Following a short hiatus, Ghost Recons Wildlands helped put the long running franchise back on the map thanks to its sprawling open world, diverse environment, and gameplay that really let players tackle things the way they wanted to in any order they wanted. It’s also worth mentioning that Ubisoft has done a terrific job supporting the game over the past couple of years with a mix of free and paid content.
After all this time, I guess it should be no surprise that it was time for a new entry. Even though I kinda knew about it a day before it was officially announced, Ghost Recon Breakpoint was officially revealed and it looks like the follow up that the series deserves.
Gone are the wilds of Bolivia as Nomad and his Ghost Squad are taken to the fictional archipelago known as Aurora where an elite group of Ghosts called the Wolves have gone rogue and taken over Skell Technologies and their extensive network of drones and other military hardware. Nomad and his Ghost squad are sent in to investigate what’s going on and locate the CEO of the company, but things go horribly wrong and they’re shot down.
And that’s there the big hook comes in. Breakpoint is all about surviving behind enemy lines. While the same traditional third person action elements are still in place, the game struck me as being more tactical and a bit less arcadey than Wildlands. You’ll need to manage hunger and thirst while also treating injuries that can happen. Jumped off a higher than expected ledge? You may have a leg injury which will cause negative effects until treated. Animations are much improved as well as the movement/cover system which looks way more fluid.
Scavenging is encouraged especially for crafting things. Thankfully, the island is littered with safe zones and bivouacs to refuel, rest, and recover. Sync shot and player customization are also making a big return, as well as Day 1 PvP and the idea of character classes.
The other things that impressed me:
- Finally, we get all sorts of new close quarter takedown moves. Wildlands always felt very lacking in this area.
- Character models have finally been upgraded and look great. The recent Ghost Recon games were notorious for it’s odd looking faces. Even the launch character models and faces in Wildlands just didn’t look as good as other games. I have to admit, the team did get better, I mean look at Jon Bernthal’s character model compared to Nomad and Bowman. Night and day.
- Being able to camouflage into the environment like you’re the Predator. One scene in the gameplay showed Nomad rolling in the mud and wiping it on his face to better hide. You’ll be able to do that in all sorts of the varied environments as well which is pretty cool.
- Anyone else notice that Nomad now sounds like Chris Hemsworth voicing Thor in the Marvel movies? I have to admit that Nomad’s default voice in Wildlands always sounded a bit off, which I think makes sense when you consider that the character was always intended to be a vessel for the player to envision themselves as. That’s my take anyway. I personally like the Thor voice now, it fits his more gruff and gritty look.
Okay, I also need to discuss some story elements, much of which delves into the recent free Operation Oracle DLC update. So if you’re sensitive to spoilers, jump to the section below.
Alright, so Operation Oracle is a very cool addition to Wildlands, even if it is very short. Essentially, you’re sent by Bowman to extract a Skell Tech engineer held by Unidad. After arriving to the scene, you eventually run into Major Cole D. Walker, a fellow Ghost who reveals that Bowman isn’t who she said and can’t be trusted. By the end, Walker confronts Bowman and the two get real heated. While the two ultimately don’t see eye to eye and Walker still has thoughts of revenge for the death of his squad, he allies himself to you and says that he trust you.
As we found out yesterday, Walker is not only the leader of this new Rogue Ghost faction in Breakpoint, he’s also the primary antagonist. I felt a huge disconnect because of how positive the ending of Operation Oracle was. How did we get to this point? As I kept watching the livestream and read a few things, it seems like as you play through the Breakpoint campaign (which takes place years later from Wildlands) you’ll get snippets of the time that happened between both games. Clearly, this will be used to show how Nomad and Walker have their surprising fallout.
Still, I was surprised to see how things had become based on the ending of Operation Oracle.
With all that said, I’m not 100% sold on it. I know that may be shocking because I really enjoy Wildlands and this reveal was impressive on many levels. For me though, there was one thing that was said which basically turned me off and destroyed my hype. While Ghost Recon Breakpoint can be played solo or co-op as expected, if you decide to be the lonewolf and go it alone, you will no longer be supported by AI teammates. You truly are alone.
Now, I get that this fits with the theme and style of the game, being behind enemy lines and hunted, but my fear is that it’s going to make the game so much more difficult. Yes, the AI teammates in Wildlands certainly took some of the pressure off and perhaps there are many of you that will enjoy the challenge, but for someone like me that can’t spend hours a day cranking away at a mission, it doesn’t sound very appealing. There’s still a TON we don’t know obviously, so perhaps my fears are unwarranted. Ultimately, I’m just looking to enjoy my time and have fun.
With only a few months before the game launches and E3 2019 on the horizon, it won’t be long until we know more about this intriguing title.