Today will see the latest expansion DLC pack for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands released for everyone following the early access for Season Pass holders since last week. This DLC is a direct follow up to the completion of the main story campaign and will follow the events following the dismantling of the Santa Blanca crime organisation and will place the Ghosts in extreme danger. In what promises to turn the hunters into the hunted, it is time to see what happens next to the ‘Fallen Ghosts’
It has not been that long since the first Expansion, ‘Narco Road’, was released. It featured a stand alone story of a Ghost agent going undercover. Gameplay was a little more of an arcade action style DLC and almost parody to an extent but it did remove the core feature of GRW of having a squad to support the player in solo and overall had a lighter hearted feel. But now ‘Fallen Ghosts’ is a far more serious in tone story expansion, bringing back many of the elements of the main story campaign including having squad mates to help.
The premise is simple as this expansion is a direct continuation of the main story post completion. With the Santa Blanca cartel now destroyed, a power vacuum has been left in Bolivia forcing the Unidad security to reach out for help in keeping control of the country. Many answer the call but instead of providing help, the opportunistic group of would be criminals and mercenary soldiers start taking over former Santa Blanca territory, resuming the business. Forming what is referred to as ‘Los Extranjeros’ (The Foreigners) , they quickly establish themselves as an elite and heavily armed force in the country. The Ghosts are sent in to find out what is going on, to rescue US citizens stuck in the area and to take down this new threat before civil war destroys Bolivia.
I really liked the idea behind this expansion, especially from a story and gameplay point of view. The first problem though is how the initially teased tone of it quickly contradicts itself. It begins with the Ghosts on route back into Bolivia, having the mission explained to them when suddenly their helicopter is shot down, crashing in a forest area and finding them being hunted by Los Extranjeros soldiers. My issue with this is that the whole “hunters become the hunted” only lasts for about fifteen minutes of gameplay before it simply becomes exactly what the main story campaign was. I would have loved to have had this expansion open up with the ghosts truly outgunned and under threat before the gameplay returned to standard form.
Another annoyance is that yet again as with ‘Narco Road’, this expansion forces the player to create a brand new Ghost agent rather than having the option to continue on with the agent from the player’s main game. At the very least offer players new creation options in voices and appearance but instead, you can simply recreate that same agent or another very easily but again it just contradicts the forced requirement to make a new agent. That said, the agent you create will have immediately be at Level 30 with all skills maxed out other than the new skills that come with this content. I just would have liked some new options to go along with this expansion to make it feel more unique.
Fallen Ghosts offers four new bosses and fifteen missions to tackle, and feels very much back in tone with the main campaign in terms of going to a region, completing missions to unlock an opportunity to take out its leader before moving on to the next one. It feels very familiar in having the squad back to aid or more often then not, simply be there with you for a vehicle ride along. The same enemies return as well with gangs to tackle and Unidad forces but the main threat will come from the newly formed Los Extranjeros. These guys are far more deadly than anything seen the game before and the challenge is upped quite a bit. These guys are geared up to handle the Ghosts with Snipers able to track targets with more accuracy, heavy soldiers that can really take punishment. But it is their tech level that will offer the biggest change in strategy and tactics for players to deal with. They will have jamming devices, soldiers that carry backpack gear that will prevent the player from using any form of tech such as the drone, mini-map and vision options such as thermal and night vision. This can alter how you approach a target area and taking these guys out will be critical to a successful operation, giving the action a nice new twist.
It felt good to go back to the main story and see the after effects of completing the main story, to see that it was not the usual ‘happy ever after’ game ending is refreshing. Gathering intelligence and planning an attack before confronting a mission objective falls more in line with what I as a player would expect to do with my squad of Ghost agents. It was something that made the ‘Narco Road’ expansion feel more disconnected and standalone but a return to the world of Ghost Recon: Wildlands for this final expansion is a welcome one. Though more content is set to come for the game in terms of updates that will come to every player with or without the season pass and talks of a PvP mode, Fallen Ghosts is a nice way to round off the expansion DLC for the game.
I liked Fallen Ghosts, it offers a new challenge but with familiar gameplay to complete the player experience with Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Whilst the game still has the same issues today as it had on release in terms of cringe worthy dialogue and some very iffy AI moments, it is still a tonne of fun both in solo play and with a group of mates, which is where the team tactics element comes alive. The story is solid and believable as a continuation of the main campaign which keeps the action grounded.
If you have enjoyed Ghost Recon: Wildlands up to now, than this expansion is more of that gameplay with enough changes to make it worthwhile to play but ultimately is just more of the same with a few bells and whistles.