“serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict” and “serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in an armed conflict not of an international character” – Rule 156. Definition of War Crimes, International Criminal Court
Oh…I’ve committed war crimes. While deployed to Bolivia as part of a shadowy SpecOps unit (Ghost Recon), I have shot, run over, and thrown grenades at an alarming number of Bolivian civilians and at least 6 llamas. The reason I was in Bolivia and raising hell is because a Mexican drug cartel, Santa Blanca, has become a pseudo-Bolivian government entity…the Bolivian government’s paramilitary forces, Unidad, are working with Santa Blanca. Bolivia is a narco-state in every way except in name. Bolivia is fucked up…and my team and I weren’t there to fix it…we were there to kick ass and take names…we were there to win. To win AG Session’s war on drugs…and avenge the Santa Blanca’s torturing and killing of an undercover DEA agent…my team and I deployed to and royally fucked up Bolivia…
Well this happened in a video game…Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands…and it was fucking glorious. It was glorious because the game is an almost unbelievably large open-world game that seems to be about 50km x 50km and the game makes the country of Bolivia come alive…for the record Bolivians have their cars and trucks blessed by priests because the fucking roads are so dangerous…curving paved roads quickly turn into muddy mountain llama trails. GRW replicates the dangers of Bolivia roads in such a way that I was unable to drive any vehicle no more than 50m before I had hit another car, a llama, a Bolivian civilian walking on the side of the road, a tree, a guard rail, or a dog (I only saw one dog in the game and I, of course, ran it the fuck over…naturally my PS4 controller vibrated and there was a distinct “thud” that all of us who have hit a dog in real life know so horribly well). GRW kinda feels and looks like what you imagine Bolivia is…mountainous…deceptively beautiful…and full of fucking llamas that run amok.
Sunrises, sunsets, rain, thunderstorms, and fog engulf and enrich the game. After the first few hours of game play (where you are basically learning how to play the game), you start slowly recognizing the details of this digital Bolivia…and start being astonished at how perfectly rendered it is. As recent as two years ago, games of this size, or at least games that attempted to be this “big,” would have had significant issues with rendering…distant objects like buildings or mountains would be muted or fuzzy…odd glitches would constantly remind you that you were doing nothing more than playing a video game that teased you with size but only gave you a few hundred meters of detailed “play area.” GRW gives you kilometers of play area. When flying or riding in a hijacked, helicopter…the distant mountains…and fucking power lines…are easily seen but rarely avoided. This game is a feast for the eyes.
Of course, it is a game that has gotten mixed reviews…and of course, the criticism of the game is the same criticism that all games receive that are large and filled with missions that require repeated tasks. “Game play becomes rote.” “After 10 story line missions, all other story line missions become boring and familiar.” Well of course…because it is a giant ass game that requires numerous missions that feel and look the same at times…it’s not fucking real…and the game has a finish line that some players drive for immediately. To get to that finish line, you have to follow the long story line…
But…if you want to really to enjoy GRW…recruit 3 of your best friends…travel to this digital Bolivia…suit up in your favorite private military company attire…arm yourself with your preferred rifle, sub-machine gun, and silenced pistol…and start fucking some shit up.
This ^ is one of my favorite private military contractor outfits…it is Trinity from The Matrix…and she is a known war criminal with at least 5 llama kills and 15 assassinations (by grenade) of captured Bolivian POWs. You don’t wanna fuck with a woman that doesn’t bat an eye when killing a llama…trust me.
You don’t have to kill every cartel thug or Bolivian soldier you see…you can sneak up (or run up) to them…grab them in a choke hold and then…you can use them as a bullet shield…you can walk around with your own private hostage/POW…you can push their asses into the trunk of a car (after slamming the face into the car’s side-paneling of course)…basically you can do anything you fucking want…short of sodomizing them…but don’t think that my gaming BFFs and I didn’t laugh about doing that. The reward of taking and abusing prisoners vastly outweigh the punishment…which is the game “kills” you…and then you have to start whatever mission you were on…but only after you have killed too many civilians or prisoners. I have no fucking clue what number of wrongfully killed civilians and prisoners is…but I can say that I have only been “killed” for abusing the Bolivian people about 2 or 3 times. Trust me the reward of fucking Bolivia up outweighs some minor setback of having to restart a mission.
This cooperative game play (you know…you and your buddies fucking up Bolivia) is what makes GRW so splendidly stupid and childish. I would be lying if I said that my gaming BFFs and I played GRW in a manner that reflected our actual age…because in reality…we play like we are 12 year-old boys. We cackle, giggle, scream, and curse (like any 12 year-old boy does when he is alone with BFFs)…and all of us are over 40 and all pretty much decent human beings with jobs, families, and responsibility. GRW allows full grown men to act childish…and I guess I have just written a review for a video game that is basically a ringing endorsement for violence and committing war crimes against llamas…and yeah…because the fun in GRW is the violence…and the freedom to exercise that violence with little or no repercussion.
It is a game…we know it is a game…but if you want to bring out your inner Blackwater mercenary, circa 2007 Blackwater merc…then GRW is the game that lets you raise digital hell. GRW lets you shoot llamas in the fucking face…GRW lets you grab drug cartel thugs and kill them in ways that are primarily only limited to your imagination.
Here is a list of the war crimes my gaming BFFs and I have committed in GRW:
- purposefully run over civilians on and near roads;
- purposefully shot or threw grenades at civilians both outside and inside vehicles;
- purposefully captured and executed prisoners with every weapon available;
- purposefully captured prisoners, placed in a vehicle, and then destroyed the vehicle using grenades and plastic explosives;
- purposefully captured prisoners, placed in an airplane or helicopter, flown the aircraft to a very high altitude and then jumped out of the aircraft with a parachute and then watched the aircraft fall and crash while still containing the prisoners;
- purposefully captured prisoners, knocked them unconscious in the middle of the road and then watched the prisoners be run over; and
- purposefully captured prisoners, knocked them out on a rail road track, and then waited for the train…the train then ran them over.
Like I said…your personal list of Bolivian war crimes is limited only to your imagination. What is unfortunate…like a lot of idiots…we felt the need to document our war crimes.
The above photographic evidence shows me (in camouflage) and my BFF (code named HappyDingo) knocking out and placing drug cartel thugs and Bolivian military members on train tracks…naturally we hung around to see the train pass by. This is why GRW is a great game…you get to play in a big “sandbox” and do the shit you would never do in real life…war crimes be damned…this is fun.
*Note: The real government of Bolivia formerly protested the making of this game because they felt it depicted their country in a not-so-good way…they’re right.