The sequel to 2017’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Ghost Recon Breakpoint is an open-world shooter with a smattering of survival elements. Set on the sprawling island of Auroa, you’ll don the role of a Ghost—an elite US soldier. Run by techpreneur Jace Skell, Auroa is advertised as a utopia for creators to forge mankind’s future.
Much like other video game utopias (most notably BioShock) things quickly go awry. Before you know it, you’re tasked with reclaiming the island and hunting down Cole Walker, a former comrade in arms that’s running it along with his crew of soldiers known as the Wolves.
Despite the simple premise, Ghost Recon Breakpoint doesn’t take too long to complicate matters. The map and mission menus are crammed with information and feel tedious to wade through. Be it customising your character with better gear or simply figuring out where to go next, you’ll be spending a fair bit of time in its menus.
Some of it, such as being able to piece together the Wolves’ ascension by investigating clues is a welcome addition, while others—such as an overwrought faction tree—don’t help as much.
Thankfully, the moment to moment gameplay in Ghost Recon Breakpoint fares better. You’ll slide into cover, gun down a host of drones and enemy soldiers, and slink away into the lush foliage when you’re outgunned. Controls feel responsive and are a step up from the preview build and beta we had access to.
Be it aiming down the sights, firing from the hip, or stabbing foes, combat in Ghost Recon Breakpoint just feels rewarding. Though it’s layered with skills and abilities galore, each based around a specific style of play or character class as the game refers to them.
From the sharpshooter that lets you fire armour piercing rounds to the panther that lets you cloak your approach to an objective, they add a level of versatility to the proceedings though they never go as deep as to impact the usual run and gun approach you’ll employ during Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s 20-odd hours of the main story.
Speaking of which, missions in Ghost Recon Breakpoint hit you thick and fast. Whether it’s rescuing persons of interest or uncovering the mystery behind Walker’s betrayal, they’re varied enough to accommodate different playstyles and have you exploring the far reaches of Auroa.
Though a couple of acts into the game, it did seem obvious that Ubisoft is looking to flex the sheer size of its map what with every objective being a couple of kilometres away. With fast travel points aplenty and a number of helicopters available at our disposal, we rarely took in the sights, opting for the quickest way to get there.
It just made the large swathes of land feel pointless. If the objective was to entangle us in busywork a la Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, perhaps the developers would have allowed for more deliberate means of transportation to get there.
It doesn’t seem like Ubisoft is committed to this idea with a seemingly surface level implementation. The same applies to its survival mechanics. You can ramp up the difficulty to make it so your character’s wounds will be fatal, though with a ton of resources available, surviving at higher difficulties feels like a minor hindrance than a major gameplay factor.
At the lowest difficulty, its pretty superficial turning fast travel points or bivouacs as they’re called into locations you use to craft buffs for attack or defence rather than survival rations you’d need at tougher difficulties.
One concept Ubisoft appears to be committed to is Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s micro-transactions. They’re numerous. From the usual cosmetic skins you can buy for your weapons to straight up buying progression, every single aspect of the game appears to be carved out for sale. At the time of publishing this review it doesn’t appear that these elements are necessary to get through the game’s story and perhaps this will remain the case long after it’s out.
All said and done, Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s plot and combat kept us coming back. They’re two aspects of the game that hold up better than the rest and had us powering through its campaign. As it stands it’s a fun romp, though it’s bogged down by extraneous features and an always-online component that’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Although this may change given Ubisoft’s reputation for supporting its games longer than most, at the moment Ghost Recon Breakpoint is fun, though not as essential as its predecessor.
Score (out of 10): 7.5
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is fun, though not as essential as its predecessor.