Some are soldiers, we are Ghosts. Or, at least, we tried to be! This past Saturday, Gavin and I had the… um… pleasure of attending the launch of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, courtesy of Megarom Interactive. We weren’t entirely sure what we were in for, and as it turns out that was a good thing. I’m not sure how willing we would have been had we known how tough it was going to be!
For an authentic Ghost Recon: Wildlands experience, Megarom arranged a day of real-life first-person-shooter warfare in the form of airsoft. Going in, I basically thought that airsoft was just paintball without the paint, but Paul and the guys from Airsoft HQ were more than happy to put us through our paces and prove me wrong. Airsoft is way more than just run-and-gun; it’s tactical, strategic and pretty damn tiring!
Gavin and I made our way to City of Dead, an abandoned town outside of Krugersdorp which was to become our playing field. Trust me when I say it looks exactly like you’d expect a place named “City of Dead” to look. After getting to the Safe Zone and being kitted out with rifles, bandages, rags and safety goggles, we got the low-down on how to play.
Airsoft is a game of honour, because the pellets don’t leave a mark you’ve got to call your hits. And trust me, when you get shot, you’re going to yell! We had to learn about respawn rules, how to treat our hits, bleed out times and the rules of being a medic. Once we had that down, we got the full game brief of the scenarios we would be playing. This is where the serious strategy came in to play.
We split up into two teams: Ghosts and Mercenaries. We all had different tasks, and our objectives were completely different as well. Based closely on actual scenarios from Ghost Recon: Wildlands, the Ghosts were doing their best to stop the Mercenary take over while the Mercs were – well – trying to take over. It was a bit more detailed than that, but that’s the gist of it! After our separate briefs, we were sent off to complete our objectives, and shoot the s&*$ out of each other along the way.
When I said earlier that airsoft is tactical, strategic and pretty damn tiring, I wasn’t kidding. Completing objectives like stealing an RV, moving the cocaine stash or having to hide dead “bodies” in the woods (yes, I was a mercenary for the first round) is no easy feat when the playing field is that huge. You’re hot, tired, sweaty and constantly on high alert for when the bullets start flying. Also, as my knees and shins can testify, it’s not easy running through those fields when there are holes and ditches lurking beneath the grass.
We managed to get in three different rounds of airsoft throughout the day, with a few breaks in between. I’m super grateful to the pro airsoft players who were there to guide and direct us, and make sure we didn’t screw up too badly. Between their expert knowledge of the field, many years of expertise and constant radio contact for the teams, they made sure we got a pretty realistic experience. At the end of the day I went home with more bruises than I could count, and two days later my legs are still aching, but what an adrenaline-fuelled, action packed day it was.
Thanks again to Megarom and Airsoft HQ for organizing such an epic event, and showing us gamers what it’s really like to be out in the fields. I don’t know how much of what I learned will carry over to playing Wildlands, but I’ll sure be grateful that I get to do that indoors!
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is out now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Here’s the launch trailer: