In stark comparison to previous Ghost Recon iteration Wildlands, Breakpoint feels as though it has no real sense of what it’s supposed to be or what players want from it.
It’s simply unsure whether it’s a solo-oriented shooter or a game that still treasures squad-based tactics over all else, and its open world and series of missions reflect this, which is interesting, given that this is hardly Ghost Recon’s first rodeo when it comes to open world gaming.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands debuted with entertaining co-op play as part of its tactical shooter skeleton, and as such it was an interesting turn for the series. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the next entry.
Breakpoint is set four years after the events of Wildlands transpired, but the story here is essentially a standalone affair that you can still get into even if you missed the last game.
You’ll take on the role of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, the stoic leader of a Ghost team tasked with infiltrating the private island of Auroa. It’s practically littered with drones, mercenaries, and other goings-on that aren’t quite above-board. Worst of all for Nomad, the entire operation seems to have a former Ghost, Cole Walker (played by The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal) as its ringleader.
After your first run-in with Cole, you can begin accessing the main hub world of Erewhon, then it’s off to explore Auroa solo. You have a wealth of methods to do this: walking, driving, or even flying by way of a helicopter. It’s a massive island that has plenty to offer, but it’s nothing that feels too innovative or groundbreaking, especially for genre experts like Ubisoft.
“It feels much like every single one of Ubisoft’s other open-world sagas with very little to ensure it stands out as a significantly Ghost Recon-branded experience.”
In fact, Breakpoint feels much like every single one of Ubisoft’s other open-world sagas with very little to ensure it stands out as a significantly Ghost Recon-branded experience. Typically, there’s an easily-discernible line drawn between games like the Far Cry series and Ghost Recon, and it seems oddly blurred here, as does the tone.
Nearly everywhere you go on the island, you’ll be faced with a gaggle of enemies to quickly dispatch. As you tackle a series of missions that take you to destinations scattered throughout the world, you’ll complete objective after objective in an effort to gather intel on what, exactly, Cole and his cronies have in mind. This means you’ll be on their trail a good portion of the time, picking up information where you can find it.
Auroa is a massive world, and travelling from one location to another eats up a lot of time if you don’t have a vehicle to hop on and go. Much of your time, in fact, is spent traversing the land to get to your next objective. When you do reach the next mission area, you’re typically being asked to sweep for enemies and take out large squads that you can’t simply rush in and take out.
That’s where the game’s “Ghost Recon roots” come into play. While it’s an option to simply shoot everything that moves, missions can be approached in a number of ways. Each mission seems as though you’d be far more successful in each case if you stealthed it out with your own squad, but something about Breakpoint feels as though it’s pushing you to act solo.
That’s part of the strange identity crisis the game faces. It doesn’t seem sure of how it wants players to approach each situation, but makes them equally punishing, nevertheless.
“The campaign is lengthy enough that it’ll keep you anchored for quite some time, so at the very least, there’s no shortage of things to do. It just feels like such an odd mixture of ingredients that it’s hard to decipher what the game truly wants to be.”
The split-personality syndrome between first-person shooter and tactical action game doesn’t end there. At times, Breakpoint also feels much like a survival game, much like Rust or DayZ. As you’re making your way throughout Auroa, you can rest and recharge at “Bivuoac” camping areas scattered around the area.
You can eat a meal and hydrate yourself, sort through and craft equipment, and get ‘refuelled’, as it were, for the next big push. It’s an odd addition to the game that feels as though it may have been more appropriate in a totally different genre.
As Breakpoint stands, you’re able to play it much more like a typical open-world shooter, so you don’t really need to factor in these survival elements often. You do, however, need to take into account the RPG-lite elements such as gear scores (like those in Destiny) and levels that you must earn if you want to be able to access gated-off areas with better equipment.
By the end of the game, there’s a massive amount of content still left to discover, including raids and other areas meant for players who have seen everything the game has to offer. The campaign is lengthy enough that it’ll keep you anchored for quite some time, so at the very least, there’s no shortage of things to do. It just feels like such an odd mixture of ingredients that it’s hard to decipher what the game truly wants to be.
In its current state, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint feels more than a little unfinished. It’s an amalgam of pieces that appear to have been cobbled together from previous entries throughout the Ghost Recon series, a sort of mishmash of odd design decisions that don’t always mesh well together. There’s fun to be had if you put in the hours, but unfortunately Breakpoint simply isn’t exemplary of what the Ghost Recon series has been or could be.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a strange, but occasionally exciting mishmash of design decisions that don't always work well together.
- Tight gunplay and combat
- Great performances from voice cast
- Nothing groundbreaking or standout to move the series forward
- The game isn’t quite sure if it’s a solo FPS or a tactical shooter
- An odd melting pot of several genre mechanics cobbled into one