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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is a Wide Open Sandbox Third-Person Shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris and the tenth installment in the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series. It places a large emphasis on open-world exploration and non-linear gameplay.

Ghost Recon Wildlands is set in Bolivia after a vicious Mexican drug cartel called the Santa Blanca cartel has taken control of the government through a campaign of violence and corruption. Under Santa Blanca’s influence, Bolivia becomes the world's largest producer of cocaine and effectively becomes a narco-state.

After the cartel bombs a US embassy in La Paz and then kidnaps, tortures, and kills undercover DEA special agent Ricardo "Ricky" Sandoval, their status is upgraded to a narco-terrorist organization and they are put near the top of the most wanted list. In order to stop the problem, the CIA, DEA and JSOC has decided to send the Ghosts as part of Operation Kingslayer in order to dismantle the cartel piece by piece.

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A Short Film Prequel focusing on Ricky Sandoval and his capture by the cartel called Ghost Recon Wildlands: War Within the Cartel was released February 16, 2017.

A companion documentary called Wildlands exploring the war on drugs in South America and what it means to those on both sides of the law was released on March 6th, 2017.

A Prequel novel Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands: Dark Waters written by Richard Dansky was released 7 March 2017.

On May 2019, Ubisoft announced that a sequel known as Ghost Recon Breakpoint is currently being developed.


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Tropes found in Wildlands:

  • 100% Completion:
    • A variation governs the main story and decides what ending you get. You can confront El Sueño once you've taken down two of Santa Blanca's four division heads, which equals 50% cartel destabilization; this gets you the bad ending. Put off the final mission until SB is 100% wrecked and you're treated to the Golden Ending instead. If the game feels like it, of course.
    • Curiously for an Ubisoft Wide Open Sandbox, the rest of the game averts this. You do get achievements for finding all documents, legends and weapons, as well as for upgrading all rebel skills to the maximum, but Wildlands doesn't have an internal completion tracker, and there are a lot more rebel ops on the map than you need to max out all rebel skills. If you decide to stop doing them once you've hit rebel skill level 9, you're not missing out on anything, although some of them must at least be attempted to gain access to skill points or certain weapon mods inside the respective buildings.
  • Ace Custom: Most of the buchons wield special variants of normal weapons. Defeating them adds the weapon to your inventory.
  • The AI Is A Cheating Bastard: Sometimes in your favor, sometimes not.
    • AI teammates are invisible to the enemy as long as you don't command them to attack. They also revive on their own when downed, are much more resilient than the player character, can teleport to your position (even directly into vehicles), can sync-shoot targets they can't possibly see, and gain insane shooting skills while riding in any vehicle.
    • All enemies are ludicrously accurate with their guns. Even sicarios that dual-wield submachine guns put almost linear streams of bullets downrange no matter the distance, so don't be surprised about them mowing you down in one burst from half a kilometer away on higher difficulty settings. It then gets really ridiculous when snipers hit you with unerring accuracy while riding in a fast-moving helicopter while you're crawling through the brush.
    • Enemies can climb walls that the players can't touch, including the ones topped with razor wire. Alternatively, they just phase/walk/clip directly through the wall. There's also a random chance that they spot you through otherwise opaque obstacles.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.:
    • If you go from incognito to Hunted status for any reason, all enemies within range know immediately where you are, or at least where you were when you screwed up, assuming you did the sensible thing and relocated at once. This holds true even when the incidence that alerted them was caused by your remote-controlled drone and they couldn't possibly know where its pilot is hiding. It also happens when you use the Mortar Strike skill, which makes just as little sense.
    • It's strangely zigzagged when it comes to vehicles. You can drive any car right past enemies without them spotting you if you don't idle around in their line of sight. Aircraft, however, do the exact opposite. No matter whom the helicopter or plane you're piloting is associated with, every SAM battery in range regardless of allegiance will immediately target you, and only you. You'll never see them shoot at anything else but player-controlled aircraft even if there're other helos from the same faction around.
  • Alien Episode: A limited-time event had the Ghost Recon team taking on a freaking Yautja on the hunt and winning. The Tom Clancy franchise may have a whole lot of crazy things, from "stealth" missile subs to multiple attempts at World War III, but aliens (let alone freaking Predators) being real is an impressive surprise.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You play as an unnamed Ghost undercover within the Santa Blanca Cartel in the Narco Road DLC. Unlike Nomad, this Ghost was sent in without a team.
    • Averted for Fallen Ghosts, which has Nomad's team return to Bolivia and deal with Los Extranjeros.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: When you're playing offline, your teammate AI will automatically teleport to your location if you travel long distance on vehicles with not enough seats, such as motorcycles, after you dismount and will also teleport into the seats or gunner positions of vehicles if you drive away without them. They are also impossible to detect by the enemy until the player is detected or they are told to engage the enemy.
  • Armor Is Useless: Played with. Those Heavily Armored Mook and the armored UNIDAD grunts can take quite a few more hits than the average Sicarios. However, the Interceptor Body Armor you can wear is strictly cosmetic and does not give you more protection than not wearing it.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Smart AI behavior is definitely not one of Wildlands' strong suits. Often overlaps with The Guards Must Be Crazy.
    • Enemies on the hunt for the Ghost will often take the exact same path as their buddies before them and charge straight into your guns regardless of the mounting pile of corpses they have to climb over.
    • If you screw up a long range shot and alert enemies to your presence, they'll come out and investigate the area where the missed shot came from. Relocating to another hiding spot as little as 50 meters away before they spot you virtually guarantees they'll never find you. They also have no real sense of verticality, which means that ascending one or two storys in a building (or climbing on some big rock in the wilds) is often enough to evade detection.
    • Lookouts often channel their inner Skyrim guard by deciding that the large-caliber sniper rifle bullet that just missed their head by barely an inch was probably nothing. They do alert their buddies most of the time, but chances are good they'll just return to business as usual after about a minute of panic/suspicion, soon followed by the general search being called off as well.
    • Your AI teammates are easily the dumbest NPCs in the game. They're so passive they usually won't do anything even when you're under fire from two dozen enemies - you must explicitely command them to shoot the fuck back. The only sensible thing they reliably do without prompt is to revive you if you go down, and that's probably just because you simply can't give orders while you're down. Another, far less useful thing they reliably do is running full-tilt into passing trains and getting themselves incapacitated. They also have a disturbing tendency to break their passive behavior and open fire at random targets at the worst possible moment, which inevitably wrecks your carefully executed sneak assault when they kill someone in plain view of half the enemy base.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Downplayed; named Cartel bouchons that are assassination targets are a little tougher than basic mooks (being able to survive several bullet hits instead of just a couple and also being slightly resistant to headshots), but not so much as to be considered a full boss fight.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Every boss-affiliated signature weapon without a suppressor, with the exception of LMGs.
    • The Stoner LMG looks cool, can be made frickin' huge with the right mods, has a large magazine size and is the only light machine gun that can mount a suppressor. While its pure stats make it seem like a viable primary weapon that's also great for shooting down helicopters, it actually isn't because it's too inaccurate and has too much recoil to replace a good assault rifle like the TAR-21, and its penetration is too weak to effectively deal with vehicles, making it a Master of None.
    • The Vector submachine gun, in a departure from its game-breaking incarnations in previous Ubisoft games. Its range is abysmal, its burst-fire mode is useless because the individual shots are so weak, and its full-auto mode is useless as well because the gun's blistering rate of fire empties even an extended magazine in slightly more than one second of sustained fire. The Vector is also shockingly unstable for a gun whose defining Real Life trait is its extremely low recoil.
    • The LVOA-C "Bad News" unlocked at Tier 5. It comes with an underbarrel grenade launcher, laser sight, suppressor, and magnified scope by default. "Bad News" also deals the most damage per shot of any rifle along with a high rate of fire and low bullet drop. However, the sheer grind required to reach Tier 5 and the fact that by the time you get this weapon, Tier One mode is almost finished means that it's not worth the effort needed to unlock it.
    • The Armored SUV appears to be great for raiding supply convoys because of its speed and sheer resilience to gunfire, but your squadmates inside can't use their weapons despite the vehicle's windows, and the roof-mounted minigun turret deals negligible damage to the armored convoy.
    • The APC. Heavy armor, powerful main gun, but too rare to rely on, and still destroyed too quickly to be any good in assaulting heavily fortified locations. It also handles like a drunk rhino.
    • The Mortar support skill, the whole way. Wildlands is a stealth-centric game, and pummeling the opposition with mortar barrages is among the least subtle things you can do, especially since the enemy immediately knows where you are when you use it. It's also disturbingly ineffective because even at level three, the impact radius is so tiny that you'll rarely hit more than one or two targets even when a dozen or more are in the affected area. The ten seconds delay between activation and the first shells arriving doesn't help at all. It can be of occasional use in open regions when combined with the flare gun to lure all enemies to one spot, but that's so situational that most players very rarely, if ever, use the skill in combat.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: They come with a rapid-fire autocannon and pretty good armor.
  • Badass Boast: The Ghosts love giving these to the narcos they capture. Considering who they're being given too, they all feel very satisfying to hear.
  • BFG: The Desert Tech HTI, a frickin' anti-materiel rifle that can be fired at people. Needless to say, it does the highest damage per shot of all the sniper rifles in Wildlands. True to its real-world role, the HTI with upgrades is easily capable of badly damaging or outright destroying vehicles in one hit - perfect for intercepting those roaming resource convoys.
    • The HTI is also a literal BFG, with its ludicrously long barrel plus suppressor meaning it damn near scrapes the ground when holstered on your back… while standing upright.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There's plenty of unsubtitled Spanish for those able to speak the language to understand.
  • Bittersweet Ending: By the time you've done enough to reach the endgame (taken down at least two Cartel heads), the power vacuum left by Santa Blanca has caused things to spiral out of control in Bolivia. Santa Blanca is starting to crack apart, with Buchons going to war against each other and/or El Sueño, the rebels becoming more and more aggressive and openly attacking Santa Blanca in the streets (as well as trying to gun you down so they can take down Sueño themselves, with Pac Katari getting beheaded for his trouble), and UNIDAD is completely and utterly outmatched (not to mention the commander of UNIDAD, despite wanting to help the Ghosts, has lost almost complete control of the force). And to top it all off? Just as the Ghosts are about to capture El Sueño, word comes down that he's been granted full immunity in exchange for the heads of other cartels and terrorist organizations (who just happen to be his competition). What happens next depends on the ending you get:
    • If you capture El Sueño after taking out the rest of the cartel, he turns informant for the United States. Things improve in Bolivia as any and all Santa Blanca-friendly politicians are swept out of the government, and Sueño's tips result in the dismantling of other cartels and terrorist organizations that traffic drugs. But the game implies that he'll eventually be released and have the tools necessary to return to South America and rebuild his cartel in another nation, which Bowman and the Ghosts will have to dismantle again.
    • If you take down El Sueño without eliminating the rest of the cartel, then Bowman shoots Sueño before he can be extracted. Bowman justifies her actions by saying that the events outlined in the other ending would've come to pass (though this ending takes it a step further and predicts Sueño would become an outright dictator of another nation) and that she was willing to sacrifice her career and her freedom to see that doesn't happen. Bowman is sent to prison for her actions, and both the rebels and what's left of Santa Blanca descend into infighting, with Bowman predicting that it's only a matter of time before someone tries to take over Bolivia again to seize the coca.
    • Also happens in game with the story of Ricky Sandoval: You recover his body, but El Sueño gives you a recording of his confession while under torture. It turns out that Ricky was the one responsible for the bombing of the US Embassy and proceeded to pin it on Santa Blanca. Ricky saw it as the only way to get the US government to commit resources to fighting Santa Blanca.
  • Black and Gray Morality: One of Nomad's first lines in the game is establishing this is a revenge mission, not an attempt to fight the evil drug cartel. Repeatedly, you run into A Lighter Shade of Black or even Antivillain cartel members who are either forced into the job by Santa Blanca or have very legitimate reasons for being involved with drug trafficking. Despite this, you also meet some truly monstrous people who have had their worst instincts brought out and encouraged by the cartel.
    • Evil vs. Evil: UNIDAD, the Cartel, and the Rebels are all organizations which just want to take over the cocaine trade in the country. None of them have anything to offer the people and are perfectly willing to commit endless numbers of atrocities in order to achieve their goals. The DLC adds Los Extranjeros, who are even worse than Santa Blanca.
    • The Ghosts, themselves, are Antihero protagonists that are Good Is Not Nice at best and Pay Evil unto Evil at their worst. They are an illegal wetworks team performing an undeclared war against Mexican and Bolivian citizens without government sanction. They destabilize the Bolivian government, empower a guerilla army at war with the government, kill cops (albeit Dirty Cops), and threaten torture. Their only real redeeming elements are the fact they Never Hurt an Innocent as well as never misrepresent themselves.
      • Well, not exactly. The Ghosts are indeed a legal government agency, and indeed do have "government sanction" for their actions, simply not publicly. At the time of the game, the government itself is shown to be almost under cartel rule and has become complicit to the cartel's actions (with organizations such as the UNIDAD becoming corrupt itself and aiding the cartel). The Ghosts are at worst a darker shade of gray, due to their ruthlessness in dealing with the people of Bolivia, but their overarching actions are not innately evil.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The various buchons' personal weapons feature unique, often highly elaborate paint schemes or engravings in gold on them.
  • Body Horror: Blow up a car while there're still passengers in it and have a close look at their remains once the fires die down. Go on, don't be shy.
  • Bonus Boss: For a limited time in December 2017, a special bonus mission was available on the map in which the player can battle the Predator (yes, THAT Predator). Because it's the Predator, he takes a lot more damage to bring down than the otherwise "realistic" enemies fought in the game (it takes at least 22 .50 BMG rounds from the HTI anti-materiel rifle to kill him). He's also superhumanly mobile, cloaks, jams your tech, has heat vision, and fights with his trademark plasma-caster and smart disc, both of which are an instant knockdown against you.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Spotting rebel support skill is by far the easiest to unlock and upgrade but comes in very handy wherever a drone jammer is ruining your recon efforts. Fully upgraded, it can mark every target in all but the largest bases in one go, is nearly instantaneous, and never needs a sight line.
    • Going on foot. Vehicle control in this game is notoriously bad, and it gets exponentially worse the moment you go offroad. Even dedicated offroad vehicles handle like you're travelling on a giant rubber mattress if you go above 5mph, so instead of desperately trying to steer your car clear of the Bolivian countryside's countless obstacles or getting shot down by SAM batteries, running will get you to your destination reliably, safe, on the most direct route, and often even the fastest. With the Stamina skill maxed out, your Player Character can even sprint indefinitely.
    • Despite the above, having the ability to instantly summon an armored vehicle via the Vehicle Drop skill can be invaluable for the many, many missions centered on extracting high value targets. Instant access to a helicopter (almost) everywhere is also a nice thing to have in regions with weak AA coverage.
    • The flare gun is nothing flashy but can lure an entire enemy garrison to a single spot to either be tagged with the drone/binoculars, or to be bombed into oblivion with a well-timed mortar barrage.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The LVOA-C "Bad News" you get at Tier 5 is largely this since the Tier One system goes from 50 to 1, with rewards every 5 levels. By the time you unlock "Bad News" (admittedly a top-tier weapon) there isn't really much left to do with it aside from rampaging around the open world or replaying existing missions.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Among the many guns you can use in the game, there is the C1, the Canadian version of the Sterling submachine gun, which was introduced in the mid-40's at the tail end of WW2 and phased out of service in the British Army in 1994. Several DLC packs only further exacerbate this, with some of the weapons being offered including a Bren light machine gun, a Colt M1861 Navy and even a flintlock pistol.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • The G36C is among the best assault rifles in the game and can be unlocked at any time by spending 40 U-Play points on it. Depending on whether you played other U-Play games already and accumulated the points there, you can use the gun right off the bat. If you didn't, completing two U-Play Actions is easily done and usually enough to get it.
