Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Fallen Ghosts DLC
The shooter genre (first and third person) is going stronger than ever right now, and its popularity shows no signs of abating. The genre as a whole can basically be broken down into two subgenres. Firstly, you have the uber-popular run-and-gun types of shooters such as your Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Titanfall titles. These types of games emphasize fast-twitch reflexes and attacking objectives with or without teammates, while de-emphasizing tactics and teamwork.
The other subgenre include the covert ops-style of games such as any of Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and (to a somewhat lesser degree) Rainbow Six franchises. These more tactical shooters feature advanced stealth and detection systems, silenced weapons, and lots of creeping around in the shadows. Therefore, they naturally involve remaining hidden, and focus more on tactics and teamwork in order to successfully tackle objectives.
Since I’m much more of a fan of the latter camp, I was extremely excited when Ubisoft released Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands earlier this year. However, unless you’re playing with a like-minded group of tactical and stealthy friends who like to play Wildlands how it’s meant to be played, you’ll run into lots of Rambo-type blowhards who think that the game should be played like a militarized version of a Grand Theft Auto game.
Ubisoft hardly helped this situation by releasing the base game’s first expansion, Narco Road, recently. Road was apparently a bizarre attempt to capture some of the younger GTA audience, and seduce them over by offering goofy monster trucks, silly gangs, and nitro boosts for all of the dopey stunt-jumping. In essence, it was everything that a Ghost Recon title isn’t supposed to be.
Due to the expected backlash from Road, Ubisoft attempted to restore some semblance of the stealthy goodness that the Ghost Recon series is known for. That attempt is the most recent (second) major DLC called Fallen Ghosts.
Fallen Ghosts takes place right after the events of Narco Road, where the Unidad forces and the Cartel have finally been dispensed with. However, in its death throes, Unidad hires a band of highly trained, ex-Special Forces mercenaries called Los Extranjeros to deal with the Ghosts.
Right off of the bat, what I loved about this new DLC is that it opens like any great covert ops military movie. The Ghosts are on their way to meet a new threat when the chopper they’re riding in gets shot down by a SAM strike. After crash-landing within one of the more swampy regions of the main map, they scavenge what they can and begin to collect their wits. However, they soon realize that they are not alone. Los Extranjeros is on their trail.
What makes Fallen Ghosts so intriguing is that this time around, the Ghosts are the hunted rather than the hunters. Los Extranjeros offer some truly brutal tactical gameplay obstacles, and forces even the most spastic run-and-gunners to slow down and think before acting.
There are four main types of Los Extranjeros mercenaries: Armored, Covert Ops, Elite Snipers, and Jammers. Armored is pretty much what you’d expect—highly armored tank types that can only be killed by shooting them in their heads, or through melee (if you’re lucky enough to get close to them that is). Covert Ops are ninja-type operators who wear advanced stealth suits (ala the Predator films) and can only be detected using infrared vision. Elite Snipers offer ranged support over extreme distances, and utilize their advanced optics to kill their foes with one shot of their powerful sniper rifles. And lastly, Jammers can cause all kinds of surveillance headaches because they can block the Ghost’s radars and drones. When working together, these new enemies can be quite a handful, even for the most seasoned Wildlands veterans (especially on higher difficulties).
For instance, I’m much more of a GR purist (and apparently a masochist as well) and so played my first Fallen Ghosts game with a newly updated (1.4), minimalist HUD display. My three gaming friends and I also set our game on maximum difficulty. We attempted to break into a Los Extranjeros-controlled base during nocturnal hours, and let me tell you—it played out just like a movie. Carefully approaching from what we thought was a safe distance, we attempted to perform our usual recon routine but our drones quickly went dark. Naturally, we crept through the dark swamp in order to get a little closer to the base so that we could surveil it with our binoculars.
Suddenly, one of my buddies cried out over our coms that he’d been knifed by someone he didn’t even see coming (Covert Ops). So, another of our four-man squad rushed over to try to revive our fallen comrade, only to take a bullet to the head from an unseen source (Elite Sniper). Rather than fall for the obvious sniper over watch trap, my remaining squaddie and I moved up to the outskirts of the base as stealthily as we could, only to have a group of Armored mercenaries waiting for us. As we’d apparently been detected by the advanced sensors that are available to these new enemies, we had nowhere to hide and were forced to slug it out with foes better armed and armored than us.
This example exemplifies what Fallen Ghosts is all about—forcing gamers to play Wildlands the way that it should have originally been played: Slowly, methodically, with on-the-fly adaptation (using your brain) and many tactical reassessments. In other words: Move in too fast and prepare to watch yourself to get quickly dealt with.
Gameplay-wise, there are a total of 15 missions in Fallen Ghosts, spread out over 3 new provinces, with 4 powerful bosses presiding over the entire area. There are also a number of new weapons and gadgets that sadly can’t crossover into the base game, including an awesome crossbow that may be outfitted with exploding arrows.
Fallen Ghosts represents a return to the tactical stealth gameplay that the GR series has always been known for. Although the entire DLC is rather on the short side, the random variables that can transpire during a single operation make each one highly replayable. Now if we can only get Ubisoft to release that upcoming free multiplayer update [sigh]…but until then, I’ll be happily playing Fallen Ghosts until that time comes.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Fallen Ghosts DLC features graphics that are more than good enough to wow your friends with. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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