Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a sequel to the 2017 Ghost Recon Wildlands. It takes place in the fictional island of Auroa, an island in the South Pacific, owned by billionaire and tech wiz Jace Skell. Skell’s technology has been taken over by the ‘Wolves’ led by Cole Walker (played by Jon Bernthal), who is a former Ghost gone rogue.
This past weekend, Ubisoft released a closed beta for the game. The beta included 2 main story missions and a host of side activities for players to ‘sink their teeth’ into. It begins with the start of the story. Ghosts are sent into Auroa to investigate Skell technology and the ‘Wolves’. Their choppers are immediately brought down by drones, and Nomad is left isolated looking for his teammates. The intro very much reminded me of the beginning of Far Cry 5. Without going into too much spoiler territory, Nomad needs to escape the menacing Wolves who are ready to pounce on him.
Welcome to Auroa
During my many hours whilst playing the game this past weekend, I, for the majority, played by myself. This is also how I played Wildlands. For sure, you will have the most fun playing this game with your friends. From the two-story missions that I played, the narrative wasn’t the most compelling, so creating your own shenanigans with your friends is definitely the way to go.
Quests comprise of four different categories: standard missions, special operations (Ghost War PvP), faction missions, and objectives that include: weapons, attachments, collectibles, and investigations. The structure of these missions is also very good as compared from just going from point A to point B. With guided mode off (which I highly recommend you do), you have to investigate parts of the map to get clues, talk to NPCs and eventually reach your final objective.
If you played solo in Wildlands, you had the option for three A.I teammates to accompany you in Bolivia. This was not originally planned for Breakpoint, but with fan-feedback, Ubisoft will add it after launch. However, this was not available in the beta, and I sure did miss my A.I friends.
Auroa is uninspiring and bland as compared to Wildlands. The one thing I loved about Wildlands was Bolivia. Exploring the open world, you would come across bustling towns, full of people and deep culture. With Breakpoint, these are few and far behind. Large areas of emptiness, barren land fills Auroa. Yes, this is only the beta so there may be much more to explore in the full release, but at this stage, I don’t think the open-world is very exciting.
Driving at Breakpoint!
Driving vehicles was very bad in Wildlands, in Breakpoint it is even worse. This is ‘clunky’ to the next level. If you ever want to know what it feels like captain a boat, drive a car on tarmac road. A lot of improvements need to be made to the driving ahead of the launch, or I will be walking to all my mission objectives.
I feel I have been very harsh on Breakpoint, and rightly so, but this is what a beta is for. However, Breakpoint does have many qualities. There is a larger emphasis on stealth as compared to Wildlands. This is implemented very well in the opening scenes. I loved tackling missions in as much stealthiness as possible, and this is where Breakpoint shines. Even playing by yourself, this is very fun.
The drone is essential to everything you do in Breakpoint – as it was in Wildlands. It is particularly useful when conquering outposts to mark powerful enemies and make sure you stay out of their way. Outposts are implemented in a unique way as compared to other Ubisoft titles. I hope sometime post-launch they will implement a difficulty option where you can tackle these outposts with different varying enemies, similar to the system in Far Cry New Dawn.
In general, the gunplay is also fine-tuned, and most importantly fun. Snipers feel as good as ever in Ghost Recon, and the trusty assault rifle is still to good use.
Light survival elements have also been introduced to Breakpoint. Nomad now needs to manual heal when low on health, and stamina will deplete if you do not drink water.
Is this a Ghost Recon Game?
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is quite different from many of its predecessors. In fact, it has many similarities to many looter-shooters such as fellow Ubisoft The Division 2. There is a home base known as ‘Erewhon’ where fellow real players are found. This is also where you talk to NPC’S, and pick up new missions. This is very reminiscence of the tower in Destiny and the Base of Operations in The Division, both of which are looter-shooters. There is also colored loot with varying stats, and your character also has a gear level – something that has not been in a Ghost Recon game before. An example of where this has come to my disadvantage is when I came across an outpost whilst exploring the open world. The outpost was commanded by level 4o enemies, including some type of behemoth tank, I was completely mowed down, never to return.
Similar to a game-as-service, Ghost Recon Breakpoint features battle pass rewards and included in that, yeah you get guessed it… loot boxes. At this stage, we do not know the varieties of these loot crates. If it is done in a similar way to a fellow Ubisoft game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, where you can earn the rewards in the crates through playing, then it shouldn’t be a problem.
The introduction of raids that are coming post-launch also suggests the route that Ubisoft is choosing to take with Breakpoint.
On the other hand, the customization options for your Ghost is rather good. You could deck your Nomad to look like he is heading to the beach, or about to hit the ski slopes. Furthermore, outfits from fellow Ubisoft games such as Rainbow Six Siege are also available.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is not exactly an improvement over Wildlands. If anything it is a less polished version. This is only the beta though, and we are now judging Wildlands after years of support. With the improved mission structure and overall gunplay improvements, Breakpoint just needs some further fine-tuning to make an overall greater experience.