Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, developed by Ubisoft Paris, and published by Ubisoft, brings The Ghosts back. Only this time, things are off to a bad start, with their adversary is waiting for The Ghosts with a technological advantage they were not prepared for. When their initial assault ends in disaster it’s up to the team’s remaining members to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
I was very excited to get the opportunity to check out Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint’s closed beta this weekend. It was my first chance to get hands on time with this franchise and I didn’t regret my time with it. That having been said, it definitely feels like the kind of game that appeals to military shooter fans. While I liked a lot of what I saw, I don’t think I fell into that target group.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a military tactical shooter that picks up moments after your chopper gets shot down on the island of Auroa. Due to the less than ideal start the first objective you must complete is simply getting out of dodge. With only a pistol to start, you begin evading enemy patrols and searching for other survivors. Along the way, more weapons and gear are provided. It isn’t long at all before the player is decked out and ready for battle. It’s at this point that I reached my first hub spot. A hideout for occupants of the island trying to avoid the ruthless mercenary force that had taken control of the area.
After catching up with the rest of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint’s setup story I was given my first mission. Their are some people trying to flee the island on boats. If I help them escape they will drop me off on my support ship off the coast. I immediately head out. I procure one of the conveniently placed dirt bikes out side of the camp and go crashing through the woods toward my first waypoint. And I continued to do this for several minutes. While there were opportunities to get off the bike and engage enemies a few times I wanted to see how the story mission would play out.
Upon reaching the dock I made contact with the civilians. Our conversation ends just in time for us all to witness a swarm of angry drones wreck the first boat to leave. Consequently, the decision is made to not attempt to escape the island till control of the drones is knocked out.
Just as I’m about to leave enemy ground troops arrive in force. This encounter proved challenging, requiring a couple of restarts, but was also a blast. Picking off enemies with my sniper rifle till they closed in was a delight. The aim felt responsive and whenever. I missed a shot I knew it was my fault and not the game. Once the enemy closed the distance I swapped out my rifle for my SMG and finished them off. With the firefight complete a pop up message informed me I had gone as far as I could in the story for the beta. It was time to check out what else Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint had to offer.
The rest of my time with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint was spent mostly doing various faction missions. While I tackled these missions solo they could be approached with up to three teammates. By completing these missions I gained points with the resistance to unlock various items. While these missions were enjoyable, they basically fell into the standard, go to this place and either kill this person, or destroy this thing. With gun play as tight as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint’s I enjoyed each individually, but they collectively wouldn’t keep me coming back to do over and over.
The aspect of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint that kept my interest was it’s diverse set of perks. Perks are unlocked with skill points earned by leveling your character across Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint’s various modes of play. There was an impressive web of skills to explore. Everything from stealth boosts to parachutes and combat buffs were in the mix. I chose to focus mostly on stealth, which ended up being an excellent choice as there are lots of eyes watching for you as you move through the terrain.
When I say there are a lot of eyes I mean it. Frequent high level reconnaissance drones pass overhead and force you to drop for cover at a moments notice, since being detected, at least for me, meant all but certain death. Detection was noted by a bright red circle painting your location, and enemies coming out of the woodwork to kill you. Only once, in the numerous times this event occurred, did I manage to escape. And that involved an armored car and driving so reckless it belonged in The Fast and the Furious.
This sort of mechanic isn’t by its nature a bad thing. It just reinforces the tactical side of this game. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint wants the player to be methodical with their approach and it’s often trying to put forth an air of realism. Which sadly makes the gear system clash with the rest of the game.
Like many games as service, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint’s biggest hook to keep players coming back is the gear. All gear that you acquire has a level and as such, better gear has a better level. Your total gear score is made of an average of your various gear levels. Enemies with higher scores will prove extremely difficult to defeat till you get your gear score up to near or the same as theirs. This system clashes so hard with everything else it feels like the game is trying to accomplish.
While the gear system in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint seemed to clash with the rest of the game, it’s implementation itself was excellent. During my time I found items at just the right pace. Not so fast that none of it felt significant, but not so slowly that it felt non-existent either. And the fact that all that gear has been meticulously created to show on your character was also very cool, every muzzle, scope and more visible gave each piece of gear it’s own personality.
I also want to take a moment and commend Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint for putting accessibility, and player options front and center. During the initial start up, right with the obligatory brightness check, I was given numerous options for how I would like subtitles displayed. Every thing from text size and scale to background presentation for the text was present. As is necessary for objective based games, there were also colorblind options for the various on screen markers here as well. Seeing these right at the start was a pleasant surprise. While I didn’t need them, I’m sure any gamers that would require these adjustments will be happy to have the ability to choose them before the opening sequence.
Once in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint similar options are available for every sort of text and symbol present in the game. Along with customizable controls, a feature too often overlooked. I have to commend the folks over at Ubisoft for going the extra mile to put theses features in the game. As well as making sure they are online for their beta tests.
Over all, I enjoyed my time with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. The initial story definitely hooked me and I want to see where the story goes, and what surprises are in store for the Ghosts. As far as keeping me interested beyond that, I don’t know. Obviously, there’s lots more content that was unavailable in this beta. PvP and Raids at least, were both inaccessible.
If you are the kind of player who enjoys tactical shooting and loves to get into the cycle of loot grind, this game feels like it is definitely gonna be for you. If you’ve never been interested in these things, I don’t think this will be the one that sells you on it. In the end, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint knows what it is, and who it is for. And that is not a bad thing.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint has a release date of October 4th, for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Rating: 8/10 desperate struggles