The Utter Tragedy of Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Score: 7.5
Beneath all the nonsense, it’s a serviceable Ghost Recon game. But most of what the game tries to do it fails horribly at.

I loved Ghost Recon Wildlands. PUBG is my favorite game of the past 5 years. I love cool military tactical sim stuff. At the end of the day, if you want to secretly assault a base and silently take out 50 dudes with a silenced pistol you will of course find that in Breakpoint.  But what I want to point out is a few COLOSSAL missteps Ubisoft made with Breakpoint that could have very easily been avoided. These seem like senior leadership missteps at Ubisoft.

#1 – “Survival” was the tacked on flavor of the week in this game rather than being a concept integrated into the whole game.

I have issues with “Last of Us” but the game consistently and maturely integrates the idea of survival into the whole game. Joel feels weak and fights are visceral and you struggle for every inch and bandage and bullet.

Breakpoint is the definition of tacked on. I cannot tell you how angry I get when I’m descending a hill to get into my Ultrakill 5000 Tactical Chopper and take a slight tumble on the hill and it breaks my leg. Like what? Which fantasy are you going for game? Am I a super powerful bad ass who jumps into $10 million dollar helicopters that are lying around the map and mow down dudes or am I a cool secret soldier hiding in the bushes, putting out fires and silently taking down foes? The game couldn’t make up its mind about what it wanted to do and so it feels like a schizophrenic mess.

#2 – The narrative is stronger and more present here than Wildlands… it’s just not good.

GR Wildlands wasn’t really about the story—it was about working together with your unit to assault drug making labs, underground bunkers and basically FREEDOMing the entire contintent of South America. It was a great game because it knew exactly what you were here for and it did that. (And btw there are a group of guys who play Wildlands as a military sim and its freaking epic)

Breakpoint on the other hand actually tries to tell a story…. and this concept excited me at first. A google-esque company called Skelltech owns this island called Auroa where they develop all kinds of new technologies and drones and things. Well the US government has a report that a ship was attacked close to their island, and you guys being the bad ass military types are flown in to investigate. Your choppers are attacked by drones, you go down, and the game begins.

You start out in a cool rainy survival forest. You are silently taking out dudes. Investigating your crashed ships. It’s great. But then you get a random radio call from a woman who says “Hey come to our safe haven, Erewhon.” So you follow the signal and walk through a crack in a cave wall and suddenly you’re in a hub world with a bunch of random chuckleheads named “420NoScopeBrah” and “GanjaMan69” running around.

How does this in any way fit with the story you just set me up for? Oh wait it doesn’t. But you needed a hubworld in order to hawk microtransations on me. Well played Ubisoft, well played….
So the story doesn’t get much better from here. You meet a grisly old dude—voiced by Raymond Kenney from Watch Dogs. You help various random people around the island with various things. You find the drone expert so you can help take the drones out.

I kept waiting for those cinematic Naughty Dog moments and they never came. In the Division 2, your character doesn’t even speak and that sucks way worse. At least they have your character speak here, it’s just not good.

#3 – The hubworld and microtransaction stuff doesn’t fit the story of the game at all.

Ok so I’m a bad ass military contractor and I’ve been dropped into the island of Auroa. Now why exactly are there a bunch of other bad ass military contractors running around too? I thought they all died in a crash.

Why is there a camp where outcast Skelltech employees are living? I thought they all lived in super futuristic buildings. There is no explanation for the other people on the island that don’t work for this corporation.

When a game’s story and world aren’t consistent and are an obvious cash grab for the company it really makes you want to not play it and not take the game seriously. If this game isn’t going to take itself seriously neither will I.

In closing, I actually think Ghost Recon Wildlands was a better game and will be remembered more fondly. Wildlands said to us “We know what you’re here for, dude. You’re here to kill some drug dealers, mark some bad guys with recon drones, and fly around in $10 million dollar helicopters. We think that’s awesome and we want to do that too.” Breakpoint is a schizophrenic mess and doesn’t know what type of game it wants to be.

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