Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is the latest in the infamous tactical squad shooter franchise, and aims to take the formula from its previous iteration, Wildlands, and mix in survival tactics.
So, the story begins as you and your rugged team of Ghosts head to the island of Auroa, an island paradise owned by billionaire philanthropist Jake Skell, after the an unknown incident. After your chopper is shot down, you wake up in a wreckage and must survive with your team against the mysterious army of drones and soldiers inhabiting the once idealistic Auroa.
It quickly becomes apparent that the island is controlled by no ordinary soldiers – they are Ghosts! A team of rogue Ghosts lead by former Ghost, and all round bad ass Cole D. Walker, played by the awesome Jon Bernthal (Walking Dead, Wolf Of Wall Street). This band of brothers are known as The Wolves.
Even on my Intel i5-8400 and 1050ti Breakpoint looks gorgeous. The character and world design are detailed and a step up from 2017’s Wildlands. The islands regions have their own feel and fauna which adds a sense of scale to the huge island. The sound is also as good as you have come to expect from previous Ghost Recon instalments. Auroa feels alive and intimidating and a lot of that is down to the stellar sound and visuals.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a far cry from Advanced Warfighter and is a direct narrative equal to Wildlands, swapping tactical missions for open world sandbox tactical action. A Division style loot system has been added along with a more RPG-style skill point system, which isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste.
Missions are spread around the open archipelago and you are free to attack any mission you wish in any order you want but they all have level recommendations indicating their difficulty.
You can choose from four of the usual classes; Assault, Panther, Field Medic and Sharpshooter. I chose Sharpshooter, which was a good choice for me, allowing me the freedom to stalk and survey an area before dropping the enemies one by one with my sniper rifle. Clearing each area from a distance and then eliminating any stragglers systematically was immensely enjoyable solo.
Playing as a squad offers its own rewards and becomes a very different beast with a few mates. Taking the job of surveillance and over-watch as a sniper while you guide your squad through a settlement is about as tactical as it gets – and it is great fun!
Loot is collected very frequently (a bit too frequently) through the game and, like The Division, loot levels become a large focus of progression. Finding different weapons and gear is good, but having to break down old loot a piece at a time is a bit of a slog. I got in the habit of breaking down gear every time I found an upgrade straight away so I didn’t have to spend five minutes at a time breaking down batches of loot individually.
I thought the story was as good as it can be in this style of game. Jon Bernthal is a brilliant antagonist in Cole and voices the character perfectly. Your battle to take back Auroa from old allies adds weight to the situation and you will sympathise with Cole and his motivations as a soldier and leader.
The use of drones and tech by both you and the enemy adds a different level to the Wildlands combat. For example, using drones to scout an area, or using a spray that disguises you from being detected by AI sentries, while fighting robots in a lair fit for a Bond villains lair helps keep things fresh for the 30+ hour campaign.
Multiplayer is great with the Ghost Wars mode, pitting teams of Ghosts against each other in a decent sized area is nerve-shredding at times and hilarious at others. It acts as a good break from the endless missions in the campaign which is the bulk of the games content.
Now we must address the moments where Ghost Recon: Breakpoint falls short.
Occasionally enemies will not respond under fire, or you will fire a silenced shot and every enemy in the area will be alerted and suddenly go on a kill crazy rampage. The vehicles, especially the cars, still have the poor handling that plagued its predecessor and every now and then your car will get stuck on a piece of uncooperative scenery.
Watching your protagonist deal with his injured leg with an invisible bandage is something you will experience a lot, but most of the issues I mention can be sorted with a patch in the coming weeks.
The fact that Breakpoint is online only is a point of contention, and I can understand why some players will dislike this aspect. However, I am always online, and playing games offline is not something I do often, so isn’t something that affects me really.
Micro-transactions. There is an downright offensive amount of micro-transactions available for you to purchase in this game. These range from weapons to boots, and all have their own loot score. This is a trend in games I do not like and I hope falls away in the near future. Online games as service models are still fairly new and I do believe the industry is still working out how best to monetize their products. Lets just hope they find a inoffensive way sooner rather than later.
However, at no point did I feel that Ubisoft tried to push me into the micro-transaction portion of the game. If I’m honest, I could have gone through the game without ever going to the item store as it’s kept on a separate tab on the menu and there was very few prompt in the game pointing towards the store.
I am conflicted with the micro-transaction aspect of Ghost Recon, as there is so many items you can buy but they were never forced upon me. I believe they implemented these items correctly but blew it with the volume and it does feel like the loot system has been added for the sole purpose of selling items for real world money. All I can say is if you feel strongly about micro-transactions, then maybe give this game a swerve and vote with your wallet. But at no point does it really affect the game-play (A portion of the worst micro-transactions have been removed since launch).
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a sandbox game in its very essence. It will only be as fun as you make it. You choose your missions, your gear, your friends to play with and how you play it. Even in solo you can have an enjoyable time just playing tactically.
This game definitely has issues and it’s not going to be everyones cup of tea. It is not the Ghost Recon game you played on your Xbox 360. It has shifted genres and the franchise is finding its feet in new ground. I would love to see another classic-style Ghost Recon and I think it is an avenue Ubisoft really need to consider as the now dubbed “Ubisoft formula” they are implementing most of their games with is watering down the absolutely legendary IP’s that made them the studio we all came to love.
Looking back at the journey Wildlands took, and how it improved over its first year, it does give me hope for how the Breakpoint experience will be expanded upon in the future.
If you enjoyed our review and want to check out more, why not check out our review for No Man’s Sky: Beyond.
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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Breakpoint - PC Review
- Overall - 7.5/107.5/10
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a game that cements the end of the style it came from and is trying to find its way in a new genre.
Breakpoint is immensely enjoyable solo or with a squad of friends and the competitive multiplayer acts as a great distraction from the campaign missions. It thrives in its sandbox settings and apart from a few technical issues and the driving mechanics that needed improving it is a solid game. Now give me another Predator mission damn you!
When it comes to the controversy over the micro-transactions, yes there is a lot but at no point will you be pushed to buy them so all I can say is use your own judgement and if you see fit to do so then vote with your wallet.
Gamer, dad and supporter of @SpecialEffect Charity. Dark Souls fan and gooner!