Back in 2017 during Game of the year awards, one of the biggest surprise was the Ubisoft: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands announcement, which this year exceeded 15 million players.
With such support from the community, Ubisoft Paris was quick to get to work with its sequel, Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Set four years after Wildlands, this time, the tactical action moves to a fictional terrain, the Auroa island, the land of Skell Technology. Where we will meet the worst enemy we could imagine a former partner and a friend.
Behind the enemy lines
After the events of Wildlands and the evidence that Skell Technology is falling into the wrong hands, the US government puts its magnifying glass on this company. However, the USS Seay has sunk near Auroa, and the CIA loses contact with the ship. Therefore they sent a Ghost Recon team in the Greenstone mission that must investigate what is happening, but what first seemed a simple mission becomes complicated before setting foot on the ground because the helicopters are shot down by drones.
What we will discover in Auroa is not very encouraging. The island is in the hands of a unit of mercenaries who call themselves wolves and whose leader is our former colleague Cole D. Walker – the face of the imposing Jon Bernthal, Punisher in the Netflix series. Nomad is in enemy territory and fighting experienced soldiers who also have the most advanced Skell technology. Everything is against him, and the only hope to survive is the ability to adapt and we find the allies there, get all the information about our objectives in documents or civilians, and discover the authentic plans that are on this island.
The story has its foreseeable turns, but it is sustained above all by the charisma of the characters – and more specifically, of the villains. Rest sounds like the same science fiction story with the dangers of technology we’ve seen hundreds of times, but you can always keep the broken friendship between Nomad and Cole. At least, the history of this Ghost Recon is taken somewhat less seriously than other titles, it is not as propaganda of the US Army, and more licenses are allowed with that technology inspired by the near future.
Breakpoint is not a survival game
Ghost Recon Breakpoint not really trying to innovate the formula we saw in Wildlands, nor in the usual one of Ubisoft, but the title has received the criticisms compared to the previous game and as they have commented on the choice of a fictional region has allowed them more creativity With the design of the world. And it is that Auroa is a massive map with various locations, such as forests, icy mountains, swamps, volcanic or urban areas that we can explore from top to bottom with cars, motorcycles, helicopters and parachute jumps. It lacks the hook of an authentic region, but at least it serves its purpose.
We speak of action and tactical combat with a realistic touch – in theory, now we will point this out – which means that it is advisable to observe each situation and all the alternatives before hitting the first shot. It is not a shooter to play in an arcade plan, although in normal difficulty, there is permissiveness, and frontal action is usually viable, but there is no doubt that the fun comes from taking advantage of the multitude of tools and planning a stealth strategy, at least start. Hide bodies, camouflage, steal vehicles, mark enemies with the drone, throw grenades of electromagnetic pulses to deactivate enemy devices, cut fences, launch gas grenades … And if the mission is twisted, look for a cover and dodge the bullets.
One of the novelties of Breakpoint is that if we decide to play it alone this time, it does not force us to be accompanied by characters, but a small drone that will help us in our strategies. It fits well with the theme of its history and gives us a greater sense of loneliness than being surrounded by AI-controlled companions, although, of course, Ghost Recon shines more playing with friends and initiating the infiltration in a coordinated manner.
Breakpoint had promised us a series of features that would bring us closer to the experience of an authentic Rambo. Now the damage can leave our protagonist severely injured, slow his progress or affect the shooting skills – using the bandages takes time and leaves us an open target – and it is possible to move the teammates to a safe place where they can recover. There are more elements of survival such as the possibility of filling the canteen in rivers –reduces depletion-, obtaining types of plants to craft consumables, hunting some of the native fauna and, when necessary, camping in a bivouac that allows us to face the next mission with more security – equivalent to the hub in the caves but without the social component – or cover ourselves with mud to be almost invisible.
On paper, all this sounds like a Ghost Recon excessively oriented to simulation. Still, the reality is that it is not as overwhelming as it seems unless we play in the highest difficulties and the exploration mode. Inspired by the latest Assasin’s Creed , we now have a guided mode and an exploration mode; the first marks our mission objectives on the map, while the second asks us to locate clues to discover on our own the destination based on somewhat vague information – about a key point, north of a field, etc. -. The map is large, and clearly ignoring our next stop makes the game more difficult, but it also has its charm.
