Hands On: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint

*PS Nation was invited to an event in San Francisco, California by Ubisoft for a hands-on preview of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Travel was paid for by the studio and the game was played on PlayStation 4 Pro.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint (Breakpoint) is the successor to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands (Wildlands). Both Wildlands and Breakpoint are tactical team based shooters taking place in an extremely large open world destination. You can go anywhere in the world whenever you would like. One of the major focal points in this series has also been the teamwork. You can play this game solo with three other AI players that you direct, or one can group up with friends and or match-make for certain activities.

An issue I personally had with Wildlands was the lack of a story or at least the feeling of what was going on in the world. Wildlands did a great job of having many small campaigns as you worked your way through each region. But as of writing this article I don’t even recall who the main villain was in Wildlands. I only really remember spending lots of time in a helicopter going from place to place and then having a fun encounter for about ten to fifteen minutes and then getting back in the helicopter to go somewhere else.

Now some of those same concerns are still valid in Breakpoint, but I could tell very early on that Breakpoint is trying to tell a compelling revenge story. Will they pull it off? Only time will tell. You do have a base camp called Erewhon where there are vendors for you to spend ones currency and materials on as well as other factions one can help and earn rewards from. Breakpoint is still a live game with tons of post launch content and PvP to help keep one occupied weeks and months after launch.

Campaign (just a slight overview no spoilers)

You play as Nomad, who is a squad leader for an elite group of ghost soldiers. You are sent to Auroa, a remote island that is home to the largest drone manufacturing plant in the world. Auroa has gone completely silent for unknown reasons and it’s the Ghost’s job to find out why. On the way to the island your team is ambushed by something that you are unable to see and you find yourself going from a recon mission to a survival mission. You slowly start to put things together as you find a few locals that give you intel on the island and what could be going on. You learn that Cole Walker, a former ghost that used to be in your unit, is the leader of the now named “Wolves”, former ghosts that have decided it’s better to have control of the island and the drone factory than to allow the government to have it. The early parts of the campaign begin to tell the story of why Walker turned against the ghosts.

Gameplay

Breakpoint is a third-person shooter. You can choose to aim down the sight and go into first-person mode when forging your weapon, or set the game to do an over the shoulder view as you aim. I personally preferred the first-person aiming down the sight mode. It all comes down to how you want to play. Not much has changed in terms of the core gameplay. Breakpoint plays very much like Wildlands, The Division, and other third-person shooter games. This is not a bad thing, and this model has worked for many years. The most significant change that I saw during my time with Breakpoint is the randomness of the weapon and gear drops along with the deep customization system the game now has.

As I mentioned before, one of my biggest complaints with Wildlands was the constant get in the helicopter and go from point A to point B then start the encounter and leave. Early on in Breakpoint it feels rewarding to explore lots of places on the island. A few times during my playthrough I was led off the beaten path because an ammo or loot crate appeared on the map and needed to be found by either exploring a cave or figuring out a way into the boarded up building. I also felt like some of the more unique gear and cosmetic items came from these random open world chests.

Customization

In Wildlands you could really mess with your facial appearance to have a bunch of fun with it. You can do the same in Breakpoint, but now you can go really deep into the overall appearance and still feel powerful. As you discover gear and weapons you will notice they have rarity to them. Blue items drop with one perk and green items with two perks. I can only assume as you level your character the gear drops will have more perks to them similar to most looter style games. These perks can be increased for the handling of weapons, damage resistance, and health regeneration, to name a few. You will also have the ability to change the color or pattern of a piece of body armor. It also appears to have some type of trans mod system. Meaning as you discover armor pieces, you unlock the look of that piece (e.g. you find a hat or helmet that you really like the look of, you can equip that look on a new helmet that has better stats), thus keeping your character looking how he wants while still having all the perks that you want to use. This system is a welcome step for players that mostly hate how their character looks, but want to keep the perks that come with the ugly look. This also makes gear drop somewhat important, because it could have a cool look and the perk set you have been hunting for.

Game Depth

You have these areas throughout the game called Erewhon, they’re like your base camps. Here is where you can craft items you might need for your next encounter as well as spend some materials on getting a buff to you and your teammates. You can also decide what time of day you want to take on your next encounter. It might be better to deploy your team in the middle of the night or in the early morning. You can truly prepare yourself for how you want the encounter to go.

Breakpoint also has four different classes you can choose from, Assault, Sharpshooter, Panther, and Field Medic. Each class offers a class ability that makes it slightly unique. However, the skill tree you are unlocking is universal across all classes. So as you focus on one class you won’t be punished when you move or decide to start working on the other class, you will just need to get comfortable with its class ability. I did not see or feel a class ability being powerful or even helpful in the early stages of the game, but I do have a feeling that it will be relevant later on as you progress into harder content as well as end game activities. The gear you have equipped also has a gear score attached to it. This works similar to all other game gear score systems. You have numbers attached to each piece of gear and the overall average of all equipped gear is your score. You can run into areas on the map that you are under-level for; this doesn’t mean you can’t go to this area, it just means you need to be more tactical and make sure you hit your shots.

Player vs Player (PvP)

As is expected in pretty much any game that uses guns, Breakpoint has a player vs player mode. At launch it will have six maps and two modes. The biggest takeaway I got from playing PvP for the brief amount of time I had with it was that Breakpoint will have dedicated servers to help prevent griefing and cheating. Also, anything you unlock in single player/co-op will be available to you in PvP and vice versa.

Conclusion

I love tactical co-operative shooters. These games are tons of fun to play with friends. I have a hard time playing these games solo. It appears that the team behind Breakpoint is trying to cater to all players. They want you to have a great time if playing through the story and walking away is your thing. They have plenty for you to do post campaign if speeding through a mission is your thing and dong endgame is the goal. They also will be providing tons of post launch content with multiple daily missions that can be completed to help really build your character as you want. Also, it appears that there will be raid activity coming to Breakpoint post launch and will provide the player-base with a truly hardcore challenge.

We all know games that have rough launches and turn out to be fairly solid live service games over time. But a lot of times, if those games don’t have a compelling story at launch, then a lot of players cast them aside, or they review poorly and are left to die.

I just hope Breakpoint doesn’t spread itself too thin. Trying to appease multiple types of players typically means that you don’t please any of them. But Ubisoft has proven game after game and year after year that they will support these games and listen to community feedback to attempt to build the type of game that you would want to play.

Written by Dave Hunt

Dave Hunt

Podcast Co-Host
Reviewer/Features Writer

Helping people in games is the most fun I have ever had.

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