    • Almost every basic weapon and modification the game has to offer can be unlocked in the U-Play shop for real money, skipping the hunt for them in the game world entirely.
    • A bunch of customized weapons, usually with far above-average stats, can only be unlocked through the shop.
    • Single-use experience boosters are on offer for those who desperately want to level up faster. They last for a couple of real-world hours each.
  • Brought Down to Badass: The final mission must be beaten without any of the rebel support skills because Pac Katari has decided that the Ghosts have outlived their usefulness. Still doesn't stop the Ghosts from kicking some major ass.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: You can switch between third-person and first-person view while aiming, a mechanic carried over from Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier.
  • The Cartel: The Santa Blanca Drug Cartel; an organization so powerful and violent that it has de facto control over the entirety of Bolivia.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Missions offer exactly one checkpoint per objective, and since only a handful of high-level missions even have more than one objective, it usually means you have to restart the whole assignment if something goes south.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The Ghosts may be the most elite army covert ops but that discipline does not extend to their mouths, sounding like a script for Scarface (1983).
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: It's a Ubisoft shooter, so of course the various factions are identified by specific colors on the radar and the map. The Ghosts themselves are blue, Santa Blanca is red, Unidad is purple, and the rebels are green.
  • Compensating for Something: Flavour text for the Desert Tech HTI BDC, a unique version of the regular HTI, implies this is the user's primary motivation for choosing the rifle.
    • The unique HTI BDC deals even more damage, has more accuracy, and more penetration than the regular version.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • At the beginning, Karen Bowman mentions she was in Moscow when the coup occurred in the first Ghost Reconnote  and wonders if the rumors of the Ghosts' involvement are true. Nomad simply replies that wasn't them. Half true in that it was a different team on the ground.
    • Idle chatter among the Ghosts will have one of them mention that Kozak, the protagonist from Future Soldier got home one day to find that his wife emptied his house and bank accounts and left him nothing but a chair.
    • During a profile video on La Plaga, Bowman mentions that he received training from bribed members of Bodark, the Russian special forces unit that the player fights against during Future Soldier.
      • The crossover with Future Soldier reveals that these two are Call Forwards, as it turns out that Wildlands takes place before Future Soldier.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Wildlands doesn't contain fire-based weapons at all, so the devs probably decided to just save themselves the trouble of implementing a fire damage mechanic. You can walk through or stand in fire for as long as you want without suffering any ill effects.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Although it's possible to play the game from start to finish single-player (AI controlled teammates will fill the role of actual teammates), Wildlands was designed to be a cooperative multiplayer experience, and the devs recommend playing it that way. Strangely, unless your fellow gamers are exceptionally skilled, playing with AI teammates tends to be noticeably easier because of the many things they can do that human players cannot.
  • Crossover
    • The Predator special event lets the players participate in a time-limited mission that places them on the trail of a Predator in the middle of the Bolivian jungle, culminating in a Bonus Boss fight against it.
    • The Operation: Watchman event is a heavily stealth-based mission where you team up with Sam Fisher.
    • The Special Operations 2 DLC features a Rainbow Six Siege crossover with the Ghosts helping Caveira conduct a hostage rescue op to save her brother, with assistance from Twitch and Valkyrie. The centerpiece of the mission is a massive CQC firefight inside a barricaded building, reminiscent of Siege's terrorist hunt mode, with you clearing out dozens of Santa Blanca footsoldiers. The mission also has shout-outs to the Hitman series and the canceled Rainbow Six: Patriots game.
    • The Special Operations 3 DLC features a special mission that serves as a prequel to Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, featuring appearances by Colonel Mitchell and Kozak and giving you the opportunity to acquire a set of Future Soldier's optic camo (though the effect seems to be purely cosmetic and no more effective for stealth than simply crouching normally).
    • The Special Operations 4 DLC features a series of supply drop crates hidden throughout Bolivia that feature audio logs from the world of The Division 2. Given that, unlike other Tom Clancy franchises, The Division series is a straight out post-apocalyptic alternate continuity, the presence of the crates and audio logs is something of a puzzling anomaly.
  • Crapsack World: The nation of Bolivia is treated as one with the Santa Blanca cartel having more or less completely conquered it from behind the scenes. They operate openly and advertise themselves as cocaine makers while having their soldiers spread throughout the entire nation. Worse, their only real opponents in the country are Dirty Communist rebels and Dirty Cop Secret Police. Even destroying Santa Blanca won't automatically fix things as much of the country's agrarian economy has been converted to cocaine and removing it just plunges the country into an economic depression—which compels the government to hire a PMC full of Psycho for Hire types.
  • Cruel Mercy: What every "Intimidate Sicario" rebel op boils down to. The sicarios in question will often beg the Ghosts to just kill them quickly, but instead they're allowed to live so they can give their bosses the message that they're next. Considering how the cartel bosses tend to treat underlings that fail in their duty, and how thoroughly the unfortunate sicarios' encounter with the Ghosts ruins their bad boy reputation, it's essentially a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Death from Above:
    • Some helicopters in the game world come with either front-facing or door miniguns and/or front-facing rocket pods for added firepower, and are used by Santa Blanca and UNIDAD alike when heavy fire support is needed. They can be stolen by the Ghosts, and anyone that isn't piloting or manning the door guns can also fire their personal weapons out of the helicopter.
    • Mortars are available to both the Ghosts (through the rebels) and Santa Blanca.
    • One achievement requires you to combine both of the above by shooting down a helicopter with a mortar strike.
    • You can upgrade your trusty recon drone to carry a powerful explosive warhead. Killing an enemy with it awards another achievement, aptly named Death from Above.
  • Denser and Wackier: The Narco Road DLC has a much crazier and more humorous tone than the main game, feeling much more like something from the Just Cause or Saint's Row series rather than a Ghost Recon game.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • The gear on your vest will change according to the weapons you are carrying. Changing from an assault rifle to an SMG will replace the rifle magazines to more slender SMG magazines. If you are carrying a grenade launcher, you will see 40mm grenades on the vest. And carrying a shotgun will result in a pouch for shells.
    • Each Ghost has both male and female voice actors for online play, since female player characters are just as likely to not be Ghost Leader "Nomad", whereas the only potential female character during single player is Nomad.
    • Both Nomad and Bowman have special dialogue in case one of their radio conversations gets interrupted by Nomad initiating dialogue with someone else, like when they capture and interrogate someone while Bowman is briefing them on a mission or a newly entered province.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: General chatter with mission control. If combat occurs during some of them, it gets delayed until the fighting stops.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Because the game averts Broken Bridge, the player can acquire high-end weapons and gear, such as the T5Xi Tactical or SPAS-12 very early on.
    • Stat-wise, the USG 5.7 is significantly better than other handguns in the game (heavy caliber guns like the Desert Eagle do more damage, but sacrifice in all other stats to compensate). It's also found in a relatively low-level province, meaning you'll get it quite early if you tackle the provinces in suggested order based on difficulty level. However, it's still just a handgun, so it won't dramatically change the gameplay.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Santa Blanca's offense? Wounding two Americans by bombing an embassy. The retribution? Thousands of Bolivians dead, a whole country in ruins and on the brink of civil war, and a drug cartel that's been destroyed but heavily implied to be more than capable of starting again somewhere else soon. And in the end it's revealed that SB wasn't even responsible for the bombing. It's worth noting at this point that the Ghosts were explicitly activated to get revenge for the embassy attack first and do something against the international drug trade a distant second.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Thanks to the Character Customization not only can you turn Nomad into Kennedy you could make it that you also have the likes of Mira, Anna and Ayana at your back...should you want to.
