The anchor of Ubisoft’s E3 2015 press conference was a wild four-player co-op experience, with a team of special agents infiltrating a cartel base. That game was Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and since then we’ve not heard a lot about the game. That all changed at this year’s E3, where the game not only have major stage time during the 2106 Ubi conference, but a playable demo was available at the Ubi booth. A trio of media and I suited up and joined a member of the dev team on a secret Ghost Recon mission, and I’m very intrigued by what I played.

Our first mission was to move in on an enemy compound and interrogate the top man at the camp. Two of us ran recon with sniper rifles while the other two approached the base one on the left and one on the right. I identified the target, relayed the message to my teammates, and the collection mission began. Unfortunately things did not go so well and one of the two ground men was detected, sending the target fleeing from the scene in a truck. The team quickly mounted a few vehicles in pursuit, eventually cornering the target at a nearby train station. Once again the mission turned awry, as one of the team members mistook our guy for one of the grunts and put a bullet in his head. Oops, mission failed, demo over... right?

Ubisoft

Nope, the driver had a contingency plan, searching the target’s body and finding the intel we were looking for that way. It turns out a larger cartel base nearby has some intel hidden on computers at a larger base just up the road. Conveniently there was a helicopter parked right next to the gas station we randomly chose to corner our previous prey (fancy that!), so we all climbed in and headed to the new destination.

This second base was much larger, sporting dozens of enemies, machine gunners in towers, and mortar launchers to reflect our impending attack. We needed to make sure we were as stealthy as possible on our approach or else the alarms would sound and we’d be up the creek. That of course could only mean one thing: that alarm sounded within 30 seconds, and this time it was all my fault. I was picked up by a group of cartel soldiers in a truck just outside the front gate, and our ensuing firefight caught the attention of one of the machine gunners.

I quickly dispatched the enemies and made my way to a cliff on the opposite side of the base from where the rest of my crew was trying to break in. I provided sniper cover from my perch before another gunner found me and forced me from my spot. After finding some solace behind the main wall, I used my scope to map out some strategy, and I realized that our target was at the bottom of the tower right in front of where I was standing. I hopped over the wall, entered the tower, got the intel without being seen, and made a break for it out of the front gate. My teammates quickly drove up in a jeep to pick me up, and we rode off into the sunset victorious.

Ubisoft

Now obviously this demo was completed with zero semblance of stealth; we effectively went into both scenarios with guns blazing and I’m going to bet that’s not the way we should have approached these missions, but I was very impressed with the emphasis on teamwork and camaraderie. If our missions had been by the book, teamwork would have been even more essential, but even in the chaos the team communicated with each other and coordinated a successful mission. The co-op focus is clearly priority one in these Wildlands, and so far it’s performing very well.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is shaping up to be a defining co-op shooter, as this E3 2016 demo mixed high-octane shooting action with an extreme dependence on being a good teammate. I’m already looking forward to joining up with a few friends and running through these Wildlands to stop the Santa Blanca drug cartel once and for all.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands will be available March 7, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.