- Developer: Ubisoft Paris
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia
- Release Date: October 4, 2019
- Price: $59.99-$189.99
- Reviewed On: PC
- Review Code Provided: No
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is an open-world third-person tactical shooter with a casual atmosphere. The follow up to 2017’s GR: Wildlands, Breakpoint aims to build onto what its predecessor started, an open world military sandbox that is great with friends.
Game Modes and the Story
Each game mode plays the same but they are nonetheless fun for different reasons. The 4v4 Ghost War is a good secondary mode to mess around in. It has the tense moments of a battle royale with a team deathmatch pace. The rules are simple. Four players on each team, kill all members of the opposing team, try to revive downed teammates. I will say if you’re looking for competitive multiplayer, you’re better off grabbing the upcoming Call of Duty title or Ubisoft’s own Rainbow Six: Siege. For the main game mode, dubbed “Operation Greenstone”, you can play with up to three other players or go it alone. The experience is pretty much the same either way. Unless, of course, you’re playing with your friends and goofing around. This, in the long run, will lengthen the game’s lifespan and necessary support.
Now, the story is another “story”. It’s not weak, per se. But with the gameplay mechanics at hand, I didn’t care too much about the story. I was so much more focused on making my Nomad look like the baddest of bad asses in all of video game history. The story does however raise some questions on the subjects at hand. For instance, how technology meant for good could be flipped and used for terrible things. But, all in all, it’s a run of the mill military storyline that gives some good points but mainly wants the player to focus on the gameplay. Also the dialog isn’t the best, but overall, is ignorable. I can’t fail to mention the fact that Jon Bernthal is the main villain. You can do whatever you wanna do with a story, but if you include the damn Punisher in your game, I’m interested. Interested enough to ignore some shortcomings that is.
The gameplay is very similar to Wildlands, in where you traverse the multi-biome island of Auroa completing story and side missions, and occasionally stopping along the way to clear out enemy outposts for the loot. Unlike its predecessor, Breakpoint’s single player mode does not include three AI soldiers to follow and assist you. You are to explore this world alone, because your squad mates are either dead or MIA. This aspect of the single player very much plays into the name “Breakpoint”, as your Ghost Lead is fighting to survive as much as they are to free the island of the Sentinel forces.
New additions to the gameplay include manually tending to your wounds, covering yourself in mud/dirt/snow while prone to avoid patrols, and drinking from and refilling your water canteen to preserve your stamina. The game does a good job to add easily accessible survival mechanics that players can use on the fly.
The shooting is generally the same as Wildlands’, which was pretty good; it’s very satisfying and easy to learn.
I found myself finding a ton more guns when looting this time around. Along with guns, all sorts of gear can be found on enemies and in chests around the map. I was often finding higher level gear of the same exact gear I was wearing, which is disappointing when you’re playing non-stop for 4-5 hours just looting chests. I’m not the biggest fan of the looter-shooter genre, as I would much rather grind for one weapon in particular and be able to level it up as I play. The upside to this would be the fact that I can try out each and every weapon the game has to offer without having to upgrade said weapons.
The game also offers slight RPG elements. As you level up, you’ll earn skill points to assign to perks or new gameplay mechanics/enhancements. It’s very mundane but adds a bit to look forward to. All of your gear has a “gear level”, which will increase the more you play and loot. Enemies have a gear level that will also increase over time. Don’t fret, higher leveled enemies aren’t going to be bullet sponges. Your level 13 assault rifle is going to kill a level 150 enemy as quick as it would a level 1 enemy. I’m not sure why this system is present other than to make suggestions of what you should do first, but I will say, higher level enemies tend to be able to kill you with less hits than others.
While I’m having insurmountable fun while playing, I’m noticing more and more that the gameplay loop is a bit stale. I’m not calling the game boring, but I’ve played this kind of game before. Other than the exact gameplay from Ghost Recon: Wildlands, the game plays a lot like The Division 2, with the constant looking for higher level gear in a third person shooter setting. Take the world design of the Far Cry series, the tactical planning of Rainbow Six: Siege (in a baby steps sort of way), and the exploration of the newer Assassin’s Creed titles. Bundle all of these things together, and it seems you should have the best Ubisoft game of all time. Not exactly. The game borrows so much from its contemporaries, but it fails to identify what is its own. You can’t point at one thing in the gameplay and say, “that’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint’s”. The game doesn’t take any risks to push the series or the genre forward. Instead it plays it safe. Too safe. Since perfecting the open world genre, Ubisoft has grown stagnant in its delivery. These are the same complaints many had for the Assassin’s Creed franchise before Origins switched up the process.
I guess my next point to make is the inevitable discussion of shame. Microtransactions. I personally do not pay attention to these purchases in video games, and I certainly don’t waste my money on them. This time around you can, and I cannot stress this enough, purchase ANY item in the game with real money. The biggest takeaway from this, though, is that the weapons you buy can only make it so killing AI enemies is easier, so when playing the PvP portion of the game, the weapon levels have no effect whatsoever. As you should know, this is a looter-shooter. You’ll usually find gear at or right above your average gear level constantly, so what is even the point of paying real money for a weapon that will be useless in less than an hour? You can purchase gear in the shop with the same gear level as you would find in the world. See what I’m saying? This takes away one the main reasons to even play the game. Why go bust up some enemy controlled checkpoints to get that sweet ass loot when you can buy it outright? Honestly, I’d rather spend 20 minutes clearing an enemy base than pay money for a new weapon. I can’t say that the microtransactions are predatory, but I can say that they seem like a cheap ploy for extra revenue, since there isn’t really an organic way to insert them into the gameplay loop.
With all of this said, let’s look at the project as a whole. Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a tactical shooter with arcade elements that brandishes a new look, the looter-shooter. Though the game could stand on its own without that element, it at least doesn’t take away from the core gameplay. The shooting is tight, realistic even against higher level enemies, and downright fun. There is a TON of loot, and though sometimes you’ll get the same pair of pants 4 times in a row, at least you get to keep the cosmetic version of each article of clothing even after dismantling them for materials. You’ll have fun playing with your friends, but single player is no less enjoyable (for awhile at least). The map is varied, and the graphics are detailed and beautiful. In my experience, bugs were minimal and the game ran smoothly. The story isn’t that important, but serviceable at best. While the game doesn’t add anything to the experience to make it on its own merits, it’s still an enjoyable one. So if you’re looking for a tactical shooter that won’t make you feel like you suck at video games, has basic mission structures, and tons of loot, this game is for you. The story may not intrigue you and the gameplay might become stale after a while, but when you’re in between game releases, this is the game to play.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is available now for PC, PS4, Xbox One.