I’m going to be a little controversial and say that I like Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. You’ve probably seen a lot of reviews saying it’s bad. It’s not bad. But it’s not great either.
I’ve been really enjoying sneaking around the beautiful world that’s sort of been inspired by Pasifika civilisations. There are remnants of Marae-like buildings and Maori-esque communities scattered across the island of Auroa, but nothing big enough to properly explore and admire. Though, having said that, I have not been able to explore the entire map in the many hours that I have played the game, so there might very well be bigger Pasifika ruins.
So yeah. The map is fricken huge. By far the best way to get around quickly is by helicopter, and I personally found those easy to come by. Otherwise there are plenty of cars, bikes and boats you can commandeer around the place if you wish to go by land or river.
I did find that you couldn’t quite shoot and drive in many of the vehicles. The game is very much suited to co-op play. In Wildlands, the first Ghost Recon game, if you were playing solo you could have a team of three AI to help simul-shoot bad guys or to drive for you while you gunned enemies down. They were allies at the ready in the totally unlikely event that you stuff things up. But Breakpoint takes that safety net away.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. As a solo player, I do feel cooler being a badass one-woman army roaming the island, but also I’ve spent most open fights running away and desperately healing.
But something I love is that the vast majority of enemies are felled by one shot to the head, no matter what their level is. This encouraged me to sneak into a camp with enemies twice my level, but still be afraid to raise any sort of alarm. And that earns a double thumbs up from me.
Probably my favourite thing about the game is that it gives you the opportunity to work out where your objective is by giving you a few clues. The in-game map looks like a beautiful fold-out paper map with hill shading and lettering. It was really satisfying to figure out where someone might be by finding a peninsula near “Gear’s Arm,” place a beacon in the area and then turn up to find out you were right!
I can complain a lot about this game though. First, because it’s absolutely massive it takes aaaaaages to load. So long in fact, Ubisoft decided that once about 45% of the game was loaded, they’d let the player load in and walk around.
This has meant I’m sitting at base waiting for another couple of minutes for an NPC to spawn and start my next mission (more fun than staring at a loading screen, I guess), or suddenly I’m surrounded by six enemies that have magically spawned around me and my weapons have only just appeared too. Death quickly followed that traumatic event.
I’m not sure if this is a weird loading thing too, but the dialogue is often choppy, cutting in and out at random times. I was surprised that some of the voice acting was pretty good. I like listening to my female character, Nomad. But quite a few of the characters have the most stilted acting and it’s painful to watch.
Another thing I will complain about is the gear system. The Division, another Tom Clancy title, has an amazing gear system where you choose gear depending on your playstyle. Sometimes you need to sacrifice some stats to favour others. But in Breakpoint, all the gear really does is increase the amount of damage you can take, with the odd “take 2% less damage” perk attached. There was no incentive to keep specific gear except that it looked cooler.
And this is where I’ll say, Breakpoint is pretty good and it’s fun, but why would you and your friends play it when there’s the amazing The Division 2? TD2 doesn’t have as big a map or present as much of an opportunity to stroll around and explore a beautiful Pacific island. And Breakpoint has a more understandable story too. But in terms of gear progression, variety in playstyles, and seeing your impact on the world, I much preferred The Division 2.