What is Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands?
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open world third person shooter with an emphasis on stealth. Set in Bolivia, the game puts you in the military issue boots of an elite special operative, working behind enemy lines to overthrow a notorious drugs cartel known as Santa Blanca. Having tortured, kidnapped, and murdered their way to power, the cartel have slowly taken over the entire country, turning Bolivia into all but a gangster state, and one of the drug capitals of the world. However, when the gang plant a bomb at the US embassy, then kidnap and murder a drug enforcement agency operative, the US decide it's time to break things up - and that's where you come in.
How do you play Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands?
As an open world game, Ghost Recon Wildlands is set across an expansive recreation of Bolivia that you're free to explore as you see fit. Whether you're assaulting enemy bases, stealing supplies for the rebels, or finding intel that'll direct you towards your next "proper" mission, there's a lot to see, do and find - and with cars, motorbikes, planes and helicopters to borrow to get you there, it's fun to get around too. While you'll play along with three computer controlled teammates by default, you can also play online in co-op, having up to three friends drop in to help you take on the enemy.
With an emphasis on stealth and staying covert, you'll almost always find yourself outnumbered and outgunned here. Using either your binoculars, or a drone to scout ahead, you can "tag" enemies so they'll always show up on screen with a marker, making it much easier to pick them off. Story missions will see you doing anything from rescuing a prisoner, to defending a radio while it broadcasts rebel propaganda, or even fighting your way into a base so you can interrogate a commander. As you work your way through the story, slowly but surely, you'll weaken the stranglehold Santa Blanca have on the country, leading to the inevitable show down with the gang's sub-bosses, and finally, the big dog himself.
How easy is Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Ghost Recon Wildlands is aimed at experienced players, although the scalable difficulty does make a huge difference to the level of challenge offered here. With four difficulty settings on offer, you can take your game from Extreme, all the way down to Arcade, which mostly affects how observant the enemies are (i.e., how hard they are to sneak up on), and the damage they do. While even on Normal, the game offers a pretty robust challenge, turning the difficulty down to Arcade does make it a lot easier to roll in all guns blazing, toning down the need to stay hidden. No matter your difficulty of choice, though, the game does require plenty of situational awareness, with enemies that flank you, and snipers that try and pick you off from a distance, both of which force you to keep your eyes peeled as you play, and use cover wisely as you scout buildings, towns, and woodland for enemies.
As with most other shooters, your health here will regenerate over time if you can avoid taking damage, while your team mates can revive you (and each other) should you fall in combat. However, the revival system changes depending on what mode you're playing. In single player, you can actually only be revived once per encounter (after which it's game over), whereas online, you can be revived as many times as you need. Failing a mission is easily done, as it's all too easy for foes to sneak up on someone you're meant to be guarding, or simply overrun you with their sheer numbers, meaning you'll usually fail a major story mission several times before you succeed, with each failure usually restarting you from the very beginning of the mission.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands contains strong and bloody violence, frequent explicit language, and moderate sexual content and references.
As a game about a notorious drugs cartel, violence is a frequent fixture. Enemies give off moderately sized clouds of blood when shot, which sometimes stains nearby walls and floors. More extreme are the bodies you'll often find either hanging from a tree, or tied to a post, which have been tortured, mutilated (having their jaw torn off), and left as an example for others to see.
Swearing is frequent and strong throughout, with f**k and sh*t being regular fixtures.
While it may be less frequent than the swearing or violence, Wildlands does still contain a fair amount of sexual content. A lot of this comes from the game's radio, which plays when you're driving a car - the presenter makes references to knowing a girl who would do things to a cucumber if you paid her, and also makes references to trimming pubic hair, like "going down on a cactus". One mission involves you filming someone who's being straddled by a prostitute, who's telling him what a "naughty boy" he is, while brief photographs of women's breasts are also shown.
As a game about a drug cartel, it's also worth noting there are frequent verbal references to and usage of drugs throughout, particularly marijuana and cocaine.
With a strong emphasis on online play, Ghost Recon Wildlands is never less than keen to get you to play online, and even prompts you to join a public game when you first start playing. While there's no need to play online, the usual advice about online play, online chat and stranger danger applies.