Ubisoft has delivered some stellar open-world games over the past few years. The Division 2 is still today, one of the best RPG shooters on the market; Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey has a world so immersive that you will be stuck in it for weeks on end and let us not forget the original Ghost Recon: Wildlands that delivered a fun and addictive open-world shooter that was even better with friends. Unfortunately, it seems Ubisoft has lost its magic as the latest entry in the Ghost Recon series, Breakpoint is one of the worst games I have played from the publisher in years.
Instead of a brilliant world backed by a strong story and fantastic action, you are thrown a dull and shallow game set on an empty and repetitive island with very little excitement. What you experience within the first two hours of the game is what you will be doing for the entire campaign as nothing changes. Ubisoft is relying on their “masterclass” open world to carry Ghost Recon: Breakpoint but the experience leaves much to be desired.
Everything that Ghost Recon: Breakpoint attempts, ends up being a shallow and overall dull experience. The new survival mechanics end up being just a ploy to get you to sit down at a fire and eat some food for buffs which you don’t feel are as effective as they should be. The world, which offers excitement for the first couple of hours soon becomes an empty and repetitive mass of land where getting around is inconvenient and for the first time in a co-op game, even friends struggle to make this game exciting.
There was a lot of fun to be had in Wildlands with friends as you grappled from a helicopter and flew into the side of a mountain using them like a wrecking ball. Driving off cliffs and being reckless brought this “casual arcade” fun to the table and unfortunately, Breakpoint takes itself way too seriously to be enjoyable as a fun and mindless co-op game.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint takes place on the island or Auroa. You and your crew get shot down on a routine mission and land up stranded on an island where Skell technology reigns supreme. Originally used for quality of life and overall humanitarian advances, Jon Bernthal has taken over this Skell technology and its military faction and is now using it to his own will. He leads a deadly group of military extremists known as “Wolves” which have a close and personal connection to the dumb protagonist you play.
In short, Ghost Cole D. Walker (Jon Bernthal) has gone rogue and what starts off as a mission to simply escape this deathtrap island, ends up as a personal mission to stop the angry man. Overall, Jon plays a great role in the game and is most likely the only memorable character you will come across. His personal vendetta against the US Government is strong after witnessing his fireteam being murdered on a mission in Bolivia and his anger and pure hatred is a powerful theme that drives much of the shoddy narrative in Breakpoint.
The story in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint makes up a very, very small fraction of the game. The rest, as I mentioned before is its reliance on the open-world and the activities you will do while exploring it. Unfortunately, there’s nothing really exciting going on here. Throughout my time with Breakpoint, I could not help but miss the fantastic villains I took down in Wildlands and how they all worked together to bring about this conjoined threat. You knew when going into an area that it was taken over by a well-thought-out character and your drive to see them dead was what kept you going throughout the campaign.
Unfortunately, Breakpoint is a shallow experience when compared to Wildlands and we have every right to compare these two games. One is great and one is terrible. Much of my time spent in the game was travelling around the lands. If you don’t have a helicopter then it takes forever and even a car was a chore to get around in. You get to a location, kill enemies, loot a box and move on. Every now and then you will be faced off against a giant mech drone and use everything you have on you to take it down but these moments are far and few between.
The game’s reliance on stealth is stronger than ever as you die a lot faster especially during the first few hours of the game. I spent much of my time scouting the area with a drone (it is honestly the biggest waste of time and takes way too long), tagging enemies and taking them down one by one from a hill in the distance. It is the best way to go about it at first. The game’s relentless difficulty does take you back to the Ghost Recon roots but it should be scaled if playing solo.
But that is one of the major issues I have with the game. For the most part, I felt like being silent was the only way to get things done because if I went in guns blazing, it often resulted in the entire army and their grandmothers chasing after me. Enemies are tough and accurate and the giant guys with Gatling guns are the worst things to take on from close range. The game simply does not favour action at all unless you are in a group of friends. Your character is weak and cannot take on a mass wave of enemies so I just focused on upgrading my skills to promote the silent approach.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint also has some terrible AI where you could just stand near a set of stairs and shoot them all as they run up it. Basically, you can cheese half of the game this way. Even the fights with the drones can be done by running around the closest tree or building.
Combat is fun for the most part but the controls and movement still feel clunky. My character often did not lock into cover properly or failed to climb up a ledge while running away from enemies resulting in me dying and having to walk the great distance back to where I was.
New healing mechanics means you need to wrap your leg with bandages when you are damaged but it also grows tiresome after a while. The new gear system also sees you swapping items around just because they claim to have a higher stat number than what you are wearing. Unfortunately, this never feels like it is actually changing anything drastically. I just did not want to die so easily but no matter what I equipped, it never helped.
The issue here is the padding is just too thick. Breakpoint feels like a shallow sandbox game and takes Ubisoft away from the greatness that was Odyssey and even Wildlands. There’s no magic here as it all fizzles out within just a few hours. The world, while it looks absolutely stunning, is a grind to explore and if you want that one gun, you need to head into a compound and hope you can take on the challenging enemies inside.
Or you could just buy it with real money because Breakpoint features some of the worst microtransactions in gaming with everything available to purchase in-game with real money (bar a few cosmetic items).
Instead of feeling like a sequel, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint fails to improve on anything and delivers a boring sandbox game with little to no reason to keep playing. The fact is, Ubisoft has much better games on the market that deliver not only better open worlds to explore but just better shooters including Division 2 and Wildlands. Trust me, you will have a much more enjoyable time playing the 2017 Ghost Recon game.
This Ghost Recon: Breakpoint review was based on a copy provided to us by Ubisoft
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 4 October 2019 | Price: R985