Ghost Recon Breakpoint is the brand new Tactical Shooter by Ubisoft. As part of the ever growing Ghost Recon series and famous Tom Clancy’s series, Ghost Recon Breakpoint had a lot to prove. Was it able to live up to the expectations, or did it crumble under the pressure. Jordan from Informed Pixel breaks the game down and explores what makes Ghost Recon Breakpoint one of the most exciting open world experiences within the last few years.
The story mode of a Tom Clancy’s game is often the make or break for a lot of fans. In Ghost Recon Breakpoint, this may not necessarily be the case. The story mode itself, not counting side missions is split up into 28 main quests. That being said, the story really can be however long the player wants it to be. Across these 28 main missions the player will meet new characters and learn about new locations. There are also various rewards to be earned by completing these story mode missions, so I’d highly recommend doing them.
The storyline itself is very choppy and not very interesting. It’s your typical ex partner is now the bad guy storyline, with a few extras sprinkled in. This isn’t the end of the world though, as the story does not define the game. As mentioned before, the story can be as long or as short as the player wants it to be. There are various investigation files and side missions that allow the player to explore the lore and story at their own pace, giving them the true freedom of exploration and discovery.
Battles and Stealth
Like most Tom Clancy games, Ghost Recon Breakpoint offers the player a choice between guns blazing and stealth gameplay options. The game does feel closer to the likes of a Splinter Cell game rather than a Rainbow Six game, as it gives you the tools and scenarios to play fully stealth. The game is also very punishing for playing loud and aggressively, with enemies being alerted not just locally but in a wide radius.
Whilst in battle players will have the option to use various weapon attachments such as suppressors. This combined with gadgets that can one hit kill enemies allows full stealth gameplay to be a choice in every scenario. It was certainly my preferred way of playing and Ghost Recon Breakpoint does an excellent job of accomplishing this. With that being said, run and gun gameplay is still a viable option, it’d just be a lot harder to achieve.
Most of the missions and areas are set up in a way that encourages stealth to get past or take out an enemy. Ignoring this suggestive design can make for extremely fast encounters, which can take away from the experience the game is trying to offer. This paired with how easy enemies are to defeat could mean that most of your gameplay experience is spent driving around the world.
Exploration is a key part of Ghost Recon Breakpoint and the game delivers on this key point excellently. Combining the core story missions, side missions, collectables and encounters makes for one of the most enjoyable open world exploration experiences I’ve had in years. There’s even an option to turn off the map hints to have a true exploration experience.
My first taste of exploration came immediately. As soon I had control of my character, I ignored the hints to walk forward and complete the first story mission. Instead I turned 180 degrees and ran as far as I could. I wanted to see how far it would let me go before forcing me to complete the introductory story mission. To my delight, there was no barrier or forced teleport. I was free to explore from the very moment I was put into the world.
After running near completely unequipped for 5 or so minutes, I ran into an enemy camp. This base was filled with enemies that I could not dream of beating if I ran into them. As such, I had to play completely stealth and take them out one by one. Not only did I get to experience the excitement of stealth, but it really made me feel like it was a life or death scenario. It made me fully immersed in the world and in my character. I knew that being seen would mean the end. It was at least 40 minutes of gameplay before I even attempted the very first story mission. That in itself showed me the game had incredible potential.
After a few hours into the game, I realised I’d completed near none of the main story missions. Finding the secret and abandoned hideouts and grabbing weapon stashes in armed buildings had grabbed all my attention. The exploration in this game is absolutely how it should be done and the best part about it is, it’s fully optional.
The artificial intelligence of enemies is often one of the most important aspects of any story game. Even more so in an open world game that relies on enemy encounters. Ghost Recon Breakpoint combines its vast open world with a range of random and staged enemy encounters that allow the world to feel real. This is one of the goals of this type of setting, but due to the poor A.I, it fails to reach that goal.
One of my first interactions with enemy units set the expectations very low for how enemies react to my character. After alerting most of the enemies in my area, I quickly ran into a building and perched myself at the top of the stairs. As the enemies called out to each other for assistance, they ran in one by one. Due to the stairway being narrow and their being only one entrance to the 1st floor, they quite literally lined up for me to take them out. Most of the enemies had little or no time to react and provided next to no challenge due to them running at me head on.
