A sequel to the excellent and popular Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Ubisoft has launched Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. Out now for PS4, Xbox One and PC, we tested the game on a PC.
I’ll readily admit that I’m a fan of Ubisoft’s recent wave of online multiplayer titles, which (besides Wildlands) also includes both of The Division games. I’m a single player gamer at heart, but these recent examples have – at least for me – made the transition between single and online multiplayer gaming rather seamless. Not just in the sense of gameplay, but also visually – with games that look every bit as good as the average AAA single player game.
Breakpoint is no exception and fits right in with the aforementioned titles – maybe even too well at times, but we’ll get to that later. The basic narrative setup to Breakpoint is one that could have been lifted straight from a Hollywood movie. Your team of ghosts crash lands on the (fictional) island of Auroa, where a rogue unit of former Ghost operatives now control the area. They’re led by former Lieutenant Colonel Cole Walker, whose group of renegades is called the Wolves. Used to hunting targets, Nomad and his Ghosts must now learn to survive first, as the Wolves have also turned drone technology into deadly weapons to help protect their interests on the island.
And as with most Hollywood movies, at least in the action-thriller genre, the way the narrative plays out is more or less predictable here as well. It’s a word that applies to the gameplay as well, assuming you’ve played Wildlands and some of Ubisoft’s other recent titles. On the giant island or Auroa, there are tons of things to do – both in terms of story missions and optional side quests. Turning on the mini-map reveals many of these objectives, which can feel a little daunting in an Assassin’s Creed kind of way (guess what, another Ubi title!). But since this recent wave of Ubi games has a big ongoing service/content element to it, that’s no big surprise. Post-launch content for Breakpoint has already been announced, even though it just feels like yesterday that we were getting additional Wildlands DLC.
That’s one of the issues with Breakpoint as a game – between all the missions, the loot/rewards and constant upgrades, it all feels very familiar. That’s coming from a perspective of having played a lot of Wildlands, but also the recent re-launch of looter-shooter Destiny 2. With that game fresh in our minds, as well as Ubisoft’s own productions, Breakpoint does relatively little to bring something new to the table. The exception, perhaps, is Auroa – which is huge and an absolutely gorgeous setting that the game can thrive in and also build on. And yes, thrive in, because there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the game either – assuming you enjoyed Wildlands as well. There are a few minor changes including campsites you can visit to ‘recharge’ a bit and receive a boost before a mission, but nothing groundbreaking. The way you can get injured and have to limp to cover is fun in terms of adding a bit of drama, but nothing more than that.
As with Wildlands (and, to a lesser degree, The Division), Breakpoint is a game best played with a couple of friends. You can tackle everything solo and the game impressively scales itself down (or up) to your level when you do so, but the teamwork, tactics and planning that come with a multiplayer approach is where the Ghost Recon series is at its best. Breakpoint is certainly no exception, and Auroa’s vast and diverse landscape is extremely inviting for players looking to experiment a little with their approaches – which can either benefit or frustrate a team greatly, depending on how well they gel together.
I’ve touched on loot before, and it will probably come as no surprise that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint has plenty of micro transactions tucked into it. A lot of those are for cosmetic items if you’re looking to change up your look, but we mostly stayed away from anything we couldn’t just pick up during regular play. If anything, we’d rather invest in some of the post-launch content that’s coming up and will be adding more mission content to the mix.
I may sound harsh on Breakpoint, but it’s still a solid game that I know I’ll be enjoying for quite a while. I’m pretty sure that other Wildlands players are going to agree as well, and the biggest criticism of the game is that they forgot to really innovate the concept further after the content cycle for Wildlands drew to a close.