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REVIEW: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint — Broken Point?

 
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Overview
 

Published by: Ubisoft
 
Developed by: Ubisoft Paris
 
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows PlayStation 4 Xbox One Stadia
 
Genre(s): Tactical shooter
 
Mode(s): Multiplayer
 
Game Type: , , , , ,
 
FG RATING
75%
75/ 100


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Raves


Combat Mechanics, Huge Sandbox, Gun Feedback

Rants


Loot Mechanics, Convoluted Story, Always Online, Repetitiveness


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Posted December 26, 2019 by

Ghost Recon Wildlands may not have received critical acclaim, but it did manage to achieve something more of a niche following. The idea of a tactical shooter with strong squad elements in an open-world sandbox setting worked well enough that Ubisoft felt the need for a follow-up, one that aims to be bigger and better. Though Ghost Recon Breakpoint is certainly a step up from Wildlands, it’s trajectory is more of a rocky diagonal slope than a straight vertical rise. 

STORY

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Ghost Recon Breakpoint is set in a fictional island several years after the events of Wildlands. The island of Aurora is owned by a billionaire philanthropist who aims to make it the hub for the majority of humanity’s technical advancement. 

After the island of Aurora mysteriously cuts itself off from the rest of the world and a cargo ship sinks off the island coast, The CIA deploys Ghosts to the island to investigate. On the way, the Ghosts get intercepted by a group of armed men led by a former Ghost named Walker (played by Jon Bernthal), executing the majority of your squad leaving you stranded on the island with little to no support. There’s nothing left to do but accomplish the mission with what little resource you have. 

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Jon Bernthal does a phenomenal job portraying Walker, but the story felt like it was juggling between strong fictional themes and views on modern warfare but leans more on the former. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but you can tell that the story intends to be more the latter. 

The game lets you tackle the main missions however you want. You could even choose to fight Walker right off the bat if you wanted to (though it would be seriously challenging without strengthening your character first). It’s a great concept but at the cost of a more immersive, linear, narrative progression. If Story is where your shit is at, you’ll likely be disappointed at how convoluted the progression is, but let’s face it, that’s probably not what you’re after. Which brings us to…

GAMEPLAY

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Wildlands was a squad-based tactical shooter in an open-world sandbox and Breakpoint is pretty much just more of that. The island of Aurora is a lot larger than Bolivia, and it even boasts a proportionate amount of activities to sink your teeth into. 

Ubisoft’s new exploration mode is also featured in Breakpoint. This lets you switch from the default Guided Mode (where the game shows you the way to your objective via marker) to Exploration Mode which gives you information on how to reach your objective as opposed to just mindlessly trecking from point A to point B. You can toggle Guided Mode on and off at any time in the pause screen.

Though Breakpoint is certainly more of the same, certain aspects of the game did change. Most notably is its pivot into a looter shooter, which makes the game’s progression system a lot more similar to its cousin’s The Division.

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Somewhat contradictory to the game’s ‘Survival’ theme, guns and gears will drop more frequently and will come in various colored rarities. These items will have a value that adds up to your overall Gear Level, similar to how a character’s power level is measured in games such as Destiny and The Division. 

The only thing stopping Breakpoint from being too much like The Division is that it does not commit to RPG elements as intensely. For instance, gear score determines how much health a unit has, though it does not affect headshots, meaning regardless of how high the enemy’s health is, a headshot is a headshot (unless they’re wearing protective headgear that is). 

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That being said, Breakpoint does feature raids, designed to test Ghost and your tactical shooting skills to the limits, much like the ones in The Division but probably not as elaborate and intricate as the ones in Destiny.

Another slight pivot from Wildlands is the added emphasis on survival. Stamina is something you’ll always need to keep in mind. Pushing your Ghost’s stamina past its limit will deplete your maximum stamina making your ghost tired all the quicker. Additionally, sustaining too much damage can lead to injuries that will affect stuff like movement and aim if left untreated. 

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Your Ghost does get a few new survival skills like the prone camo which essentially buries your ghost in the dirt while prone to blend with the mud and avoid detection even from drones. Prone CQC that lets you approach opponents and taking them out without making a sound like a tactical spider monkey. You can also establish a bivouac all over Aurora to make preparations, gear up, and purchase supplies among other things. Making preparations lets you choose between a series of temporary buffs to activate (ie. Improved Stamina Recovery, Increased EXP gain, etc.)

Breakpoint is a vast, expansive tactical shooting sandbox. It’s riddled with so many activities that it can soon feel overwhelming. It also doesn’t help that it emphasizes repetitiveness in the game, making these points of interests, less and less interesting as you cross them out one by one from your map. 

VISUALS

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Ubisoft is no stranger to pushing impressive visuals, and Breakpoint is certainly a testament to that. A lot is going on on-screen and much of it you won’t even notice individually, but together they deliver a stunningly immersive open-world environment. The game pushes lots of graphical features that, when toggled, demands a whole lot from your rig. Here’s the official minimum and recommended specs:

PC Specifications

Minimum – Low Setting | 1080p

  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 1200/Intel Core I5 4460
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon R9 280X/Nvidia Geforce GTX 960 (4 GB)

Recommended – High Setting | 1080p

  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600/Intel Core I7 6700K
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: AMD RADEON RX 480 8 GB/Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 (6 GB)

Ultra – Ultra Setting | 1080p

  • OS: Windows 10
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700X/Intel Core I7 6700K
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT/Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080

Ultra 2K – Ultra Setting | 2K

  • OS: Windows 10
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700X/Intel Core I7 6700K
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT/Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080Ti

Elite – Ultra Setting | 4K

  • OS: Windows 10
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X/Intel Core I7 7700K
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon VII/Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080

Also, I have to mention. The game does support microtransactions and though the game doesn’t goad you into spending and doesn’t gate any content through it, it’s worth noting that Ubisoft had previously removed some ‘time-saver’ microtransactions meant to help you catch up to players who’ve played for longer. Right now, paid items are primarily cosmetic but only time will tell if they will remain this way throughout Breakpoint’s lifecycle. 

VERDICT

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From a technical standpoint, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint expands on the foundations laid by Wildlands. However, it fails to break any new ground in terms of moving the series forward. Despite the great performance led by Jon Bernthal, the story couldn’t seem to focus on its point, getting lost on various points of view within the game’s missions. 

Gameplay suffers from a similar situation, running the risk of becoming more like The Division 2, instead of focusing on a more solid gameplay sense which Wildlands had established.

Despite all that, from a gameplay standpoint, Breakpoint is actually fun. What you’re getting is an open-world sandbox that’s riddled with activities to flex your tactical skills — an experience that’s amplified when played with a squad. Fans of Wildlands or even newcomers will have a better overall game. But if the idea of ‘always-online’ or ‘looter-shooter’ doesn’t appeal to you, then stick with Wildlands. If it does, then stick to The Division 2.


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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