Release date: 2020
Version played: PlayStation 4 in 2020
A third-person, tactical loot-and-shooter developed by Ubisoft in 2019, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is the eleventh entry in the so-named series, and a direct follow up to 2017’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. Once again assuming control of the Ghost, ‘Nomad’, players are tasked with infiltrating the tech-paradise of Auroa, where robotic military weapons are rife. Players find themselves in pursuit of former Ghost, Cole Walker (Jon Bernthal), and must survive in the harsh wilderness, including eating, drinking, remaining injury free and uncovering intel about missions before they can be completed.
+ I’m still a sucker for Ubisoft gunplay. Something about their firearm combat just feels great, from Watch_Dogs to Far Cry. This is significantly more like The Division in terms of gameplay than the previous Ghost Recon game, but each of the different guns have their advantages and disadvantages , and I never stayed with one loadout for too long. For the most part I used a Sniper Rifle or long range Assault Rifle in one slot, with a SMG or powerful Assault Rifle in the second slot
+ the in-game animations are clunky, but but for the most part really fun anyway. Nomad will take each step individually up a staircase, wide-step wade through water and limp when injured, and while there are only a few animations for applying bandages or removing bullets, there are satisfying to watch, even in the heat of a firefight
+ a small handful of the new consumable items were fun, such as the breach torch, which allowed players to infiltrate a base through the surrounding fences. This was clever and kind of cute, but never worked better than just storming the front gate and killing everyone. In general, stealth was never the better option over simple enemy elimination
– there are so, so many mechanics that I don’t think I ever used. I don’t think I ever ate a single ration (used to slightly boost various stats for a time); I literally never used the camouflage feature in mud or snow (supposedly to make you more difficult to detect); and, I don’t think I used a single sync-shot drone in my entire game time (replacing the AI squad mates from Wildlands but serving the same ‘simultaneous kill’ purpose). More power to you if you enjoyed these aspects, but if they were removed entirely, I would not have noticed
– the introduction of a gear score (akin to the Division duology) feels entirely superfluous, and solely to add a fake sense of ‘progression’ as you see your number go up. Combat stays the same the whole game, and every non-armoured human enemy dies in a single headshot anyway
– the majority of the voice acting and nearly all of the subtitles are horrendous, to the point where I skipped almost every major cutscene, and jumped through the line-by-line conversations as fast as I could read them. Subtitles were different to what was spoken (though, yes, the gist of it was the same) and they were full of spelling errors and incredibly poor grammar
– similarly, the plot was the most boring and full of fake twists and character introductions in the mission you were to kill them in. As I’ve just admitted, I did skip a lot of the cutscenes, but even from the conversations, this story was garbage. Worse still, due to the micro-transaction filled in-game shop, the story doesn’t even end! The base game is simply ‘Chapter 1’, with the prompt to purchase the rest upon completion
– I played as a female Nomad (to follow on from my female Division Agent), but through the entire game people referred to me as a male. It bothered me a lot more than I thought it would. As a side note, I was not aware this was a direct story sequel to Wildlands, so my Nomad went through some heavy changes
– as may be clear above, there is a proper Ubisoft-style camera mode, but even that feels lacking. There are no real filters (only night-vision and thermal, which are in game vision modes), no facial expressions, and no character posing. Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War and Spider-man should be the new standard. If Animal Crossing has expressions and filters, there is no excuse for this game not to
> I played through this whole game solo (after attempting one single time to play with randoms online, only for them to literally sprint past enemies to the objectives, get killed, and message me later saying I sucked). The game was clearly designed to be played in teams, but frankly I enjoyed the challenge more alone
Should you play this game: Probably not. Even six months from release, the game is rife with small issue, and overall just not very fun. Ubisoft had control over two separate shooter styles – loot and shoot (The Division) and more realistic style (Ghost Recon) – to see them blend the two together, and focus strongly on neither, was a real disappointment.