‘Ghost Recon Wildlands’ introduces PvP mode, announces standalone Beta

Sharon Pan/Staff

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Fans of Ubisoft’s tactical military shooter “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands” have much to anticipate in an upcoming free update to the game. Over six months after the game’s initial release, Ubisoft has announced a new player-versus-player, or PvP, game mode in the form of the “Ghost War” downloadable content, or DLC, coming this fall. Staged as a four-versus-four team battle royale in a best-of-three format, “Ghost War” capitalizes on the strategy-based gameplay that has become a hallmark of the third-person shooter franchise.

“Ghost War” features a range of new PvP-exclusive maps that showcase a number of unique environments, from an abandoned quarry to a jungle retreat, in the game’s beautifully reconstructed Bolivian landscape. In the upcoming standalone beta test that will run from Sept. 21-25, players — even those who do not own the game — will be able to access five of the eight maps featured in the DLC, as well as six of the twelve total character classes to be featured in the full version of “Ghost War.”

The most intriguing factor of the DLC’s new gameplay is indeed the twelve unique playable character classes spread across the Assault, Marksman and Support categories. Notably, the Assault category will showcase a Tank class that makes use of the game’s new suppressing fire mechanic, as well as a Pointman class consisting of a heavy gunner. The Marksman category also features strategic gunplay in the form of the Enforcer, while the category’s Sniper class remains a traditional sharpshooter build. The Support category, on the other hand, will allow players to mark enemy targets through the Scout class or call mortar strikes as the Artillery class.

The introduction of a robust class system in “Ghost War” plays to the base game’s tactical team play mannerisms, as “Ghost Recon Wildlands” was originally developed with a four-player co-op experience in mind. Navigating the rather tight-cornered maps featured in the PvP mode is nearly impossible without a specific team strategy – placing a Sniper at a height above the base of the map to take out enemies long-range and recruiting a Scout to establish the locations of targets is just as important, if not more so, than sending in a Tank or Pointman to do the heavy lifting.

The battle royale gameplay of “Ghost War” certainly appears to be Ubisoft’s response to “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” the massive online last-man-standing shooter that, despite still being in early access release on Steam, has managed to dominate the PC platform for the majority of 2017. Like “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” “Ghost War” focuses on strategy and stealth gameplay over mundane shooting, in order to bring a new element of anticipation to the game. Yet whereas the sprawling maps of “Battlegrounds” allow for baiting targets and camping in wait, the significantly smaller maps of “Ghost War” place players in close proximity to one another, forcing them to run, hide or shoot at a faster pace.

Consistent with the camera mechanisms of “Ghost Recon Wildlands,” the DLC allows for third-person movement with first-person gunplay that emphasizes tactical shooting, while “Battlegrounds” remains strictly third-person or first-person alone, depending on the player’s choice. The team reviving abilities in “Ghost War” also force players to strategize guarding fallen enemies to prevent them from being revived, as well as using stealth to revive their own injured teammates, all while avoiding detection by enemy drones in the process. These additional strategies that the player is forced to account for in “Ghost War” add interesting details to the otherwise traditional PvP mode of the tactical shooter.

The four-versus-four nature of “Ghost War” certainly gives the DLC a fast-paced and close-combat feel that plays well off of the strategy-based shooting that dominates the base game, adding a competitive edge to the original co-op system of the main campaign. As additional maps and classes are added beyond the scope of the open beta test, players can certainly expect a challenging but fun PvP mode to supplement the base game.

Manisha Ummadi covers video games. Contact her at [email protected].