The Ghost Recon Wildlands team is committed to provide a gameplay experience that fits the needs of all types of players, from those who want to focus on having some straightforward fun to those seeking a tactical challenge worthy of the Ghost Recon series. Freedom of choice is one of the core values of our open-world gameplay, and that concept is also applied to difficulty. You will be able to adapt your game experience to your skills and expectations on the fly, not only based on the level of difficulty you choose, but also depending on your in-game choices. Let’s find out how to customize your experience to your tastes and skills as a player.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY CHOSEN BY THE PLAYER
From the get-go, Ghost Recon Wildlands will allow you to choose the level of difficulty between four possible ones: Arcade, Regular, Advanced, and Extreme. Difficulty levels can be changed at any time from the game options menu, so if you feel that your game is not challenging enough or you find it too difficult, you can adapt the challenge to your needs in a few seconds. As the level of difficulty increases, the reaction of the enemies will be more unforgiving: they will detect you faster, have better accuracy and their bullets will be far more lethal. In addition, nearby explosions like grenades or exploding vehicles will hurt you more, and your health regeneration will take much more time to restore your character. If you play at the maximum difficulty level, even a single well-placed shot could end with your Ghost, the markers pointing the enemy presence will disappear from the minimap, and it will also affect the number of times your teammates can heal you and bring you back into battle. If you are one of the braves who choose to play in this mode, you will need a solid strategy before engaging in combat or your team will bite the dust quickly.
THE PROVINCES AND THEIR ASSOCIATED DIFFICULTY
The level of difficulty will also vary depending on the locations you visit in the game. Each of the 21 provinces of Ghost Recon Wildlands is associated to a branch of the Santa Blanca cartel, and the towns, outposts and camps found in each one are defended by enemies with access to different levels of equipment. The less important positions will be defended by a few enemies equipped with standard weapons, whereas the most important fortifications will hold high technology warfare as missile launchers, drone jammers and dozens of soldiers wearing body armor and carrying heavy weaponry. You will be the one deciding if you are ready for the challenge: you are free to jump to the most challenging provinces from the beginning, and if you realize you are not prepared for the battle, you can always lower the difficulty or return to less dangerous areas to find equipment and experience that gives you a decisive advantage.
The easiest way to check the level of difficulty of an area is through the tactical map: you will be able to see the level of challenge of each of the 21 provinces, which goes from one skull (a province without much enemy presence) to five skulls (a crucial place for the Santa Blanca cartel where you will not be well received). For example, Itacua, the province that could be visited during the Closed Beta, had the lowest difficulty score, making it the perfect place to become familiar with the gameplay, and the new province available in the Open Beta, Montuyoc, will be one of the more challenging ones of the entire game, so you will be able to experience first-hand the differences between them. In the final game, once you have finished the beginning missions, you will be the one who decides where to go first.
During your trip to Bolivia you will clash against two different enemy factions – the Santa Blanca cartel and the Unidad troops – and soon you will discover that they have little in common. On one hand, Santa Blanca’s recruits are not highly-trained soldiers, but their strength is in their numbers and widespread presence. Even if they don’t look or act like professionals, don’t make the mistake of underestimating them: they fight fiercely and can call for reinforcements quickly, finding yourself surrounded and overwhelmed in no time.
On the other hand, you will also fight against Unidad troops, the corrupt government force that turns a blind eye to cartel activities. Unidad troops are less present on the map, but they pose a much greater threat: the official government support gives them access to better equipment such as body armor, heavy armament and even high-tech vehicles like combat helicopters. They operate based on escalating levels of alert and they won’t stop chasing the Ghosts until they go out of their sight for a while so, if you want to fight against them, you better have a good plan.
Finally, we must also take the Kataris 26 rebels into account. The rebels can become an allied faction, but the Ghosts will have to prove them worthy of their trust. By completing optional guerrilla missions, you'll unlock useful skills like distractions, reinforcement troops and mortar attacks, something that can make your life easier if certain missions prove to be too challenging.
THE CUSTOMIZABLE HUD
The interface is a key element in Ghost Recon Wildlands. Matthew Tomkinson, Senior Game Designer in charge of the interface and menu design, talks about its conception: "The game is very rich in situations. You have complete freedom of choice, and that means taking into account a lot of playstyles and lots of interface tweaks. We needed an interface focused on user experience. A non-linear game structure is a challenge; You need to find the right context, something smart." Creating an interface from scratch is a laborious process culminated after many playtests with real players, observing the points of interest to which their eyes are directed, adapting the interface constantly to their real needs. Ghost Recon Wildlands is full of interface features designed to make a difference: from the PC menus, which show in detail the effect of each graphic tweak, to subtle but useful features like a customized crosshair for each weapon in the game.
Matthew's team encountered interesting challenges while deciding how to display information on the screen. The action of Ghost Recon Wildlands is set in a few years from now, so the interface is less futuristic and more built towards providing a clean experience. The team focused their efforts on condensing most of the information on the minimap to keep the gameplay flow clean and let the players enjoy the Bolivian landscape when they are out of combat.
Once the fight begins, the interface is focused on providing useful information on the screen, such as enemy markers and targets, ammunition level, resources ... but all this on-screen information can be activated or deactivated at convenience to suit each playstyle, creating a fully customizable experience. If you want a hardcore experience focused on realism, you will be able to play with all HUD disabled. The enemies and targets will not be marked on the screen, so you will have to watch the enemy positions and patrols carefully before attacking. In addition to that, you will have to orient yourself using the tactical map so you don’t get lost, making it the perfect chance to use the second screen option included in the Ghost Recon HQ mobile app.
It doesn’t matter if you just want to have a good time without complications or if you are looking for a really hardcore experience, Ghost Recon Wildlands has something for you. Like our open-world gameplay, you have complete freedom to adapt the difficulty to your skills and tastes as a player.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands will be available on March 7, 2017, for PlayStation®4 system, Xbox One, and PC.
For more intel on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, please keep an eye on GhostRecon.com and be sure to visit our official forums and subreddit.