You’re neck deep in a firefight. Flanked by Sicarios on all sides, with corrupt UNIDAD forces sending in a few choppers to deal with you. You’re pretty much f***ed matey, and then you realise: Maybe dying ain’t so bad, if your body is going to be wormfood for the Bolivian flora and fauna. It’s a rather beautiful country. Even though the actual Bolivian government has had an issue or several with Ubisoft presenting their nation as a coked-up narco-state policed by traitors, I still think Ghost Recon: Wildlands is home to one of the very best maps ever made.
Bolivia isn’t just gorgeous and scenic to drive through, but it has character. A dirty and sometimes hostile character that shines through burning hunks of metal on the road and graveyards of Sicarios. Homes where the walls have hidden messages scrawled on them and vast salt pans that could echo the sodium dispensed in a regular League of Legends match.
It’s breath-taking stuff and testament at least to how Ubisoft has mastered the art of creating a box to pour sand into. Bolivia is massive and even after spending 30+ hours inside of it, I get the feeling that I’m only scratching the surface so far of what I’ve seen. I don’t think environmental artists and teams get enough love for the work they do. Work that’s glossed over and seldom paid attention to.
It’s a damn shame really, because the Wildlands do shine here when you stop to smell the coca leaves. Combined with the weather effects and a gameplay narrative that tasks you with actually exploring the country, Ghost Recon: Wildlands is one of the best environments I’ve ever stepped into. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of exploring it.