Ubisoft is taking its Ghost Recon franchise in a completely different direction with Breakpoint. The gaming studio invited Hip-Hop Wired.com for a unique hands-on preview of the game, and we left quite impressed with what we experienced.
The developers for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint definitely listened to the community’s concerns while playing the previous title Wildlands. With Breakpoint, they set out to battle what hampered Wildlands, mainly the game’s repetitive nature that players fervently complained about. The preview was broken up into two parts, we got the experience Breakpoint’s campaign mode first with some PvE before we checked out the multiplayer.
Immediately right after you finish customizing your characters look, you realize this isn’t the Ghost Recon you have grown accustomed too. In Wildlands and other Ghost Recon titles you were always the hunter, in Breakpoint, you are the hunted. The action takes place on the island of Auroa that is home to a tech company called Skell Technology that creates drones. However, the island gets taken over by former Ghost, Cole D. Walker (Jon Bernthal) and his army of Rogue ghost soldiers who cut the island off from the world. Bernthal puts his entire all in the character of Walker might we add and has been a great addition to the Ghost Recon franchise.
You and your team are sent to investigate and are tasked with restoring communications. Things go left quickly, and your chopper is shot down. Once you wake up from the crash, you and your squad are tasked for looking for survivors while securing weapons and items along the way because you are practically naked. Initially, you and your fellow Ghosts were tasked to investigate the island
The game instantly introduces you to its new injury system, teaching you how to heal your character’s injuries. While traversing the fictional island of Auroa, you will encounter all types of rugged terrain like mountains, snow, swamps. The environment will either aid you in your fight to survive or can also slow you down or hurt you if you approach them in the wrong manner.
The environment in itself is a character in the game and will impact your play. You will quickly discover there is a new camouflage system that will allow you to blend in with your surroundings. When activated, it will enable you to take out a baddie while prone or hide from harder enemies like the Wolves and drones that actively search for you.
Fans will find Breakpoint is similar to Wildlands as far as some elements from the previous title being present. But make no mistake Wildlands is a totally different beast. Survival is the key in this game with players having to do things like drink water, eat food, and as mentioned above, treat injuries to keep your character battle-ready. Players will be able to refill their canteens by either by merely locating a river or even a swimming pool.
Also new to the game are bivouac campsites. While posted at one, players can equip buffs by eating or increase their character’s stamina by stretching. You can also plan ahead for your current missions for the camps. For example, if you want to attack a base at night, you can use the bivouac to skip to a time of the night when the guards are sleeping. As you can see preparation is key to your survival, and if you head out on a mission underprepared chances of survival are definitely slim.
Another great addition to the game is the fact is your player is fully customizable from your weapons, gear, and class which a new feature. All of that can also be changed at the bivouac. At the start of the game, you will be asked to choose between either being a Medic, Panther, Assualt, and Sharpshooter. Each has their own unique ability, like selecting the Medic class allows you to revive teammates utilizing a drone or even self-reviving your character. Once your type is selected, you will be able to unlock other abilities using a skill tree. This doesn’t mean you will have to stick with the first class you have chosen though, as you will be able to swap out classes when you visit a bivouac.
Auroa is a huge map, so of course, getting around is made simpler and safer with the help of vehicles. You can either travel using an assortment of vehicles ranging from boats, helicopters, dirtbikes, and buggies. If you’re brave, you can travel by foot, but again you have to be wary of your stamina gauge, sustaining injuries and becoming dehydrated.
Staying on the topic of traveling to your missions, the developers definitely stressed the importance of players exploring Auroa the way they want and playing how they want. In Breakpoint, there is no one way to complete a mission giving you a choice to either go in guns blazing or with an excellent course of action. Also, like in Ubisoft’s other franchise Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Breakpoint won’t tell you where you need to go when you take on a mission. Instead, you will have to explore the island and hunt for intel and speak with NPCs to obtain that information. BUT if you’re not with that idea you can always turn on guide mode, but how much fun is that?
Gunplay is also very smooth and easy to get accustomed to in the game. We were happy to see that developers focused on precision shooting more this time around. Headshots and well-placed shots are vital in helping dispatch your enemies quickly in firefights. Also returning fan-favorite sync shot, you and your team can put pins on enemies and coordinate takedowns with precision. Speaking with Breakpoint’s director, Eric Couzian, he even hinted at being able to sync up to 16 targets at one time. Thanks to the games new system using drones you collect in the game will help you accomplish this feat.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a new take on the Ghost Recon franchise, but like other titles playing alongside friends is what makes this game even more fun. The world of Auroa is vast and full of dangerous enemies. While playing alone and defeating insanely difficult Wolves, and drones by yourself could be rewarding, teaming up with your buddies is what Breakpoint is about at its core. That even transfers over to PvP, which we enjoyed playing thoroughly. We took on another team in two multiplayer modes, elimination, and sabotage on three of the six multiplayer maps that will be available at launch. Our favorite was Skell Port, a perfect setting for those who enjoy sniping. Your progress from your PvE play transfers over to PvP thanks to shared progression, which is very clutch.
Sabotage was also surprisingly very fun. In this mode, you either have to plant a bomb or defuse it depending on your team. Thanks to the well thought out maps, planning is very crucial in ensuring victory because running gung ho to the objective just doesn’t cut it. My team learned that the hard way our first go-around, but we quickly rebounded when we decided to come up with a gameplan.
Now for those wondering if there will be AI teammates in the game, Couzian revealed that option will not be available at launch but will be coming soon. So unless you squad up, you will be on your own during solo play.
Based on what we experienced at the event, Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a welcome change in the series. We left very intrigued and are looking forward to getting our hands on the full game very soon. The action, story, survival mechanics, and emphasis on team play definitely pulled us in even more. We won’t be shocked if Breakpoint is one of the better games to drop this year.
Photo: Ubisoft / Ghost Recon Breakpoint