  • Do Wrong, Right: A random conversation after the very first mission in the game has the Ghosts talking about the brutal torture of the hostage by El Polito & La Yuri. Specifically, that they are brutal because they're incompetent, because most of their victims die mid-interrogation due to them getting carried away instead of actually asserting their authority. The Ghost has a point, seeing as the hostage they just rescued, an old man, still has his mind quite intact despite suffering a lot of physical injuries.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Much like Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4, the ambient NPC driving A.I. is... dangerously irresponsible, to say the least. It's not uncommon for random civilian drivers to plow through and kill you or your Ghost teammates, pedestrian civilians, or even random patrolling Santa Blanca goons.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Downplayed. El Sueño boasts in the intro that he has "fed more drug fiends than the top three pharmaceutical companies combined" and the entire game shows what kind of nightmares emerge when you put that kind of money in the hands of a narcoterrorist. However. the game does not go into any heavy anti-drug rhetoric, and portrays the plight of Bolivia's cocaleros and several cartel members sympathetically. In addition, there are plenty of discussions about how the United States' War on Drugs has negatively affected Bolivia and the region. But the side effects it does show are ugly...
    • Santa Blanca turned the native Cocaleros into bonafide slave labor harvesting the crop under the tyrannical leadership of local collaborator Madre Coca. Even before the Ghosts arrive the public is only stopped from revolting by sheer terror.
    • Among the "creative" ways Nidia Flores has devised for smuggling "product", one of them is by jamming it into breast implants. If you know the possible side effects of that if something goes wrong, you can imagine how many of those poor women turn out.
    • Over the course of the game, it is revealed that El Sueño either has taken over, or will try to take over several crucial facilities like a university and hospital- things crucial for the lives of those in a developing country to have- just to convert them to yet another narcotics plant. At one point the Ghosts might be asked to help a doctor defeat a takeover attempt to protect the patients inside.
    • On a personal level, Cartel Buchon Antonio Garcia-Taylor shows a striking summary of just what cocaine addition can do to a life. After getting put in charge of warehousing, Antonio decided to start sniffing some of the product and slowly deteriorated into a paranoid mess cut off from his family, seeing threats everywhere, and liable to beat or nearly shoot someone.
    • Finally — while not necessarily bad in and of itself — Bowman's thorough summary of how coca is refined into cocaine does not make using it sound appealing.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Two types; Heavy troopers and Veterans. Heavies wield LMGs and wear heavy body armor that lets them take about twice as much damage as regular soldiers, while Veterans have enhanced health, better combat skill, and improve the morale of regular troops. Both types of Elite Mooks can take several bullet hits to kill instead of just a couple, and the Heavies can even survive a few sniper rifle shots to the torso. UNIDAD soldiers are also Elite Mooks compared to the Cartel sicarios, as even a basic UNIDAD soldier is as tough as a Cartel Veteran.
    • Later in the game, you also encounter elite sicarios wearing full body armor and grey balaclavas. They're marked as regular soldiers in the HUD, but like the Heavies and Veterans have enhanced health and better combat skills compared to the regular sicarios, and come in larger numbers compared to Heavies or Veterans.
    • The Fallen Ghosts DLC introduces the Los Extranjeros faction, elite mercenaries who have Covert Ops and Armored units; Covert Ops are equipped with cloaking devices and can only be seen or marked using thermal vision, while Armored troops are so heavily armored that they are genuinely bulletproof and can only be damaged with headshots (and even then it takes at least a few to bring them down).
  • EMP: One of the upgrades you can unlock for your recon drone. Useful for safely disabling alarms and floodlights in hostile bases from afar, or to stop supply convoys dead in their tracks.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: The general location of enemies shows up as color coded blobs on the map, but getting their precise location requires marking them first.
    • Averted with Extreme difficulty, which only reveals marked enemies on the minimap.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Lampshaded in the game's very first mission. It's implied that Pac Katari is not happy about having to work with the Americans. A little later, one of the Ghosts expresses distrust of the Kataris 26 and remarks that their ideology (implied to be Marxism) will bring more suffering to the people of Bolivia. Nomad remarks that they are in Bolivia on a revenge mission, not to get involved in local politics.
    • This is the relationship with Santa Blanca and UNIDAD. While the two have agreed to look the other way from each other's operations, and there are plenty of members of UNIDAD working with the cartel both directly and indirectly, UNIDAD was ostensibly formed to fight Santa Blanca, and once Santa Blanca gets violent, UNIDAD forces will engage Santa Blanca sicarios.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: The ones from the players' guns are, most likely as a form of Anti-Frustration Feature to allow you to observe your shots' trajectories and compensate for the bullet drop where needed. All other weapons in the game world play it realistically by including the occasional tracer round in between lots of standard bullets.
  • Everything Fades: Dead enemies simply disappear after a short time for no apparent reason, which is very strange in light of how much impact they have on the gameplay. With some timing and a bit of luck, you can snipe enemies in the middle of a base, look away for about ten seconds and stop worrying about someone finding the body because there's nothing left to find when you look again. It's made doubly strange by the dead's weapons staying where they were dropped indefinitely.
  • Everything's Better with Llamas:
    • This being Bolivia, llamas are present in the altiplano regions and can be interacted with.
    • A King Llama shirt is available to players who participated in the game's closed beta test.
    • A llama-themed SIG 556xi is available to players who participated in the game's open beta test.
    • An unique llama-themed minibus is available to players who purchase the game's Season Pass.
  • Evil Pays Better: A recurring theme in overheard conversations is how well Santa Blanca pays even its bottom-tier goons, not to mention its higher-ups. They can probably afford it since Bowman mentions in her briefing that the cartel rakes in an average of two billion dollars... a week. That's a lot more than real-world Bolivia's entire gross domestic product by the time the game was released.
  • Evil Wears Black: Played straight and inverted at the same time. Santa Blanca's signature color, the one every car, helo and sicario wears, is white. The bosses, however, overwhelmingly favor black or at least very dark outfits.
  • Expy: A vicious brutal special ops soldier whose default appearance is a bearded hard case who swears like a sailor: Richard Marcinko? A foul mouthed off kilter CIA smartass who will do whatever it takes no matter how illegal or crazy: Carrie Mathison?
  • Fake Longevity: The Tier One mode has been accused of this. It's basically a form of New Game+ that allows players to continue levelling after hitting the standard Cap at level 30, but it doesn't introduce any new content aside from a handful of ultimately superfluous items, and it's explicitly meant for replaying already completed story missions for the purpose of grinding for XP and supplies. The farther you progress, the harder it gets because every five levels the difficulty is increased to the next level and stays there until you disable the mode, which means that only the most hardcore and/or the most dedicated players will ever advance past the first 14 of 50 Tier One levels (the 15th already locks you in at Hardcore difficulty where you die in two hits from pretty much any weapon).
  • Fauxrarri: All vehicles are given fictionalized names like "Decussine" and "Nakahawa".
  • Fauxshadow: Once the Ghosts have taken down their first Santa Blanca division boss, El Sueño invites them to a meeting in the middle of nowhere. Everyone including Bowman totally agrees that this is a trap and that going there would be really stupid. The sentiment gets repeated several times while you're en route, and when you arrive, you find... four luxury cars on an otherwise empty lot with not a single enemy anywhere, and a phone call from El Sueño who's offering the Ghosts a place in his organization.
  • Fingore: If you decide to extract a high value target by stuffing them into a car's trunk, their fingers will have an unpleasant encounter with the lid the first time Nomad tries to close it. Although it looks cringe-inducingly painful, it's just an atmospheric animation and doesn't affect the victim during later scenes.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Being in South America, you will hear a lot of Spanish swearing (cabron, pendejo, mierda, etc), often dropped in Cluster F-Bomb style, which are sometimes left as they are by the subtitles and not translated. Most notably, The Cartel radio messages you intercept are usually loaded with Cluster F-Bomb, but the subtitles only translate them to their objective meaning and do not translate or even include the cursing.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: You can't hurt your squadmates at all no matter what you do, but be careful around VIPs you need to extract.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Although much of it has been patched, Wildlands still has a major problem with random story missions simply not triggering for various reasons, making 100% cartel destabilization and therefore the better ending unachievable.
    • The game may fail to register your actual cartel destabilization percentage during the final mission, which then results in getting the bad ending despite having a solid 100% destabilization. You're then notified of a newly unlocked ending immediately after the credits have rolled, with the message advising you to replay the final mission in order to see it.
    • The lack of a jump function and the shoddy climbing system mean there're countless spots in the game world for the player characters to get stuck in with no way out aside from fast-travelling (if undetected) or reloading the game (if not), which is, of course, extremely frustrating when it happens during a difficult mission. Particular care should be taken around any and all rock formations, which equals about two thirds of Bolivia's countryside.
