Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is one the most anticipated game of the year and it is finally here; but, does it live up to its expectations?
Here at The Technovore, we managed to land a review code for the game itself from Ubisoft (thanks guys!) and we are ready to get on the action ourselves!
So without further ado, let’s do this!
What is Ghost Recon: Breakpoint?
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is set in an open world environment that utilizes tactical shooter gameplay style mechanics like it’s the previous iteration of the game in Ghost Recon series, Wildlands. However, unlike Wildlands, Breakpoint has been introduced with much more role-playing elements which are not surprising, to say the least.
Ubisoft has been steadily building up its games around the aspects of role-playing to give players the freedom of playing the way they want. If you’ve played Ubisoft’s recent games like Division 2 and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey then you’ll be quite familiar with the mechanics brought into Breakpoint.
And for those not familiar with the Ubisoft’s recent work but you’re looking to jump straight into Breakpoint’s action, then fret not as it is as easy as just doing that.
A Ghost story…
Before we get to it, let us all acknowledge the real reason why everyone wants to play Breakpoint this year because let’s be honest even Ubisoft knows it; and it’s all because of one man, Jon Bernthal.
Jon Bernthal, the man who portrayed ‘The Punisher’ in the Netflix TV show, is back to reprise his role as Cole D. Walker in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. The character was first introduced in Ghost Recon: Wildlands as part of a free DLC, to serve as an introduction to his motivations and personality as a true patriot who is troubled by how the government is allowing the sacrifices of good men to be in vain as long as it serves the greater good.
If you missed out playing that in Wildlands and want to get started on Breakpoint instead, then it’s no problem at all as the story is pretty much standalone with just a few references to the story of Wildlands.
The game itself takes place on an island called Aurora, home to the community of peaceful settlers called ‘Homelanders’. The island also serves as the headquarters of a high-end technological manufacturing company called Skell Tech created by Jace Skell. Cole Walker is hired as a military adviser for Skell Tech, who thereafter takes over Skell Tech and Aurora by force with his unit that goes by “The Wolves”. Cole Walker is hired as a military adviser for Skell Tech, who thereafter takes over Skell Tech and Aurora by force with his own personal unit that goes by “The Wolves”.
Nomad, the protagonist and the player’s character, along with other Ghost units are sent to investigate Aurora under false pretenses about communications mysteriously being cut off. The game starts with all of the Ghosts units being wiped out with just a few survivors, including Nomad, who begins his crusade of getting revenge for his fallen comrades and taking out Cole Walker.
The overall story is pretty straightforward but at times rather predictable thus making it boring. However, the upside to this is that the characters in it are far more fleshed out with additional dialogue options that dive deeper into what drives their motivations and emotions; which makes them a lot more relatable than it was in Wildlands.
Jon Bernthal’s Cole Walker is such one character that makes the story all the better. There’s a saying, “As kids we love heroes, as adults we understand villains.” That is very true with Jon’s portrayal of the antagonist in the game, it makes you believe that he’s a person in pain who’s desperately fighting back the system to protect his country and men from further unnecessary bloodshed.
Ubisoft did a really good job with their character models looking as real as possible, even Cole Walker looks exactly like Jon, but there are some buggy issues with the dialogues not syncing up well with their facial expressions and honestly it’s not fun to watch; especially given how hyped the game was made out to be, these should have been resolved before release. Hopefully, these issues will be fixed soon with patches.
As I mentioned above, the bulk of Breakpoint’s gameplay consists of tactical shooting that’s reminiscent of games like Gears of Wars and Division where you’ll need to take cover and attack enemies. You can either play the game completely in third-person or you can choose to experience the action of killing your enemies in first-person to make those shots more precise.
However, there’s no way of playing the entirely in first-person but that’s okay as it allows you enjoy the beautiful scenery of the varied environments that the game has to offer and also makes tactical planning of your approach into dangerous territory that much easier. Wildlands, too, used the same kind of gameplay mechanics however it has been further improved upon and refined to create a more realistic shooter experience.
Ubisoft’s refined Division 2 shooting experience has now also been implemented into Breakpoint and it makes all the difference when compared to our buggy it was in Wildlands. On top of improved gunplay, weapons are now introduced with stats that boosts your overall gear rating and damage which further deepens the role-playing aspects of the game.
However, the process of gaining loot to improve your character is so simple that you’ll hardly pay too much attention to it, making it rather meaningless unlike how it was in Division where you’ll have to hunt for better loot.
