Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Release Date: Oct. 4, 2019


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Ghost Recon Breakpoint'

by Redmond Carolipio on July 19, 2019 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint is an entirely new adventure, putting players back in the boots of the Ghosts, an Elite US Special Operations Unit. But this time they are stranded behind enemy lines, facing their toughest enemy to date.

Pre-order Ghost Recon: Breakpoint

My first good look at Ghost Recon: Breakpoint began with a roll in the dirt. Seriously. I took one of four playable character types — Fixit, Vasily, Fury and series signature Nomad, all with varying specialties — and was getting a feel for the controls. One of the things we could do was to lay flat on the ground for cover and literally press a button to roll and cover yourself in earthen muck to become nearly invisible to detection by naked eyes.

Perched somewhere in the middle of the fictional Auroa archipelago, myself and three other people, including our team leader, got set up for a two-hour tour of Ubisoft's upcoming deep open-world military shooter that riffs off of the good things from the addictive and fun ride that was Wildlands.

By now, you probably know the gist of the story: This time, the Ghosts are facing their equals. They are known as the Wolves, and their leader is Captain Cole Walker, a former Ghost, and aptly played by "Punisher" and "Walking Dead" star Jon Bernthal. The Wolves have made their home at Auroa and rule over it with a high-tech fist. What separates the Wolves from the Bolivian cartels you faced in Wildlands is not only the superior training, but also the superior weapons and equipment. If you follow the narrative, the Ghosts appear to be the underdogs. Story will apparently be an even bigger focus in Breakpoint, while also combining that feeling of working as a true special operator.

After our collective rolls in the dirt, our attention turned to other new features. One of the things that stood out was a semi-permanent injury system, which feels designed to not only penalize careless play, but emphasize the nature of harsher terrain. Drop from too high, you're messed up and need time to bandage yourself up. Wreck the car, you're messed up. Get shot up a little too much, you're messed up. You'll move slowly or hobble around until you actually take the time to sit down and fix yourself up. By the end of our playtime, our squad could a poster for bandaged limbs. Our squad driver … may have rolled us in a vehicle a few times.

Another new thing you and your squad can do is set up a bivouac, which is a temporary camp soldiers use to regroup. When you're not fixing battle damage, you're crafting items and tweaking your weapons. You can also choose to eat, rest or a variety of other things that can give you small boosts to your overall performance. You can also choose to change your classification. I stuck with being (or trying to be) a sharpshooter.

Our first mission was a rescue operation to extract and safeguard an engineer from the confines of a base. If you've played Wildlands most recently, then you'll more than seamlessly slide into the way things are done in Breakpoint, for the most part. Thankfully, I can give credit to my teammates and squad leader for buying into the notion of really working together. We moved as a group, took cover and went prone when patrols went by and synced up some beautiful simultaneous sniping shots. Our squad leader would get a good read of who was where on the map, and I got to say things like, "I've got eyes on the dude in the tower," or answer questions like, "Two guys walking near the door, I've got one, who has the other?" We balanced cool moments like that with awesome human error, like when one of my squadmates accidentally set me on fire or when I ruined about 10 minutes' worth of planning on another mission when I forgot to silence my rifle, which alerted everyone and led to a mad scramble, which we survived somehow.

We rinsed and repeated over the course of our hands-on session, which also included some driving around (and wrecking), along with another aspect separate from Wildlands: drone combat.

One of our last acts as a group was taking down a "behemoth," which is a giant drones/robots that patrols a part of the map. We had to coordinate attacks, hit weak spots when armor was knocked off and make sure to not get caught in the drone's sights and get hit with some kind of fatal payload. It felt a little like Horizon Zero Dawn, trying to take down a big, mobile machine. We succeeded, bandaged up and all, and got some goodies in the process.

We're told that Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will also have a greater focus on storytelling, which I welcome as someone who mostly flies solo during my gaming. It'll also feature a much bigger map than the one in Wildlands, so there are going to be even more places to invest your time. We'll all get a chance to dig deeper in the Breakpoint dirt on Oct. 4 of this year.

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