This was the first of many encounters that completely removed me from my immersion. The image below was not taken with perfect timing. These enemies shown on screen were stood perfectly still in a group and remained there until I killed them. Enemies not moving, running one by one into small corridors, not shooting me when I’m in front of them or not seeing me at all were a number of issues I witnessed whilst playing the game. It is truly a shame that the A.I is so bad, as the game really does offer the perfect environment for exciting encounters.
Side quests, much like the main missions, can be optional. The game offers a wide range of missions that can both progress your understanding of the world and progress your characters level. Rewards for these side missions vary, but some can offer rewards that are truly worth completing. There are two main types of side missions in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Auroa Missions and Faction missions.
Auroa is the location that the game is set, so as expected, Auroa missions are directly linked to the environment. Auroa missions focus on exploration and investigation and are usually unlocked by talking to various NPCs spread across the land. These missions usually lead the player to hidden areas that hold various pieces of loot or collectables.
Faction missions are given to the player by the two factions of Auroa, The Homesteaders and The Outcasts. Faction missions allow the player to gain reputation in the chosen faction and gain exclusive rewards for completing the provided missions. This is a good way to level up your gear whilst also having a set objective to follow.
The character customisation is enjoyable. At the very beginning of the game players get to customise the appearance of their main character. This varies from hairstyle to facial type. This is of course to make the game feel more personal and allow you to connect deeper with your character.
The best part of character customisation is the loadout screen. Here you can customise your headgear, handwear, vest, pants, footwear and inventory. You can also edit your various skills and toggle the appearence of certain items on or off. My main issue with this type of customisation is that every item has a level connected to it. Some items even give additional effects that are shown by various coloured stripes.
This type of customisation encourages players to always be the highest level possible and as such deters them from using items they might prefer the appearance of. It comes down to power over preference when trying to level up fast early game, which is a shame given how personal the experience should feel. The ability to customise your soldier is still enjoyable given this minor criticism.
Weapon customisation is something that players will use more so mid-game rather than at the very beginning. Finding blueprints and attachments while exploring will allow you to unlock and buy them. This helps add to the already established success of the open world exploration.
The type of gun will change the type of customisation available. Certain parts are exclusive to certain types of weaponry, which helps add the personal feel to the characters loadout. I personally enjoyed putting a silencer on every weapon possible to ensure I was having my stealth style gameplay. Along with attaching certain parts such as a magazine or muzzle, players can also upgrade their weapons.
Weapon upgrades use a range of materials such as metal parts. These parts are gained by dismantling weapons that are not wanted or being used. As I ranked up at a steady pace, I found most of my weaponry became under-levelled and unnecessary. As such these weapons were dismantled and allowed me to upgrade various aspects of my current weapons. T
his in itself was a problem though, as I found that upgrading my weapons was pointless given how fast I’d level up and gain new weapons. Dismantling weapons also gives next to no resources, so getting rid of anything to upgrade a weapon I won’t have for long just seemed unnecessary as a whole, despite the fact it is a good feature to have.
In Game Settings
In game settings is something I got lost in when first looking at it. There is an incredible amount of in game settings that allow the player to play the way they want to. Simple things like HUD Markers have a large range of options and that’s just a small detail. In some ways the amount of interface settings seemed overwhelming. The exact options I wanted to find were lost in the sea of choices. It really is both a blessing and a curse to offer so many options, as most players would likely just play the on the default settings after giving up trying to change anything.
The graphics of Ghost Recon Breakpoint are perhaps the biggest let down of the game. The reason behind all the issues is hard to pinpoint, but my first guess was the fact that the game has so much content that it simply can’t handle it. My first experience of the poor graphics was the first in game cutscene. The characters looked like mashed potato due to the full model not loading in. This continued into gameplay as characters and the environment alike struggled to load in correctly for minutes.
