Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint Review
For years now, in jest, Drones have been deemed a nuisance with the potential to wreak havok and cause casualties. We have been subliminally conditioned to accept that even if drones become weaponized, it would be beneficial and reduce the loss of human lives in war. However, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint exposes the raw reality that the opposite is a fact that is not so far from manifesting, and much like “Judgement Day”, advanced technology has the potential to hold densely populated areas, like in the game (an Island) hostage.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint sees the return of Nomad, who was the lead Ghost in Ghost Recon: Wildlands, but this time, you find yourself stuck behind enemy lines on an island called “Auroa Archipelago”, which is a fictional group of islands in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. This island was purchased by a billionaire entrepreneur named “Jace Skell” (A sort of Tony Stark type of personality), who set up the headquarters of Skell Technologies, with the ideal of setting up a safe haven to “restart” humanity with the benefits of highly technological advancements to make life easier. However, actions of this nature always attract the attention of individuals who would seek to use that same technology to bring about World Domination by weaponizing what was meant for good.
Enter the Wolves
Contracted by some seriously bad-ass villainous opportunists, the Sentinel, former Lieutenant Cole Walker (also the main Antagonist), heads up the enemy faction that has taken the entire Island of Auroa captive and laid siege to the drone technology developed by Skell Technologies. This group of oppressors, are ex-Ghosts and Rogue Operatives known as the Wolves. The game starts with a team of Ghosts flying into Auroa’s airspace, to investigate what has happened to the new safe haven lead by Jace Skell, under the code name “Operation Greenstone”.
However, soon after passing through the Auroa Barrier, the whole team is brought to ground by swarms of drones, with only a few Ghosts surviving the crash, including you (as Nomad). Your first priority is to locate any survivors, but as you approach each of the crash sites, you are already at a strong disadvantage, as the Wolves have already taken defensive positions around each site to prevent any type of Rendezvous.
Not too long after creating some considerable distance between yourself and the last crash site, you find your way to the safe haven of Erewhon, the hidden sanctuary of the resistance, know as the Homesteaders. This is where you meet up with the leader of the Homesteaders, Mads Schulz and his wife, Maria Schulz who heads up the “Shop” or “General Vendor”. Erewhon acts as the central hub or social center for all Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint players, where you can gather around a “Co-Op” Table if you are Looking for a Random Group to join, access the Project Titan Raid (Yes, there is a Four Person Raid available), purchase gear and upgrades from the Shop, sign up for the Ghost War (PvP) or set up your Bivouac (Preparation Camp) from where you can craft your explosives, medical items, buffs and prepare a whole new load-out to switch to while out in the field.
Using the environment is key while exploring Auroa, and one of the most advanced ways of camouflage is to utilize the “Prone Camo” feature, where once you are laying in tall grass or a swamp, you cover yourself with either grass or mud to render yourself virtually invisible, even while being chased down by drones, helicopters or foot soldiers. One of the most difficult Sentinel vehicles to try and avoid or take down (besides the Behemoth), is the Incubus Drone Vehicle, which is a Tactical AI Roller that patrols and area with deadly weaponry that cuts through your armor in a single shot.
The majority of all Sentinel (and Wolf controlled facilities and locations) has at least one Incubus patrolling, and this is when your only tactic of survival is to clear out the facility with a Suppressed Sniper Rifle. Scattered all across Auroa are Bivouac Camps, which are your Fast Travel Points and preparation camps where you craft your consumables and apply one hour buffs. These buffs however, do not persist through or after death.
The Island of Auroa consists of 21 different provinces, each of which have a plethora of Side Missions, Faction Missions or Intel Pieces to collect. Side Missions add to your exploration statistic, and Faction Missions add toward a Seasonal Reward System that unlocks rewards from the Homesteaders, because it shows your dedication towards aiding in the resistance against the Sentinel, which unlocks more Faction and Intel Zones for you to gain the upper hand in battle through interacting with Mads Schulz. Each season lasts for 2 months (at the time of this review), and it is not yet clear whether you are able to “catch up” on missed rewards. Intel pieces, once discovered, give you a choice of which “reward” to exploit, whether it be a hidden Bivouac Location, Weapon Mod or Weapon Schematic or Blueprints.
