Ghost Recon: Breakpoint released on October 4 and is the fifteenth game to be released for the Ghost Recon series. Having played the closed and open beta, I had a few expectations for the game, such as a few of the bugs being fixed, the story mode being expanded upon, and the combat being a little bit more challenging. I was not disappointed.
This article is purely my opinion on the game itself and does not speak for the rest of the population of players for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. That being said, I had a blast playing both of the online betas for the game, and also played the day that the game was released. After playing the introduction, I immediately understood the concept that was so different from many other games: going from the hunter to being hunted.
You play as the main character, Nomad, four years after the previous installment of the series, Ghost Recon: Wildlands.The second the game starts (after creating your character), the helicopter Nomad is riding in is shot down by drones that were once sworn to protect the Auroa Archipelago, the island you will be spending the rest of the game on. After a jog through a brigade of burning helicopters and a gruesome scenery of crash victims, you meet the main antagonist and his lackeys, Lt. Cole D. Walker and the faction of the Wolves, who promptly executes one of Nomad’s squad mates, Weaver, with the exact, emotionless words, “Sorry, Weaver”.
Nomad, a witness to Weaver’s execution, fled the scene and sought shelter at a cave called Erowan, where other survivors of the drone strike group together as a guerilla unit to face off against the Wolves and their drones. The game takes off from there as Nomad joins the survivors and starts his epic journey to get revenge for his fallen squadmates and get off the island for some help from a naval warship, the Wasp, just off of the coast of Auroa.
For me, the story was easy to follow, and the objective was clear enough: to hunt down Walker and get off the island. The gameplay was pretty fun, with the exception of falling underneath the map a handful of times during the beta and in the main game, but that would be fixed soon. The characters are memorable, and the main antagonist, Walker, is even played by Jon Bernthal the star of the Netflix series The Punisher.
Bernthal plays Walker perfectly, being a sadistic, mercenary-like revolutionary on the island of Auroa, hunting down everyone who doesn’t agree with his ideals of how Auroa should be run, which happens to include you. With every line and every movement of Walker, I actually wanted to join the Wolves instead of fight them because they looked so awesome.
Back on the subject of gameplay, there was one major quirk that everyone, myself included, wanted gone and reduced to atoms, the dreaded microtransactions. Microtransactions are small in-game purchases made with real money to improve the experience for the player. Now this might seem bad enough, but the real icing on the cake is that they made the player who purchased the item stronger, whether that was adding additional skill points without working for it, or buying an extremely overpowered weapon before actually being the level to use it. This would put them at an unfair advantage over skilled and new players alike, having gear that catches them up to skilled and experienced players who worked for their loot instead of buying it.
Ubisoft, the developers who created Ghost Recon and other major games, has since removed the microtransactions from the game, no longer allowing players to buy their way to victory. Some skepticism remains, however, because Ubisoft has released a statement announcing that they would introduce them back into the game after it has been out for a while, giving new players a chance to catch up to the players that have had the game for a while. So, we are safe for a while from microtransactions until about a year or so after the game releases.
There are a few new game mechanics worth mentioning, such as the prone-camo mechanic and the interrogation mechanic. The prone-camo mechanic means that the player lays down in grass, mud, or even sand and covers themselves in it, making them virtually invisible to nearby hostiles who would gun them down in seconds. This is a very useful feature for hiding and waiting for the right moment to strike the enemy like a snake in the grass after being hunted. I use this mechanic all the time to flee patrolling helicopters and firing squads who patrol the Auroa Archipelago. Just be careful not to let the enemy get too close, otherwise they might step on you and discover you. Yeah, that is also something that happened to me when I was scoping out the outpost I was going to take over. I was stepped on by a highly trained mercenary who just so happened to walk on my characters legs. It did not end well for him.
The other useful mechanic that makes an appearance once again since it’s debut in Ghost Recon: Wildlands is the interrogation mechanic. When you get close enough to a high ranking enemy, you have the option to grab them and extract information from them by using interrogation techniques. You basically just yell at them using obscene language until they tell you everything. Just make sure that no one spots you while you perform this mechanic, otherwise you’ll have an unnecessary gunfight on your hands.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint has the promise of being an immensely fun and enjoyable experience to anyone who enjoys a tactical military shooter. All Ubisoft needs to do is fix a few bugs, clean up the microtransactions, and keep introducing new elements to the game, and it will be golden. Despite the issues pre-launch and the aforementioned microtransactions, I had a great experience while playing the beta, and can’t wait to play more of the open world experience that is Ghost Recon: Breakpoint.