Breakpoint: More Tame Than Wildlands

I was so excited about the Ghost Recon: Breakpoint announcement. That’s because there are a lot of great things to say about Ghost Recon: Wildlands. I’ve said it time and again, it’s one of my favorite games. When it comes to Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, I have much less to say. I’ve participated in the Open Beta weekend, and have come away feeling very disappointed. I do have some good things to say about Breakpoint, I have more misgivings about it.

First, the good. The game continues to offer astonishing visuals. The south pacific scenery is breathtaking, and the high-tech buildings and equipment look sleek and original. The story carries over seamlessly from Wildlands, and I think that brings more immersion to the table. One of the greatest improvements is the durability of vehicles. No more street signs that will tear a chunk out of the front end of your vehicle. There is a little more realism with the physics, (at least from a vehicle perspective) and a lot of small brush and obstacles are ignored. This is a welcome upgrade in Breakpoint. Finally, I want to add that it has improved since the previous beta weekend, so problems are being addressed, and progress is being made.

I’m going to skip over the bad, and get right to the ugly. The game feels like it has a lot of low effort timesinks. It gives you busy work to do just to keep you in game, as opposed to giving you actual content.

Part of what I liked most about Wildlands was the fluidity of the gameplay. Breakpoint takes that fluidity and ties a chain around its neck. Instead of bouncing from region to region, meeting Bowman in safehouses, Breakpoint keeps you coming back to Erewhan. While you’re in Erewhan, there’s no sprinting or rushing from quest giver to shopkeeper. You just do a very mild jog around the place, which is frustratingly slow. Breakpoint also introduces actual gear that has stats, which gives it a looter shooter style timesink. Crafting is yet another new timesink that seems out of place in a game that is (presumably) focused on combat. There are materials you gather in the wild (bananas, saltpeter, etc) which you use to craft things. You’ll also need to spend time finding sources of fresh water to keep your stamina up, the abundant salt water will of course not help. While you’re looking for this water, and the crafting mats, and your loot, enemy drones fly overhead forcing you to stop what you’re doing and into hiding. Yet more waiting. Just imagine the gameplay of Wildlands, except you have to stop every 5 minutes to perform some menial task, or sit still doing nothing. There are still fast and furious gunfights and car chases, but the in-between moments are a whole lot more tedious. Suffice to say, the theme of the game is hurry up and wait. For someone like me who abhors too much stealth gameplay, Breakpoint might be my breakpoint.

Turning the game into a looter shooter is a tossup for me. There is undeniably a niche for stealth shooters, but looter shooters tend to be a lot faster paced. If you like slower paced shooters, and don’t mind spending time grinding, then this game could be for you. Or you could just go play The Division 2.

Whatever genre Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is aiming for, I can’t tell if it’s hit the mark or not. I can see the familiar Ghost Recon path to open world shooter, but it’s covered in speed bumps. It’s got these survival elements on top of looter shooter mechanics, and these two constantly pull against each other in practice. Looter shooters are fast and flashy, while survival games are slower and gritty. Breakpoint is exactly like this in rising and falling action. Brief moments of fun broken up by longer periods of frustration. I’ll be watching development closely, hoping that the old gameplay breaks out of this new mold. While Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is a game I might pick up someday, it won’t be on launch day, and not at full price either.

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2 Responses

  1. Gravelstein says:

    Yeah, you have to recognize that this game is much different from Wildlands. It’s less of a shooter and more of an RPG. What Ubisoft has done is take Wildlands and the Division and made Breakpoint. There are elements of both in this new game, and one has to realize that this game is more of a MMO-Style RPG with shooter elements. This differs vastly from Wildlands.

    At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. I kept getting a bit frustrated at how spread out and non-linear the mission locations were. Unlike Wildlands, where you focused on one area, cleared it, and moved on tot he the next area, it seems that Breakpoint has gotten away from that linear gameplay and made it where you immerse yourself in this universe for the long haul.

    One thing that was absolutely incredible is in Breakpoint is how fun it is with friends. Just the way the game meshes the character “tactics” (classes) together, allowing each person to have and switch their roles is a pretty cool idea. Also, the bivouacs are a cool addition to game. This allows you to set up camp, craft, change tactics (class roles), trade items (multiplayer), and access the in-game shop. Also, the visuals for the bivouac setup is really cool. It really makes you feel like you’re IN the world…a PART of it. This is especially true when playing with your friends.

    However, the cutscenes and actual story of the game are really subpar when compared to Wildlands. For solo-players, this is going to be a game-breaker, I think. That’s the problem with Breakpoint. It is NOT a single player game. I mean, it can definitely be played as such, but with the grind and the focus on the hub for multiplayer, I think Breakpoint is more-interested in reaching the Division audience more than the single-player shooter audience. However, the Division 2 doesn’t have nearly the open world feel of Breakpoint, nor the freedom. So, you COULD go play the Division 2, but don’t think for a second that this game is similar. It has similar mechanics and a more RPG-style of gameplay like the Division 2, but that’ s it. Breakpoint has crafting of weapons, upgrade of weapons, crafting of items, upgrade of gear, cosmetics gear, cosmetic of VEHICLES, ground and air vehicles, etc… There is much more open world in Breakpoint than the Division 2 could ever bring. They’re two different styles of games, with different environments. Also, the Division 2 is much more RPG than Breakpoint.

    All-in-all, a good review from a person that enjoyed Wildlands. It was definitely confusing for me, too, when I joined in on the beta. If I had not played the Division and Division 2, then I definitely would not have realized what in the world Ubisoft was thinking, haha. However, I think that once a person realizes that this is NOT Wildlands 2, then the more they’ll be able to enjoy Breakpoint.

    • Traitine says:

      You’ve certainly stuck around! Thanks for reading all this time.

      I can see the game’s trend towards an MMORPG. It’s just not what I am looking for personally out of Ghost Recon. Wildlands was just so free wheeling, and this feels like you’re tied down everywhere you go. One redeeming quality could be the co-op gameplay you mention. I played it last beta with a group, and it was buggy and broken. This time I couldn’t find anyone interested so hopefully that’s just something I’ll be pleasantly surprised by when I finally try it.

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