Cartel, cocaine and a whole lot of crass, Ghost Recon certainly brought some change to the franchise with Wildlands. Gone is the futuristic setting of Future Solider, replaced by a more grounded, present day take on the squad that doesn’t exist. Ghost Recon has always been about tactical warfare – but it’s never been on a scale quite like this.
Although not ready for general press to play, the new Ghost Recon was shown off extensively behind closed doors after the Ubisoft Press Conference. In it, we all got to see far more of the open world, the co-operative tactics, and how the alive setting changes the way you play Tom Clancy’s famed shooter.
Firstly, it seems that Wildlands will focus heavily (if not exclusively) on co-operative play. The Demo began with all four members separated on the massive open map, which will apparently be open to explore beyond the visible horizons. These aren’t small sandbox experiences that you’ll be plunged into. The world is big, and you’re going to be constantly under threat as you scurry between contracts.
Moving along with one of the stealthier members, we saw how certain characters can be interrogated for information and equipment, which adds context and objective information to the current mission. It’s an optional side activity that you can choose never to engage on, and it only affects the way you’ll eventually choose to approach an enemy outpost or stronghold.
There are, in fact, so many different ways you can play Wildlands. As so eloquently displayed in the reveal trailer, there is no wrong answer, but careful preparation is required for all types of engagements. Shortly after obtaining information that the output they were headed to was heavily guarded, the four Ghosts (being played in real-time, by the way), regrouped and set out to steal a chopper for aerial entry.
That then lead to even more engagements, as the team took advantage of a nearby faction war to slide in and steal the mechanical bird undetected. A shot from afar was all that was needed to spark the street side chaos, and more than enough to keep pesky armed guard occupied.
A quickly ride over to the other side of the map, and the Ghosts were able to base jump out of their chopper and straight on the mountain-side looking over their objective. Snipers are able to mark targets and more sneaky assaults can despatch enemies quietly and quickly, but these roles are locked down. They’re what you choose them to be, and how your gear allows you to stretch that.
The demo eventually ended with an exhilarating car chases that had an alert bring a small country down on the four-man squad, with a hasty escape onto the salt planes proving too much effort for the rebels to keep up with. The idea of an open-world Ghost Recon is really what Ubisoft wanted to drive home with this, and it’s the most alluring aspect of the entire game so far.
It’s going to require an enormous amount of teamwork to function anywhere closely to what Ubisoft is showing, but it’s a game that’s taking a necessary (and interesting) risk with the stale franchise. Wildlands has a lot of promise this early one, and I can only really see it getting more intriguing as the coming months go by.
Last Updated: June 16, 2015