The Ghost Recon franchise has been around for decades now, with a ton of different games and sub franchises being released during its many year run. Among those games was Ghost Recon: Wildlands, an absolutely massive game packed full of content, but often criticized for its repetitiveness. But it's been more than two years since Wildlands was released, and Ubisoft is now preparing for its successor, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, to be delivered into the wild. Luckily, it brings an incredible amount of positive changes to the table, while at the same time maintaining the core gameplay that fans of the previous entry will know and love. Game Rant got the opportunity to play a healthy chunk of the game at an event hosted by Ubisoft.
Straight away, fans of Ghost Recon: Wildlands will begin to notice the improvements that Ubisoft has made to Ghost Recon: Beakpoint. The most immediately recognizable difference will be the game's UI, which has gotten a much-needed facelift. The layouts simply make more sense, and it's far easier to find the information you're looking for when sorting through the game's various menus. This is a good thing, as players will spend more time in the menus for a variety of different reasons, from player customization to researching the next steps in a mission.
Perhaps its best change, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint features a brand new location, the Auroa Archipelago, for players to explore. It's far more diverse than Bolivia was in the last game, offering up tons of gorgeous vistas and putrid swamps for players to traverse. During our hands-on time, we got to see about a quarter of the map, and even in that relatively small chunk, the variety didn't fail to impress.
Breakpoint also uses the same exploration mechanic from Assasin's Creed Odyssey, which describes an objective's location instead of just dropping a marker on the map. This is a welcome change, as it not only makes the game more interesting as a whole but also helped me familiarize myself with the minutia of the map in the area that I was headed off to. Of course, it is possible to disable exploration mode for those that don't want it, but using it definitely came off as the better way to play the game.
Combat in Breakpoint still feels incredibly fluid, but weapons feel more varied than they did in the first game, and it features some of the most satisfying knife finishers I've seen in a game. Breakpoint also features a weapon rarity system, with better gear being awarded for defeating difficult enemies. For instance, at one point in the demo, we defeated a world boss-style behemoth enemy, which dropped a blue rarity gun. However, in an interview following the hands-on session, the developers made it clear that Breakpoint isn't a looter shooter, and that the rarity system was more based around player choice and customization than anything.
This time around, the game is far more focused on the Ghosts than it was in the previous entry. There are more cutscenes diving into the main character, Nomad's, past and relationship with Cole D. Walker, the main antagonist portrayed by Jon Bernthal. Bernthal was a bit distracting at first, it's difficult not to imagine him as the Punisher or Shane from The Walking Dead, but he puts on a genuinely good performance as Walker, who, without diving into spoiler territory, is a pretty morally ambiguous character. Walker's rogue group of Ghosts, the Wolves, were also interestingly designed and posed a legitimate threat in the few instances that we ran into them.
Of course, the game still has some issues. Driving still felt incredibly floaty, an issue that Wildlands also had. Weightier vehicles were more easily controlled, but they move at a snail's pace compared to motorcycles and civilian-style cars. This wouldn't be a major issue if the map weren't as large, but the inability to traverse quickly over a massive area feels tedious. Luckily, flying still feels satisfying, and helicopters were pretty readily available in our demo.
There are also some light survival mechanics in Breakpoint, but they weren't overly intrusive. Taking large amounts of damage will temporarily hinder your character, slowing down movement speed and occasionally limiting you to your pistol, but it's easily remedied with bandages and some cover. Go without food or water for long enough and your character will suffer lower stamina and increased weapon sway, but it's also pretty easy to avoid those drawbacks through the use of some new in-game mechanics.
Those mechanics come in the form of the Bivouac, a sort of camp where players can go to change the time of day, craft consumable equipment like explosives, and gain temporary boosts. These camps are scattered all over the world relatively frequently, and it's definitely a valuable tool to use before infiltrating an enemy camp or engaging in any other mission.
We didn't get the chance to play with AI squadmates during our demo, so it's impossible to tell how intelligent they'll be when the game launches. That being said, playing with others made the experience a lot better, and communication was key to success. It's definitely worth checking the game out with friends, though there will still be plenty on offer for those that opt to go at it alone. It is worth noting, however, that Ghost Recon: Breakpoint requires an internet connection, even for single player.
Overall, PvE felt like a vast improvement over Wildlands. There was still some repetitiveness with the game's primary missions, but the addition of drone bosses helped break up that tedium enough to remain engaged throughout the entire play session, which consisted of about 5 hours of PvE and 1 hour of PvP. Fans of Wildlands should feel right at home with the content, but there are still plenty of improvements for those that skipped the last game. Plus, Ubisoft has big plans for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint post-launch, so plenty more will be coming in the future.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will release October 4, 2019, for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. Ubisoft provided travel and hotel accommodations for this event.