GHOST RECON BREAKPOINT
Don’t be a Nomad.   


REVIEW
By JAY TEE
14/10/19

The cover system leaves a lot to be desired, and you might want to tweak the control mapping. Shooting is reliable and punchy.

Voice acting is pretty good across the board, with sparse use of music and authentic sound effects grounding the experience.

Don’t expect the A.I. to win any prizes for surprising intellect, and you’ll want to play co-operatively to get the most from the game.  

Breakpoint is visually stunning on Xbox One X, with excellent performance capture and a consistent framerate.

THE LAST WORD

Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is best played co-operatively, and benefits greatly from a renewed emphasis on narrative content.    

THE FINAL SCORE

3/5

REVIEW POLICY

We use a simple “out of 5” rating criteria for all reviews.

3 out of 5 is GOOD.

Something with this rating is absolutely worth checking out, but it’s flawed with a couple of mis-steps.

*Reviewed on Xbox On X, with a copy provided by Ubisoft.*


The SHODDY CODDY badge is for a game that includes mechanics or controls that just don’t feel right.

The MARSHALL LAW badge is for a game that lets you fight back against an overwhelming force.  

The LEAVES ON THE LINE badge is for a game where awkwardly placed geometry and/or bad level design causes you to get unintentionally stuck.

The CORY BARLOG badge is for a game that has characters with excellent facial hair and / or grooming.

The EPIC RESPAWN badge is for a game with superb post launch developer support.

The BEST WITH FRIENDS badge is earned if a game is significantly more fun playing with people you know, either in campaign or online.

The DEALBREAKER badge is for a game where one or two crucial mis-steps might be enough to put you off.   

IS IT FUN?

*Yeah, but not as much when you’re solo.*

I’m surprised Ubisoft haven’t yet hit peak Ubisoft and transformed this franchise into an online only affair. Breakpoint is so clearly (and impressively) built as a co-operative multiplayer title that it can at times feel at odds with mid mission cutscenes and this freshly coherent story (see our interview with Emil Daubon, one of the lead writers). It’s simply not as enjoyable traversing such sprawling environments on your tod, and while the introductory section provides a well constructed tutorial probably best played away from your rowdy chums, Breakpoint doesn’t lend itself well to solo runs. The shooting is solid, and the vehicle handling seems to have been given a boost, since we weren’t convinced during our hands on time with the Beta. Regardless, syncing up with folks online is far and away the preferred way to go.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS?

*Sure. But no as often as you’d expect.*

The very nature of open world design dictates a certain pace that might not suit every player. There’s long stretches of map with little points of interest, so memorable moments came whenever things really kicked into gear. Missions in Breakpoint tend to save their bigger introductions (a new enemy type, an interesting set piece) for endgame sequences. But when it peaks, Breakpoint is right up there with the best of them. Discovering the nuances of the injury system, where critical hits will force you to limp, or fire only from the hip, led to some tense encounters. I even disabled the mini map very early on, to add an extra layer of suspense when accidentally stumbling onto an enemy patrol. The competitive multiplayer is also surprisingly fun, with a single life / down but not out system that feels reminiscent of Rainbow Six: Siege.

ANNOYING STUFF?

*Yes, and it can really grate.*  

The feel of player movement, and a logical approach to controls, are critical elements for me, particularly in a big budget third person shooter. With that in mind, Breakpoint’s cover system, which eschews the need for a button press and opts for a dynamic reactive approach, is absolutely dreadful. I routinely found myself in hot water from getting stuck on the scenery, being unintentionally thrown out of cover, or unable to peek without two inputs / control stick movements. It’s frustrating to the point where I actively attempted to avoid triggering the cover animation in combat. This could so easily have been avoided. I think I’ve been spoiled by The Division. Also, irrespective of difficulty level, the enemy A.I. is either moronic or possesses a level of omnipotence that the Terminator would be jealous of.

NEXT STEPS?

*Patch the mechanics that don’t work, and keep adding content.*

Ubisoft have defined themselves as one of the best post launch, live service studios this generation. The aforementioned Rainbow Six: Siege has steadily increased its player base with a raft of updates, and titles like The Division 2 have been patching in content on the regular. Breakpoint’s Year 1 plan is jam packed with new things to do, and it’s very encouraging to see a doubling down on this added value approach. If you can get yourself a solid squad that’s willing to back you up and invest the hours, and you’ve got the patience to adapt to / actively ignore the mechanical elements that are stupid, this latest Tom Clancy title will provide a huge amount of content to consume. Going forward, I hope Ubisoft will take on board all the feedback they’re getting, and continue to be flexible in their approach with what works and what needs improvement.

Ghost Recon: Breakpoint straddles a fine line between reasonable authenticity and the need to place fun at the forefront. Striking this delicate balance can make the difference between creating an experience marred by oppressive realism, and one that is perhaps too flippant and doesn’t take itself seriously enough. For the most part, this unexpectedly quick sequel to 2017’s Wildlands succeeds at being a shooter that finally presents a comprehensible story without throwing twenty characters into the mix all at once. The renewed narrative emphasis (anchored by an excellent, stoic performance from “The Punisher’s” Jon Bernthal) goes hand in hand with the co-op elements that have defined this series in recent years. Mechanically, there are several issues that can be detrimental to your enjoyment, but if it’s a tactical shooter you’re after, Breakpoint has plenty going for it.

A beard I can only dream of.

THE BASICS - Tactical third person shooter, with 4 player co-op and renewed emphasis on survival elements.

PLATFORMS - PS4, XB1, and PC

PLAYERS - Offline - 1, Online - Co-Op (4), PvP (4v4)

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - Full campaign co-op, and versus multiplayer. Character customisation and progression is retained across modes.

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - A whole mess of campaign content updates, multiplayer additions, and eventually Raids have been promised.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our reviews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.

If I poke this handheld nuke with a paperclip, I can Macgyver my way into the A-Team. Or something.

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