    • Nomad may steadfastly refuse to deploy their recon drone and their binoculars for no apparent reason. Leaving the area, switching weapons many times, killing someone, or entering a vehicle may fix this, but there are plenty of situations where none of it is feasible.
    • Switching weapons may result in the player character putting away their current gun, then assuming the same pose of holding it with empty hands and no way to shoot. This may be fixed by switching again, but it also has a chance of being permanent until the game is closed and restarted.
    • Update 6 turned Blackhawk helicopters into flying deathtraps even without getting shot at because it gave the aircraft the disturbing habit of either exploding outright when the pilot attempts to exit it, or violently rocketing into the sky instead, leading to a lethal drop of 30+ meters. They also randomly jump up and hover about five meters above ground when you enter them, but apart from preventing fellow players from boarding after you, this one is annoying but mostly harmless.
  • Gatling Good: Miniguns are very common throughout the game world, from Kataris 26 technicals to helicopters and watchtowers. Ironically, despite being much less sophisticated tech, the .50 BMG machine guns that other Ubisoft titles used in their stead were one hell of a lot more effective, especially against vehicles.
  • Guns Akimbo: It's not uncommon to encounter Santa Blanca soldiers dual-wielding machine pistols.
  • Gun Porn: You gradually gain access to dozens upon dozens of lovingly detailed firearms, almost all of which can be customized to your heart's content with a veritable ton of Gun Accessories. You even get a beautiful exploded view of all the parts you can modifiy every time you play around in the Gunsmith section.
  • Heavily Armored Mook:
    • Enemies wearing heavy armor and wielding machine guns appear as a support unit amongst the basic troops. They're not as tough as similar enemies in, say, The Division or Far Cry 3, but can still take several bullet hits compared to the regular Mooks, who can be downed with just a couple of shots. They can still be killed with one shot as long as they're not in combat mode, though.
    • The Fallen Ghosts DLC introduces the Los Extranjeros Armored troopers; they're so heavily armored that they're effectively bulletproof, and only take damage from headshots (and even then, it takes at least a few headshots to kill them if you're using anything less than a .50 cal sniper rifle).
  • Hellish Copter: Hostile helos may be a pain in the butt every time they show up, but they're much more fragile than they look and can be shot down with little effort in just a few seconds, assuming you have a weapon with good penetration on hand (preferably an LMG). It's not uncommon for battlefields to be littered with half a dozen or more helicopter wrecks after large firefights. Unfortunately, players piloting one themselves not only suffer from the same problem, but they also have to contend with the countless SAM batteries dotting the country, so while travelling by helicopter is easily the fastest, most direct method of getting around, it's also the most likely to get you killed.
  • Heroic Second Wind: If your Player Character is killed, they collapse and can be revived by a teammate if the latter can reach them before the PC bleeds out. If this happens in combat, it can only be done once, and the second death is an automatic game over. Certain skills exist to extend the bleed-out time or reduce the revival time, and the epic skill in the Squad tree gives you an additional get-out-of-death card for a potential Heroic Third Wind.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Despite the many, many hostile patrols and checkpoints everywhere, openly travelling by car is actually a safe endeavor as long as you stick to the roads, don't idle around in enemies' line of sight, and don't pull any conspicuous shenanigans.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted. Nidia Flores' young daughter, Valeria, appears in person during her final mission and must be rescured together with the Beauty Queen. Generic children can also be seen in urban areas, usually around schools and similar institutions, but their parents/teachers are always quick to shoo them into the closest buildings the moment they spot the Ghosts, which is usually a wise course of action.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Santa Blanca goons dress in white, and paint their vehicles in white colors. The Kataris 26 rebels, meanwhile, dress in a variety of bright colors and charge into battle wearing brightly-colored pom-pom beanies. Of course, you can elect to dress in a number of bright stand-out colors if you so desire and join in on Bolivia's technicolor warfare.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Zigzagged. All weapon classes (yes, even shotguns and light machine guns) have models that can mount suppressors to hugely improve their noise reduction stat. Pistols and submachine guns tend to become completely silent while larger-caliber gear still can't be fired without enemies in close proximity hearing the shot. However, no matter the gun, the bullets' sonic boom is never an issue.
  • I Call It "Vera": Weapons owned by buchons are all named by their owners.
  • Iconic Item: Neutralizing a province's buchon will grant you a clothing item or weapon that used to belong to the buchon in question.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The achievement for finding all bonus medals bears the name "Heavy Medal".
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: All enemies display marksmanship way beyond anything they should have with the weapons they're wielding, and it only gets worse the higher you set the difficulty level. Hostile snipers never miss their mark even when they're riding shotgun in an erratically flying helicopter. Your AI squadmates get in on the fun as well, consistently landing headshots with any weapon up to and including the APC's 30mm autocannon, but sadly this only works when they're riding in a vehicle, and it isn't of too much help anyway because they're too stupid to properly prioritize targets (like, for instance, they alway pelt the enemy car with bullets instead of aiming for the passengers).
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Despite most weapons sharing nearly identical stats once fully upgraded, a few are vastly superior to their peers. Almost all of them are hidden in heavily fortified bases in the most difficult provinces, as are the top-tier accessories necessary to unlock their full potential. If you know where to find them, you can grab them all without too much trouble right upon starting the game.
    • The TAR-21 is the best assault rifle bar none, with great damage, handling, stability, accuracy, penetration, noise reduction, and an insane rate of fire. It can be upgraded with a massive 50-rounds magazine, a grenade launcher, and the best assault rifle scopes in the game like the EXPS & G33, a red dot sight with optional x3 magnification for mid-range combat, making it useful for sniping as well. It's powerful enough to stop armored vehicles and bring down helicopters with a single magazine.
    • Nothing beats the 5.7 USG in the handgun department thanks to its good damage, huge 20-round capacity that can be upgraded to 30, complete silence when equipped with a suppressor, and a penetration stat powerful enough to be a threat to vehicles. Four to five hits to the torso can kill an alerted Unidad Heavy, which takes about half a second.
    • Need an LMG? Look no further than the Mk249 - shockingly accurate even at medium distance, great rate of fire, very stable, and with enough bullets in its magazine to shred an entire supply convoy without having to reload once. A sustained burst of about five seconds is enough to bring down any helicopter type the game has.
    • When it comes to sniper rifles, the MSR is usually considered top dog. One shot kills any human enemy instantly regardless of detection status, it can hold up to ten bullets, and is among the most silent sniper rifles available. The HTI anti-materiel rifle comes a close second due to its insanely high damage (one shot to the engine destroys any vehicle instantly), but it is much louder, has only half the capacity, and a lower rate of fire.
      • The HTI even has its own Infinity +1 Sword version: The Desert Tech HTI BDC, awarded for reaching rank 40 in Tier One mode. It comes with twice the damage and an almost maxed-out penetration stat, but since the basic model is a One-Hit Kill on pretty much anything anyway, the Desert Tech falls squarely under No Kill Like Overkill. Its flavor text quips that anyone using it is Compensating for Something.
    • The SASG-12 is a fully automatic shotgun that can be modified with a 30-rounds magazine. While its per-shot damage rating isn't that great, the sheer amount of lead it throws around makes it the supreme choice for close quarters combat because time-consuming aiming isn't a concern. It can even mount a suppressor.
      • This one also has its own super-version with a unique design and incredibly fast reload, but since it can only be acquired by beating the Final Boss, it tends to be more of a Bragging Rights Reward than anything else.
    • Submachine guns are a strange thing in Wildlands because they basically do what assault rifles do, only worsenote . It effectively turns the whole weapon category into a Master of None that's pretty much superfluous by definition. Their sole advantages tend to be slightly better handling (read: you can turn and aim faster because the weapon is less obstructive) and near-total noise reduction. If you really feel like using a submachine gun For the Lulz, go for the MP7 or the P90.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The game lacks a jump function, and mounting obstacles is only possible when/if the respective button prompt pops up. Since the decision of what can and can't be scaled is pretty arbitrary at times, carefully planned infiltration routes can collapse in an instant because your elite soldier steadfastly refuses to climb over a chest-high brick wall or even an actual knee-high fence they could just step over.