This issue was not limited to the open world portion of the game either. After jumping into my very first game of PvP, the game seemingly gave up trying to display anything to a good standard. The characters being one of the only things that loaded in, it was a mess to say the least. Textures and pixels were threw around creating an environment filled with squares and blocks. It was truly disappointing.
The graphical issues didn’t stop with just poor displays though. The issues effected my gameplay experience, and unfortunately still do. Scoping for example does not work at all when using any zoomed scope. I’ve found it near impossible to use a sniper or rifle due to the scope completely blacking out and not displaying the cross-hair. Various other issues such as characters going completely invisible seen common place too.
The Co-Op mode available has to been one of my favourite co-op modes to date. It’s simple but effective due to the choices on offer. When initially selecting online co-op mode, players can decide why they’re seeking a partner. The choices are no preference, exploration, main mission, faction effort or roleplay. All of these allow the players in the lobby to agree on how they want to play before they actually start playing.
I found this option to be incredible useful, as I’m fond of the exploration the game has to offer. After searching for a player under exploration, we were quickly connected and shared the same world. I was double the level of my teammate, so I decided I’d help them level up their gear. We quickly set our course for areas that had reward crates and weaponry and came up with a way to defeat the large amount of enemies occupying those areas. This was all done without a microphone and purely in game.
After spending hours with my new found friend, they had sufficiently levelled up. We decided to follow a train for a while and then take on a large group of enemies. Whilst previously I had been the one rushing in and fighting whilst the other player played stealth, this was no longer the case. With their new found weapons and levels, my co-op partner showed me what they could do. It was heartwarming to think i’d helped them gain the experience needed to take on a wave of enemies solo.
The co-op mode in Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a truly enjoyable experience no matter what option you choose. Roleplay is certainly one i’d recommend trying out if you have a microphone. If not then exploration is another go to mode that is incredibly fun with a partner. Whilst the game is fun solo, it’s certainly enjoyable with a friend too.
Ghost War (PvP)
Ghost War is the 4v4 player vs player mode that allows you to carry over your weapons and skills from the main game. This is a mixed bag without a doubt, as it makes the game somewhat unfair at times. If there are stacked teams in which one team has incredible well equipped players, those on the other team will struggle to fight them.
One main issue I had with Ghost War was that Ghost Recon Breakpoint really didn’t feel suited for it. The cover system is okay at best and the weapons aren’t exactly made for fast reactions. The equipment such as drones also felt extremely out of place and didn’t fit in too well with the combat of the game. The kill time is extremely fast due to the various weapons high level players can get, making it more of a campers dream than a fun game mode.
Snipers are one weapon that dominate the Ghost War mode. Most of them are a one shot kill and with most players having a decent sniper, it is pointless using anything else. In the games I played almost everyone used a sniper except for me. Given the graphical bug that I have with my sniper scopes, it put me at an incredible disadvantage online, as half my weaponry was unusable. All in all I think Ghost Recon Breakpoint could fully remove Ghost War and the game would still be absolutely fine.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is an incredible open world tactical shooter. It offers near endless exploration and rewards players for doing so. The story, much like the PvP mode doesn’t add nor take much from the overall experience of the game. This in itself could be seen as a problem, since they were both the most advertised portions of the game.
The loading times for the game are incredibly long, so the addition of the option tips was a good way to combat this issue. Unfortunately there was no combating the many graphical issues both big and small. The A.I also let the game down and effected the immersive experience it was trying to offer.
In summary I’d say the game is absolutely worth playing, but maybe not right now. A few graphical patches are certainly in need along with some additional game modes that help balance the PvP experience. The open world exploration and customisation do a lot for the game, but perhaps not quite enough to make it worth £49.99 price tag. If these issues are resolved soon then it’d certainly pay full price for the game, but until then, i’d recommend waiting for it to go on sale and getting it at a discounted price.
The gameplay and screenshots used in this review are from an Xbox One Console. For more reviews and gaming news you can keep up to date at Informed Pixel. Want to speak to the team and interact with other gamers? You can do so over on the Informed Pixel Facebook page or on the Informed Pixel Twitter account. You can also find my work on my Facebook page or on my Twitter.