Ah, Ubisoft. The long-reigning leaders of the open world action-adventure game. The upcoming Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is shaping up to be just what you’d expect from the company.
This past weekend, a closed beta was available for the game, allowing players to play through the first two story missions, explore the world, and take part in numerous side quests. As far as betas go, it was pretty expansive, and simply playing through the first two missions allowed me to spend a good 90 minutes with the game. I didn’t wander too far off the path as I didn’t want to spoil the fun for myself when the full game releases.
I have to admit, I missed out on Wildlands, not yet having had time to play it. But I’ve long been a fan of Ubisoft’s signature open world formula. From Assassin’s Creed to Far Cry to The Division, I’ve yet to be disappointed. I love a massive open world to get lost in, and Ubisoft delivers that, and then some. From my short time with Ghost Recon Breakpoint, it delivers exactly everything I love about Ubisoft games.
The first thing to note about Breakpoint is its world is absolutely stunning. Set on Auroa, a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, around 1,000 miles from New Zealand, it offers a diverse range of locations to explore. The beta took me from jungles to a mountainside cave, along dirt tracks and modern roads, to a rugged coastline and ramshackle village. The vistas are stunning; unsurprisingly, it’s the type of game that makes you want to stop and take photographs every few minutes.
I only saw a very small slither of the game’s full map, which is set to be absolutely huge. Needless to say, the finished game will have a hell of a lot of things to see and do. The map is scattered with various icons, from side missions, to lootable objects, to enemies waiting to engage you in firefight.
Perhaps what I enjoyed most about my time with Breakpoint is that it doesn’t hold your hand; you’re in control. Waypoints are disabled by default, but you can toggle them on in the options if you’d rather a more traditional video game experience. You’ll be given clues as to where your next mission will take you, and it’s up to you to navigate there by checking landmarks, using your map and keeping tabs on the direction you’re travelling in. Orienteering for beginners, basically. Locating the second mission in the beta didn’t require too much effort as its location was fairly easy to work out on the map, but figuring out the best route there proved to be a rewarding challenge.
Of course, combat makes up a big part of what Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint is. While the game’s modern open world setting takes it a little away from the series’ tactical shooter roots, they’re still there; shooting requires more precision than, say, The Division. Enemies aren’t bullet sponges – one carefully-placed shot to the head and even the toughest foe will fall. The same goes for you; if you don’t take your time and use cover effectively, you’ll soon find yourself dead. Thankfully, the game does come with difficulty options if you’d rather have a more casual experience.
Enemies are lurking all over the map, so you’ll always need to be on guard. You can sneak up and stealth-kill enemies rather than shooting them, which is often a safer option if you have the opportunity. But more often than not, you’ll find yourself in a firefight. Breakpoint employs an RPG-style loot system, so as you play you’ll get access to higher quality guns and equipment. Better pieces of armour will offer you more protection against incoming attacks, and better guns will allow you to deal more damage when shooting at a human enemy’s body, or an enemy drone. No matter what gun you have equipped, though, a headshot will always be fatal (assuming the enemy isn’t wearing a helmet, of course).
The loot system also means that your character is forever improving. A character creator at the start of the game allows you to choose your gender and appearance, but a vast skill tree coupled with loot drops means that you’re able to build your character however you see fit. Skill points, allowing you to excel in one area (or be a general all-rounder, if you’d rather), unlock fairly regularly – and by the end of my time with the beta, I’d already amassed over a dozen that could be spent on unlocking various abilities and upgrades.
With just under a month until Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint releases, it’s needless to say that fans of Ubisoft’s previous open world action games aren’t going to be disappointed. It’s beautiful, it’s fun to play, and there’s a massive world that’ll keep you busy for weeks. After only an hour and a half with the game, I’m sold.
Watch my first hour of gameplay in the video below:
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