Taking Down the Santa Blanca – Ghost Recon: Wildlands Review

From the states to South of the border in the country of Bolivia, the rise and conquer of one dominant drug cartel is turning good people into one of the most poisonous and negatively influential international causes that is happening across the world through the illegal drug manufacturing and trade industry. What this super-power drug cartel doesn’t know is there a group of “Ghosts” out there that have come to kick some butt and crash this cartel’s drug empire.

Hunting El Sueno & the Cartel

Ghost Recon Wildlands El Sueno

The Santa Blanca cartel have become one of most influential drug cartel organizations across South America including to the population of Bolivia to the point where the whole country even the Bolivian government and military are being controlled by one powerful drug lord and his reign in the cocaine trafficking industry.

Meet El Sueno, the main antagonist of Ghost Recon: Wildlands and the vicious leader of the Santa Blanca cartel who besides becoming one of the biggest drug king pins in South America has also kidnapped and killed many of Boliva’s people even an American DEA agent who infiltrated El Sueno’s trafficking ring.

Working in a conjunction with the CIA, DEA, JSOC, and a Bolivian resistance group known as Kataris 26, the four covert soldiers as a part of “The Ghost” unit dismantle the Santa Blanca operation piece by piece in eliminating El Sueno’s Lieutenants and followers of his organization by tackling each area of the Santa Blanca which include the security, production, smuggling, and influence areas.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Gameplay

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Infiltration

In similarity to the previous Ghost Recon games, Ghost Recon: Wildlands depends on the same teamwork and co-op to tackling objectives in this open world game whether it is playing alone with AI team-mates or playing with other online players.

One of the most important parts to Ghost Recon: Wildlands is commanding the squad and exercising power as a leader out in the field. By terms of commanding, you as the leader of your squad have the options of ordering your AI squad to fire on a specific number of targets via the sync shot command or to holding, regrouping, and directing your squad to a certain spot. There also other options to order the Kataris 26 rebels to perform a vehicle drop to calling in recon support to help your squad spot and mark enemy patterns.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands aerial drone

Tagging and marking enemies from the view of a tri-rotor UAV drone.

Going into every hostile area of each main mission, gives the opportunity to perform important reconnaissance with an aerial drone or from Nomad’s view from a pair of binoculars to scope out and find out how many hostiles are wandering around the area. Your AI teammates can also assist in doing reconnaissance for enemies that can’t be seen in plain view or missed initially.

Besides tagging and marking enemies, the drone can also tag and mark an enemies defenses like mortar cannons, SAM sites, machine gun nests, and automated gates. In disabling or destroying some defenses, there is an opportunity to mark and tag an enemies alarm system, generators, and signal jamming station which can also be disabled to make infiltration somewhat easier in completing mission objectives.

Some other things to look out for on each mission would be the Kingslayer file collectibles that tell more behind the story of what is going on in the Santa Blanca cartel as well as finding weapon caches that contain unlockable weapons and upgrades that are always useful to improving accuracy, recoil, range, and most importantly firepower in whole.

Wildlands Survival Tip: Find Supplies and Keep Upgrading

Throughout the open world of Bolivia and through a variety of mission areas, there is another opportunity to tag and place trackers on resources like on communications gear and medical kit supplies to help out the rebels from Kataris 26 in being prepared to fighting against the cartel when the situation arises. Of course, doing this gains more respect from the rebels in return provides favors from them on future missions…

Ghost Recon Wildlands Skills Tree

A look at the item skills tree in Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Also, each mission area has optional objectives where you can interrogate high value targets (HVT’s) or hack into the Santa Blanca’s network to find intel on supply convoys and rebel ops which can help gain more respect to them or there is also an advantage to finding the location of bonus medals that can be turned in for skill points towards upgrading your character, weapons, support, and other areas important to surviving.

 

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Final Thoughts and Views

Ghost Recon Wildlands Combat

Ghost Recon: Wildlands to me was much different than your average Ghost Recon game from the past with the previous Ghost Recon games getting straight to the point; but, not with Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Instead, you play however you want to in an open world to tackle any mission you want to do first which to me is great to see since you pick your battles in any order you want to play and there are now options of playing more to a stealthy approach or the old-fashioned way which is the assault approach from before (sometimes this is the only option in this game).

Commanding your squad is still the same as before; but, considered much easier and simpler now that you can command your troops on taking down only a few enemies at a time via the Sync Shot command. This command is only available if you’re playing solo with no online teammates and you’ll wind up using this one command the most out of the others. It is a recommendation from my opinion to unlock the level 3 vehicle drop off (helicopter drop off) to help you get around quicker between mission locations and the level 3 rebel recon to help cover a wider range of enemy reconnaissance area.

In addition to this, there is no surprise that you will find yourself using the drone on every mission even upgrading it to the maximum performance. This means upgrading the battery life and signal distance to my own recommendation of making the aerial drone into a “medical drone” since it comes in handy if you’re playing with online players or offline to heal your teammates via mobility without physically being at their location.

Also, the night and thermal vision views to me in the game are spot-on and come in handy when the realistic weather changes from day to night. Yes, you can’t really see when night falls…so don’t try to adjust the brightness on your monitor or TV.

As far as playing through the game, I preferred playing solo with AI teammates over playing with other online players since you get a variety of players who know what they are doing and some that don’t care about how you want to play it (there is no teamwork sometimes) and there is no opportunity to use the sync shot with a full online team. However, it’s great to experiment with both.

There are some minor details to the game that I felt needs work, one of the things is there is not an assigned jump button and the sync shot command can only show up when you’re aiming. Other than these minor aggravating details, Ubisoft made another Ghost Recon title come out decently. I can’t wait to see what Ubisoft creates next in the Ghost Recon collection.

Andrew Simmons

Chief, Author/Writer for Hammered Gaming Blog. 15+ year gaming experience. Always a big fan of most first-person and third-person, action/adventure, and racing games from Forza Motorsports to Rainbow Six.

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