The latest addition in the iconic Ghost Recon series bets big on better visuals, a complex storyline and an advanced enemy
Breakpoint is a sequel to the 2017 game Ghost Recon Wildlands
Stealth has always been integral to many of French video game company Ubisoft’s popular titles, like Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon. Sneaking into secure areas, stealing important documents and taking down an enemy without raising an alarm has an appeal that no amount of fast-paced shooting or sword-slashing action can match. While the action seemed to have overshadowed stealth and started feeling more like a secondary option than a necessity in the last two editions of Assassin’s Creed games, the Ghost Recon series, which was launched in 2001, continues to take it seriously.
The latest entry in the series, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, strikes a fine balance between the two, keeping the purists happy while offering an ample amount of action so the game doesn’t entirely alienate trigger-happy gamers.
The storyline revolves around you tracking and hunting down a former special forces operative, Cole Walker, played by actor Jon Bernthal, who has gone rogue. Walker controls Aurora, a fictional archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, with an army at his beck and call. The game’s inventory and skill management are not as elaborate as those in the Assassin’s Creed titles. The skills are limited but can come in handy during missions.
Ubisoft has also added new elements that are built around the stealth mode. For instance, in prone position, gamers can now use the camouflage mode to blend in with the surroundings, making it difficult for patrolling soldiers and helicopters to spot them. If the surface is muddy, it changes their colour to brown, and to green if it’s grassy. What makes staying under the radar all the more critical is the army of drones hovering near key military installations. They are hard to shake off as they move quickly, which also makes shooting them down harder. Shooting down enemy soldiers is a lot easier, especially if you aim for the head—the good old headshot.
Physical attributes have been given a boost, ensuring a person’s face looks more realistic. Even minute details, like wrinkles and skin texture, are visible. Players can customize their appearance and physical attributes at the beginning of the game.
Vehicles in open-world games are no longer about travelling from one point to another. Many of the new games are designed to offer a great driving and flying experience, with new special effects. Ghost Recon Breakpoint has everything from helicopters and dirt bikes to armoured trucks, but the overall driving experience feels bland and unnatural in some instances, especially when you are riding a bike in the game.
Breakpoint’s open world is smaller but doesn’t lack in variations. The snowy peaks, dense forests and muddy swamps in Aurora make for some interesting visual settings. The overall environment looks rich and more detailed than its predecessor, Ghost Recon Wildlands. Weather and terrain play a more active role. They also affect a player’s health during gameplay. Injured players cannot run and they start panting if they walk for too long. Similarly, you can’t drive or climb on any elevated surfaces.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is not a landmark addition to the series like Wildlands was. In many ways, it seems like a polished version with better visuals, a new map, a complex storyline and a more advanced enemy that deploys drones and robots to stop you at all costs. But these reasons are enough for fans of this iconic series to go for the game.