P4- Analysis of Wildlands

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Wildlands is the latest instalment to the Ghost Recon series, the game was released on the 7th of March 2017, it had been in development since 2012. The game was released as an open beta on February 23rd, it was closed on the 27th- 6.8 million players had played the open beta, which was a new record for Ubisoft. The game is an open world shooter- which has elements of first and third person camera angles. The game is set in Bolivia, Bolivia is being run as a "Narco State", this is because a Drug cartel known as "Santa Blanca" have taken control of the land, whilst the government turns a blind eye to their illegal trade-as it brings them money. The player's role is to assist rebel forces, as they try and take back control from the cartel. This is all fictional of course, Bolivia is not a violent narco state in real life; the Bolivian government voiced their concerns about the games portrayal of the country- with a formal complaint.


Comparison taken from-

The graphics in Wildlands are quite stunning, especially for a game with such large and detailed world. The landscape is beautiful and diverse, the games lighting engine is brilliant, the suns rays are vibrant and the shadows are realistic. The game has some good sound design, there are many different guns to choose from, all have different sounds, although you will be using a suppressor a lot- due to the stealth aspects of the game. The game does have a great soundtrack, a lot of the music in the game has a Latin sound to it; because of the games setting in Bolivia. But it also mixes this Latin music with modern instruments and styles, such as electric guitars, the soundtrack really creates a atmosphere whilst you travel the arid and tropical landscapes. Another sound design element in the game is the use of radio stations in the game, the Santa Blanca cartel have control the radio, they have a station which plays music and propaganda, the propaganda try's to make it seem like the cartel are helping the people of Bolivia by giving them work in the drugs trade. Another radio station in the game is the Rebel radio station, this is run by the Rebels- who are mainly just farmers and workers- this station will replace the cartel's, if their influences is lowered in a region of the state. But the radio is also very repetitive, and the songs played on it are not that memorable, the radio does change as you progress through the game, but if you just want to do side missions it can get quite annoying.

Here is the hierarchy of the Cartel, the question marks show the lieutenants who have not been discovered yet by the ghosts.

Construction and Conventions

The construction of the game is built around travelling the land and finding intel(information gathering) about the cartel's activities, the Intel can be found in villages across the region; however these villages will be controlled by the cartel, so there will be plenty of gun fights, or stealth kills. It's not always a village, Intel can be found in farming areas, cartel outposts, hotels and resorts run by the cartel, and there are even prisons run by the cartel. The player progresses through the game by lowering the cartels influence in each region of the country- which grows the rebellion. The player can gain skill points from following the Intel gained, this Intel leads to supply drops, supply convoys, unlock-able weapons, and rebel operations. The player can also GPS tag cartel equipment for the rebels to steal, for example barrels of fuel, medical supplies, and food supplies; the supply drops and convoys will also use the same type of GPS tags. The point of this is to gain skill points to upgrade your stats, and to unlock special abilities, for example you need to gain skill points to unlock the parachute- but I didn't know this when I jumped out a helicopter- but it isn't hard to get skill points, usually you'll find a lot of them on a mission; I think the skill point tree adds a good role playing element to the game, it encourages the player to go and complete side missions

Here is the character creation system

The skill tree allows you to upgrade player stats, squad stats, rebel support abilities, drone stats, and unlock items.

The cartel are not the government of the country, because that would probably be an international crisis. There are government forces in the games, and they are not to be reckoned with, the main government security force goes by the name "UNIDAD", they are allies to the cartel, and will eventually patrol areas where you have disrupted cartel activities- if spotted, UNIDAD will start coming after you and your team, it's like the wanted system in Grand Theft Auto- they will keep coming until you escape. However the game is not that straightforward, in a gunfight UNIDAD will not know the difference between, the ghosts, the rebels, and the cartel, so they will attack Santa Blanca, but might also team up with them; when any other faction attacks another, a message will appear on screen "UNIDAD are attacking Santa Blanca", or "Santa Blanca are attacking the Rebels", this is quite a nice feature, because it can be used to gain a tactical advantage- for example if UNIDAD are attacking Santa Blanca- use this as a distraction and get out of the area.

There are plenty of methods of transport in the game, you can use any car you like, and even hijack civilian vehicles by aiming your gun at them- this makes me question the ethics of the Ghosts, but you do really need a car to get around the huge map. Helicopters are a good way to get around, however you should watch out for homing missiles at some compounds. Helicopters can have machine guns on them, but they are quite pointless in the players hands, as it's very hard, if not near impossible to aim them; however in the enemies hands- helicopters are a force to be reckoned with, but they can be shot down pretty easily with help from your team. Planes are fast and easy to fly, but landing them on one of the rebels remote "airstrips" is quite a difficult task. The biggest problem with cars and motorbikes is the handling they have, it's very slippery, and very easy to drift out of control; but this makes high speed chases quite intense, as you can push an enemies vehicle off the road and watch them explode as they crash into a tree- this has actually happened to me once whilst playing, and I was pretty impressed that it wasn't a set event- it just happened to a random enemy car I decided to mess with. Most vehicles will have the "order assault" feature with them, this commands the Ghosts to fire at any enemies, this lets you can perform drive by shootings at enemies.