  • Karma Houdini:
  • La Résistance: The Ghosts are allied with the Kataris 26, a resistance group that has been fighting The Cartel and the corrupt government forces for six years prior to the game. Contrary to their counterparts from the Rook Islands or Kyrat, they're quite helpful in a fight and offer a lot of very useful support once the Ghosts have helped them establish a firm foothold. At their maximum level of 45 (for which you must complete 45 rebel ops), their random patrols on the roads are so numerous that no matter what you do and where you are, there will almost always be at least one technical full of rebels nearby to back you up. Unfortunately, dialogue throughout the game demonstrates that their alliance with the Ghosts is not the friendliest, seeing the United States as one of the organizations responsible (both directly and indirectly) for Bolivia's current status, and the Ghosts themselves simply being another tool to strike at Santa Blanca with. In fact, once Pac Katari feels that he can take it from here, he wastes no time betraying the Ghosts and trying to take down Sueno himself.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Enemies in this game basically have two tactics when under attack: hunker down in cover and call in reinforcements indefinitely, or mindlessly charge the source of the incoming bullets in overwhelming numbers. The latter includes even their snipers and, unsurprisingly, is by far the most likely to get them all killed in short order. The rebels also don't know any tactics other than Attack! Attack! Attack!, which means you shouldn't open cages holding captured rebels as long as you want any nearby enemies to remain on standby. If you try to play the game this way yourself, you'll quickly notice that it doesn't work any better because when all is said and done, you're still just one to four squishy humans against an entrenched, well-equipped army.
  • Like Reality Unless Noted: The game does a generally good job with making the world seem realistic and portraying Bolivian culture with realism, but there is one note - Bolivia isn't even close to being a narco-state at the time of the game's release, and had no signs of turning into one in the immediate future. This may very well be why Ubisoft felt safe depicting the country in this manner as opposed to a more accurate candidate.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: As the character page can attest, the game fields several dozen named characters, most of which are targets of varying importance to Operation Kingslayer. Keeping track of who is who can become a tad difficult for non-Spanish speakers because many of the bosses' names and titles sound fairly similar to the foreign ear. Thankfully, the TacMap also offers access to a flowchart of sorts that links all known high value targets to each other, denotes the provinces where as-of-yet unknown targets can be found, and lists various other useful informations including their respective CIA briefing vids.
  • Made of Explodium: Aside from the usual suspects like fuel barrels, all vehicles on the ground explode in beautiful fireballs when they're sufficiently damaged no matter where they were hit - you can blow up heavily armored IFVs by repeatedly shooting the same tire with a small-caliber handgun. Hitting something critical like the fuel tank usually results in an almost immediate explosion. Grounded helicopters take it to an eyebrow-raising extreme by going up in flames just because your tiny recon drone bumped into them. The latter becomes particularly strange once you realize that airborne helos never explode when destroyed; they just drop out of the sky without much ceremony.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Stemming from I Call It "Vera" above, and often serving as a Bilingual Bonus to boot, the buchons' weapons are given names that run sort of parallel to their names, positions within the Santa Blanca cartel, or lifestyle.
      • DJ Perico's weapon is named Ritmo (Rhythm), referencing his status as a radio personality.
      • Carzita's weapon, Llamativo, reflects his wealthy playboy lifestyle, meaning flashy or exuberant.
      • El Pozolero, the cartel boss who disposes of bodies using chemicals in the vein of Breaking Bad, has the Residuos (dregs, leftovers) SMG.
      • La Santera, a Santa Muerte preacher, has the Lanza Sagrada - or "Holy Spear" - sniper rifle.
      • Even Carl Bookhart's generically-titled M4A1 Tactical is one of these; specifically referring to his former status as an Army Ranger that Nomad - the player character - once served with before they started their Ghost Recon career. A special forces operative likely wouldn't bother giving their guns names.
    • The Ghosts themselves also count because although you can (try to) achieve your goals by going Leeroy Jenkins on the cartel, the game puts a very heavy emphasis on operating unseen, striking from the shadows and vanishing without a trace.
  • Mêlée à Trois: While UNIDAD is paid by Santa Blanca to turn a blind eye to most of their operations, they will still intervene if Santa Blanca sicarios are openly engaged in combat. However, they will still be hostile to the Ghosts and/or Rebels said sicarios are fighting with, so this often results in a 3-way gunfight.
  • Microtransactions: As per the rules of today's multiplayer-centered shooters, Wildlands seems more or less built around this concept.
    • Lazy players can pay real money to unlock nearly every weapon and mod instead of combing virtual Bolivia for them.
    • Other guns are impossible to acquire through exploration because they're exclusively paid content.
    • The vast majority of character customization options are only available if you paid cash for them.
    • You can buy various tiers of single-use experience boosters to speed up your levelling efforts for a couple of real-world hours.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: You'll be taking out your fair share of High Value Targets, including the Cartel's top leaders, but overall they're only marginally tougher than a regular Elite Mook (which makes sense, since this is a Ghost Recon game and not The Division). Also, the Boss of Bosses of the Cartel ends up being The Unfought, due to making a deal with the U.S. Government for immunity, much to the frustration of the Ghosts and Agent Bowman.
  • Multiple Endings: After you take down two cartel heads, the final mission becomes available to you. But if you do the final mission after taking down all 4 cartel heads, you will get the Golden Ending. The Fallen Ghosts DLC takes place after the main game, and goes off of the 100% completion Golden Ending.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Wildlands is set in 2019, two years after the games release date. The game eschews most of the futuristic technology used in Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier instead using weapons and equipment available to present day military with the exception of the drones.
  • Nice Hat: At least one is always available for the Player Character to wear. Two more can be unlocked by defeating El Pulpo and La Plaga, respectively.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Throughout the game, you're constantly reminded that even though you are removing some very bad people from power by capturing or killing Santa Blanca's leaders, in the grand scheme of things you're most likely making things worse for the people of Bolivia. And, depending on the ending you get, when all's said and done you've either set up El Sueño to recreate his organization in another South American country, or you've caused both the rebels and what's left of Santa Blanca to descend into infighting which is just going to create more problems for Bolivia.
    • Fallen Ghosts reveals that the Ghosts running roughshod through the Bolivian countryside and assisting the rebel movement has caused the Bolivian government to double-down and hire a group of brutal South American mercenaries to launch a crackdown on the remains of Santa Blanca, the Rebels and any CIA presence in the country. The mercenaries then become an even bigger nightmare than Santa Blanca, with more resources, better toys and even less restraint towards civilians.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted. All projectiles in the game are subject to spread, travel time and bullet drop, forcing you to Lead the Target at anything beyond point-blank range and aim above them to a degree that's dependent on the specific weapon. This makes sniping targets that're moving perpendicular to your position the tricky task it actually is in Real Life, and even hitting stationary goons can be a challenge if that goon is hiding in cover or occupying a pillbox with narrow viewing slots. A strange side effect is that over a distance of up to 250 meters, a scoped assault rifle is a better weapon for sniping than an actual sniper rifle because one hit is all you need as long as you haven't been discovered, and the high rate of fire gives you both a much higher chance to hit, and the ability to neutralize several clustered targets quickly enough to avoid raising an alarm.
  • Non-Action Guy: Only a select few of Operation Kingslayer's high-value targets even try to fight back when the Ghosts come for them (out of a total of 29 HVT's, only 10 actually fight back in any way when you come for them). Most immediately bolt if they suspect any foul play in their vicinity, and getting within 10-20 meters of them is enough to make them surrender and cower in fear. It's a justified reaction because many of these people aren't trained combatants but accountants, chemists, engineers and such instead (though quite a few hardened gangsters end up surrendering in the same manner as well). The same mechanic applies to the Santa Blanca lieutenants that can be interrogated for intel on their respective province.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Killing too many civilians or surrendered enemies will result in this, as the laws and customs of war still apply during a deniable operation against a drug cartel. Especially the part about surrendering enemies is annoying because they're still marked as hostile and often make no noticeable effort to let you know you're supposed to stop shooting them. Itchy trigger finger? Prepare to restart at the last checkpoint. Even worse: sometimes random enemies count as surrendered despite being unaware of the Ghosts' mere presence, which can incur a mission failure because you sniped a perfectly valid bad guy in the middle of fifty of his buddies from half a kilometer away.
