Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands
|Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands|
|Series||Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon|
|Release||March 7, 2017|
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is a tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris and published by Ubisoft. It was released worldwide on March 7, 2017, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as the tenth installment in the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon franchise and is the first game in the Ghost Recon series to feature an open world environment.
The game moves away from the futuristic setting introduced in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and instead features a setting similar to the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. Ubisoft described it as one of the biggest open world games that they have published, with the game world including a wide variety of environments such as mountains, forests, deserts, and salt flats.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is a tactical shooter game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective with an optional first person view for gun aiming. Players play as members of the Delta Company, First Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, also known as "Ghosts", a fictional elite special operations unit of the United States Army under the Joint Special Operations Command. It does not feature the futuristic setting used in Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier, but instead adopts a modern-day setting, similar to the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. As a result, the equipment featured in the game is based on weapons and gear commonly used by military forces around the world. However, it features some original equipment, such as drones that can be used to tag enemies and show objectives. These drones have limited abilities until upgraded. The game is the first entry to feature an open world environment, which consists of nine different types of terrain, such as: mountains, forests, desert, salt flats, and also introduces a dynamic weather system as well as a day-night cycle. Completing missions during day-time allows players to spot enemies easily, while completing missions at night grants players a tactical advantage, as the night offers players better concealment and easier infiltration due to some guardsmen being asleep. Players are tasked with making observations before carrying out missions. A variety of vehicles, such as dirt bikes, helicopters and dune buggies are featured in the game. Unlike its predecessors, Wildlands features several side-missions.
When completing missions, players can reach the location where the mission starts through a variety of ways. Players can parachute from a helicopter, walk overland, or drive towards their objectives. Players are allowed to use multiple ways to complete objectives, such as utilizing stealth, melee combat, or using long-ranged or short-ranged weapons provided in the game. The game also features outposts that can be taken down by players. Players can grab enemies at close range with one hand for defense as human shields, while using the other hand to shoot. Players can also gain experience points to level up. The playable character can be customized, and loot found on enemies' corpses can be equipped by player characters. Weapons and gear can be upgraded as well. According to the creative director of the game, the AI of the game is unscripted and has their "own motivations and agendas".
Each of the 21 areas on the map is controlled by a buchon, who is also associated with one of four divisions of the cartel's operations: Influence, Security, Production and Smuggling. Clearing missions in an area and collecting key intel unlocks missions where players can target a buchon and eliminate him or her by killing or capturing the target (with some exceptions). Eliminating enough buchones in an operations division allows players to target that division's underboss, and eliminating that underboss and all of the buchones in an operations division leaves the division head vulnerable. Capturing this division head cripples and destabilizes the division and makes the cartel boss more vulnerable.
It features cooperative multiplayer mode, in which players can be joined by up to three other players to explore the game's world and to complete campaign missions. The game can also be played solo, in which the player will be accompanied by three AI teammates, which the player can give orders to, if a player wants a more "lone wolf" playstyle they can be disabled via the settings. A competitive multiplayer mode has been released as part of a free update on October 10, 2017. It features an elimination type of game mode in a timed 4v4 match with revives. Players can level up through multiplayer gameplay which enables them to improve the different class of characters available.
The game takes place in Bolivia in July 2019. The country has become increasingly unstable as a Mexican drug cartel known as the Santa Blanca Cartel gains more power and influence within the country and turns Bolivia into the world's largest producer of cocaine. The United States government is compelled to act when a bomb targets the American embassy in La Paz and undercover DEA agent Ricardo "Ricky" Sandoval is executed by the cartel. A Ghost Recon fireteam is deployed to Bolivia as part of Operation Kingslayer, a joint operation between the CIA, DEA, and JSOC. The fireteam consists of Ghost leader "Nomad", tactical gunner "Midas", engineer "Holt", and sniper "Weaver". The Ghosts enter Bolivia with their CIA contact, Karen Bowman, who was also a close friend to Sandoval. They meet Pac Katari, leader of the Kataris 26, the only resistance against Santa Blanca. Pac Katari requests they rescue Amaru, whose ideologies inspired the Kataris 26, from Santa Blanca. The Ghosts are then free to tackle the cartel in any way and order they see fit.
