Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a mixed bag. While half of me is jumping for joy with some of its new additions, the other half is hanging its head in shame and just wondering what could have been. Let’s start with the good and bring some positivity to such a diversely received game.
Breakpoint has introduced a lot of mechanics from Ubisoft’s other popular shooter The Division. Gear Score influences everything you do in Breakpoint. It can hold you back from getting that sweet blueprint that’s hidden behind some elite Wolves ( not the animal), or it can make a mission easier if on par with the enemies. While I like this addition and it keeps you swaping guns every 10 minutes for the new shiny upgrade, it also hurts the open world exploration. A few times I’ve killed my way past 50,000 patrols to get to a sweet blueprint upgrade only to find it guarded by some vastly superior Wolves that destroyed me for looking at them.
Ubisoft are incredible at creating open world maps for you to explore. The Division’s New York & DC, Assassin Creed’s Sparta and now Breakpoints Auroa. This vast map has mountains, swamps, and everything in between. It’s fun and rewarding to explore, aside form the Wolves. Side missions pop up everywhere and range from killing and an elite squad of soldiers to hacking computers. Each side mission helps the islanders too and slowly as you knock them out, you get sweet Faction Rewards. These are mostly cosmetic but there are also some nice weapon Blueprints in there too. While out exploring you will also come across some Bivouacs. These act as little safe spaces out in the field. Here you can search for other players to Co-Op with, change your class and even get a buff for an hour. These range from less stamina drain to better accuracy. I really like this tactical addition to the game, after all ghost Recon is supposed to be a tactical online shooter.
Tactical online shooter, well that’s to be debated, but first let’s talk about the combat in a good light. Combat consists of using a drone to tag enemies and find loot, then you can decide to tackle the challenge any way you’d like. Personally I like to sit back with a sniper and work my way slowly down the pecking order until all are dead. Well that’s how I’d like it to go, but unfortunately all the best laid plans and all that. Many times while working my way down my hitlist I always seem to snag a huge problem. Mostly guards nearly always patrol as a pair. This is where the tactical shooter part would really fit in. Unfortunately Breakpoint lacks AI companions like its predecessor Wild Lands. Breakpoint’s emphasis is on Co-Op, and unfortunately my emphasis is on solo play.
While Breakpoint’s combat is fun and engaging, it really sucks with the lack of AI. That’s what made Wild Lands stand out. It was a tactical shooter with your three AI teammates to help set up ambushes and other awesome combat scenarios. Ubisoft have promised AI is coming with a patch to Breakpoint, but I have to judge it how it is at the minute. Unfortunately its lack of AI cuts the enjoyment factor down a lot.
The only thing that separates Breakpoint from The Division 2 for me is the map. Breakpoint is supposed to be a tactical shooter. And while yes it does have some tactical things in there with the Bivouacs and the drone, the main tactical gameplay element is gone. I understand their emphasis on Co-Op play, but Wild Lands had this yet it also had AI. I don’t understand while in the development of Breakpoint someone decided it would be a good idea just to drop the AI all together. Maybe it was done to hit their launch window, maybe for technical issues. Launching a tactical shooter without it though is just unacceptable.
For the vast amount of beauty Auroa possesses it also has some rather nasty bugs too. One that plagues most games now is incredibly slow UI. I don’t understand why menus have to be so slow in modern games. Something as simple as opening the map and placing a way point is a chore with the load times and slow UI. It’s not just Breakpoint, hell Borderlands 3’s damn awful UI killed it for me, but it is worth noting that the same problem arises here too. Facial capture on the main cast is incredible and they look great. Some of the other islands residents though flat out look last gen. It’s noticeable enough that it breaks the immersion.
While on a main mission to track down a key person I had to ‘sneak’ into a public housing complex and find a cleaner. While shit went south fast and I ended up dropping 40 guards in a 10 minute mini war, it was safe to say all the NPCs cowered in fear of the bearded grim reaper. The immersion was awesome, until I reached my target. From cowering on the floor nearly crying for me not to shoot, they calmly stood up and talked to me as if they just ran into me down the shops after not seeing me for a few weeks. After getting all the info from them, they went back to cowering on the floor while I was weighst high in dead bodies. It totally took me out of the moment and just made me laugh. It destroyed the missions for me.
While the missions are fun and the open world is incredible, the lack of AI support and more just take away from the enjoyment factor of Breakpoint. I loved Wild Lands. Its focus on tactics with your squad was different enough that it separates it from other open world online shooter. It felt fresh and new and was really fun. Yes it had its issues but it was different enough it kept my attention all the way to the end and after the credits. Breakpoint however drops this and just feels like a reskin of the so called Looter Shooters that are everywhere now.
While I enjoyed Breakpoint more than Borderlands 3, it did feel very similar and that’s not something I thought I’d be typing. All Breakpoint had to do is stick to what made Wild Lands different and fun and add here and there. While they did add to the formula in fun ways, they also took away the core of the game.
Breakpoint almost feels like a great BLT but missing the bacon. Without the AI teammates it’s just another Co-Op focused looter shooter. That’s not what Ghost Recon fans wanted. I really look forward to the AI update, but i’m afraid by that time Death Stranding, Pokemon and other games will have captured my attention. It’s such a shame that I feel this way about Breakpoint, after all I was so excited about the game. While I have had fun with Breakpoint, I feel I could have had plenty more with the AI teammates.
A huge thanks to Ubisoft fro the review code. Reviwed on PS4 Pro.