Breakpoint had a lot of potential to deliver a great story. I mean it ain’t the worse one I have ever seen, but it certainly gets buried in a lot of design decisions that the developers went with. Taking place four years after Wildlands, Breakpoint tells the typical story of how one villainous group of people wants to use a weapon to wipe clean the world in order to make it a better place. You’ll either like it or not, but it’s clear that the game suffers from the typical open-world tropes of being extremely repetitive.
While this might not be a good start to our Ghost Recon Breakpoint review, you’ll understand where I’m coming from below.
In a Loop
And when I say repetitive, I’m talking Assassin Creed 1 level of repetitive, where practically all the main campaign missions share the same structure, with the ending bits being slightly different. Basically they follow this premise: Get the objective and then travel to the complete opposite side of the map to interrogate or gather intel, travel again to another end, gather more intel, and then travel back to once again get intel and complete the objective, only to travel yet one last time back to where you originally started to turn in. There’s a ton of unnecessary backtracking that is only there for the sake of adding more to the playtime. Yes, there are fast travel points scattered around the whole map that can help with that, but it still doesn’t change the fact that you will be doing a whole lot of rinse and repeat actions, and going to areas of the map that you will never revisit again. One could argue it’s your standard open-world trope, but even still, comparing to other Ubisoft games (as of recent like Far Cry 5), and heck even The Division 2, at least for the most the missions in those games tried to keep you locked to sections at a time. And I won’t knock the game down for giving players freedom, but the areas that are you are freely allowed to explore don’t get utilized as well as they could have been. There were a few missions here and there that changed things up for the best, giving us a tiny glimpse at an experience that could have been, but they’re so far in between one another.
For me, it made the overall pacing of the story just boring and contributed to the uninteresting scenarios. It’s a shame, considering that the most likable character happens to be the main villain played by Jon Bernthal (Netflix’s The Punisher, The Walking Dead), and his screen time is pretty low, an issue that has seemly plagued Ubisoft games for a long while now. His performance is pretty top-notch all considering he could have just phoned it in as that’s how the rest of the game felt like.
Always-Online, and MTX
Yes, Ghost Recon Breakpoint is an always-online game, despite having a single-player that can be played entirely soloed, and even with the ability to pause it. This is a disappointment and a huge markdown considering that Ghost Recon Wildlands supported offline play. Sure, I have reliable internet, but there isn’t a whole lot I can do when Ubisoft is performing server maintenance, and I want to play the game’s single-player mode to find out I can’t. At one point I was deep in a mission only for the servers to kick me out due to maintenance, and then, of course, it decided to reset my progress for that particular mission.
Besides playing with friends and randoms, there really isn’t much of a reason to always be connected online, unless you want to consider their heavy microtransaction-filled store as a driving factor. The amount of microtransactions in the game is ridiculous, and an insult to gamers who pony out $60. Ubisoft claims it’s there to save time, which it sells via their time savers packages (now removed), but honestly with the grind accompanied by the game they really want to make players spend. And this doesn’t solely pertain to cosmetics, as you can purchase anything from small trinkets that play no effect on the gameplay, to mods, weapons, and gear to boost your own stats. It’s disgusting, and a clear sign that Ubisoft is out to exploit whatever they can from the player base while fixing everything afterward.
Breakpoint is a contender for the buggiest game I’ve played all generation — right next to Fallout 76 (at launch).
NPCs (Non-player controller characters) constantly fail to load, forcing me to have to restart from a mission checkpoint to progress. My ability to mark enemies for whatever reason decided to stop working, I’ve gotten stuck and/or clipped into environments countless times. Audio can break, guns have ceased function, rubberbanding, screen tearing, quest markers disappearing, the list goes on and on. The frame rate is a hit and miss as often times it will just randomly decide to drop into single digits, even when there’s nothing happening on the screen. And the game does feature Photo Mode, but I advise to stay clear of it as that’s where the frame tends to crash. There wasn’t a single time throughout my playthrough that I had a smooth experience, and I will say I am playing this on the PlayStation 4 Pro, so I’m unsure if the experience is any better on PC and Xbox One X, but chances are it’s worse on base PS4 and Xbox One.
Another major issue? It’s driving. It’s an odd feeling, one comparable to driving on ice, but more so as if the physics are just detached from the world itself. Countless times we found ourselves wrestling with the wheel as we spun out for no apparent reason or getting stuck on what appears to be a smooth terrain. If you drive too fast in the game, terrain, buildings, and even enemies and allies either load partially, giving a PS1 look to the game, or don’t load in at all until the game has caught up. Sure, you could slow down for better loads, but it’s impossible to avoid as some missions require you to keep up or reach certain destinations within a limit. Fast traveling or even simply loading into the game hub can get annoying, as NPCs don’t tend to populate, which over time adds to wasted game time.
Speaking of the Hub, it is a fine example of what not to do with a hub-like zone. Strangely enough, there’s no minimap when entering it so NPCs and shops don’t appear marked until you look in their general location. Navigating the area is also a hassle as you have to go through its multi-level floors and subsections to get to where you want, with no vaulting allowed whatsoever. This can all translate into the absurdly overdone menu system that decides it wants to join in the latest trend of using a cursor system to navigate. In other words, it’s slow, everything is just thrown together on a screen hoping players will catch on and get used to it. And you probably will, but that’s only because it trains you to enter a menu for a small piece of intel that could have been stated with a few lines of dialogue.
It’s hard to find a lot of positive things in this game that I liked, considering that they’re so heavily weighted down by all the negatives. I liked that I didn’t have to push a button to pick up things as it was all automatically, yet you need to push and hold down buttons for certain actions in other places. I liked the gear system, as it’s essentially taken from the Division 2, but bogged down by its heavily pushed microtransactions. The world map was a nice size filled with a variety of different environments, yet had nothing much to do in it that was in the least bit interesting. The graphics would have been nice weren’t for the texture issues that’ll most likely never get fixed. For every positive this game could churn up, there just isn’t much to hold them in place.
Honestly, I feel as if Ubisoft at this point is contractually trapped to pump out Tom’s Clancy games in order to maintain the rights to the IP as the series continues to go in a downward spiral. This is a major let down, especially coming from a major AAA publisher such as Ubisoft. I’m unsure if a delay would have helped here, but it’s clear that it shouldn’t have been released in its current state.
This is one game that can’t catch a break.
- Auto-pick up resources and gear
- Jon Bernthal Performance
- Gear System from The Division 2 (hate or like it, I liked it)
- Technical Mess; Frame-rate issues, texture loading issues, random bugs that result in mission do-overs
- Terrible driving and collision physics that get you caught and killed more times than we wanted
- Repetitive missions that require tedious traveling and backtracking
- Thrown in your face microtransactions
- Always Online for the Single-player experience
- A big, yet empty world with the illusion its lively by placing enemies every so 100 ft. Animals play no roles other than oddly running at a slow pace.
- Worse Hub World I’ve seen in a game
- Broken Photomode where Frame-rate Crashes when using it