The Ghosts dismantle the cartel piece by piece, targeting their four main operations by attacking cocaine production facilities and stockpiles, disrupting smuggling operations, discrediting the cartel in the eyes of corrupt politicians and supporters, and inciting conflict between the cartel's senior figures. They are eventually contacted by the cartel's leader, El Sueño, who lures them to a meeting and attempts to bribe the Ghosts into working for Santa Blanca. The Ghosts refuse, but are disturbed to learn that Sandoval was responsible for the embassy bombing to force the United States government to intervene in Bolivia. Eventually Pac Katari claims his men locate El Sueño, but the Ghosts grow suspicious when they instead find the body of Amaru. Bowman is taken captive by the Kataris 26 and Pac Katari breaks their alliance, claiming that the rebels must kill El Sueño themselves to avoid being seen as puppets of the United States. The Ghosts race to El Sueño's mausoleum to capture him before Pac Katari kills him. After fighting their way through both rebel and cartel opposition, the Ghosts and Bowman surround El Sueño, who has beheaded Katari. Despite his surrendering, Bowman receives a call from her superiors, informing that El Sueño had made a deal with the Department of Justice to give up the heads of other drug cartels in exchange for immunity.
How the story ends depends on whether the Ghosts fully dismantled the cartel. If remnants of the cartel remain, Bowman will execute El Sueño, leading to her dismissal from the CIA and her arrest for murdering El Sueño. She expresses no regrets in doing so, fearing that El Sueño would become a dictator with the United States' backing. If the Ghosts have fully dismantled the cartel and have taken down others involved with Santa Blanca, Bowman takes El Sueño into protective custody. El Sueño provides further intelligence on other drug cartels, terrorist groups, and arms smugglers. Bowman predicts that when the intelligence runs out, El Sueño will either be extradited by Mexico or cut loose and start a new drug cartel, starting the cycle over again. She and the Ghosts resolve to prepare themselves for the next fight.
Shortly after the game's release, Ubisoft announced plans to release two episodes of downloadable content, each with their own narrative set in Bolivia.
The first episode, titled Narco Road sees the player take on the role of "Ghost", a CIA infiltration specialist sent into Bolivia to identify "El Invisible", the elusive head of Santa Blanca's smuggling network. The Ghost poses as a mercenary for hire and befriends the leaders of the gangs carrying out smuggling operations. Each gang leader provides clues to El Invisible's identity before the Ghost assassinates them. Eventually the Ghost's notoriety grows to the point where El Invisible recruits them, erasing the Ghost's identity and staging their death. However, El Invisible is aware that the Ghost is a CIA agent and has them imprisoned. The Ghost escapes and with the help of an informant using the alias Señor Sonrisa, recovers the handheld device El Invisible uses to run Santa Blanca's smuggling network anonymously and seemingly kills El Invisible. When the device is decrypted, it unleashes a virus that compromises the CIA. The Ghost deduces that Sonrisa is El Invisible, and that he orchestrated the operation to escape Santa Blanca, attack the CIA and disappear for good. Unable to explain Sonrisa's motive for attacking them, the CIA spend the next two years tracking him. He is eventually found in Arizona and the Ghost is assigned a mission to kill him.
The second episode, Fallen Ghosts, follows the Ghost Recon fireteam on their return to Bolivia. The cocaine trade has collapsed in the aftermath of Operation Kingslayer and with Pac Katari's death, the Kataris 26 have descended into in-fighting. In a bid to restore order, the Bolivian government has tried to rebuild the tactical police unit Unidad with special forces from across Latin America. Now known as "Los Extranjeros", these remnants of Unidad prove to be corrupt and seize control of cocaine production. The Ghosts are sent back to Bolivia when a data breach in the CIA compromises the identities of every active agent in the area. Their mission goes awry when their helicopter is shot down moments after they enter Bolivian airspace. They regroup and rescue a CIA field officer code-named Socrates. As Los Extranjeros are better-armed and better-organised than Unidad, extracting the compromised agents proves impossible. Socrates instead proposes that the Ghosts target Los Extranjeros' commanders and rebuild the Kataris 26. Their actions prompt Los Extranjeros' commanding officer, Colonel Merlo, to personally take charge of the remaining forces. When Merlo is killed, Los Extranjeros tears itself apart, and evidence of their crimes causes a political scandal that upends the Bolivian government. The Ghosts and Socrates depart, questioning whether this will be enough to change the course of Bolivia's future.
