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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint Review

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint Review
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Did Ghost Recon Wildlands really need a sequel? Ubisoft Paris' squad-based shooter has been chugging along just fine for the last two years, given more than ample support throughout its lifespan. But now we have a follow-up, moving away from the diverse and beautiful climes of Bolivia to the fictional island of Auroa, where there's nothing that can whisk up a flurry of controversy. Perhaps the most controversial thing about Ghost Recon Breakpoint is that it's not much of an upgrade over Wildlands, and it certainly doesn't feel like a full-blooded sequel.

You return as crack military operative Nomad, crash landing on the island where your old comrade Lt. Colonel Cole D. Walker has gone rogue, taking a legion of former Ghosts with him to form a dangerous, efficiently trained unit known as the Wolves. Scary, right? No, not really. The Wolves are pretty stupid, wonky enemy AI causing them to dutifully line up or stand out in the open waiting to be shot. This is one of a number of problems inherent in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the utterly pedestrian narrative being another.


He's behind you!

Ostensibly turning things on its head, rather than being the predator in Breakpoint, you're the prey, initially alone and outgunned, presented with the unenviable task of wrangling control back from Walker and the Wolves. Firstly, this involves locating the island's owner, Jace Skell, before tracking down Skell Technology's best and brightest drone engineers to help return order to the island paradise. What follows is a procession of infiltration, gathering intel, shooting the baddies, then having an awkward, poorly framed dialogue exchange before heading off to the next thing.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint is fairly formulaic then, and the story isn't exactly enthralling, but what rescues it is the core shooter gameplay. Breakpoint is still robust enough that it's enjoyable to play, new additions like being able to camouflage yourself when prone in grass, mud, or snow, or breach through wire fences expanding the repertoire of options for stealthier players. While arguably, the closeness of the camera to your character restricts your field-of-view, making life rather difficult, the tight gunplay and gratification that comes with a well-executed headshot is hard to beat.

The game's loot system is engaging too, constantly rewarding you with better guns and gear ensuring that you always feel a genuine sense of progression, as your average score for the items you have equipped steadily rises. Sadly, none of this really counts for much when dumb AI means that the only time you'll feel overwhelmed is by sheer enemy numbers, rather than ever being outsmarted. Essentially, the loot and corresponding gear score is rendered pointless, as a headshot is still a headshot, and will drop an enemy just the same (and rightly so). The only thing that gear brings to the table is a smattering of perks, and the momentary excitement that comes with finding a high-end or legendary item. I lost it when those purple-level ghillie pants dropped.

Despite the ineptitude of the game's enemy troops, playing Ghost Recon Breakpoint does prove to be entertaining to a point, especially if you band together with a squad in 4-player co-op, coordinating your moves and executing a plan. While the core shooter mechanics might work just fine, there are numerous janky elements present in the way your character moves and how they interact with the environment, climbing and falling over terrain often being a comical activity. The entire experience just feels rushed, the lovely vistas, god rays, and beautiful swaying grass doing little to make up for the overall lack of polish.

There are plenty of bugs to be found, like one recurring glitch in the game's central hub of Erewhon, where a particular character would fail to initially appear. They'd then spawn in out of nowhere in the wrong place, adopt a seated position, then skate across the floor into their chair. That's a neat trick, it has to be said. When you're not admiring amusing glitches, Erewhon is a place hidden from the rest of Auroa (and a bit like Destiny's Tower), where you can interact with other online players, shop for weapons, gear and consumables using Skell Credits, and matchmake in co-op or the game's PvP Ghost War multiplayer mode.


'Just stay here, Maybe they didn't see us.'

Originally a free expansion for Ghost Recon Wildlands, the 4v4 Ghost War mode is included as standard in Breakpoint, and provides an enjoyable, competitive hiatus from the PvE solo or co-op action in the open world of Auroa. Tight and focused, Ghost War is objective-driven and immediate, and simply feels like a purer experience than the main game. You can easily experiment with Breakpoint's four different classes – Assault, Panther, Field Medic, and Sharpshooter – in Ghost War too, and see which works best for you.

Just like the main game, in Ghost War you can sustain and heal injuries, you can go prone and camouflage yourself, and use your drone to scope out the opposition. When you're up against human players, the action is obviously much fiercer, and you can end up being dispatched very quickly if you don't keep your wits about you and play smart. If you played Ghost War in Ghost Recon Wildlands, you'll already know this, of course.

Moving between Ghost War and the game's campaign is simple enough, and dipping in to PvP to mix things up can be helpful. One thing that Ghost Recon Breakpoint isn't, however, is a chore. There's something strangely addictive about it, wisps of smoke dotted throughout Auroa prompting you to search for a new bivouac (which also serve as fast travel points), for instance, where you can rest up, apply temporary buffs, change your class, shop for items on demand, and beckon a vehicle. Most of the time, Breakpoint is fun; it's just a shame that you can often see the cracks.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint isn't a bad game; just a deeply flawed one that's a masterclass in how not to make a sequel. There are some new things here and Ubi hasn't skimped on content, be it modes, items, or the sheer wealth of mission objectives, but ultimately, none of it goes any way towards compensating for the game's numerous shortcomings. Wonky servers that can kick you out mid-mission, painfully rudimentary character customisation, shoddy AI, a woeful script, and boring narrative all conspire to somehow make this a lesser game than Ghost Recon Wildlands. And yet, I'm still playing it and can't stop. Send help.

 

A sparse soundtrack and solid voice acting. Given what the voice actors are working with, they put in a valiant effort. Gun noises, explosions are all present and correct, so that's good.

Auroa is a very pretty place, with lovely vegetation, mountains, lakes, valleys and so on. Unfortunately, character models and faces aren't that great, and various visual bugs can occasionally crop up.

If you don't mind dodgy enemy AI, Ghost Recon Breakpoint's robust shooter mechanics will keep you entertained. Tactical play isn't quite as a important as it should be, but playing solo or in co-op is good fun. More so in co-op.

Loads of missions, side missions, faction missions, Ghost War, and a raft of accessibility options. And yet, a lack of polish, a poor story, frequent bugs, and a dearth of character creation options, unfortunately let the side down.

A good, solid list with excellent spread that will have you exploring Auroa and completing missions for hours on end. There are some neat little objectives in here too, like the 'Death From Above' achievement.

Not as good as Ghost Recon Wildlands, Ubisoft Paris' follow-up has a few new ideas up its sleeve, but is ultimately lacking. Sadly, Ghost Recon Breakpoint feels like it's been hastily gaffer taped together, then kicked out of the door, bugs and all.

 
 
 
Game Info
Developer:
Ubisoft Paris
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Genre:

Release:

US October 04, 2019

HDD Space Required : 48.24 GB
Price: $59.99USD
Collection:71
Wishlist:16
 
 
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