Title: Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
The Grade: A -
Breakpoint Haiku Review
Nomad has returned
Fight an evil Jon Bernthal
Your island awaits
What is it? The latest entry in the “Ghost Recon,” tactical shooter franchise. You play as Nomad, a member of an elite combat unit called Ghosts. Nomad and his team have been sent to the remote South Pacific island of Auroa. Run by a tech billionaire Jace Skell, the island is a futuristic oasis but it has mysteriously gone quiet. When Nomad and his team arrive to investigate, they get more than they bargained for. The group is ambushed by Cole Walker, voiced by actor Jon Bernthal ("The Punisher," "The Walking Dead"), a former Ghost gone rogue.
The Good: Everything in “Breakpoint” is bigger and better than its predecessor, “Ghost Recon Wildlands.” That starts with your antagonist, Cole Walker. One of the biggest issues with “Wildlands” was that your enemy wasn’t particularly menacing.
The story of the Santa Blanca Cartel followed the course of a group and their leader, so it didn’t allow for a primary antagonist to develop. That’s not the case here. Jon Bernthal immerses himself in the role of Walker and brings your foe to life. The interactions with his character are memorable.
Ubisoft has made other significant changes to the “Ghost Recon” formula. An improved cover system and driving controls, the ability to pick up and move bodies and a significantly more interactive home base are all welcome refinements, but what “Ghost Recon” fans will really find useful is the new class system.
In “Wildlands,” gamers could unlock skills in a standard tree. You could acquire a number of useful abilities but there wasn’t any customization. In “Breakpoint” you can unlock a greater variety of skills to match your style of play. You get to decide if you’d rather run and gun, use cool gadgets or be stealthy.
That personalization, which is all over "Breakpoint," continues with your weapons. Players can hunt down blueprints to craft weapons, dismantled picked up weapons for parts and upgrade existing weapons so you always have the best gear available. In “Wildlands” I had three weapons I stuck to a majority of the time. In “Breakpoint” I'm always working on fine tuning and improving my load out. Seeking out new loot is a lot of fun and reminded me of another Ubi game I enjoy, “The Division.”
A smooth and enjoyable co-op mode and a fun 4v4/PVP mode make bouncing around Aurora even more enjoyable. I’d highly recommend playing cooperatively, it’s exactly what “Breakpoint” was designed for.
The Bad: “Breakpoint’s” TacMap menus are a jumble of information. Scrolling through them can be a chore, especially early in the game as you are just learning how to use it. Information seems to be everywhere, but finding what you need is problematic. The TacMap is clunky.
A bit more troubling is one area not improved from “Wildlands” - repetition. There was a lack of variety in “Wildlands” missions. While “Breakpoint” does a better job of keeping things fresh, the action can get repetitive. Missions are fun but because the game is so large, you'll find yourself doing some of the same tasks multiple times over.
The Grade: I thoroughly enjoyed “Breakpoint’s” predecessor “Wildlands,” spending over 100 hours in Bolivia. But as much as I enjoyed that title, this latest iteration in the franchise feels like an improvement in every aspect. A massive game that’s a blast to play solo or in coop, “Ghost Recon Breakpoint” is a must own game.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.