A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open-world tactical shooter. Players are part of a special-ops military squad tasked with dismantling a major drug cartel in Bolivia. Tactics and communication are important in the game, whether in solo or online co-op play. Violence is persistent, with constant gun battles against cartel members and military forces. The game features graphic scenes of blood and gore, as well as constant references to and instances of drug use and profanity and some sexual content, including sexual dialogue and images of breasts. Finally, gameplay features optional in-game purchases with custom equipment, boosts, and unlocks, as well as story-based downloadable content.
What's it about?
In TOM CLANCY'S GHOST RECON WILDLANDS, you are a member of the Ghosts, an elite special-ops team that officially doesn't exist. It's the year 2019, and the Santa Blanca drug cartel has gained the power and influence to take over the country of Bolivia, turning it into a fully functional narco-state. After the bombing of a U.S. embassy and the execution of an undercover DEA agent by the Santa Blanca, the Ghosts are called in to dismantle the cartel and end its influence once and for all. To accomplish this, the Ghosts will need to take down the organization bit by bit, from the cocaine-distribution network to the human-trafficking operations to the propaganda used to help sway the people of Bolivia to Santa Blanca's cause. Piece by piece, mission by mission, the Ghosts chip away at Santa Blanca until only one person is left: El Sueño, the charismatic, methodical, and brutally sadistic leader of the cartel. You may be only four soldiers against the forces of illegal drug organization backed by an entire nation. But then again, those forces have never had to face a Ghost.
Is it any good?
This tactical open-world shooter might be violent, but the flexibility in gameplay will keep you coming back for more. Most shooters have you charge into battle guns blazing like a one-man killing machine, dodging lead like raindrops and soaking up damage like you're one part sponge and two parts Terminator. But the Ghost Recon series has never been like most shooters, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is the best the series has ever offered. Take the calculated, tactical planning that's been a cornerstone of the franchise and drop it into a massive, open-world environment filled with all kinds of terrain, vehicles, weapons, and skills, and you end up with an amazing gaming experience that you can play almost any way you see fit. Whether you sneak through the shadows, eliminating threats and accomplishing objectives with no one the wiser, or go in big and bold, crashing right through the front gates in an armored jeep, remotely blowing up a nearby fuel tanker to take the enemy by surprise, the game is nothing if not filled with options. But no matter which path you choose, you're going to need to be sure to work as a team. Trying to go lone wolf in Wildlands is a surefire way to end up a dead wolf.
Ghost Recon Wildlands is all about teamwork and strategy. No matter if you're going solo with an AI squad, going online with a handful of buddies, or even diving into an open match and hoping for the best, working together is key to overcoming the numbers game against the Santa Blanca cartel. Admittedly, if you're going to go online, you're usually better off setting up a match with people you know vs. people you don't. In open matches, you never know who you're going to get. You could wind up with an elite group that takes on missions with surgical precision, or you could wind up with a group that will run you over with a truck just as soon as they'd cover your back. The latter type of match can take a chunk of the fun out of the game, but sometimes even those chaotic moments are good for a laugh. The most impressive feat in Wildlands is that it gives players a huge sandbox to play in, but it always gives something to do to keep things from getting stale. The game's version of Bolivia includes thick woodlands, snowy mountains, salt flats, and more. One minute it's bright and sunny, the next you're trudging through mud in a thunderstorm. The world around you feels truly alive, ever-changing, and with a mood all its own. What Ubisoft has managed to do is create a place you're not just there to save but a place you genuinely feel is worth saving.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. In what ways does a realistic portrayal of violence affect younger minds? What are ways to explain the real-life violence of some military operations?
Talk about illegal drugs. What makes certain drugs so dangerous that they have to be classified as illegal? What are some of the effects that the illegal drug trade has on our everyday life?
How does the alternative reality of Ghost Recon Wildlands compare with the reality of Bolivia? What about with other Latin American countries? What did you know about Bolivia before playing this game?
How do you think the story and characters of the game affect the perception of Latinos? Does it reinforce the idea that all Latinos are corrupt and/or involved with illegal drug trade?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: UbiSoft
- Release date: March 7, 2017
- Genre: Third-person shooter
- Topics: Cars and trucks, Adventures, Misfits and underdogs
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.