The last Ghost Recon I played before this one was Future Soldier. Let me just say that it blew my mind back in the day. Since then, Wild Lands set a precedent for the franchise similar to what Origins did for Assassin’s Creed. That being establishing a more personalized and open world feel to Ghost Recon. This same formula was applied for Ghost Recon Breakpoint as well. They didn’t do a bad job, but they didn’t do something that stood out either. If that makes any sense.
Let’s start this from the top with what the setting of Breakpoint is. You are in the boots of a Ghost Recon captain named Nomad. Nomad does have an established name and personality but you can customize the way they look. It’s similar to Odyssey in the sense that you can choose between genders as well.
The customization is pretty bland. They could’ve done without it because you can barely change anything. I feel like if your customization doesn’t have sliders in it, it might as well not be there. That was the case since the design options were really generic.
After you customize your character in the helicopter you’re riding, you’re shot down over a mountanious region. The land of Aurora is actually taken over by rogue former Ghosts led by Cole D. Walker played by the Punisher himself, John Bernthal.
Aurora is also owned by Jace Skell, an entrepreneur who runs the company Skell Technology. Skell technology which by the way, is the most evil sounding name you could imagine, runs innovation technology but has recently tapped into military contracting.
After doing so, they took over Aurora along with Cole which then caused a blackout in the area. You, Nomad, are sent along with your Ghost Recon team to investigate the communications blackout. This is when your transport is taken down and you’re left stranded on the land. The thing about the antagonists of this game is that they’re the same as you (not really) which raises the stakes past previous games.
The land of Aurora is pretty diverse in what kind of biomes it has. You have snow capped mountains, grassy plains and a literal volcano as well. Other than that, you have a hub within a cave system that acts sort of like a shared world hub. Exiting that Hub will launch you into the open world that is either shared with your player party or just yourself.
I gave both the single and multiplayer a shot. The single player gave you an AI squad which revived a few Future Soldier memories while multiplayer is with, well, other players. Obviously the multiplayer will be more fun if you play with friends.
Regarding the matchmaking, however, you will probably have a better time in single-player. This depends on what gameplay you’re aiming for, however. Besides the story, there were also the ghost wars PvP modes which were pretty reminiscent of the Division 2’s multiplayer objective based gameplay. If you’re into the game’s story and all, single-player with AI is your best bet.
One side note, Ghost Recon Breakpoint always needs an internet connection to be able to play.
Now onto the gameplay. You’re thrown into combat and basics pretty quickly after customizing Nomad. The game begins as I mentioned earlier, with you being stranded by your hind being taken down. Your chopper was taken down by rogue Ghost Recons. After you get up with your handgun, you begin your gameplay experience. It’s pretty standard to the Ghost Recon formula with how it functions as a third-person over the shoulder shooter.
When aiming down sights, you switch to first person iron-sights. There’s an option to change this and stay in third-person even while aiming. I personally found the iron sights to allow for more accuracy. However, the rapid switching between both perspectives was often pretty disorienting. That’s why if you buy the game, I recommend trying out both settings to see which one suits you.
The impact of the bullets going through your enemies is captured really well. I especially like the way you can dispatch several soldiers within seconds using just headshots. It really does make you feel like a badass elite, some Rambo shit going on in here basically.
The game acts as a cover shooter as well though not as stiff. You can slip in and out of cover pretty seamlessly and you can also choose how you want to approach a situation. As with previous titles, stealth was usually the more preferred option but full guns blazing in the open-world isn’t ruled out either. The enemies in this game are rogue Ghosts, so they’re like you. Ubisoft said they wanted to emphasize that you aren’t the most dangerous thing in the continent anymore.
To an extent that feeling was captured. After your chopper gets gunned down, you do have the feeling of being outgunned and outmanned. At the same time, you get the need to improvise, adapt and overcome like any elite soldier would need to. I played on the highest difficulty for maximum effect and yes, the enemy was pretty damn accurate and precise. They also had access to the same kind of technology as us.
You do get the feeling of being on even playing fields. However, the AI was pretty stupid out of combat. Like I expected ghosts to be very hard to sneak up on but until combat actually began, they were just your run of the mill grunts.
After some more studying of how the enemy AI behaves and acts, it’s pretty disappointing. Besides their deadeye accuracy due to the high difficulty setting, they think like a poorly programmed auto vacuum. Rushing between covers without firing a shot, screaming when they’re reloading as a big open invite to come in and shoot the fuck out of them. Not patrolling beyond a very rigid pattern.
Hey Enrique, in case you haven’t noticed, Sergei stopped whining about the weather in the middle of his sentence and never spoke again. That doesn’t bother you at all? No? Okay then.