Narrative structure

The games starts with an introduction to who Santa Blanca are, with narrative from the games main antagonist- El Sueño. After the introduction we learn that a DEA agent was murdered by Santa Blanca, in response Operation Kingslayer is launched by multiple security agents, along with the US army; they deploy a special tactical team known as the Ghosts. The Ghosts consists of 4 soldiers who go by the code names: Nomad, Holt, Midas, and Weaver. Nomad is the protagonist, and leader of the ghosts. Holt is the engineer of the group, Midas is the tactical gunner, and Weaver is the sniper. They enter Bolivia via helicopter, they land and meet the leader of the rebellion, at a rebel safe-house- there are quite a few of these safe-house's across the country, the Ghosts use them as a base of operations. The Ghosts are being overlooked by a CIA agent call Karen Bowman, she gives them objectives to complete, and was also a friend of the murdered DEA agent. 

The story is okay, it's not bad, it's not amazing. It serves it's purpose, but the biggest problem with the storyline missions tend to be very similar to the things you can do whilst free roaming, and this seems quite repetitive. But there are some good things about the story- the best thing is freedom to do the story in whatever order you please, but the way the game starts you off is quite clever. The game leads you towards one of the easiest provinces in the game- the tourist resort area. In this area, there are a lot less military strongholds, and this means it's easier to take on the cartel without being bombarded with mortar fire, and homing missiles- which is what happens in the provinces which are controlled by the security sector of the cartel; the cartel has four different industries: security, influence, smuggling, and production, each province in focused on one of the four sectors. 

Representation of Characters
The characters in the game are not amazing, all the ghosts have a similar dark style of humour, this is sometimes funny, but also quite repetitive and annoying. This game is not for role-players, you do create your own character, but within seconds of the game we learn that the protagonist is a parent- this can put the fans of roleplaying off, because they would rather make their own characters backstory; and odd thing about this is though- is that we never hear much else about the characters back stories after this, all we hear is that they were all in the military in the past, and this makes the dialogue about the protagonists child rather pointless. I enjoy roleplaying games, so maybe I am bias, but if you're going to allow a player to create their of own character, it's better not to give away too much personal information about a character. The games main antagonist El Sueño, may seem like a stereotypical bad guy, he talks in slow and deep South American accent, and is very calm and intelligent, but also is known to be violent. One thing that makes him stand out is his face tattoos- which is a huge crucifix across his face, this is quite good because it shows that he thinks of himself as some kind of prophet.


The Tom Clancy games series has been running since the late 1980's, the Ghost Recon series of Tom Clancy games started in 2001, and there have been 13 titles. The series has quite a large fanbase, and since 6.8 million players took part in the beta a lot of people were looking forward to this game. But is this game being aimed at the Ghost Recon fanbase? No.

Like I said earlier, this game is not a role playing game- despite some pretty good character creation. But it's also not as much as a tactical shooter as many tactical shooter fans will want it to be, the Ghost Recon series has a large fan base who play the game for the tactical shooting element of the game, there are many tactical aspects of the game, and most of the time these are very fun, for example you can use a portable drone to fly into the air and spot enemies, this is very easy, maybe too easy as the hostiles rarely catch the drone in the act- although they can hear it, which I think is a pretty good level of detail. I was never really a fan of the Ghost Recon series- I prefer Rainbow Six- but from what I've seen online, maybe Ghost Recon fans are disappointed with the game, as it strays away from previous titles; but this could just be moaning about change, which often happens when a series tries to take a new direction. 

I think the Wildlands takes the series in a better direction, the open world of Wildlands is the largest and most detailed open world I have ever played, but maybe they focused too much on this aspect, the game has been criticised by fans for having repetitive missions, and boring gaming during the missions, I would agree that some missions are pretty repetitive, but with most missions, you have the freedom to plan and execute an objective however you like, although stealth is probably the smartest way to go. But I do wonder about the tactical shooter fans who were expecting a very detailed tactical shooter- detailed in terms of game mechanics- and important part of tactical shooters, are the team you are with, the AI in this game is okay, but sometimes your team will let you down, for example the player puts a suppressor on their gun, the AI should follow- but sometimes they don't and end up getting the whole detected. But thankfully you can play the game in Co-op, and it's a pretty decent matchmaking system too. Playing with real people can be very fun- especially with a headset for voice communication- you also won't have to deal with the mistakes AI make, but you might have to deal with the "Noobs" and the "Griefers", but that happens in all online multiplayer games. 

Overall I think Tom Clancy's: Ghost Recon Wildlands, is a pretty good game, despite the problems here and there, I will say that this game is a very fun experience, which has the largest and most detailed open world I have ever played; it's fun to explore new areas, and plan tactical assaults on cartel compounds, the story might be a bit basic- but it's still interesting to play through. But it seems that this game has moved towards the mainstream market with it's large open world, and online co-op, but maybe this is the right direction for the series to go towards. Wildlands is definitely an improvement on the previous release, Tom Clancy's the Division, I think the latest Tom Clancy games have been experimenting with different game concepts, and I have to say that I am looking forward to future titles. I will give this game an 8/10.