Ghost Recon Wildlands was an interesting gaming experience, one that some loved more than anything while others felt it fell massively flat. Breakpoint serves as the continuation of Wildlands but veers away from the cult-driven drug trade and moves into more high-tech grounds with a narrative that will have you questioning what evil truly is. Is the next step of the story worth the trip? Here's our Ghost Recon Wildlands review!
Jon Bernthal's performance as the main game's villain was chilling, forcing players to hate him one moment while questioning that same hate a cutscene later. While the overall story was a hit out of the ballpark, as well as the subsequent quests that players can take on, it wasn't enough to shadow that the multiplayer definitely could use some work.
For those that enjoyed Wildlands, you may remember that the theme of cult-driven fanaticism was prevalent. Breakpoint veers away from that mysticism and instead goes all-in when it comes to technological progression. We also see a completely different side to Skell Technologies that essentially will make you doubt everything you thought you knew about the company with the “future” in mind.
When we saw Jon Bernthal in Wildlands, he was a fellow Ghost that we trusted at our back in the most recent DLC for the current title. That of course changed as he went from friend to foe, instead transforming into a “Wolf” and the main antagonist in the upcoming entry.
What was interesting to me about the narrative this time around is that nothing is black and white. When we first noticed that Walker changed, it was apparent he was now the bad guy. In Breakpoint, he’s still very much a stone-cold killer, but there are glimpses into his world-view that are beyond fascinating and made me as a player doubt my own character’s motives. Is he wrong or is he breaking convention? Is he truly the enemy, or did he see the truth behind a system that sells death to the highest bidder?
Through flashbacks littered throughout the game's main campaign, the player will find themselves watching as each of those cracks in this character's honor and world view becomes larger and all-encompassing. We see the moment that he turned away from his squad, the moment he turned radical, and those moments in between that almost make his actions make sense. That relatability can be uncomfortable at times, no one wants to relate to a 'sociopath' but that's exactly why Ubisoft's carefully crafted narrative is so impactful.
There are moments throughout the game where you’ll hate Walker and want him dead but it’s those moments in between that truly add depth to this story. Those moments of seeing the man behind the wolf, the friend we once served with. Keep in mind, those glimpses are fleeting because the entire time he is trying to kill you, but there were a few quest points that had us seeing the grey areas of his character, thus reflecting back our own murky depths.
As with Wildlands, players get out of the game what they put in. For those that fast-track through the story for endgame content, a lot of those developmental intricacies will be lost, but for those that pay attention, there is a hefty treat ahead. It will make you feel heartbroken, it will make you feel angry - it will make you feel out for blood.
Mechanically Breakpoint operates similarly to that of Wildlands, so if you liked the open-world shooter then you’re going to love it now. Play stealth, play renegade, do whatever you like – this game is meant to be tailored to the individual player. That being said, in Wildlands I was always the one in my group that went all-in, total ham. Stealing vehicles and doing donuts in enemy territory, dropping grenades in hot like they were going out of style. Basically, I’m every stealth-lover’s nightmare.
Breakpoint definitely offers that same variety and the group I ran with definitely showcased the many different ways to play. One member loved to recon with a sniper rifle at the ready, whereas I ran in hot with frags out and ready to rock. Though chaotic at times, it kept gameplay interesting and made us truly desire to obtain that next objective if only to see just how the hell we were going to approach the next firefight.
While overall I was really impressed with the mechanics, there were moments of clunkiness that I was hoping would be addressed at launch. This was an issue that Wildlands faced as well, a juxtaposition that took the immersion out a little bit, though nothing that I've found to be game-breaking or a major deal-breaker in terms of enjoyment.
The game also introduced a new way to blend into one’s surroundings with the Prone Camo. This … OK … THIS was cool. Enemy chopper inbound? Prone Camo. Need to recon a bit with a group of enemies in your direct path? Prone Camo. Crapped up a quest and need to regroup? Prone Camo. Seriously, Prone Camo is amazing! It takes laying low to a whole new level by allowing the player to slather on mud as they blend effortlessly into their surroundings. It’s quick and easily accessible, making it even easier to take a more strategic approach to the game.
I'll admit, I was never a huge fan of the multiplayer in Wildlands. Don't get me wrong, I love a good PvP shooter experience, but for some reason the formula within this particular Tom Clancy title never really vibed with me. I was hoping that would change with Breakpoint, but alas - it wasn't meant to be. That being said, I did want to be transparent with my thoughts on the previous game's MP experience so that for anyone reading this would know my personal bias. If you enjoyed Wildland's PvP, you will enjoy Breakpoint - it just wasn't my particular cup of team.
I dicked around with a few rounds with the game’s 4v4 mode and immediately launched into a snow map – something that players loved in Wildlands and wanted more of. Since this terrain was such a huge desirable feature, Ubisoft wanted to make sure that this map was a launch-day option for those looking to test their skills against other gamers.
It was fun, about what you’d expect from a Ghost Recon MP player. The map layouts were more accessible, making it more challenging (and rewarding) when choosing a strategic place to plan one’s assault. Teamwork is definitely key in this mode, especially with the detonation mode that charges players with detonating a bomb successfully or stopping it altogether. Our team was wiped hard the first few times when we tried to adhere to our individual playstyles, though once we began communicating the tides quickly turned.
Update: The skill and booster packs have since been removed.
Microtransactions have been a huge talking point in the gaming community for a few years now, with a drastic spike in concern over pay-to-win practices across many AAA studios. Does Ghost Recon: Breakpoint have microtransactions? Yes. Do they impact the game? They can, though not in PvP.
In the store, players can find purchasable items such as cosmetic flare, camos, weapon bundles, and more. What has most people worried is the ability to purchase skill points and weapon upgrades, something that has been a very dangerous line for games in the past since it flirts with that pay-to-win mentality.
A lot of people took to social media forums to voice their displeasure over exactly how Ubisoft went about their take on in-game purchasable items. The cosmetic items I honestly have no issue with. I've purchased them in some games like ESO, but I never felt like I had to. It's voluntary and doesn't impact the game one bit. That being said, when you start offering ways to pay for a faster leveling experience, that's murky ground. Some games do it well, especially MMOs where you can by things like experience scrolls - which are the same thing, essentially - but the store is very detailed in what can be purchased, and those options amass a big part of the item experience: guns, attachments, melee weapons, and more.
Overall, as a huge Wildlands fan, Breakpoint is even bigger and better than its predecessor. With so many new features added and post-launch content plans in place, it will be interesting to see how the latest Ghost Recon entry evolves in the wake of Wildland’s success and where it could possibly go from here.
Our score: 8.5/10