Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Gene(s): Tactical shooter
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is the latest outing from Ubisoft of the Tom Clancy Ghost Recon franchise, a follow up to Wildlands which passed me by. You (Nomad) are stranded in the mythical island of Aurora which is owned by Jace Skell the founder of Skell Technology. The island of Aurora is a huge open-world environment and Skell are a military contractor and huge corporation who specialise in drone technology for warfare. Your primary goal is to survive the onslaught of the military forces of the island and the “Wolves” a special unit of mercenaries. This game is primarily a third-person tactical shooter with the ability to drive, cars and the odd helicopter.
I have to say the scale of the island is immense, the detail and design of the characters are impressive. A mixture of bright tropical colours and browny-green mountainscapes too. It does feel like a desert island which is part of the problem for the gameplay, we will delve into this later. The third-person view is responsive and does give a sense of the terrain and the difficulties of navigating a huge island with lakes, rivers, mountains and snow trails. You will see your character lose grip, if you try to run a steep hill/mountain, you will lose traction on snowy peaks too. Mechanics of player control feels balanced and the aiming and shooting mechanics are solid, you do get a real sense of being in the world of a deserted island. A stamina gauge controls how much running swimming you can do at any one time, it replenishes while you rest, it can be given a boost by eating or drinking. There are healing mechanics too, if you take a shot to a leg or arm, you can use a survival kit to get a boost to your health. The majority of the game mechanics work well, this is a solid shooter at heart.
The issues are gameplay, looting and drones.
The island is huge and you spent huge time traversing the island with very little interaction with enemies. It feels like the bad kind of deserted island when you have encounter enemies, there isn’t enough variety in the types skirmishes you will get involved. It’s mainly encountering a group of 3-4 enemies walking along a street or a single armed vehicle with some mounted gunners. It’s repetitive and even sniping people gets boring. A single shot from the worst sniper rifle will kill most enemies. Looting is another issue there is a huge amount of guns and loot to be found but finding better loot doesn’t really improve your skills or if it does, it’s not noticeable. You can pretty much buy any gun from the start of the game but as there is no real difference between a high powered rifle and an average rifle, there isn’t a point. The loot system is broken, make little sense. Levelling up and classes exist too, you increase your stamina, health, ability to hold more ammo and have better firing rates. Some of the powers negate the stamina and health limitations which lead to imbalances in the game too. Drones have a huge impact on the game if you happen to be unfortunate enough to an encounter one, you are as good as dead. They are overpowered and seem to have the ability to call everyone on the island to come to kill you instantly, enemies just spawn at random and there isn’t escaping. This brings a huge imbalance to the game, the whole drones just appearing random make for awful gaming experience and they are tough to escape.
Glitches, there a lot of graphical glitches from floating characters, floating vehicles and just random absurdness occurring throughout the world. The game doesn’t have the polish and lacking some of the QA you would expect.
While the world is huge and immense in scale, the gameplay isn’t, there isn’t a whole lot of activities in the world. Missions are fairly dull and usually involve penetrating a guarded area. The game seems a bit rushed. I think the world is there for an epic game but at the moment it’s just okay with a bunch of issues. I did enjoy it for a few hours but the game didn’t progress and develop as to how I would expect it too.
The standout point is the voice acting of Jon Bernthal.