It wasn’t too long ago that Tom Clancy games were a dominant force in gaming. Nowadays, only the Rainbow Six franchise is still held in high regard. Ghost Recon Breakpoint is the second game in the rebooted series. This new approach significantly shifted away from the series’ usual gameplay.
Although it enjoyed some mixed success, whether it was even necessary to release a sequel is up for question. Many games now operate more like services, receiving constant updates to prolong their life. Releasing only two years after its predecessor, Ghost Recon Breakpoint has to differentiate itself to make it a worthwhile addition.
Taking place on the fictional island of Auroa in the year 2023, you and your team are attacked by drones. It turns out that these automated machines are the work of the company Skell Technology. This corporation has come under intense scrutiny for selling its weapons to corrupt dictators. Skell attackers wipe out the Ghost team, sent by the United States to investigate the company and the disappearance of a U.S. warship. With one survivor capable of fighting, the story unfolds as you confront a former decorated soldier and other Skell executives.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint has the potential to tell an interesting story. It flirts with some compelling concepts, such as the atrocities and horrors that soldiers commit during war. Yet, it absolutely wastes the opportunity. The narrative ends up being a bland experience that fails to offer up anything other than boring characters and generic set pieces.
A big change in Ghost Recon Breakpoint compared to its direct predecessor is item level. This dictates which weapons are effective, as the higher level gear allows you to tackle more powerful opponents. Including a loot mechanic adds some sense of progression and provides motivation. There is one clear and major drawback to this approach though. If the higher-level weapons that you find are all one type, it stops you from using different tactics.
That’s a problem in a series that has always prided itself on giving the player control of how to approach different scenarios. Want to go in all guns blazing or carefully approach enemies? The choice is usually left up to you. However, Ghost Recon Breakpoint pushes you into changing your style according to what guns you have. It is a strange design choice, forcing those who might want to choose a stealth option to engage in loud firefights. Especially when you consider how the developers have designed Ghost Recon Breakpoint to allow for stealthier gameplay.
The rest of the gameplay is the same as you find in Ghost Recon Wildlands. Although there is little innovation, it does mean that the gunplay is robust enough to provide a basic level of enjoyment. Getting into gunfights or silently killing enemies always feels satisfying. A lack of quest variety does mean that the campaign can feel stale though. Having to constantly trudge through the same tasks simply is not entertaining.
However, Ghost Recon Breakpoint can be genuinely good in four-player online co-op. Teaming up with your friends to take out the enemies across the vast environments is where the game shines. It adds the tactical elements back into the series and makes for a far more fun experience.
At first glance, Ghost Recon Breakpoint might look like a visually impressive game. After all, it does have some very pretty environments and lots of attention to detail when it comes to scenery. But that only tells part of the story. There are plenty of issues with this game. For example, character models are utterly expressionless during every moment. They are incapable of showing any kind of emotion, even in cutscenes.
The voice acting also falls short, with a few notable exceptions. Of course, the awful dialogue doesn’t exactly help in that respect, but you expect more from such a big-budget title. There is not even a redeeming soundtrack to help make up for the poor areas of the presentation. Meanwhile, other similar games have a far more dynamic array of sound effects for gunfire and explosions.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint also suffers from some performance issues. While I didn’t experience any slowdown in the framerate, there are plenty of bugs. The vast majority of them are graphical glitches that cause textures to not load. Poor A.I. also means that enemies will often get stuck or make very questionable decisions during combat. Ultimately, this is not of the quality that Ubisoft is generally known for producing.
Recommending Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint to anyone is difficult. Not because it is a bad game but rather because it fails to establish exactly what it wants to be. Those who enjoyed Ghost Recon Wildlands could happily stick with it as the sequel does little to move the series forward. It does not make a case to attract new players either. A lack of quality in terms of presentation and performance is also a real letdown. The satisfying core gameplay can only go so far before the other areas begin to wear you down.