With the sheer amount of things to do, it is very easy to forget which missions you are on, or what you need to do to activate the next progression arch of the story. This is where the “Objective Board” adds value to your playing experience as it outlines all available missions and objectives required to unlock the next step in progression. When starting off you need to decide what Class you want to play, as there are four choices available to select from, namely Assault, Field Medic, Panther and Sharpshooter. The Engineer Class will be unlocked post launch for Year 1 Pass owners, but will need to be purchased by players who have not invested into the pass.
Irrespective of your chosen class, in both PvE (Player versus Environment) and PvP (Player versus Player) you have to deal with Injuries and Fatigue. Injuries will cause you to stumble and move as if you are suffering from a real injury, and the only way to clear this handicap is to apply a Medical Kit or jab yourself with a Syringe. When trying to overcome Exhaustion or Fatigue, you need to consume water, which you need to manually gather at a water source. The game forces you to participate in both PvE and PvP to rank up your class abilities and rank, which in my honest opinion is a very smart move by Monreal Paris, because it takes that game from being just a singular Solo playstyle, to really needing the assistance of team members, friends or random PUGs (Pick Up Groups).
Who Do You Think You Are Talking To
Interactions and Cut-Scenes in the game are seamless, whether it is a minor update, briefing or flashback to present some important back story. It is truly refreshing, as it does not present you with a loading screen at all before allowing you to head straight back into the fray, which lets you to progress very naturally. This is especially impressive due to the size of the sandbox environment, because I had already traveled over 1,000kms within my first 10 levels as a Ghost.
Day one boasts a total amount of 28 Main Quests, 30 Auroa Missions and 12 Faction Missions, which really does show you the dedication from the development team to increase the longevity of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint over Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
You also have the ability to choose how you want to play the game, in either “Guided Mode” or “Exploration Mode”, and this can be swapped out at any point within the game. Guided Mode will take all your clues and show you where to go next by marking the map (TacMap) with a pin, as where Exploration Mode will give you a set of clue to decipher to track down a target, your next objective or a specific area of interest. It goes without saying that the Exploration Mode is quite literally how the game is truly meant to be played and extends the time taken to complete a specific mission or quest arch.
Character customization is an absolute blast, as you can earn your usual Ubisoft Rewards by linking your account to the official Ubisoft site for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and then utilize the Mobile App to have Sam dictate your progression to you via the Daily Login feature. Gaining titles in game can only be unlocked by playing a certain way, which helps set you apart from all the other Ghosts around the globe.
PvP on a Whole Different Level
Post launch and at launch, the Ghost War 4 versus 4 PvP feature will be available, where two teams of Ghosts go head to head against each other in six seriously large and challenging maps. Ghost War has a common progression with the solo campaign (PvE), which means that your character, skills and spec remains the same in both.
There are currently two modes available, namely Elimination and Sabotage. Elimination is you typical Team Deathmatch Mode and Sabotage is a Bomb Planting Mode. There are four key features that make Ghost War so much fun, Marking, Sound Markers, Shot Trails and a Shrinking Combat Zone.
Marking lets you highlight enemy players to your squad so you can co-ordinate your strike. Sound Markers show you where enemy gunfire came from, again, allowing you and your squad to plan your flanking moves. Shot Trails have been tunes to show you direction, origin and destination points of a shot, whether it be a Pistol Round or Sniper Slug, which again helps you hunt down enemy players who might be playing the long game (waiting or camping). Lastly, in Elimination, the Shrinking Combat Zone works similar to a Battle Royale, where the area of engagement closes in as time passes by, forcing players to engage instead of camp a specific spot.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint releases today, 4 October 2019 and was developed by Ubisoft Paris. It is available at launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (Microsoft Windows). The market is currently flooded by Online Tactical Shooters, and not too long from now, we will see the release of some strong competitors, however, I have faith that Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will be able to hold it’s own and keep rolling out fresh content for it’s fan-base. At the time of this review, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint Auroa Edition can be purchased from BT Games on PlayStation 4 for R915.00 and alternatively on Xbox One for R915.00. Being witness to how Ghost Recon: Wildlands faded after roughly 6 months, I have also noticed how many changes that were requested by the community have been made and implemented into Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. I would most certainly recommend getting this title while it is hot, not just for the hype value, but for the season rewards, because you would hate to have that “I should have” feeling should Ghost Recon: Breakpoint withstand the test of time.
Squad Up Live Action Trailer with Lil Wayne
If the review was not enough to get you enticed, then I hope by watching this live action trailer, you get up and rush on over to your nearest retailer to purchase the game and convince your friends to get a copy as well.