The sequel to 2017’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands called Ghost Recon Breakpoint is about a month away, and the beta has just concluded. I put a few hours into the game over the beta weekend and on the whole, I am cautiously optimistic, with some serious reservations. The good part is that the gunplay and tactical combat remains from Wildlands, and the series continues to provide a solid alternative to The Division franchise and its bullet-sponge bad guys.
The story is also much improved this time around, simply by virtue of actually having one with more depth than “fight your way up the ranks of bad guys and kill them all”. Even within the limited scope of the beta, though, the story peters off pretty quickly. While you do jump right in with some interesting storytelling, once you get to the game’s hub area it does revert back to open-world, largely directionless gameplay. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but we’ll have to wait for the game’s full release on October 4th, 2019 to see if the storytelling tightens back up as you progress further.
The hub itself also provides cause for concern to me. The main story pitch to Ghost Recon Breakpoint is that you are stranded on this island with no hope of support or rescue. However, the hub is teeming with other players milling about between missions. The immersion of being one-against-many disappears (Wildlands’ AI teammates are MIA at the moment, but the developers have promised to add them into the game sometime after launch).
Additionally, the hub is loaded with shops, tools, and items with seemingly no limitations or restrictions. There’s even a vendor with stock that rotates every few hours. While The Division obviously comes immediately to mind, the better comparison would be to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The loot and equipment systems seem lifted straight from that game, as does the skill tree. Again, this is not inherently problematic, but Ubisoft‘s track record for not abusing games like this is not spotless, to say the least. Still, once you’re out of the hub and back into the world that all drifts away. The engaging, tactical combat makes up for a lot of the potential problems down the road. The satisfaction of playing with friends and executing a perfect sync shot is fantastic, and not to be missed. We’ll see how well the full game stacks up on October 4th, 2019 and I personally remain tentatively hopeful despite some initial misgivings.