On a sides note, Ubisoft should be commended for going the extra mile of resolving one of Division’s biggest issue with AI enemies in Breakpoint, which was to make enemies more realistic in various ways of taking them down instead of just making them bullet sponges; so yep good news people, headshots are deadly again now.
Making your way in the world.
Ubisoft has also introduced a new way of navigating in the game that was not included in Wildlands however it should be familiar to those who played Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. That’s right, exploration mode is back and it’s hellva difficult in Breakpoint than it was in Odyssey.
Exploration mode is Ubisoft’s way of making the game realistic by allowing the player to locate objectives through reading the map, so you’ll have to dust off your compasses and learn to differentiate your west and east because it’s going to take sometime before you’re used to it. Also navigating with Breakpoint’s maps in the game is much harder as the areas are larger and filled with sub-areas, sometimes the area you’ll need to reach is so specific that you’ll probably miss it and wander around aimlessly.
And yes I’m speaking from experience, as I’ve wandered for hours looking for an abandoned bunker in the middle of a rain forest in the game. Thankfully, for those who would prefer to skip this tedious experience can still opt to select the standard guided mode that shows you where your objectives are on the map.
Another of Breakpoint’s coolest new mechanic, in my opinion, has got to be the prone camo ability. It allows the player to prone and blend in almost any environments with the mud, snow, etc (well except the floors of a building, obviously). It’s awesome because it works really well and it’s also extremely fun to stalk an enemy that way and executing a silent takedown. It surely gives you the vibe of being Arnold in the Predator, when he covers himself with the mud to hide.
There are two ways that you can play the game: The first would be to camo up your character and go all Rambo throughout the entire game and remind your enemy that a cornered animal is a lot more dangerous; the second would be to party up with your buddies and show the Wolves what a real Ghost unit is capable of.
It is a different take as compared to Wildlands, where you had AI companions if you’re playing solo and I admit it was pretty cool playing the game like you’re Rambo without a team. However, it got dull real quick for me as I started to miss those interesting banter between Nomad and his AI comrades from Wildlands.
In Breakpoint, players are introduced to a new kind of skill system that allows them to choose the way they want to play by utilizing a specific class. They can also further customize their gameplay setup with various perks to further master their chosen class or be as flexible as they want to be to handle unexpected situations.
The game introduces four different classes at the beginning that can be levelled up to ten by doing specific challenges assigned to it and Ubisoft has also mentioned that they will be adding in a couple more classes as time goes by. The four available classes are: Panther which is all about those stealth based kills, Sharpshooter which is all about those long-ranged and headshot kills, Medic which is all about those heals and lastly Assault which practically makes you Rambo.
Each class has a specific class item and class ability that’s unique like for example, the Assault class is given gas grenades to build upon their offensive capabilities and it’s class ability allows you to kill enemies to restore your health once activated. Whereas the Panther class is given a form of cloaking spray that masks your signature from an enemy’s drone detection and its class ability allows you to disappear from the enemies detection for a time by throwing a smokescreen grenade to create a distraction to escape.
The different approaches that each class offers combined with unique perks, enables the players to engage the enemies in more ways than one. There are just so many combinations that you can try thus allowing you to keep the pace of battle interesting for a longer period before it feels repetitive.
The bottom line.
Overall, the game feels mediocre compared to the hype that was built around it and honestly I am disappointed especially since I was excited for it too. Sure the game does some of the things well like making the gunplay experiences and combat engagements realistic and so much better but at the end of it, everything else just feels bland.
The story for one feels complicated and tiresome which is a real bummer because Jon’s portrayal of the character was top notch and I wish they had expanded more on that. In terms of exploration, you could enjoy the stunning environmental designs for a time but there’s nothing much else to do thereafter, apart from searching for attachments and blueprints of weapon that you could craft. Even the side missions feel like a chore due to their repetitive procedures of collecting clues over and over again until you get to your final objective.
So should you give Breakpoint a chance? My suggestion would be to get the game if you’re looking for something to pass the time by playing with your friends but even then I don’t think I can justify paying the full price for the game.
- Jon Bernthal’s Cole D. Walker
- Gunplay is refined and smooth
- Class systems and perks are an interesting approach
- Forgettable storyline
- Buggy cutscenes and dialogues
- Limited exploration
- Weak loot gain experience