LOADING ...

Five Hours With Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Heather Alexandra Oct 01, 2019. 21 comments

Ghost Recon Breakpoint is here, or is it hiding in that bush over there? Whatever the case, Ubisoft’s latest addition to the Tom Clancy video game canon is here with plenty of loot to find and bases to assault. Breakpoint brings a lot of improvements over 2017’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. Cool character creation, tons of weapon customization, an actual villain. But it’s also rough in other areas, less of a delicious action milkshake and more like a gritty military sludge.

I’ve played around five hours of Breakpoint today, waking up and diving right into the action. On the one hand, it’s a surprisingly chewable and chill action game. On the other, I feel like I’ve been here before. Breakpoint isn’t a game out to shatter the mold; instead, it wants to slide comfortably into it. That’s great if you’re looking for some tactical action but if you’ve played a military shooter before, then you’ve basically played Breakpoint. No amount of user-interface overhauls or big name actors can change that. I’m in for a long haul but here are some initial thoughts.

Maybe We Won’t Start A Diplomatic Incident This Time?

Okay, the bar is admittedly low here but 2017’s Ghost Recon Wildlands had some serious problems with its setting and villains. Set in Bolivia, it focused on a Mexican cartel that somehow took over the country and transformed it into a narco-state. It was sleazy and racist, with caricature Mexican gangsters traipsing about a Bolivia that wasn’t much like Bolivia at all. It was so bad that the country of Bolivia filed a complaint to the French embassy (publisher Ubisoft being a French company, of course) and considered legal action.

Breakpoint opts for a fictional setting: the island of Auroa, which has been taken over by former “Ghost” operative Cole Walker (portrayed by Jon Bernthal.) It’s a sort of tech-libertarian paradise where a company working on automation and drone technology was eventually seized by Walker and his cohorts. It’s generic, but I’ll certainly take that over the shitshow that was Wildlands. And hey, it’s nice to have an honest to God villain this time around.

Ghost Recon Has Been Taking Notes From Destiny and The Division

While not a full-blown loot shooter, Ghost Recon Breakpoint leans further into that direction than its predecessor. There are a variety of weapon rarity levels, and you have an overall gear score based on the quality of your equipment. Taking on Walker has a recommended gear score of 150 or higher, and much of your time is spent not only on story missions but slowly upgrading your character’s power. This is a bit different from Wildlands, which was far more focused on letting you choose the weapons you like and going from there. Don’t expect to get too attached to your gear in Breakpoint. I was upgrading, swapping out, selling, and disassembling tons of weapons and armor right from the beginning of the game.

Normal Mode Is Pretty Easy

If you’ve played plenty of shooters, don’t expect Breakpoint’s normal difficulty to offer much of a challenge. While there are tougher enemies—Walker leads a platoon of spec ops “Wolves” who love to hunt down the player—it’s nothing you can’t handle with a marksman’s rifle and some well-placed shots. All your weapons can be suppressed, and Breakpoint hands you a precision rifle in the first mission. If you can aim and click your mouse, the early game (and presumably much of what’s to follow) will seem straightforward.

The Structure Is Different

Wildlands built itself around a core loop where players would do a few odd jobs to gain access to a high profile cartel lieutenant who they’d confront to gain more intel on their leader, El Sueño. It was a little bit like Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. Very loose, not tons of story. Here are some bad guys, go take them out. Breakpoint splits activities into different paths: a main story path, missions for Auroa’s various factions, side quests, other events like high level raids. This means that you can focus directly on the main story if you want. There’s less screwing about and trying to unlock new missions. It gives Breakpoint a welcome momentum that Wildlands didn’t have.

I Might Be Able To Fight The Final Boss Right Away?

You can immediately tag a mission to confront Walker right from the start of the game. The main tasks are to interrogate enemy officers for intel on his location and to, if you can, level up your gear to the appropriate level. I’m not entirely clear on how this all works, and it’s possible that officers don’t show up until certain story beats. However, the idea of a playthrough that ignores all the intrigue for a mad dash at the villain is really exciting. Chances are that it doesn’t work that way, but I would love for it to be possible.

All Games Should Let You “Pin” Objectives 

To help players manage their various tasks, Breakpoint allows them to pin up to three objectives to their interface. For me, this has meant a pin for my main story task, a pin for one side mission, and final pin marking the location of a nearby weapon blueprint. It’s as simple as going into your pause menu, hovering over a mission, and tapping spacebar. Super useful, easy to reference whenever you want, and great for tracking Breakpoints’ numerous distractions.

You Don’t Need To Wear Ugly Gear

Breakpoint’s focus on swapping out gear means winding up with some mismatched looks. If you find yourself walking around with half a ghillie suit and a crummy flop hat, you can hop into the menu to change your appearance at any time. You’re still mostly limited to tacticool gear, but if you don’t like a particular pair of pants all you need to do is select a new look. If you have better looking gear, simply transform the higher quality stuff into something easier on the eyes.

There’s An Exploration Mode

Lifting a page from Assassins Creed Origins and Odyssey, Breakpoint has a guided mode and exploration mode. The first places a marker on your map leading directly to your objective, the other asks you to decipher clues and peruse the map to find where to go next. It’s a neat touch for customizing your gameplay experience, even though I think it’s better to play guided in this case. Breakpoint’s map isn’t always easy to traverse; knowing exactly where to go speeds up an otherwise slow process.

Something’s Up With The Graphics For Me

I’m playing Breakpoint on PC and while everything runs smoothly, there’s some strange stuff going on with the graphics. It’s hard to explain but there’s either some depth of field stuff going on or a filter applied to things out of focus. Whatever the case, it’s given backgrounds a pixelated look that’s honestly distracting me. It’s not affecting my aim and I can soldier on without many problems, but I’m hoping that a few tweaks in the options will get rid of whatever the hell is going on.

This Could Take A While

Five hours or so isn’t a lot of time with a big AAA video game these days, but I’ve been focusing on the main story quest and was dismayed to see that the statistics screen said I’ve experienced 0% of the overall story so far. Maybe it’s a bug or a factor tied to the fact I’m playing a Ubisoft-provided review code before the game is supposed to be available in my region. Or maybe Breakpoint is that huge. I’d be more excited if the story wasn’t a standard behind-enemy-lines tale. Breakpoint s okay so far, but the prospect of untold hours of scowling soldiers and moody Jon Bernthal one-liners is daunting. All in a day’s work, I guess.

21 Comments

Other Heather Alexandra's posts

PSA: Get To Death Stranding Chapter 3 As Quickly As Possible PSA: Get To Death Stranding Chapter 3 As Quickly As Possible

I’ve already laid out some Death Stranding tips alongside my coworker Tim Rogers. Travel light; build structures in smart places; have an extra pair of shoes. One tip stands above them all, though: Do not get sidetracked at the start of the game. Death Stranding drops players into a large world to complete tons of deliveries, difficult affairs where...

How To Cover Video Game News When Everything's A Mess How To Cover Video Game News When Everything's A Mess

Last weekend, I immersed myself in the sights and sounds of a busy convention floor at BlizzCon in Anaheim, California. It was work—interviews, hands-on gameplay, meeting with contacts. It was also a chance to see friends. Through it all, I felt guilty. As controversies mounted, I was forced to navigate my guilt in the middle of a massive celebration.BlizzCon,...

Watch Us Break Down The First Act Of Death Stranding Watch Us Break Down The First Act Of Death Stranding

Death Stranding is upon us! Kojima Productions’ bizarre and super-massive exploration game brims with symbolism, clumsy stumbling, and gnarly ghosts. My pal Tim Rogers and I sat down to play the first chapter and talk about movies and all sorts of other stuff as we helped Sam Porter Bridges on his trek through the wasteland.Full disclosure: Tim and I recorded...

Tips For Playing Death Stranding Tips For Playing Death Stranding

Death Stranding is a big and strange game full of ghost battling and bridge building. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re alone in the wasteland, but fret not! I have some fantastic tips to help you survive the haunted hellscapes and protect your tube baby.Play On Normal DifficultyI give this tip for every game. Death Stranding has a few...