  • No Scope: Aiming a sniper rifle in third-person mode is far more viable than in previous installments.
  • One-Hit Kill: As long as you're not on Hunted or Engaged status, any human enemy in the game regardless of body armor and veterancy can be killed with a single hit from any weapon to any part of their body. Since most missions can be accomplished without ever alerting an enemy, beating the game with your really weak starting loadout (plus the sniper rifle you get after the first mission, and perhaps an LMG for helicopter disposal) is actually a viable option for skilled players looking for a challenge.
  • Optional Stealth: The player can either charge in with guns blazing or tackle missions stealthily if they so choose. The latter is usually the recommended option because of how little damage the Ghosts can take and how ridiculously outnumbered they tend to be. Killing targets while undetected also awards significantly more experience points. You're called Ghosts for a reason after all.
  • Outrun the Fireball: A couple of missions involve blowing something up, then quickly leaving the premises before they come crashing down on the Ghosts' heads. However, thanks to the existence of remotely detonated C4, most players tend to be far away before the explosion even goes off.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Any knives the Ghosts may be carrying are purely cosmetic, leaving a quick punch with the butt of whatever firearm they're wielding at the moment their only melee attack option. It's largely useless in actual combat but offers a dangerous yet viable last resort to stun someone you need to capture alive although he's shooting at you.
  • Power Up Let Down: The weapons stats overview is of very little help for judging a gun's performance. Almost all guns of the same category have nearly identical stats, but their effectiveness varies wildly regardless. This can result in you picking up a top-tier weapon for which you infiltrated a heavily defended location, only to realize that the thing is useless to you because what gear you already had is much better despite having the same or even slightly worse stats. Another major contributing factor are available upgrade options. For instance, having fifty rounds in your magazine instead of thirty can be the difference between life and death when things go sideways.
  • Prequel: The game apparently takes place a few years before Future Soldier, which explains the lack of optic camo, sensor grenades, and other more high-tech equipment for the Ghosts. This is made explicit in the Season 2 sidequest that ties into Future Soldier, where you meet Kozak as a rookie, first see the optic camo in action, and learn about the rise of what will become the Raven's Rock ultranationalist conspiracy.
  • Product Placement: Apart from the guns, the cosmetic accessories you can wear are named and labelled with their original brands (Oakley, Camelbak, 5.11, etc).
  • Punk in the Trunk: Captured enemies can be stowed in car trunks for extraction. Funnily, if you play solo and shove said enemy onto the backseat instead, one of your AI teammates will voluntarily climb into the trunk for the ride.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Unidad troops - far and away the most dangerous enemies the Ghosts have to tangle with in the base game - just happen to show up as purple icons on the radar.
  • Reality Ensues: Cross a busy highway (or any street for that matter) without looking left and right and you will get flattened by a car that couldn't brake in time. This can lead to some frustrating but strangely funny moments when an elite soldier who just massacred an entire army base single-handedly ends up as roadkill and fails their mission because they failed to observe basic traffic rules. Likewise, drive a motorbike offroad full-throttle and your squadmates will need to revive you very soon because you were thrown off of your ride at literally breakneck speed.
  • Regenerating Health: A fairly standard setup, albeit quite slow compared to the norm. It keeps you from simply sitting out in the open and soaking up too many bullets, but you can endure a decent amount of damage from isolated targets - unless, of course, you either pissed off an entire enemy-occupied area, or you're playing on the harder difficulties were you drop about as fast as your enemies do.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Generally averted. A .357 magnum revolver as well as a 19th century cowboy revolver are both available as microtransaction purchases; they do more damage than semiautomatic pistols, but have low ammo capacity and cannot fit a silencer. Plus you have to pay real money to buy them. They're mostly just there for Rule of Cool.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The entire Operation Kingslayer is one against Santa Blanca for bombing the US embassy in Bolivia. Nomad explicitly points this out after the first mission. Bringing down a massive international drug cartel in the process is just a convenient side effect.
  • Scenery Porn: One of the most widely-praised aspects of the game is how beautiful the Bolivian countryside looks. No matter where you are in the game world, it's not hard to find a breathtaking view.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: Don't expect the various provinces' difficulty rating to give you any actual hint as to how hard or not their respective missions will be. Regions with two or three skulls can put you through shit that will make you scream in frustration while missions in five-skull provinces can turn out to be "what the hell? That's it already?" assignments you finish in less than three minutes without breaking a sweat. It generally doesn't matter which province you tackle when, and provided you conserve your ammo and are good at sneaking (which equals One-Hit Kill on any organic target with any weapon regardless of where the bullet hit), you can actually beat the whole game with your starting gear.
  • Sequel Hook: In the second ending (which requires you to have 100% cartel destabilization before you do the final mission) it's speculated that once El Sueño is done ratting out his competitors, he will be cut loose by the CIA and will start up a new cartel in Peru. When this happens, Bowman and the Ghosts will be sent after him again.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Santa Blanca goons are occasionally met in the company of Unidad forces, be it held at gunpoint or just talking more or less peacefully. Snipe any one of them without being detected and watch how both factions gun each other down with extreme prejudice. A handful of otherwise difficult story missions become a cakewalk if you manage to pull it off.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The Serbu Super Shorty is extremely effective in close range engagements, but its compact size prevents it from being accurate beyond that range. Overall, the effective range of the shotguns is way below the average engagement range in the game, since most of the combat takes place in the wide open outdoors map. They are, however, extremely useful every time you're forced into CQC, to the point of being borderline mandatory in certain missions like the ones where you need to assault and hack fortified, heavily defended comm stations within a very short time limit.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The interior of Nidia Flores' hacienda looks remarkably similar to the interior of Tony Montana's mansion in Scarface (1983).
    • One Operation Kingslayer file is a recording of a Bolivian singing a narcocorrido song and completely butchering it. The file is titled "Bolivia's Got Talent".
    • One of the face paint options is a series of vertical green stripes running across Nomad's face. The face paint is called "Commando".
    • After El Wey is captured, the very first thing Bowman says to him is "mister El Wey, you are one ugly motherfucker."
    • The fictional car brands in the game are the same as in Watch_Dogs, you can find a few of the same cars even.
    • In Operation: Watchman, Sam Fisher makes reference to an army infiltration expert like him who wore a bandanna. Upon learning that he retired, Sam realizes that he's the last of his generation.
    • Operation: Archangel, the Rainbow Six: Siege tie-in, is filled with these. Besides numerous Siege references, including a cheeky reference to the failed game Rainbow Six: Patriots, you can find Agent 47's signature suit hanging in an apartment closet; Nomad will appreciate the quality and note that "someone could make a killing" wearing it.
  • Show Within a Show: Radio Santa Blanca, which every car in the game is tuned into, hosted by DJ Perico, which functions as the Propaganda Machine for Santa Blanca.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Hanging near or on the rebel outposts is a wiphala, the traditional flag of several of the native peoples of Andean South America and the dual flag of Bolivia. A variant of the wiphala is also known as the flag and personal symbol of the Aymaya 18th century anti-colonial revolutionary leader Túpac Katari. Little wonder then that the leader of the Kataris 26 has named himself "Pac Katari".
    • Throughout the game it's mentioned that "the Activity" is helping you locate the Cartel leaders. The Activity is a nickname for the United States Army's Intelligence Support Activity, a secretive unit that specializes in acquiring human intelligence and signals intelligence in preparation for planned military operations. In real life, the Activity participated in the manhunt for Pablo Escobar, and they also played key roles in locating Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.
