Ghost Recon Breakpoint on PlayStation 4
It’s been nearly two years since Ghost Recon Wildlands expanded the franchise into a massive open world game. With Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the team at Ubisoft has aimed to expand their open world and storytelling with RPG elements, but this instead burdens the game with an identity crisis.
The Ghost Recon franchise at its core has always been about putting yourself in the boots of a military soldier on the ground, completing their mission with tactical efficiency.
Every enemy situation should be looked at like a tactical puzzle. Thinking about which order to take guards out, which ones to avoid, and what the path of least resistance is.
In Ghost Recon Breakpoint, it feels like you are putting together a puzzle with pieces from a different box. This is due in large part to the newest addition to Breakpoint, item level.
An item level is attached to all of your equipable gear. This isn’t a new concept in video games, but it’s new to the Ghost Recon franchise, and, honestly, it only bogs progression down.
Instead of allowing the player to choose how they want to approach a situation, be that stealth or guns blazing, your weapons item level dictates your play style.
Many times I found myself wanting to take a stealthy approach but my shotgun or LMG was a much higher item level, which unlike snipers or assault rifles, can’t have silencers attached to them.
So instead of trying to snipe enemies from afar, I felt pushed into going in all guns blazing for fear of being too low of a level to take on the enemies with weaker weapons.
However, Breakpoint is actively telling you that stealth is key in your success and many side missions will fail you for alerting the enemy. The game is at odds with player choice and increasing your item level.
Enemy encampments are filled with cover, tall grass, and high vantage points that are all built to take advantage of a stealth approach.
However, if you’re stuck using a weapon that will alert the enemy as soon as you fire it, the fights become about hunkering down in a building as the enemies come in one by one until you’ve killed them all.
It feels lackluster and like you missed out on what could have been a really interesting stealth puzzle.
This wouldn’t be so detrimental if the story was strong enough to pull the player through, but unfortunately, the story often falls extremely flat and underdelivers.
Characters barely have any expression when talking and the player-created character often looks like they are staring into space when delivering important moments of dialogue.
The main antagonist, Cole D Walker, who’s played by actor Jon Bernthal, is the main highlight of the story. Bernthal’s acting showcases conviction, emotion, and most importantly, empathy.
Every scene with Walker proves that Breakpoint’s story could have been a great look into the atrocities soldiers commit during war and how it warps their perspective of human life.
When the story focuses on other characters such as Jace Skell, the CEO of Skell Tech, the plot begins to fizzle out. Every character surrounding Walker is much weaker in comparison and can’t hold the same level of tension.
Breakpoint’s story starts off with the player character Nomad and his team crash landing on the island of Auroa after being attacked by a swarm of drones.
After discovering that most of your team has been eliminated by a group called the Wolves, you can seek refuge with a group that calls themselves the Homesteaders.
They are a group of island refugees trying to band together to stop the Wolves and private security team Sentinel from taking drone war machines off the island and using them to police the world.
Assembling a team to stop the drones should feel like something out of an action movie, but it often just feels like you’re collecting mission objectives and characters without pushing the plot forward.
These characters feel like set dressing more than people who have motivations and lives. With the exception of the character Paula Medera, who has one of the only interesting backstories.
Paula has motivation and a rather interesting story of how she and her husband got into the mess in the first place. She was brought to the island under false pretenses by her employer Jace Skell.
After being lied to about why she was there she is quickly taken prisoner by the Sentinels and forced to advance the drones’ AI so they can eliminate terrorist threats before they even occur.
Paula’s husband is hidden somewhere on the island, and uncovering his story is something I don’t want to spoil, so you’ll have to see that for yourself.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s main missions are quite repetitive and often have you sneaking into a building to find a person or terminal to get information, which leads you to another building to do the same.
I even encountered a few missions where I was escorting a person via helicopter and they would jump out and fall to their death. This would cause me to fail and have to start over.
Only after having to do those missions a second or third time would the person stay in their seat for the ride until we got to our location.
That’s not all though, Breakpoint certainly has its fair share of other bugs. Outside of some of those escort missions, nothing was too detrimental to my progression through the game, but visual bugs were certainly very noticeable.
Playing on a PS4 Pro I had a lot of texture pop-in, vehicles and characters not load in, and even my weapons be invisible and not fire for a few moments before finally appearing in my character’s hands.
