The Ghost Recon series has been a popular franchise since the turn of the millennium, mixing military action, political intrigue, and alternative history, much like the novels of Tom Clancy, whose name is attached to the franchise. Different installments in the franchise include settings such as the Cold War and other alternative history settings where extremists have taken control of certain areas around the world. Jack Ryan, a fictional CIA agent in many of these stories, has to stop them from carrying out their plans. Several of Clancy’s other works have also become video games, such as Rainbow Six, The Division, and the Splinter Cell series.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands takes place in Bolivia, and is also the first game in the series with an open-world environment. Unlike previous installments in the series, which were more futuristic in nature, Ghost Recon: Wildlands takes place in 2019 Bolivia, where a powerful drug cartel called the Santa Blanca has risen to take control of the country and turned it into one of the world’s largest producer of cocaine.
Some of the equipment in the game is par for the course for tactical shooters and open world games, but an interesting feature of the game is the ability to fly drones and tag enemies and reveal objectives. Players can approach a mission in several different ways: they can parachute from a helicopter, walk to it, or drive to it. This all depends on your play style—whether you like to get things done quietly or walk in with guns blazing.
The game also has a day and night cycle and weather. For instance, doing missions at night will allow stealthy players to achieve their objectives under the shroud of darkness, whereas doing missions during the day will allow you to see the enemies better. If you’re not doing a main mission, you can explore the world and do side missions and take down outposts controlled by the Santa Blanca. One can level up in the game, and loot equipment from enemies for their own personal use.
You can build friendly or hostile relationships with NPCs, but the decisions you make will affect the world around you, and can even affect how missions are done and objectives are completed. There are 21 areas on the map, each controlled by a buchon (Spanish slang for someone who lives the drug lord lifestyle). There are four divisions of the Santa Blanca cartel: Influence, Security, Production and Smuggling. By clearing missions, you can target a buchon and kill or capture the target, allowing players to target the underboss of a division and ultimately the division head. This will weaken the cartel.
If you want to play with your friends, co-operative multiplayer can be played to explore the game world and complete missions. There will also be a DLC and a competitive multiplayer mode in the near future in a free update to the game. It is speculated that this will be done in 4v4 mode. One possible scenario is that players can choose either to play as the Ghosts or the Santa Blanca cartel, although this has not yet been confirmed by Ubisoft.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is one of the more entertaining Ghost Recon games out there, and allows the player to soak themselves in the intrigue of a Tom Clancy plot. Those who enjoy shooters or Tom Clancy novels will enjoy Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE April 2017 Issue
Words by Jose Alvarez
Developer: Ubisoft Paris | Publisher: Ubisoft | Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC