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Ghost Recon Wildlands is About Teamwork, Action, and Above All, Choice

After knocking the gaming world’s collective socks off with their E3 2016 press conference demo, Ubisoft let us get our grubby little hands on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands ­– and blew our minds even further out into space.

Set in a Bolivia that’s been taken over at all levels by drug cartels, you and up to three friends take on the roles of elite special operations warriors who are way, way behind enemy lines. Your job is to use any means at your disposal (and Wildlands places a lot of different means at your disposal – more on that in a second) to disrupt the cartels and give the Bolivian people control of their country back.

Wildlands is an open-world, military-themed action-adventure title, and the world is the biggest that Ubisoft has ever put into a game. During our play session, the Ubisoft team encouraged us to zoom out and take a look at the map. It was truly a massive landscape to take in. We also got a sense of the scale when riding in the gunner’s chair of a helicopter, where the power of Wildlands’ engine is put on display: As we lifted off, objects went from life-sized, to small, to realistically ant-sized, creating an unparalleled sense of space and scale.

But it’s not about only riding around; our play session also involved taking down a cartel drug-production operation and capturing a lieutenant in the cartel called El Pozolero (the “Stew-Maker”… because he dissolves the bodies of the cartel’s enemies into stew). We started by sneaking up to the enemy’s base, getting in position and, after calling our shots, simultaneously taking down bad guys. Then, when the enemy tried to get away, we hopped in vehicles of our own and gave chase to a nearby gas station for an out-and-out firefight. When we’d taken down the bad guys, including our target, we hopped in a chopper and headed to the base that was pointed out on some intel we found on him.

There, it was all about coordination: Two guys snuck into the base quietly while one secured an exit strategy, and the fourth provided overwatch with a powerful sniper rifle. Because we were new, things went south quickly – but we still managed to accomplish the mission thanks to constant communication and adaptability (namely, crashing the helicopter into a guard tower after parachuting out of it in one of the more adrenaline-filled sequences we’ve had in open-world gaming). Wildlands’ weapons and vehicles are varied and realistic which, along with the communications and tactics necessary to succeed, genuinely makes players feel like they’re acting out their own, personal military thriller.

Now, you can play Wildlands on your own if you want, or you can take advantage of jump-in, jump-out co-op play to go through all of the game’s missions. This is a game about choice, above all: approaching its huge maps and varied missions the way you want, when you want, and with whatever you want from the huge arsenal at your disposal. From just the little snippet we played at E3, we are incredibly psyched to get our hands on Wildlands in March 2017 on the Xbox One and Windows PC.