As part of the ongoing effort to support the game, Ubisoft has also released short-term Special Operations DLC. The first pack, released in December 2017, features a mission to hunt the Predator. The next pack, Operation Watchmen, features a tie-in to Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. The summer 2018 DLC, Operation Archangel, features characters from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. The winter 2018 DLC, Operation Silent Spade, released in December 2018 features characters from Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
The development of Wildlands began in 2012, and was revealed in the end of Ubisoft's E3 2015 press conference. Ubisoft also claimed that Wildlands will feature the largest open-world environment the company has ever created. In order to create a realistic Bolivian environment, the developers visited Bolivia for two weeks and asked for consultation from local Bolivians. A modified version of the AnvilNext engine for supporting the large open world environments was used for the game.
In March 2017, the Bolivian government expressed their dissatisfaction over the game's portrayal of their country as a violent narco-state, and filed a formal complaint to the French embassy in La Paz. Bolivia's Interior Minister Carlos Romero stated that the country has the standing to take legal action.
Ubisoft responded with the following statement; "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is a work of fiction, similar to movies or TV shows. Like all Tom Clancy's games from Ubisoft, the game takes place in a modern universe inspired by reality, but the characters, locations and stories are all fantasies created solely for entertainment purposes. Bolivia was chosen as the background of this game based on its magnificent landscapes and rich culture. While the game's premise imagines a different reality than the one that exists in Bolivia today, we do hope that the in-game world comes close to representing the country's beautiful topography, and that players enjoy exploring the diverse and open landscapes it moved us to create."
Ubisoft released a 30-minute short film titled Ghost Recon Wildlands: War Within the Cartel on February 16, 2017 on their Twitch channel and later on Amazon Prime. It stars Tip "T.I." Harris and was executive produced by Roberto Orci and Orlando Jones through the production company Legion of Creatives. Avi Youbian directed the short.
As the game was revealed at E3 2015, some critics called the announcement one of the most surprising reveals during E3. Wildlands was nominated for IGN's E3 2015 Game of the Show, Best PlayStation 4 Game, Best Xbox One Game and Best PC Game awards, and received one of GameSpot's Best of E3 2015 awards. It was also named the best co-operative and the best shooter by Game Informer in their Best of E3 2015 Awards.
The beta of the game was released on Steam and lasted from February 23 to February 27, 2017. On March 1, 2017, Ubisoft revealed that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands' beta-phase had attracted more than 6.8 million players, making it its most successful beta to date.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands received "generally favorable" reviews for the Xbox One version of the game, while the PlayStation 4 and PC versions received "mixed or average" reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.
Praise was given to the game's shooting mechanics, visuals and design of Bolivia, while criticism was directed towards the game's narrative, bad vehicle controls and repetitive missions.
Since the release of Wildlands, two DLC packs have been released. The first one, Narco Road, sees the player infiltrate the remnants of the Santa Blanca drug cartel. The second DLC pack, Fallen Ghosts, sees Ghost Squadron return to Bolivia to thwart Los Extranjeros, a coalition of corrupt special forces units that are threatening to seize control of Bolivia. The game featured several free add-ons on the story mode. The first is Ghost War, which is made up of a four-aside player-versus-player mode. Players must pick a class and choose its perks. Each class has a special ability which can be used to take down other players. The first add-on is the Predator Special Event, released as part of the effort to provide ongoing content. Players must hunt the Predator, which is hidden in the Bolivian forests. The next add-on is titled Operation: Watchman features Sam Fisher, the protagonist of Splinter Cell series. On July 24, 2018, Ubisoft released an add-on which features a series of missions alongside the Rainbow Six Siege Operators Valkyrie, Twitch, and Caveira called "Operation Archangel". A new Special Operation was revealed on December 7. It will feature the return of Captain Scott Mitchell. The pack was available for download on December 11 for players. It introduces "Operation Silent Spade" and features now-Lieutenant Colonel Scott Mitchell and John Kozak on an operation in Bolivia to track down uranium being sold to Russian ultranationalists.
The game was nominated for "Best Co-op Game" at PC Gamer's 2017 Game of the Year Awards. It won the award for "Best Cooperative Multiplayer" at Game Informer's Best of 2017 Awards, and also won the awards for "Best Setting" (Bolivia), "Best Comeback" in multiplayer, and "Best Cooperative Multiplayer" in their 2017 Shooter of the Year Awards. EGMNow ranked the game 23rd on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017, while Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation ranked it second on his list of the Five Blandest Games of 2017.
|2017||Ping Awards||Best Console Game||Nominated|||
|2018||D.I.C.E. Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay||Nominated|||
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