'Ghost Recon: Wildlands' sees Bolivia controlled by the cartels

Ubisoft has been calling Ghost Recon: Wildlands the largest open-world action game the publisher has ever released since last year’s E3 presentation, and based on what was shown during its presentation this year, we’re inclined to believe them. Featuring four-person cooperative gameplay and fast-paced vehicle chases, the citizens of Bolivia won’t just think they saw a ghost: they’ll be sure of it.

Bolivia was previously revealed as the setting for the drug cartel-based story of Wildlands, but the extent that the country has been torn apart is much more than what we saw in the attempted Mexican coup of Advanced Warfighter and its sequel. Recognizing the profit potential of the coca leaf crop in the country, a cartel has taken over Bolivia — all of it. The nation now exists as the largest cocaine operation in the world, and it’s up to the Ghosts to restore order by, naturally, shooting people and blowing a lot of stuff up.

Beginning with just two players entering a small Bolivian town together in search of information on “El Pozolero,” a cartel member known as “The Stewmaker” who is actually a real person, the Ghosts quietly take out their targets before departing for a much larger village on a helicopter. A third player joins up with them from far across the enormous map and, with greater visibility, marks enemies from his perch and transmits the data to his teammates.

What begins as a silent, deadly extraction mission then turns into a car (and truck, and motorcycle) chase, which culminates in a massive firefight on the road and El Pozolero’s capture. The whole demonstration was a tad by-the-numbers — there isn’t too much “new” about Wildlands — but the scale and seamless co-op could help reinvigorate a franchise that hasn’t seen a new entry in more than four years.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands hits Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on March 7, 2017.