The Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint Closed Beta is currently underway, and I thought I might write about my impressions of the upcoming game from this brief little gameplay snippet that I’ve been playing for the past 6 or so hours.
To start with, Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a very similar game to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. It basically builds on the same core sandbox shooter formula that came to define its predecessor, but with the addition of a bunch of really interesting new mechanics, some of which have been borrowed directly from another Ubisoft franchise
The first new feature you’ll make note of, and the one I personally really appreciate, is that this game does not force you to team up with 3 AI companions when playing the game. You can still team up with 3 of your friends online to take on missions as a four person crew of course, but unlike Wildlands, it allows you to go your own way in single player by default.
You’ll also notice immediately that with Breakpoint the developers have implemented a new Gear Level mechanic that has been borrowed from the series’ sister franchise The Division. But unlike in the Division, the Gear Level is not an endgame mechanic, it is a persistent presence throughout the game.
Each piece of Gear found in the game, whether it be a weapon or a piece of armor, has a set score associated with it, and equipping various different pieces of gear all builds towards a singular Gear Level that determines the activities you can engage in within the open world. During my time with the Beta, I encountered a number of different situations that I could not tackle because my Gear Level was too low.
You have to constantly switch out your Gear with newer loot you find scattered throughout the game in containers, but the game also doesn’t restrict you as much as The Division does. Weapons have fixed stats like damage and range, and these stats mostly only vary by weapon types.
So if you find an Assault rifle that is exactly the same as the one you’re currently using but with a higher Gear Level, the only difference between them is probably that one of them has a higher Gear Level and not the base stats. There are higher tier weapons that have bonuses associated with them, but for the most part the base stats are the same. You can also apply upgrades to a specific weapon type, and those upgrades will then be applied to every weapon of that type that you encounter for the entire game.
Also unlike The Division, enemies here are not bullet sponges. Once you do take on a mission or encounter some enemies, headshots still count as headshots, and enemies go down like they’re made of fleshy bits like in any other shooter. This is not an RPG.
Gameplay wise, Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a much more satisfying experience compared to its predecessor as well. The weapons are varied and all feel great to use, especially the DMRs and Sniper Rifles, and there are a wide variety of useful abilities and tools at your disposal as well.
The new injury system is also really interesting, and it adds a whole new level to the game as a tactical shooter. If you take a lot of damage you can injure yourself, and this can affect aspects like movement.
And recovering from these injuries isn’t always as simple as using healing items. You may often find that you need to pull yourself away from combat to set up camp to properly heal. You can also make use of rations in these camps to provide temporary buffs to your character like an increase to your damage or health.
The map of Auroa is also much more detailed that the previous game’s Bolivia, and features a lot of variety in its landscape. There are mountains, hills, plains and swamps among others to explore, and they all look really beautiful. The world is also much denser with plant life and foliage, giving players lot of opportunities to hide among them and make use of stealth.
Actually the world in this game in general feels like it was designed primarily with stealth in mind, and this in turn encourages players to play the game more tactically. Not once during my time with the Beta did I ever find myself wanting to go in guns blazing from the start, and that’s because the tactical approach was always so much more satisfying and enticing.
There’s wasn’t much in the Beta in terms of Story and Campaign Missions, and honestly speaking, I didn’t care much for what was here in terms of the narrative at all. The writing is pretty bland in general, with one sequence in particular being laughably bad.
But that’s okay, because you’ll probably not want to play Ghost Recon Breakpoint for the story. The gameplay is king here, and that’s what really matters.
There are also a few side missions to complete and a handful of Faction objectives that are updated every day. So while the Beta is still live, you’ll have a constant source of content to play.
Overall though I’m quite happy with what I saw, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game next month. I’m a bit unsure about the Gear Level system, but I really can’t pass any judgments about it until I play more of the game.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is set for release on 4th October, 2019 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC.