Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands Review - PC Gameplay And Performance

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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands Graphics & Benchmarks

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is not only one of Ubisoft's more expansive game worlds, even more definitively, it is the most immersive and engaging experience the company has produced since Assassin's Creed and the Far Cry series revamp. The AnvilNext engine is in rare form here, creating a living, breathing world with dynamic weather effects, a day/night system, lush flowing trees, grass and other foliage, real-world physics and more.

The game is filled with land, sea and air traffic, pedestrian citizens trying desperately to mind their own business and so much more to interact with. It's fun to hover miles over head in a chopper, or roll up on the side of the road in a vehicle and just take it all in. This game world itself really is an amazing achievement.

Ghost Recon Wildlands meeting up with your fellow operatives

We could gush at length at just how gorgeous Ghost Recon: Wildlands is to behold. However, Ubisoft released the above video highlighting the game's use of NVIDIA GameWorks effects in 4K. It's a stellar must-see and an honest representation of what is available to the PC gamer in Wildlands, with capable hardware resources. 

Ghost Recon: Wildlands PC Performance

Ghost Recon Wildlands getting an advantageous position on the enemy

However, before we jump into the benchmarks we should discuss a few other performance areas. Many players, will experience lag spikes and single-digit framerates if the gamepad option was enabled in the game's control settings, and no gamepad is present. If you're experiencing something similar and you don't have a gamepad, try disabling the feature.

Among the many bells and whistles thrown in for NVIDIA-powered gamers is Ansel support for 3D, VR and ultra high resolution screenshot capturing. Sadly the function doesn't work in co-op. While playing solo, it works fine if you play in Uplay offline mode. Otherwise, it performs with an unsettling amount of stutter and chugging performance, more so at higher resolutions. Overall at low-res things smooth out, but ultimately it's a cool feature in need of patching.

Ghost Recon Wildlands helicopter survelliance

Finally, Ghost Recon: Wildlands features some of the most painstaking load times, which are greatly affected by your storage subsystem speed. We eye-balled speeds with the game installed on both a Samsung 512GB 850 EVO SSD and a Corsair MP500 M.2 SSD, the latter dropping us into the game in about 1:18 (minutes:seconds), versus the near-2min initial load time with the Samsung 850 SATA drive. These are roughly the times it takes to go from the game running on the desktop, to boots on the ground in Wildlands.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Benchmarks

Ghost Recon Wildlands benchmarking
Wildlands has its own internal benchmark utility which is very much in line with real-world performance when we actually had boots on the ground and running around in-game. We ran the benchmark on all the game's three main presets High, Very High and Ultra. We ultimately settled on the Very High preset  for our official testing with 16x Anisotropic Filtering, though Ultra is very playable with sub-60 FPS on a GeForce GTX 1080 and there are plenty of in-game settings to tweak, so you can achieve a nice balance between quality and performance according to your preference. Overall, we see the game taps about 70% GPU usage at 1440p with the Ultra setting--only reaching near-100% when pushing things to 4K.

1080p Benchmark - Ghost Recon: Wildlands

1440p Benchmark - Ghost Recon: Wildlands

4K Benchmark - Ghost Recon: Wildlands

We also performed some light multi-gpu testing, with lukewarm results. The game has seen a couple patches since launch, greatly improving multi-GPU stability, while not doing much for multi-gpu performance. Though powerful in most titles, here a two-way 1080 SLI configuration, enjoys a meager 10-13% performance gain over a single 1080. Hopefully the game will receive better multi-gpu performance scaling as well as a DirectX 12 update down the road.

Ghost Recon Wildlands base camp

As for the current state of performance, Ghost Recon: Wildlands scales decently on lower performing hardware, when the settings and resolutions are dialed back. However, the game still remains quite demanding, especially as you crank up the eye candy. AMD gamers have it rough here, frankly. GameWorks is amazing when the features are efficiently implemented as they are here. But that extra fidelity is only available to Team Green supporters. On top of it, the Radeon cards seen here currently suffer greater dips in frame rates than NVIDIA GPUs. However, we don't expect this to continue with subsequent driver updates from AMD.

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