Tom Clancy's Elite Squad

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Tom Clancy's Elite Squad App Poster Image
Tom Clancy's all-stars join forces in squad-based fight.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The main action requires little in the way of player interaction. Units automatically fight each other and activate their special abilities, with players only choosing when to activate and where to target independent drone activities. There's a lot of micromanagement involved before battles though, including training and arming units, setting up specific squads, crafting items, etc.

Violence

Squads of enemies face off against each other using a variety of realistic and futuristic military style weapons. While there's plenty of gunfire and explosions, there's no blood shown onscreen and defeated units simply fall over and disappear.

Sex
Language

Some profanity does appear in the game's text, but it appears in a censored format, such as "f**king"

Consumerism

The game brings together various heroes and villains from Ubisoft's Tom Clancy universe of games, including Ghost Recon, The Division, Splinter Cell, and Rainbow Six. The app has an in-game store where players can spend money to bolster their ranks with new and special characters, as well as different stacks of crafting and training resources, as well as in-game currency.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Though not shown onscreen, there are plenty of references to drug use in the bios of certain characters, particularly those pulled from Ghost Recon Wildlands' "Santa Blanca" drug cartel.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tom Clancy's Elite Squad is a free-to-play military style action role-playing game available for download on Android and iOS mobile devices. Players recruit and train characters from throughout Ubisoft's Tom Clancy universe of games, building squads to fight against a new global threat. Characters fight against each other using a range of realistic firearms, futuristic equipment, and special abilities. While there's a lot of gunfire and explosions, there's no blood shown onscreen and defeated units disappear from the battlefield. There's an in-game store that encourages players to use real world money to purchase in-game items such as resources, currency, and new or special characters.

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What's it about?

TOM CLANCY'S ELITE SQUAD brings together into the world of Ubisoft's Tom Clancy games like never before. Terrorist attacks, corruption, and economic upheaval have brought the world to the edge of collapse. Pulling the strings behind these events is UMBRA, a shadowy cabal looking to sow the seeds of discord, discredit world leaders, and ultimately fill the vacuum of power. This is a threat unlike any other, and it demands a response unlike any other in kind. That response is the Elite Squad, a special initiative that brings together both the heroes and villains of the Tom Clancy universe to fight against a common enemy. Players will build their squad with the likes of Splinter Cell legend Sam Fisher, Ghost Recon Breakpoint's Ghost-gone-rogue, Walker, and notorious drug kingpin, El Sueño. Then, they'll take on UMBRA forces in squad-based combat set on iconic battlefields from the Tom Clancy games. You can learn the secrets behind UMBRA and shut their plans down in the single player campaign, or test your skills against other Elite Squad commanders in PvP Arenas and Guild Wars.

Is it any good?

For more than two decades, Ubisoft has given gamers the chance to experience cutting edge modern and near future warfare, courtesy of its Tom Clancy line of games. What Tom Clancy's Elite Squad manages to do is to create a scenario, albeit a pretty outrageous one, that somehow brings together all the heroes and villains from all the games and unifies them against a greater threat, sort of like a Tom Clancy version of The Avengers. The upside of this for fans is it allows for dream teams of characters to share the screen, even gaining advantages in the gameplay depending on certain team-ups. The downside, and it's hard to overlook, is that now you've got drug kingpins and militia fanatics fighting side-by-side with the heroes that spent entire games trying to take them out. And most of the villains are not exactly characters players should or would have any sympathy for.

Moving from the story inconsistencies to the gameplay, more issues start to rear up. For starters, as much focus as there is on battles, players actually have very little to do when the bullets start to fly. This can be particularly frustrating when squad members auto target enemies that may not be an immediate threat. Meanwhile, players' only task is to activate and target the special Combat Orders. The issue here is that the smaller scale of the game means it can be difficult to figure out exactly who's who on the battlefield, often leading to certain Combat Orders being used on the wrong target. Finally, due to the game's free-to-play model, players start off with plenty of resources and actions, but quickly burn through those and find themselves sorely limited to what they can do without starting to shell out more cash to extend the gameplay or pick up new recruits.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Is the impact of the violence in Tom Clancy's Elite Squad affected by having a more cartoonish presentation of battle? Would it have more of an impact if the violence was more realistic? How can parents use game violence to open a discussion with kids about real world violence?

  • What are the advantages to building up franchises in entertainment (sequels, spin-offs, crossovers, etc.)? How do companies use this sort of universe building to increase the audience for their properties?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy

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