Ghost Re­con Wild­lands

De­vel­oper/pub­lisher Ubisoft (Paris) For­mat PC, PS4, Xbox One Re­lease March 7, 2017

EDGE - - DISPATCHES PERSPECTIVE -

When it was re­vealed at last year’s E3, Ubisoft’s ap­par­ent Far Cry- cum- Just Cause treat­ment of the Ghost Re­con se­ries felt like a jar­ring, rather dis­re­spect­ful trans­po­si­tion. In ac­tion, how­ever, the switch to an open world – Ubisoft’s big­gest yet – is re­vealed to have been han­dled more sen­si­tively than that brash first trailer sug­gested, and the ex­panded spread of tac­ti­cal choices that emerge from the game’s sprawl­ing slice of Bo­livia make for a good fit.

But it’s the game’s fo­cus on freeform co-op that re­mains its most ap­peal­ing draw. You and up to three other play­ers can de­scend on this car­tel-con­trolled un­der­world and raise merry hell from the shad­ows as you ex­tract and elim­i­nate key fig­ures. There’s no player teth­er­ing, nor any stip­u­la­tions on how or in which or­der you should ap­proach your tar­gets, and the scale and range of pos­si­bil­i­ties makes plan­ning and ex­e­cut­ing a dar­ing mis­sion an en­joy­ably in­volved process.

Set just a few years from now, Wild­lands reins in the se­ries’ re­cent fu­tur­is­tic lean­ings and re­turns to its near-fu­ture roots, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have plenty of gad­getry to de­ploy. Chief among the toys in your kit bag is a Fu­ture Sol­dier- style drone that can be used to scout out mis­sion lo­ca­tions and mark up en­e­mies. The de­vice has a lim­ited bat­tery life, but can be up­graded over time, al­low­ing you to stay in the air for longer. Fly­ing too low will alert en­e­mies to your pres­ence, but you’ll also be able to add of­fen­sive and dis­rup­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to take out power sources.

Our tar­get this time is the un­pleas­ant-sound­ing El Po­zolero, known as the ‘stew maker’, who dis­solves the bod­ies of car­tel vic­tims in acid. But be­fore we can reach him, we need to gather in­tel on his where­abouts. To that end we head to a ranch and gather on a nearby ridge to scout out the place with scopes and drones, then time our first vol­ley of shots to drop four en­e­mies si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Our tar­get hops into a car and makes a dash for it, lead­ing to a car chase and then a shootout. Af­ter in­ter­ro­gat­ing the in­di­vid­ual we head to a larger com­pound and split into two teams – a pair of us re­main­ing in the moun­tains to pro­vide cover while the other two head in­side. Pre­dictably, the stealth mis­sion de­scends into chaos as we fran­ti­cally try to take out alarm tow­ers and sniper tow­ers, but we get our man, and man­age to es­cape in a burn­ing 4x4. It’s a promis­ing first show­ing, but we’re keen to see if Ubisoft can engi­neer enough va­ri­ety to en­sure that its 100 or so mis­sions re­main en­ter­tain­ing.

Ve­hi­cles play an im­por­tant role in Wild­lands due to the daunt­ing scale of its world map. Tar­gets and their hench­men all have daily rou­tines and can move freely, so ob­serv­ing ob­jec­tives can re­veal tac­ti­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties

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