is only trees and rocks. The population is sparse it seems and usually the towns are either controlled by Santa Blanca or the corrupt Unidad.
It all looks very beautiful and the day & night cycle combined with the different weather situations gives the game a nice atmosphere to it.
The sounds are generally very good, nice ambient sounds and different situational sounds depending on what you are doing. All the guns sounds unique and are also affected by how you customize them and what attachments you use. Also all the different radio commercials and programs were very well done and some of them were funny, but I must admit I got really annoyed with some of it as the game progressed and you kept hearing the same thing over and over for hours. The voice acting was not very good in my opinion but it had its ups and downs, the worst part being the scenes when they interrogated the criminals being captured. Bad acting and worse writing.
You can make your own character and customize from a selection of pre made faces and skin colors. Also you can choose your clothes and accessories from sunglasses,tattoos, bandanas, hats and backpacks. The selection is very limited and hopefully it will grow in the future but it will probably come in the form of microtransactions as we have already seen items only available by accessing the store. This is in my opinion unfortunate but that is the trend we have seen in similar games the last years. The weapon customization however is a whole other thing. You have a enormous selection of every weapon and every attachment you ever played with in a videogame and more. Scopes, lasers, grenade launchers , grips , that not even half. All real life weapons with very realistic sounds and feeling to it. The different guns and attachements are gathered in mission rewards or by seeking out weapons cases.
The gameplay is very solid and enjoyable with many ways to approach a situation. Your arsenal of weapons and gadgets are impressive. In addition you have multiple skill groups with many useful upgrades to help you along the way. As I mentioned earlier the game is best enjoyed with a full squad of friends or you can also use the matchmaking system that is a really smart and useful function in this title. It analyses your playstyle and compares it with other people playing the game. It then presents you with players playing similar to you and that would fit your style of playing the game. This is very nice and makes sure you get a better experience when you play with random people and you want to make sure that they also do it the same way.
This is of course because you have a lot of different way to do a mission, you can go in guns blazing or you can take the more stealthy approach by night, scoping out the place and mark every enemy you can find to make sure an extraction goes smooth.
You also have a pretty good variety of vehicles, cars,motorbikes,planes,helicopters, boats and even a light tank! They all have a noticeably different feeling to each other and almost everyone of them feels a bit off. But once you get the hang of them they are fun to use, mostly.
Or you can just sit hundreds of metres away and snipe everyone until you can stroll in take what you want, whether it is a new weapon you want or attachment you need.
That said the AI in this game is pretty average but generally challenging with aggressive flanking and at times the sheer amount of enemies could be staggering. But I found myself playing either on advanced or extreme difficulty setting to feel challenged. The two easiest settings will not challenge the average player much.
What i really miss in this game are boss battles. They were no different from other enemy encounters, other than looks and a unique personal weapon, they offered no other strategy or game mechanic to deal with the bosses from how you would take out any other enemy. Here I believe Ubisoft missed a chance to make every boss encounter unique and challenging. When I can just lay down outside the base of a boss, take out the drone jammer and fly my drone right I his face and explode it the whole mission becomes comically easy and kind of anticlimactic and not very satisfying. It is more realistic i guess but that has never been this game’s intention anyway in my opinion and they should have made the boss battles way more challenging. When you also have this admittedly very cool ability called “Sync Shot”, where you can mark up to 3 enemies at the the same time that your squad executes simultaneously it also makes certain situations too easy.
Also i need to mention the bugs in this game. None of them directly game breaking but nevertheless they were annoying and at times it made rage a little. From choppers being stuck halfway into the tarmac so the mission could not be done, NPCs not reacting properly, audio cues playing at wrong times and falling through the map. These are all bugs that is something you would expect in a game this big and i am also confident that Ubisoft is working on fixes for all of this and will update this soon.
As we have yet to see the multiplayer part of this game that will come in a later review for that.
It is supposed to be a 4v4 pvp experience with different game modes.
Despite the negative sides of this game i like it very much. I have now spent about 70 hours in this game and i have yet to collect every gun or done all the side missions. Most of that time was spent in the company of friends and that really enhances the experience.The coop part is done very well with an excellent matchmaking system to help you get the most out of playing with random players. If you like total freedom to do it how you like it, the gunplay is important and have a little obsession to collect different weapons and attachments this is a perfect game for you.
This is not a game for you if you are looking for a story to emerge yourself in with fascinating characters you really care about what happens to. The game is beautiful and just traveling around and seeing the scenery can sometimes be quite enjoyable. That said the game could benefit from adding more nps activity and animals as some parts can seem a bit quiet at times.
+Excellent gun customization
+Fun gameplay and missions
+Beautiful scenery and locations
+Decent amount of content over all
– Character creator
– Poor AI
– Easy Bosses