20 Apr 2021 3:24 PM +00:00

Is Ghost Recon Breakpoint Worth Playing In 2021?

The year is 2019, and Ubisoft releases two third-person shooters under the Tom Clancy banner. The first, The Division 2, was in this humble writer's opinion, massively underrated, and despite a positive reception, underperformed - but that's a story for another day.

The other release was Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, the follow-up to the popular Wildlands. Eschewing the real-world setting of its predecessor for a bespoke, technologically advanced island that's been taken over by a radicalised former Ghost, the game seemed destined to succeed - it even had Jon Bernthal playing the antagonist, fresh off of his stint as The Punisher.

Read More: Is Sea of Thieves Worth Playing In 2021?

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Not So Special Forces

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Breakpoint's underlying shooting mechanics have always been solid

Just like the game's initial mission, though, everything seemed to go wrong. There were plenty of technical issues, sure, but even on a mechanical level the game had one foot in a gritty, modern shooter, and another in an aspiring live-service game.

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Breakpoint introduced a social hub, a randomised loot chase, and a bizarre levelling system that meant enemies could be spongier in certain areas.

The game underperformed critically and commercially, and fans turned their back on the long-running tactical shooter, feeling alienated by its pursuit of seemingly every gameplay trope.

That could've been the end, but here I am, writing about a game that has a Metacritic score of 58.

Field Prep

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The addition of AI teammates marked a big step for Breakpoint's recovery

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While Ubisoft fixed many technical issues, the game's 2.0 patch felt in many ways like a relaunch.

2.0 stripped out the loot tiers, meaning players could play their own way. Weapons could still be carried en masse, but for a more realistic experience, Ghosts could be limited to just two weapons.

The game's previously crowded social space could be turned off entirely, and even the game's much-publicised survival elements could be entirely stripped back.

Finally, players would eventually get the chance to introduce AI teammates. Previously absent despite the franchise's history of squad-based tactics, players could customise their companions' load-outs and hand out on-the-fly orders.

It was a clear signal from Ubisoft, a mea culpa that said: "we got it wrong, but we hear you".

Locked and Loaded

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Auroa is frequently beautiful

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Since then, we've had in-game events aplenty, including one crossing over with Splinter Cell and one with Rainbow Six Siege. But what of the moment-to-moment gameplay?

In its current state, Breakpoint is a solid shooter that really comes into its own in co-op. Ubisoft's open-world formula may grate on some, but throw a few friends into the mix and you'll be sniping enemies from afar while a comrade sneaks in, or flying over the gorgeous island of Auroa with an attack helicopter, chasing down armoured convoys.

While there's no denying that Breakpoint lacks a defining identity, it's now just a very fun time that definitely deserves a second chance.

The Verdict

Despite its disappointing start, Breakpoint is an explosive, entertaining adventure.

It doesn't do anything new, but if you're playing with friends then it's a great way to spend a few hours, blowing things up and exploring a huge open-world map.

4/5

Reviewed on PC with time spent on PS4