By Gaming Australia
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint (commonly referred to as Ghost Recon Breakpoint) is an online tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris and published by Ubisoft. The game was released worldwide on October 4, 2019; for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and will release in November 2019 for the Google Stadia. The game is the eleventh instalment in the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon franchise and is a narrative sequel to the 2017 video game Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands.
The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Like its predecessor Wildlands, Breakpoint is a tactical shooter game set in an open world environment. It is played from a third-person perspective and uses an optional first-person view for aiming weapons. Players take on the role of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony "Nomad" Perryman, a member of the Delta Company, First Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group; also known as "Ghosts", a fictional elite special operations unit of the United States Army under the Joint Special Operations Command. The game world, Aurora, is an open world environment that features a variety of landscapes, and these can be used for tactical advantages. For instance, players can slide down rocky terrain and use mud to camouflage themselves. According to Ubisoft, Aurora is larger than the game world featured in Wildlands. Players have a variety of ways to traverse the open world, controlling various air, land and sea vehicles.
Having played both the Breakpoint closed and open betas its very clear to see where Ubisoft put their improvements. In the closed beta especially, the game played pretty poorly. From clunky movement to game breaking glitches, the closed beta was a cocktail of problems rendering it a massive failure for me personally. However, when the time came to play the open beta, I decided to give it another go. I was very pleasantly surprised that almost all the issues I had encountered in the initial beta testing phase, had been rectified by Ubisoft. This made my mind up on whether I would be purchasing Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which obviously I did.
Now when you play Breakpoint, its immediately gorgeous. The opening section of gameplay is very dark and ominous but still manages to look amazing; especially on the PS4 Pro. The water and plant life are very similar to that in The Division 2 but seem to have been improved even further. There’s no denying that Breakpoint is one of Ubisoft’s best looking games to date.
One of Ghost Recon Wildlands biggest criticism was the lack of gripping storyline. Breakpoint does everything Wildlands did not, there’s amazing and immersive cutscenes, engaging character building moments throughout the story; you’re just constantly engrossed in what’s going on around you. Now you’ve probably noticed the negativity online surrounding this game, especially in regards to its “Micro-Transactions”. Honestly, I don’t see the issue. I haven’t yet played online so can’t speak for that side of things, however in PVE there is absolutely no necessity to purchase anything extra. Every single item you can buy can be earned through playing the game and the transactions are purely a time saving exercise, but in typical 2019 fashion people hate on it for the sake of hating on it.
The solo campaign does seem to be much more beefed up this time around with lots more random interactions, hideouts and abandoned buildings to be found around the island of Aurora. It features plenty of rich story filled cutscenes and dialog choices that I assume will impact the way the game is played or at least the moral outcome of your actions.
Ubisoft have decided to introduce a whole range of new RPG elements into Ghost Recon Breakpoint. These include an extensive crafting system and multitudes of weapons and attachment blueprints able to be found throughout the vast world on offer. Aurora is packed full of resources such as different plants, treasures and other things to be found scattered around. Very similar to The Division titles, players are now given an ever evolving and improving gear score for both your weapons and your wearable clothing and armour. I haven’t progressed too far through the game as yet, but so far this upgraded gear is simply everywhere. Every chest, group of enemies, outpost and hidden cave all contain a new and improved piece of kit. Which is handy when trying to level up to take on the much more ferocious enemies introduced into Breakpoint, the drones.
Breakpoint houses over 20 different type of drones. All of them have different functions, ranging from benign water-carriers to heavily armoured weapons platforms, and many take their names from demons. Stolas quad-rotor drones autonomously patrol wilderness areas and when they're on the hunt, their abrupt, unpredictable movements and ability to zip around obstacles make them more formidable than they look. Rolling Aym drones accompany the Wolves and can unleash lethal gunfire and rockets should you catch their attention. The plane-like Azraël watches from the skies, forcing you to go prone and camouflage yourself or risk triggering an alarm when it's near. The tank-like Behemoths, with their extremely heavy armour and ability to target and attack multiple players at once, present an ideal co-op challenge for any Ghosts brave enough to hunt them down. According to Ubisoft “Ghost Recon Breakpoint's drones evolved out of a push to bring new enemy archetypes to the series, especially ones that could create challenges for co-op players.”
All of these add up to a menagerie of robotic beasts that are more versatile and capable than any of their human handlers – to the point that, if a drone is equipped with more than one weapon, it can use each one on a different player simultaneously. Gissinger says, “They're not invincible, however; do enough damage to a heavier drone's armour, for example, and it'll fall away, revealing the glowing, vulnerable machinery beneath. Players who want to test their precision can also target one of the drone's "eyes;" a successful hit will temporarily stun it. (So can an EMP grenade, if you've got one and want to be less precise)”.
The Wolves, in Ghost Recon Breakpoint are the new elite enemy faction, these wolves are some of the most difficult enemies you will face in the game. I haven’t actually come across any myself as yet, I am not progressed enough to even dream of taking them on however, from gameplay footage I have seen I can tell you they are not to be taken lightly. Along with the drones, they are some of the smartest, most deadly enemies in any game that I have ever seen.
Despite Ubisoft going to great efforts to fix the majority of the issues in the game (care of a 12GB day one patch *facepalm*) there are still glaring issues that I stumbled across whilst traversing the terrain of Aurora. The biggest issue for me was the involved process of travelling from one place to another on foot. The vast array of mountainous hills and greenery pose quite the problem for your character and it gets very tedious very quickly. Too often you have to walk/annoyingly stumble down steep hills and it takes far too long to travel anywhere on foot. The tumbling mechanic was deliberate from Ubisoft and only happens when your characters stamina is low (which is all the time when climbing hills etc). It just becomes rather annoying and really doesn’t need to be there.
Another issue I had is the driving mechanics. These mechanics are clunky and sometimes just plain awful. These issues are especially prevalent in the early stages of the game until you get used to how things handle.
My time in Aurora is not extensive by any means, that being said, the time that I have spent has been a wonderful mix of stealth and action that makes for a fantastic experience. If you’re on the fence about getting this game don’t believe the negative hype that surrounds it. Most of the negativity stems from a real non-issue and the positives far outweigh any negatives. I will soon be teaming up with some squad mates to test out how that all works, but from what I have seen online it seemed very similar to Wildlands which was a perfect way to team up with others.
Overall, Ghost Recon Breakpoint brilliantly lends itself to just about every Ubisoft game in recent memory but in a great way. The visuals, gameplay and even certain mechanics are taken almost directly from titles such as The Division, Far Cry 5 and of course Wildlands, but only because it works. Ghost Recon Breakpoint is fun, engaging and entertaining whether playing solo or in a squad. I highly recommend it to anyone that is a fan of tactical shooting games.
Overall – 8.5/10
Check out the Ghost Recon Breakpoint trailer here: