Ghost Recon Breakpoint Review – Ugly is our job, son
Reading other Ghost Recon Breakpoint reviews has left me a little confused. The general consensus seems to be that Breakpoint is a big old mess. One that’s not fun to play and instead, is actually a chore. I’m not sure what game everyone else is playing because I’ve had a vastly different experience with Breakpoint. Sure, it’s not perfect and it has a few issues but overall, there’s a hell of a lot to like and lots of game to enjoy.
Breakpoint is different from Wildlands in a number of ways. Most noticeably in that, your character, Nomad, is solo and without three supporting Ghosts.
There’s also loot and a gear level this time around, which seems lifted directly from The Division 2. But more on that later.
Breakpoint differs from Wildlands in lots of other ways too including the investigation of mysteries, mission types, gameplay and overall tone. I honestly prefer Breakpoint and respect what Ubisoft has attempted narratively. Not everything comes together but for the most part, Breakpoint works.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint Review
Set in the near future, on the fictional island of Auroa, Breakpoint sees the Ghosts dispatched to investigate the sinking of a naval ship. Before they can even set down, their choppers are destroyed by drones and their numbers reduced by a murderous group of soldiers known as the Wolves.
Home to the Skell Technology, Auroa operates as a technocratic utopia. Scientists and engineers work to better mankind and build a brighter future. However, the military applications of Skell Tech’s breakthrough’s are incredible and so, ex-Ghost, Walker (Jon Bernthal) takes over.
Nomad and Walker used to be comrades and friends but events in their past have seen them go their separate ways. Walker is a far more rounded and fully fleshed out character and Bernthal does a tremendous job bringing him to life.
Every time he’s on-screen his presence looms large and the tension is ratcheted up a few notches. Walker seems to be always on edge and barely in control. He’s also someone who will do anything to complete his mission and he knows how the Ghosts operate.
He’s an incredibly dangerous villain and your fight to take him down is thrilling, to say the least.
Nomad fares less well by virtue of being the playable character. Their backstory, motivations and personality need to be a little vaguer in order to accommodate all manner of players, playstyles and customised character. There’s nothing particularly wrong with Nomad, they’re just way less interesting than Walker.
While different from Wildlands in a number of ways, Breakpoint plays very similarly. Set in the third-person, shifting to first-person when aiming down the sight, Breakpoint is still very much a tactical shooter.
There are four classes to choose from that support four different ways of playing. Although one of the classes is really only useful for co-op so, unless you’re playing with friends, you’re best avoiding the Medic. The three others are essentially Assault, Stealth and Sniper. I love to play these games as stealthily as possible so I focused on that class, though they’re all viable in their own way.
Even the Medic I suppose, but it’s way less fun on your own.
The classes only govern your ultimate ability and some other stats which leaves you free to unlock and invest in any of the perks you like. The perk screen gives you an idea of what each perk/ability has been designed for but you’re still able to unlock whichever ones you like. Earning skill points comes from levelling up your character and their class which is a neat feature.
To level up a class you need to perform certain actions and in doing so will unlock a new class level and a skill point. It’s another layer of the metagame that helps you increase your level and get the perks you want sooner.
I’ve played both pre and post-release and while I know there’s been outrage regarding certain microtransactions, I’ve not had an issue. I didn’t even know these boosters existed and while I don’t think they’re a good idea, I’m not going to crucify the game just because they exist. Even if they were still in the game, I wouldn’t care because I’m never going to buy them and they don’t affect my enjoyment.
Functionally, Breakpoint feels good to play. The shooting mechanics are really solid and certainly make you feel like a Spec Ops soldier. Creeping and crawling through the jungle while stalking your unknowing victims is undeniably cool and when you manage to take out an entire squad of soldiers or Wolves without a scratch, you feel like superman.
A great new feature in Breakpoint is Prone Camo. When prone, you can cover yourself with mud and leaves and dirt to blend in with the ground and avoid and pesky, suspicious enemies. It also works to avoid choppers and the Azrael drones that send packs of Wolves after you when they spot you.
Playing on the highest difficulty is where Breakpoint works best. Enemies can take you out really swiftly and you need to always think tactically. Rushing in like a madman isn’t going to do you any favours. Plan your attack, choose your targets and take them out efficiently and you’ll definitely get the most enjoyment out of the experience.
The newly introduced loot system in Breakpoint lifted wholesale from The Division 2, doesn’t really work. Sure, it functions as it should but it seems to serve no purpose. As a tactical shooter, enemies shouldn’t be able to absorb bullets because they’re at a higher level. And they can’t, provided you shoot them in the head.
It’s really strange to constantly pick up new gear, equip it and watch your gear score rise, without it truly affecting the gameplay. It seems to exist simply for the sake of it. Narratively, I can understand the constant need to pick up new and better gear, as Nomad is stranded on Auroa but it really is just a feature shoehorned in because it could be.
To be honest, there’s quite a bit of that in Breakpoint though when making a game as big and broad as this, including content that every single player is going to love is a tough ask. Some of Breakpoint’s content simply isn’t for me and I’m ok with that, there’s still plenty that I enjoy and more than enough to keep me occupied for dozens of hours.
Aside from a plethora of content, only some of which will appeal to each player, Breakpoint’s biggest issue lays in its performance. It’s buggy and laggy, oftentimes disconnecting from the server and forcing you to go through the rigamarole of reconnection. It really dampens the experience and takes you out of the game.
It’s not perfect but it’s ludicrous to expect it to be. Breakpoint is a massive, sprawling tactical shooter that features incredible gunplay and stealth mechanics and a near limitless amount of content to explore. Ubisoft has been unfairly crucified for this game. I’ve been having an absolute blast.
It’s not the best game I’ve ever played but it’s fun, it’s thrilling, action-packed and incredibly addictive.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by Ubisoft.
Game title: Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- Fun, difficult, tactical shooting - 9.5/109.5/10
- Plenty to see and do and lots of exploring - 9.3/109.3/10
- Feels like a struggle to survive - 9.8/109.8/10
- Loot is superfluous - 5/105/10
- Buggy - 4.5/104.5/10
- Interesting story and take on future tech - 9.8/109.8/10