Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint (PlayStation 4) Preview

By Gareth F 20.09.2019

Review for Tom Clancy

The release of Ghost Recon: Wildlands back in 2017 saw Tom Clancy's long established tactical first-person shooter series transition into a vast, sprawling, third-person open world shooter. Set in an unstable Bolivia under the ruthless control of a Mexican drug cartel, Wildlands proved to be a runaway sales success for Ubisoft, which wasted no time in following up on its momentum with the next chapter in franchise. Here's Cubed3's hands-on experience with the closed beta version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

The year is 2025, after a US Warship is attacked and sunk off the coast of the Auroa Archipelago, thus a team of 32 Ghost operators are sent in to investigate. There are vested interests at play as Auroa is home to Skell Tech; a manufacturer of high level, military grade robotic and drone hardware, which appears to be in the throes of a full-on communications blackout. Fears of a hostile takeover are quickly confirmed as the Ghost's helicopters are attacked by swarms of drones upon entry to Auroa's airspace, leaving only a handful of survivors scattered about the island. Skell Tech is now under the control of the 'Wolves', a rogue military operation who are being led by a disillusioned former Ghost Operator, Cole D. Walker (ably played by Jon Bernthal). Walker's motivations are unclear at this point but given that leaving the island in one piece is impossible, the surviving Ghosts are forced to engage an enemy that not only knows how they operate but who also has Skell Tech's sizable arsenal at their disposal.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint on PlayStation 4

Premise put aside... first impressions of the Ghost Recon Breakpoint Beta? Straight off the bat there's a lot to like here as even this small taster is crammed full of activities that serve to hint at a full product capable of sucking away the hours of those that allow it. Unsurprisingly, this feels very much feels like an Ubisoft title, as there's that air of familiarity in its menu systems and aesthetic approach that is deeply ingrained throughout all the publisher's open world titles. Areas of interest, nearby vehicles, and potential hazards, all get highlighted on the mini-map when in close proximity, and the ever growing list of missions and side activities continue to populate with each meaningful encounter and/or region uncovered.

The option to forego the HUD altogether can add a slight sense of reality to proceedings for those that crave it, but removing the current mission compass from view can prove disorienting as it only takes a few unplanned encounters to get thrown off course. It's fair to say that Auroa is ridiculously large in scale, almost to the point of being intimidating, and this can occasionally make the world on offer feel a bit empty. However there are many ways to travail the harsh terrain, ranging from helicopters, boats, motorbikes, armoured cars and of course a fast travel system that enables a swift hop between user-unlocked bivouacs. Admittedly some of the vehicle handling feels a bit stiff, but no doubt this is something that will get dealt with early on in the title's life span.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint on PlayStation 4

Enemy troops and patrols are plentiful, yet there is always ample room to completely avoid conflict altogether if a stealthier approach is preferable. The constant threat of discovery is ever present, as surveillance drones and helicopters frequently sweep overhead and will quickly despatch troops and drones to your location should cover not be taken quickly enough. Developer Ubisoft Paris has adopted a number of systems from one of Ubi's other popular franchises, The Division, which may, or may not be a bone of contention with veterans of Wildlands looking for a similar experience. The introduction of a tier-based loot system practically forces a constant upgrading of weaponry and equipment as progress is made. In turn, this contributes to an overall gear score that dictates which areas are safe to explore and which areas might be best avoided until higher scoring gear is found.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint on PlayStation 4

Warnings will flash up should your gear score not meet the minimum requirements for tackling the enemies in that region, though thankfully the irritating bullet sponges of The Division didn't make the crossover. Wandering into these high level areas, while challenging, are still doable with an able bodied squad and Ubisoft have been wise in keeping the enemy feeling like real humans that can be taken down by a few well placed shots. Being faced with oversized, lumbering dudes capable of absorbing 10 clips of ammo with their heads alone got old fast (here's looking at you The Division). As one might expect from such a combative title, the gunplay feels tight and punchy, and the wide variety of weaponry that can be found scattered about the land can be upgraded and customised.

Another feature that seems to have made the jump over from The Division are the new social hubs which act in much the same way as the Citadel did in Destiny. Here, one can congregate, team up, re-supply, get missions from NPCs, and gain access to the PVP Ghost War component. While the PVP element was included in the Beta, unfortunately it seemed to be out of action on the few occasions access to it was attempted. Given that Ghost Recon is widely regarded as being a squad-based franchise, it's reassuring to see that Ubisoft have really zeroed in on the co-op aspects of Breakpoint. Exploring Auroa, taking on giant Behometh robotic tanks, stealthily taking out lone patrols, engaging in fierce fire fights with waves of troops intent on destroying the intel you've just captured, or even storming a heavily fortified base; all these activities are way more fun when played with a mate or three. Much like The Division, this aspect is very well implemented, and totally transforms the feel and pace of it all.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint on PlayStation 4

Final Thoughts

If this brief snippet of Beta is anything to go by, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint is shaping up to be quite the time sink, as even at this early stage Ubisoft have a years worth of new content and community events already mapped out. For the solo combatant this could all prove a bit overwhelming, but then this is a series that thrives off its co-op gameplay, and there's no doubt that this is a title best enjoyed with a squad of close mates. Visually, this is a very nice looking title, and while one or two very minor performance issues did crop up during our time on Auroa, the overall experience was a positive one that did a great job of piquing interest in the full product which, incidentally, gets released on October 4th, 2019.

Developer

Ubisoft Paris

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date 04.10.2019   North America release date 04.10.2019   Japan release date 04.10.2019   Australian release date 04.10.2019   

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