Early on in Ubisoft's new shooter, you may find yourself in a sticky situation. I certainly did - and I was almost blown away.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a game that tries to blend Grand Theft Auto's open world with Call of Duty action and the drug tale told in Netflix's Narcos. It's big, ambitious, violent, cliched, dumb and ridiculous.

Occasionally it works wondrously. Often it doesn't. That's because Wildlands is so damned big. You take charge of a group of big-talking American military types attempting to take down the Santa Blanca drug cartel in Bolivia.

They're guys who yell things like "shitballs" during firefights and think nothing of joking about torture or hanging off the side of a helicopter with a loaded weapon dangling around their ankles. If you're looking for the definition of a cardboard-cutout soldier, you'll find it here.


As the game's opening montage of train heists, drug takedowns, shoot outs, explosions and tactical warfare shows, your job is to pick the cartel apart piece by piece. The game's many missions can be tackled a number of ways. Stealth, drones, snipers or guns blazing, it's worth investigating them all.

The tactical warfare elements can lead to some great moments - best enjoyed through co-op play - interspersed with some repetitive and boring moments. Travelling between missions becomes eye-wateringly tedious, many locations suffer from overly simplified design flaws and enemy AI that aren't too bright.

But Wildlands' great moments can be awesome. My Black Hawk Down thrill came as we, from the safety of a helicopter, strafed a village overrun with armed drug bosses, until we strayed too low and power lines saw us crash behind enemy lines.

As we evacuated the sizzling metal and escaped from a hail of bullets in a nearby building, we continued to fight. Our exploding chopper gave us cover and we soon overran them. It's exhilarating stuff that may have made me yell "shitballs".

You just have to be patient, and overlook Wildlands' many flaws, to get there.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Rating: R16
Stars: Three
Verdict: Brainless shooter