The untapped role-playing potential of Ghost Recon: Wildlands
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ghost Recon: Wildlands – you might say I thought it was a ghastly neoliberal wargasm joined at the hip to an unimaginative open world action game – but I am, oddly enough, rather fond of guiding people through it, chaperoning squadmates to waypoints and doing my best to keep everybody upright in the face of inevitable idiocy. This probably says more about me than it does the game itself. Perhaps it’s just that I’m in my early 30s and secretly want to be a dad, a yearning unproductively manifest as an over-protective attitude towards sweary randos who dress like a Halloween edition of Guns ‘n’ Ammo. But there’s something about Wildlands – its blend of rigour and scale, cold-blooded Clancycore ruthlessness and spec ops fancy dress competition – that creates a kind of squad play I’m not entirely sure the game’s developers intended.
To be more specific, there’s something about the way its missions sprawl, most of them obliging you to tootle back and forth from raidable camp A to abductable henchman B. A game with that amount of travel time built into it imposes a familial dynamic on co-op, even if you choose to do without a squad leader – one player needs to drive or fly the others around the landscape, which means shrugging on the mantle of surrogate parent, getting people into and out of the fight in one piece. It’s a school run, basically, with fewer lost permission slips, a touch more camo and a lot more pointing and yelling.
To illustrate all that, here’s a Funny Anecdote (names have been changed to lower the risk of reprisals). I’m part of a squad of four, and our currently active mission is to collar the boss of a cartel silver mine deep in the south: a fearsome expanse of pipes and watchtowers, snipers dotted all across it like candles on the world’s least appetising birthday cake. I spawn across the valley from the rest of the group, swipe a chopper from the nearest airfield and find my way to the party as they’re in the process of overrunning a checkpoint, a few miles from the mine.
Original Post By – Eurogamer