Breakpoint also suffers from something many open world games struggle with. When the main-plot is trying to present itself as a time-sensitive threat, how is the player supposed to want to explore and take their time?
Why should I do a side quest for a musician who needs to get his music back when there is a giant drone army about to take over the world? Oftentimes, the side missions feel extremely inconsequential.
Sure, they give you some better gear, but in the context of the story, it felt tonally jarring. In a game where you’re constantly picking up so many items, the side-missions rewards weren’t any better than something I could find in a chest or buy from a shop anywhere else.
The fictional island of Auroa where all of this takes place is an excellent location filled with swamps, snowy mountains, and dense forests that give the game excellent environmental variety.
In typical Ubisoft fashion, the map is packed with activities to complete and secrets to uncover, which made exploring every area feel worthwhile.
The moment-to-moment gameplay on the island felt satisfying too. Whether I was driving a jeep down a mountain, flying a helicopter overhead, or just walking around, there was always something that caught my eye.
The space feels lived in with civilians living in their homes, walking around different spaces, or even cowering in fear when an enemy came by.
When the combat in Breakpoint is firing on all cylinders, it feels great. Characters will die from a single headshot, which adds a sense of realism to fights.
Boss fights don’t have a large health bar or difficult layers to the fight. It’s kept simple to try and keep the player immersed, which is a nice change of pace from other games of similar ilk.
It feels great when you’re able to sneak up on a boss and simply get a headshot on them. It gives you the full immersion of being a military soldier on a stealth mission.
Sure, it may seem anti-climatic that you’re not embroiled in a mechanic-heavy boss fight, but it truly gives you a small glimpse into what a semi-realistic tactical mission might look like.
The main challenging fights come in the form of Behemoth tanks, which are the toughest enemies in the game.
You can’t even begin to take them on until you get your item level into the 150 range. Drones are used all over the map by enemies for recon and attacking the player.
Behemoths, however, are mobile units that are essentially a one-man army. These tanks pack a serious punch and can quickly turn the tide of the fight at any moment.
It was a real highlight taking one down as the fights can often last a while and will take every tool at your disposal. Having to take cover, dodge missile attacks, and shoot weak points gave these a variety not seen previously.
If PvE isn’t your style, Ghost Recon Breakpoint has a PvP mode called Ghost War, which is great if you have a group of four players. It requires tactics and communication.
Player’s only have one life, so it’s important to scout out enemies and make sure you are in constant contact with your teammates. Your character’s progression from the story will carry over, with the exception of a few skills.
The integration of PvE and PvP progression is great because it doesn’t force players to have to worry about two different systems, while always allowing them to build upon the same character.
The skills you get in Breakpoint can really help flesh out how you want to play the game, even if the choices you are making are minimal.
There are four classes in Breakpoint. Assault, Panther, Medic, and Sniper. All offer a few unique perks as well as a class item. For instance, the Assault class offers a gas grenade as well as some extra health.
This class choice is where you will see the most variety, and luckily you can change classes at any point you have the skill points to unlock a new one.
Experimenting to find the right class is important because each class plays very differently and will often dictate how you should go about a mission.
Each of the classes felt like they fit a specific role, which was fun to play around with. The assault class felt like it was mostly geared towards solo players, which was great for most of my playthrough.
This added a nice layer to the skill tree and is definitely a welcome addition to the franchise. I hope to see Ghost Recon expand this system further in future games.
All in all, Ghost Recon Breakpoint offers a lot of content and fans of the series will be satisfied for the most part. Breakpoint attempts to push the series forward but often feels stuck in the mud from its own systems.
Score: 2.5/5 – Poor
- The fictional island of Auroa is an excellent setting
- Jon Bernthal’s performance was captivating
- Ghost War PvP is a great tactical multiplayer mode
- Item Level detracts from player choice
- Main missions are very repetitive and bland
- Other character performances felt weak
Should you Buy Ghost Recon Breakpoint?
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a game for fans of the series. If you can look past a lot of its flaws and just want a military third-person shooter this is for you. Otherwise, you’re in no shortage of great games this fall.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint Platforms and Release Date
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s Developer
Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s developer is Ubisoft Paris. They have also developed Ghost Recon Wildlands, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and Just Dance.
For more information on how we review games, check out Twinfinite’s review policy here.