The gunplay was pretty nice. Bullets connected, the sound design wasn’t that bad and overall the feel of landing headshots with the red hit marker and little click sound when you connect was just so satisfying. Other than that you can’t just stand in plain sight and shoot or you’ll be dead in seconds. The emphasis of positioning and cover is done pretty nicely in the game. One thing I liked and disliked was how gun upgrading was handled. A word of advice, don’t invest in any gun cosmetically or even performance wise. Chances are that you’ll find a better gun literally minutes later. The reason this didn’t bother me too much was the fact that everything in this game that wasn’t a drone could die to one well placed headshot. That’s the kind of consistent realism I respect in games like these. Kudos to you Breakpoint.
Regarding the RPG aspect of this game, you have a few classes to choose from. The field medic, the assault, the stealth and the sharpshooter, each represented by an animal. The panther class was the closest I felt to previous Ghost Recon games hence why I went with that one, it was also useful with my playstyle of engaging and killing the enemy before they realize what happened. The classes are separated by their main ability, sort of like how each Borderlands character has a trump card. An example of a class ability in Ghost Recon Breakpoint is the Panther smoke screen that allows for quick getaways. Other than these main abilities, all the classes take their upgrades from the same skill tree. This means you won’t be able to make a truly unique character from the rest of the mold. However, it also makes it more convenient since you won’t have to commit to one tree and sacrifice all others. Rather, you’ll just be choosing a call sign. The perks and skills are the same for everybody. You just pick them based on how you want to play out. The perks include things like stamina management and better stealth from enemy AI. There’s still a decent amount of options to toy around with and make your own build. It just won’t be necessarily connected to your class is all.
One thing to note about Breakpoint’s matchmaking is how the game squads you up with complementary classes. You’ll never be matched up with four of the same specialists unless you play with your friends specifically. This allows for some diversity in your team every time.
The melee aspect of the game was good the first few times but became a bit too rigid and often confusing with how the models would position themselves and the camera would frantically shift. I did like some of the execution animations though. The aspect of hiding yourself within the mud as camouflage, waiting for your prey to walk past you so you can stab them in the back really pushed the feeling of being an elite ghost. Other than that, later parts of the game where you were sneaking into enemy compounds guarded by heavy ordinance was also immensely fun in its own right.
The game also has vehicular exploration since well, you’re on Aurora. The vehicular part is only good for convenience of getting from A-B in my opinion. Other than that, the controls and feel of driving anything was pretty dull. It often felt boat like at times and I wish the vehicles were more grounded and powerful. One of the mechanics Breakpoint took from another Ubisoft game is the explorer mode from AC Odyssey. With this mode, your screen won’t be stuffed with HUD. Rather, you’ll have to find your way to your mission objectives using cues and clues on the map.
The Endgame of Ghost Recon Breakpoint obviously isn’t all that we’ll have. Ubisoft have stated their plans for supporting end-game content in the long run further down the first year of this game. Until then, there’s still a host of activities available to do until those updates roll around. The Project Titan raid is the biggest one I think. A colossal task that involves the exploration of a volcanic base. One that will task players to make squads and complete co-op challenges just to make eligibility for the raid in the first place. A lot to do in terms of progress basically. You also have the missions granted to you by factions. Factions that grow throughout the progress of the main story with your help. There’s obviously the PvP as well that keeps players occupied for long bounds at a time. Mix matching and experimenting with different perks/skills to create your own unbeatable builds to unleash on other players. We can also expect monthly Live events with seasonal temporary rewards and appearances of guest characters like what Wildlands did with the Siege crew. A lot to expect in the End Game basically.
Finally, the story of the game had a good setting and plot, I even liked the characters. My issue was with how mundane some things came off, such as the voice acting. I’ve complained about mute emotionless characters before, thankfully Ghost Recon does give Nomad a character but he’s just….boring. There are no unique qualities or compelling moments of character in any way. Jon did a pretty good job with his part in the acting and character he played. The lack of him appearing on screen however, is a complaint I’ll address in a bit. The tone of the game is just all over the place is all I’m saying. It goes from war story to cheesy action movie between lines of dialogue pretty frequently.
That’s not the only immersion breaking part of Breakpoint. There’s a host of glitches as there would be with any Ubisoft title really. Things like your character clipping through his outfit, holding an invisible gun and characters walking through them. The sound design and lighting in some of the areas were so bad. It’s almost like they were trying too hard to bedazzle us but just ended up making a fake green screen like simulation sometimes.
It’s almost like watching your standard Hollywood action movie but as a video game. John gave an okay performance but it was easy to tell how much he was downgraded to looks in the game vs the trailers. Moments like when he shot Wreaver in the intro had no impact at all, they were just there.
It also took an awfully long time for us to actually see the fucking Punisher in action and even that is in the form of some emotionless cutscenes that hold no weight on you at all. That’s the problem with these unrelated stories that bring nothing back for the players to properly connect to.
Still, all things aside, the game can be a pretty fun open-world experience to share with your friends and all. But then, so can the Division 2, right? Take that as you will.