For example, the wounds that prevent us from running can be resolved instantly with injections, and if the enemy is far away, we can make use of the bandages, which are infinite, because they usually give us time. The intelligence of the soldiers is also a bit predictable, and in the interiors, you can take advantage of the bottlenecks indoors to cause a killing with ease. Perhaps Ubisoft lowered realism at the last moment because it was not fun, and in our opinion, this is not bad news as long as you do not expect from Breakpoint a true survival title.
The game cycle gives us one of lime and another of sand because this is where there are not so many surprises, and our fun will depend a lot on the taste with the usual Ubisoft scheme. Most of the time, the main missions lead us to investigate some type of installation or laboratory, obviously monitored, to extract documents that answer us to any of the questions of what is happening and incidentally, clarify our next destination. Bet on stealth or action, there are always many ways to solve each scenario, but perhaps more than one player can feel that this “has already played,” falling into repetition very soon.
In any case, Auroa offers tons of content at our disposal to rest from the main plot and improve our equipment or locate new corners. There are side missions, faction missions with exclusive rewards, raids – available later – Ghost War mode – PVP or competitive between teams – or go out to look for accessories and collectibles. The difficulty of Breakpoint does not force us to fulfill all orders scrupulously, but it never hurts to squeeze every meter of the island.
A light dose of role play
Breakpoint applies some role elements, and the weapons and the rest of the equipment have levels, improvements and options to disassemble the pieces. A bit like The Division 2 style of Ubisoft itself, but without reaching those extremes; It is not an action RPG; you will not see the damage in the form of points and the level of equipment does not limit us certain missions. Simply, if the enemies are well above our level – for example, those big guys armed with Gatlings or futuristic robots – that means the challenge will be more complicated, but headshots will remain lethal unless they wear helmets. It serves more as a guide to know if an area is more or less dangerous; the differences between weapons of the same type is minimal.
Similarly, we will unlock skills that guide our soldiers towards a style of play. Classes are field doctor, assault, panther and sniper, each with specific objects, characteristics and techniques, which include a healing drone, recoil reduction and resistance to damage, abilities to be more stealthy or shoot bullets with significant penetration. Greater damage To this are added many other common advantages of all kinds, which include increased ammunition, aid to the marking of enemies, reduction of energy in displacement actions, faster-climbing speed, reduction in recharge time, unlocking of rocket launcher manufacturing, shooting drones …
In short, each player edits his character quite freely, but we believe that he gives a false impression of depth because all these systems, like that of survival, are very superficial and not as complicated as they seem at first. Ghost Recon likely wants to be somewhere in between the role of The Division and Far Cry’s most casual fun, but this may not be the best way.
A beautiful island, although with some graphic flaws
It is not easy for Ghost Recon Breakpoint to impress in the visual sections, but not because of the game’s demerit, but because we have seen open worlds more shocking than this. Its biggest flaw is that a little more personality or charm is missing, and while there are very spectacular wooded scenarios, the interiors usually fall into something more generic.
Another of the failures are found in some graphic errors that usually tarnish a game that, at least in PS4 Pro, maintains its performance well: small problems of flickering of objects, strange lighting changes, and from time to time slow loading of textures and decoration. Nothing serious, but they also happen during dialogue sequences, and it doesn’t seem completely polished. Of course, this could be corrected with future updates, as well as the long loading times, not so much for the start of the game but for the wait after a death. And in a more subjective opinion, the menus are not very intuitive, navigating through them is not very comfortable because of the pause that occurs when moving from one tab to another; It is a game that makes complex the easy.
In the sound section, the truth is that there is less to highlight because the music goes very unnoticed.
It cannot be denied that Ghost Recon Breakpoint intends to incorporate news with what it expects to be more than a direct sequel to Wildlands, either because of a story with less political load or the series of changes in gameplay that further enhance the role and survival, even if it is far from what it seemed at first. Are they groundbreaking changes for Ghost Recon? No, and they are also done at the cost of losing identity, which in part is a step backwards from the adventure in Bolivia. Perhaps this is a game of transition to a deeper revolution in the next generation.
But Ghost Recon may not need to innovate – there is the success of its predecessor – and there will be many fans who enjoy this formula, in a company or alone. In the end, Breakpoint is a huge playground to play as we wish, which can make you forget its irregularities playing in a party.
We have prepared this review with a PS4 Pro review code provided by Ubisoft.