Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint Review
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a pleasant trudge through the jungle and over snowy mountain peaks that are best enjoyed in a group with others. Despite a lot of the negative news concerning the microtransactions, it’s hard to complain about a lack of gear as I level up and drown in guns and other equipment of various varieties. The strategy elements familiar to each Ghost Recon game are even more effective in Breakpoint, showing us that Ghost Recon can dabble in Solid Snake territory, including the ability to transport bodies to avoid alerting backup. Ghost Recon Breakpoint is available now for PC, Xbox One and PS4.
A Ghost Far From Home
The latest Ghost Recon places gamers behind enemy lines as one of the lone surviving Ghost after a mission is sabotaged but a turncoat. This leaves you vulnerable for most of your journey across the island of Auroa which is full of bloodthirsty drones and heavily armored enemy soldiers who patrol nearly every corner. Nowhere feels safe and the emphasis on stealth pays of with Ghost Recon Breakpoint. The only previous game to make me as interested in stealth as Breakpoint does is The Last of Us.
Gamers can now play as one of four classes such as Panther and Assault which each come with their specializations and specific equipment. There are a plethora of gadgets and skills at my disposal as I level up, unlocking upgrades for my surveillance drone or adding thermals to my night vision, the progression of skills, upgrades, guns, etc. all feel great as it always feels like I have something to work towards.
Among the many types of guns and gadgets, there are several unique types of vehicles to explore the vast open world of Auroa and you’ll need them to cut your travel time. I find a lot of joy ripping around the jungle on a dirt bike and Ghost Recon Breakpoint replaces GTA V as my favorite sandbox to drive around in as the landscape varies more and the dynamic weather is more visually appealing. Breakpoint also succeeds The Division as my favorite Tom Clancy game as a fan since the original Rainbow Six.
Polished But Not Perfect
Though the visuals and sound design of Ghost Recon Breakpoint are both very impressive, it should be noted that both are glitchy in their own ways. Sometimes the audio bugs out and gunfire, explosions and footsteps don’t make a sound. Alternatively, sometimes Nomad (the playable character) glitches through the map or a character isn’t animated at all for a dialogue scene. These glitches are mostly entertaining but can take away from the immersion of the game. The most notable glitches are when NPC’s aren’t animated properly or at all for their dialogue, leading to similar situations as Mass Effect Andromeda.
The responsive AI will use hit boxes to their advantage, barely peering over the hood of a car or the corner of a ledge to shoot Nomad, forcing you out of cover to line up a good shot. These impressive AI are scattered around the map, including around low-level zones, forcing Nomad to dodge snipers who can instant kill to attack the soldiers that are closer to your level. This comes off more as a compliment to the stealthy nature of the game more than a hindrance to the progression of missions even though sometimes the deaths rack up.
The feeling of dread creeps over me as I trudge through an empty field as the game is programmed to have helicopters and UAV locate you when the soldiers patrolling Auroa can’t. If a UAV locates me, it sends a swarm of drones or elite soldiers with superior firepower firing at me after dropping a red smoke signal. If a helicopter comes by, they’re easier to dodge and become easier to shoot out of the sky with Rocket Launchers or LMG’s but the threat is still constant. This endless feeling of dread while trudging through hostile areas, some of which far exceed my level, is what defines Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. These endless swarms of enemies provide me with the loot, skill points, intel, blue prints, experience and most importantly, the gameplay experience I need. None of the microtransactions hinder this core experience and thus, the core experience isn’t diminished because they exist.
The game has many systems, from the in-depth detective gameplay of Exploration Mode which is the primary way of playing the game unless you get stuck. The layers of system menus are overwhelming at first but navigating them becomes easier as you use them. Exploration mode has Nomad piecing together what feels like a combination of Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton as the military tactical shooter dabbles in future technologies. Getting into cover from a standing position never felt so seamless and that’s good because you’ll be running for cover a lot in Breakpoint.
Close Quarters Multiplayer Mayhem
The PvP mode of Ghost Recon Breakpoint is called Ghost War and it’s a 4v4 best of 3 challenge that either includes hacking a terminal to unveil the location of your enemies or secure/defend a location similar to Battlefield’s Conquest. Some of the maps in multiplayer that are larger shrink as the game clock ticks down, forcing gamers together similar to Battle Royale games. The map design in multiplayer is just as detailed as the campaign and graphical fidelity isn’t lost when moving from PvE to PvP.
I noticed a handful of frame rate dips and encountered several disconnections (Error: Mountain-00006) but despite this and the glitching, when Ghost Recon Breakpoint is working as intended, it’s a great game. I hope the visual and audio glitches are fixed over time as this is one of many constantly evolving games on the market right now. Things like the Sniper Rifles will need to be better balanced for multiplayer and upcoming DLC will likely add to the great story as gamers grind out their Year One Pass. After many hours with Breakpoint, I can safely say I’m looking forward to what’s coming next.
***Xbox One code provided by developer***
- Great Open World Sandbox
- Solid Progression and Systems
- Beautiful graphics and sound design
- Compelling story
- Visual, audio and UI glitches
- Balancing issues in Ghost War PvP
- Microtransactions galore