In the past, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series has taken quite a few different directions, first with the action-packed Warfighter series, and then into the future with gadgets galore in Future Soldier. Now, with the just-announced Wildlands, it returns to contemporary themes, as you and your squad make your way to Bolivia, where all new dangers await. Honestly, though, you're going to like your stay here.
In the game, you're part of a special squad known as the Ghosts. Your primary mission is to take down the Santa Blanca drug cartel by any means necessary. It's spread its empire pretty thickly across the country, with plenty of gunrunners, vicious enemies and a corrupted government to deal with. Fortunately, you won't be alone, as the game supports up to four players in continuous co-op support – so you can hunt down the cartel's biggest heads as a team, and slowly but surely shut them down.
The first thing you'll notice about Wildlands is how it takes more of an open-world approach than previous games. You'll be able to complete missions all over this South American country, whether it's traveling down the Death Road to destroy a caravan, or visiting other mountains, deserts and rain forests, where troublemakers may be hiding. The game lets you traverse on foot however you see fit, or, better yet, in a number of vehicles, including Jeeps, motorcycles and helicopters. We didn't get to see too many of these over the course of the demo, but more are likely to be unveiled as the game's development continues on.
Players can take on missions however they see fit, and the choices they make may open up even more opportunities over the course of the game. For instance, destroying a certain drug lab in a remote location could tie in with other Santa Blanca groups in the area, or introduce a new side mission where additional cleanup is needed. There is no right and wrong here, as choices open up new missions aplenty.
Don't expect these missions to be a cakewalk, though. The difficulty runs along the same lines as the previous games. So, if you're exposed, you'll need to act quickly with your trigger finger, or enemy forces may overwhelm you. Fortunately, there are plenty of old-school tactics that you can use to your advantage, such as using surveillance on a nearby drug farm (and quietly taking out enforcers with a nearby sniper) or working with your co-op enabled squad to come in and clean house, while you keep an eye out for reinforcements. Tools of the trade will also be available, with a variety of guns, grenades and other gadgets at your fingertips.
With the open-world available, there's plenty to find within the Bolivian borders, including various towns to explore and landmarks to find. In addition, the game runs on a day/night cycle, so you can keep an eye on certain cartel members to see how they behave, and use that to your advantage when missions go down – in case someone's acting as a back-up, or providing you a way in to an otherwise impenetrable location.
One great aspect about Wildlands is that it's fully approachable, whether you're on your own or playing alongside friends. The variety of missions is staggering, no matter which choices you make; and there's a lot of action going down with each mission, whether you're taking part in a gun battle while on the road, or performing clean sweeps on roving patrols. New weapons and vehicles become unlocked as well, so there's always something interesting being added to your arsenal.
More information about Wildlands will be revealed in the coming months, as we get closer to the game's 2016 release date. It is rather different from what you'd expect from the Ghost Recon series, but, at this rate, it's coming together as a change for the better.