    • The game is a very highly detailed and accurate representation of Bolivia, from its geography and topography to its flora and fauna. Iconic features of the Bolivian countryside, such as the Salar de Uyuni, it's "train cemetery" and the Yungas Road, better known as the Death Road are in game and visited by the player, and the player can run into wild animals such as armadillos, toucans, Andean condors and of course, wild llamas.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Possible but, due to the game's weapon mechanics, very hard to pull off against aircraft. It's slightly more viable for stopping supply convoys if you find a good position in time and use a rifle that's powerful enough to punch through the vehicles' armored windows. However, most of the time it's much easier and more reliable to just use a good machine gun like the Mk249.
  • Spiritual Successor: Wildlands is essentially Operation Reciprocity: The Game.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Enemy forces will radio for reinforcements if they spot the Ghosts or realize that they're being attacked by them. Continued engagement with the Unidad will result in more numerous and more heavily-armed reinforcements to arrive. However, this can potentially work out in your favor if the Unidad and Santa Blanca start fighting each other instead, thinning out their numbers if you manage to keep their focus off you, or giving you an opening to more efficiently make a getaway.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: There're a lot of way to do this including underbarrel grenade launchers, frag grenades, C4 demolition charges, explosive drone payloads, helicopter-mounted rocket launchers, mortar strikes, and more. It's still somewhat surprising that there aren't any dedicated explosive firearms to be found anywhere - no grenade rifles, no RPGs or other missile launchers, no vehicle-mounted automatic grenade launchers, nothing.
  • Super-Persistent Missile: Good luck trying to evade a surface-to-air missile once it has locked on to your helicopter/plane. Not even an emergency landing or flying over a ridge while hugging the ground will get it off your tail. You can evade it if you pull your helo into a sharp turn at the perfect moment, but that depends on little more than dumb luck because there's no workable means to check how far away the damn missile is at any given moment. It's also impossible to pull this off with any aircraft other than the small choppers or Unidad gunships.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: While not yet a weapon in its initial configuration, certain skills can turn Nomad's recon drone into a remote-controlled bomb, an EMP grenade, a noise maker for attracting enemies, or a first-aid kit for reviving downed team members, with the player being able to switch between the various payloads at will.
  • Take Cover!: While there is no "snap-to-cover" button, moving against a wall or crouching against a low wall causes you to automatically slide into a cover position, and pressing the aim button while crouched behind an object will cause the player character to lean over the object in question to aim.
  • Take That!: Subverted. Sam, in Operation: Watchman, notes that they don't "make em' like me anymore", before he mentions a guy in a bandanna, seemingly setting up a joke towards Metal Gear, Splinter Cell's rival... But then Karen notes that he retired, with Sam sadly realizing he's the last of the old guard left, making the reference come off as respectful instead.
    • Played straighter in Operation: Archangel, the crossover with Rainbow Six Siege. Caveira mentions how Rainbow occasionally runs ops in South America, which prompts Nomad to quip about how he heard one of them went south.
    Nomad: Does Operation: Patriotsnote  ring any bells?
    Caveira: Who told you about that?!
    Nomad: I have my sources.
    Caveira: Tell your sources to mind their business. Patriots is very classified.
    Nomad: So you won't tell me what happened?
    Caveira: Not even with a knife to my throat.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: Always expect the game to spawn a slew of additional enemies out of nowhere the moment you complete a main mission objective. The mission to destroy cocaine precursor chemicals at the airport in Libertad is a prime example. It's easy to clean out the whole location before identifying the stash, but cast one fleeting glance at the barrels and suddenly your entire compass glows orange-red again. Since the area has a drone jammer and you can't spot the target directly until you're squarely in the middle of the base, you better hope you're lying prone when that happens because you're suddenly surrounded from all sides.
  • This Means War!: Prior to the start of the game, the Santa Blanca Cartel bombs the United States Embassy in La Paz, wounding two Marine guards. They then brutally torture and kill DEA agent Ricky Sandoval. In retaliation, the US Government authorizes Operation Kingslayer: a joint CIA, DEA, and SOCOM operation to bring down the cartel by neutralizing its leadership.
    • It's later revealed that the Cartel wasn't responsible for the bombing. Sandoval, the man they killed, was.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: One secondary location in northern Bolivia is the decrepit ruin of Klaus Barbie's house, an infamous Real Life Nazi officer who was also known as the Butcher of Lyon. Investigating the location prompts the Ghosts to discuss how many high-ranking Nazis ended up in South America after WW II, a lot of them with support from the US, which is very much Truth in Television.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Strangely, the recon drone and the Spotting skill can become this in missions that require you to identify and tail a target without being seen. The moment you spot the target - who's usually surrounded by a platoon of enemies - their grab-a-vehicle-and-drive-to-the-destination script kicks in, and if that happens while enemies are close to you, you won't be able to get a to vehicle yourself in time without getting spotted. On the other hand, once/if you know all of this already, the situation is turned around completely because you can just park a vehicle in a good spot, track down the target from afar and follow them without any hassle.
  • Uncertain Doom: Antonio's wife Gabriela gets extracted by the Ghosts, only for Bowman to tell her that her only choices are to cooperate or leave and face certain death at the hands of the cartel. Gabriela asks what happens if she doesn't know anything of use, with Bowman coldly telling her to 'look both ways before you cross the street'. The scene then fades to black and it's left unclear what happens to Gabriela. It wouldn't be out of character for Bowman to leave Gabriela to her fate.
  • Universal Driver's License: Played straight. Nomad displays an impressive aptitude for driving or piloting a wide variety of vehicles from tractors to APCs and bushplanes to attack helicopters.
    • Lampshaded in the Future Soldier crossover. Why does Mitchell assign Nomad to assist Kozak in stealing a uranium-laden helicopter from Unidad? Because Kozak isn't qualified to pilot helicopters.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Zigzagged.
    • You're free to pick up any guns dropped by dead enemies, but unlike other Ubisoft titles like Far Cry 4, doing so does not unlock them permanently for your loadout, and you can't modify them either. They also tend to disappear seemingly at random, like when you respawn, fast-travel, or quit and restart the game. While one could assume this to be a balancing mechanic aimed at keeping top-tier weapons out of your reach early on (even basic sicarios often wield much better weapons than you until you reach the most difficult regions), it would be pointless because acquiring endgame guns within the first hour of gameplay is laughably easy if you know where to look for them.
    • You can use any minigun emplacement you happen upon, but mortars can only be used by the enemy. Granted, you don't actually need them, but it would've been fun regardless.
  • The ’Verse: Has confirmed that the most recent iterations of the three main Tom Clancy series, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six Siege, and Splinter Cell, do still take place in the same universe, with both Sam Fisher and Rainbow operators from Siege appearing in free DLC missions. Gets stranger when audio logs from The Division 2 start showing up, given that The Division series takes place in a Post Apocalyptic alternate continuity (this is lampshaded by characters describing said logs as strange and unsettling).
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Taken Up to Eleven. The profile video for the Beauty Queen reveals that one of her methods for smuggling cocaine is to hide it inside womens' breast implants. This is also very much Truth in Television.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: While killing civilians, allies, or surrendering enemies will cause a mission failure, you can do it as much as you want outside missions.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Random banter between enemies as well as the Ghosts seems to depend on the specifics of their current location and has a limited number of lines available, so it becomes repetitive very quickly.
  • With This Herring: You start the game out with a very basic loadout and have to acquire better weapons and equipment laying around Bolivia over the course of the game. Somewhat justified as the Ghosts had to make their own way into the country, either hiking, hitchhiking, or flying commercial airlines, and thus couldn't bring much equipment with them.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: You will get one of these from your AI teammates if you kill a civilian, rebel, or surrendering cartel member.
    "What the fuck, man? That was a civilian!"
    • Want to get Nomad to swear even more? Simply jump in a plane and perform a loop or spin, and s/he will freak out.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Most assault rifles and submachine guns have collapsible/folding stocks. You need to track down specific weapon mods for each of them so your best-of-the-best elite commandos can, say, pull out an MP5's always-existing stock.
  • Zerg Rush: When you're on "Hunted" status for about thirty seconds, some bad guy will inevitably shout something along the lines of "there's gotta be more of us than them! Charge!", followed by more or less every enemy in the area doing just that in an attempt to overwhelm you with sheer numbers. It almost never works because the AI is so damn dumb - see the respective entry for the details.


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