Suggested posts

Esports Team Gets Its Own Adidas Sneaker, And It's Not Terrible Esports Team Gets Its Own Adidas Sneaker, And It's Not Terrible

In the interests of fairness, after panning the last sportswear giant x esports deal I came across , it is now time to compliment one. Adidas have released a sneaker based on a French esports team, and I like it. Nike's New League Of Legends Gear Sucks Welcome, everyone, to my strange little wheelhouse, where one of my biggest...

EA Staff Twitter Accounts Hacked After YouTuber Gets Banned EA Staff Twitter Accounts Hacked After YouTuber Gets Banned

A number of Electronic Arts employees have had their personal Twitter accounts hacked after a prominent FIFA player received a lifetime ban from official events for his “abusive, harassing, and vulgar” behaviour.The player, Kurt “Kurt0411" Fenech, has been the subject of several disciplinary moves by EA over the last few years, which are outlined here in the official notice...

Strip Clubs? Nah. The New Bachelor Party Is A Weekend Of Video Games Strip Clubs? Nah. The New Bachelor Party Is A Weekend Of Video Games

This weekend, Andrew Lin, a 31-year-old associate VP at a professional services firm from Queens, New York, will wed his girlfriend of seven years. Before that, he wanted to throw a common prenuptial bash: a bachelor party. Strippers, gambling, debauchery? Not for Lin and his friends. They got together for a weekend, stocked the fridge, and played the co-op...

How To Cover Video Game News When Everything's A Mess How To Cover Video Game News When Everything's A Mess

Last weekend, I immersed myself in the sights and sounds of a busy convention floor at BlizzCon in Anaheim, California. It was work—interviews, hands-on gameplay, meeting with contacts. It was also a chance to see friends. Through it all, I felt guilty. As controversies mounted, I was forced to navigate my guilt in the middle of a massive celebration.BlizzCon,...

Red Dead Lawman Explodes Suddenly Red Dead Lawman Explodes Suddenly

Today on Highlight Reel we have tons of Red Dead clips, broken Modern Warfare characters, strong kicks, great timing, and much more!Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all...

Hideo Kojima Presents Death Stranding Starring Hideo Kojima As Hideo Kojima Hideo Kojima Presents Death Stranding Starring Hideo Kojima As Hideo Kojima

Here, for your enjoyment this Thursday evening, is a Death Stranding trailer in which every single character is just Hideo Kojima.Made using Deepfakes , it’s basically the animated version of: It’s worth remembering that this tweet read differently in Japanese . It’s also worth remembering that this video is a joke, and a good one at that.

YouTuber's Lifetime Fortnite Ban Opens Conversation About Fair Punishments For Cheating YouTuber's Lifetime Fortnite Ban Opens Conversation About Fair Punishments For Cheating

Jarvis Khattri, a YouTube content creator for the esports organization FaZe Clan, received a lifetime ban from Fortnite earlier this week after releasing a video of him cheating in the mega-popular battle royale shooter. This has since given way to discussion about the severity of the punishment and whether content creators whose livelihoods depend on these games should be...

Watch Us Break Down The First Act Of Death Stranding Watch Us Break Down The First Act Of Death Stranding

Death Stranding is upon us! Kojima Productions’ bizarre and super-massive exploration game brims with symbolism, clumsy stumbling, and gnarly ghosts. My pal Tim Rogers and I sat down to play the first chapter and talk about movies and all sorts of other stuff as we helped Sam Porter Bridges on his trek through the wasteland.Full disclosure: Tim and I recorded...

Valkyria Chronicles 4 Gives Away All Its DLC For Free Valkyria Chronicles 4 Gives Away All Its DLC For Free

The Steam version of Valkyria Chronicles 4 has just been updated to give everyone who owns the game all of its DLC for nothing.Previously there had been six different updates you could buy, ranging from extra story missions to...a way to unlock swimsuit costumes.The update simply transforms everybody’s copy of the game to the Complete Edition, which included all...

China Bans Kids From Playing Games After 10 p.m., Caps Microtransaction Spending China Bans Kids From Playing Games After 10 p.m., Caps Microtransaction Spending

A new Chinese law that went into place on Tuesday has placed extreme limits on the screen times of the nation’s youth, with everyone under the age of 18 now restricted from playing video games for longer than 90 minutes a day, or between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.As the New York Times reports, China’s National...

Language