Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon has been a successful tactical shooter franchise since 2001. It has had a number of major iterations since the series began, with games based in on modern-day era events and weaponry featured in the earlier games and games set years ahead that gradually showcased future inspired technology and weaponry. Ghost Recon’s next outing, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, sees you heading to the open world environment based in Bolivia, as you take on the Santa Blanca, a drug cartel making moves in Bolivia.
Developed and published by Ubisoft, you take on the role of a custom created Ghost, a highly trained operative, who is part of a four man team. Each of the three remaining Ghost’s can be AI controlled or you can team up with 3 friends to take on missions across several regions of this massive open world. You customise your character from the start screen and pick from your standard hairstyles, clothing, accessories and equipment. You can find additional equipment throughout the campaign, by scavenging through campsites, settlements and compounds.
The BETA drops you into the mix with a cutscene explaining the murder of a DEA agent. You meet and are tasked to help the rebels and people of Bolivia against the Santa Blanca cartel. With a couple of short intro missions mixed in with tutorial hints, you are tasked with finding one of the kidnapped leaders of the rebels. After these missions, you can enter you TACMAP and pick from additional missions to continue your campaign. Theses can be played in whatever order you want and contain your standard capture & rescue, scout, destroy and find & interrogate missions, which in turn open up more missions dotted across the map. Additionally, side mission open up and allow you to find stockpiles of weapons, road blocks, enemy camps etc. As you complete missions, you earn experience, which in-turn allows you to upgrade your equipment and skills of your character.
This being a Ghost Recon game, it is heavily tactical based. Guns can range from pistols and assault rifles to sniper rifles and grenade launchers. You can scout out enemy camps, while you tag enemy placement using binoculars or your handy flying drone. These tactics allow you to plan your attack formation. Your AI companions are functional, but this is where it is preferred to play with real players. You can go guns blazing into a group of enemies, but it is the satisfaction of planning a four man swoop on a large enemy compound, marking targets, taking them out from long-range as a buddy moves in to stealth kill a number of bad guys, as your other partners move to grab a kidnapped target, all without getting spotted and escaping without anyone finding out you were there. This is truly thrilling to pull off.
With the map being particularly large, you will need vehicular transport to help you traverse the “Wildlands”. A number of cars, 4×4’s and motorbikes are obtainable and can be hijacked from civilians, but there are a number of aerial vehicles such as helicopters and planes that can aid in traversing or escaping mission areas. There is also the non traditional vehicles like a tractor if you want to enter a conflict in a different way. Vehicles are floaty and defy certain real life physics, as you can scale most steep, mountainous areas with ease in any vehicle. They are a must if you want to get from point A to B in the fastest way possible. The region is lush with forests, lakes, rivers and is a varying mix of hill terrain and I sometimes stopped in awe of certain scenes, as the sun set across the beautiful vistas.
I enjoyed my time with Ghost Recon: Wildlands and am looking forward to playing more in the open BETA which is out now from February 23rd to February 27th. I recommend you get some friends together and check it out as Ghost Recon Wildlands launches on March 7th 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.