Is Ghost Recon Breakpoint worth it at the tail end of 2020? Let's break it down.
When Ghost Recon Breakpoint came out, it had a rocky start. During the technical tests and betas, the game was riddled with bugs, but many gamers (including myself) had expected it. After all, these were pre-release builds for players to help break the game.. And then, when it went live, there were still a lot of bugs.
This isn’t entirely unlike the story of Wildlands, but Breakpoint had numerous additional criticisms. The switch to a loot-shooter style gear system (“Gear Score”), bullet-sponge boss fights and much maligned drones is a dramatic departure from the Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter that launched the Ghost Recon series. At best, Ghost Recon Breakpoint could be considered “Mil-Sim Light”.
1 year later, and boy, how things have changed.
While bugs are still being squashed (including some that have existed since the technical tests), the game overall has improved significantly, and Ubisoft has really made this game more than playable for a variety of people. Let’s start with the core of what makes Ghost Recon Breakpoint a great sequel to Wildlands.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint has some of the best stealth mechanics of a modern open-world shooter, and they are (almost) completely optional
While it isn’t Splinter Cell, it certainly has grown to scratch that itch slightly thanks to a number of features that have been available since launch, plus some new ones recently added.
The stealth mechanics are detailed, and even though you’ll be spending less time in tight quarters than Sam Fisher, there are a lot of ways to be sneaky in Breakpoint. There are 2 classes dedicated to steath. The Panther class, available at launch, gave bonuses to stealth as well as using suppressed pistols and SMGs, plus some nice utilities to escape & evade. The Echelon class was added later as a nod to Splinter Cell (along with some missions featuring the titular Sam Fisher), which also boosts pistol performance and makes you feel a bit more like the operative we’ve all come to know and love with all the gadgets and abilities the class offers.
Beyond that, prone camo allows you to cover yourself in dirt and mud and hide in plain sight, assuming enemies weren’t already aware of you to begin with.
Later, probably the best enhancement added to Breakpoint was the bullet lure ability. Previously, you had lure grenades that would alert a moderately sized area and draw them in, but those had limited availability, and typically, you’d want to lure just one or two people away rather than an entire squad. With a bullet lure, you can easily distract a couple people and start drawing them away so you can reach an objective, or lure them to their death.
Plus, you can hide bodies, a must-have in almost any stealth game now.
The weapons of Breakpoint: shooting your way to the top
Initially, the weapon mechanics were a bit lacking. The gunsmith system was a bit of a step back from Wildlands in some ways, especially when you take the gear score system into consideration. Now, however, we’ve got much more ways to customize our loadouts, and there are a lot of ways to engage your targets.
Sniping, unfortunately, hasn’t improved too much in Breakpoint. There are more weapon and optic configurations that allow you to make use of a reticle for long-range shots, but you’re actually limited to slightly shorter ranges than in Wildlands; enemies will stop rendering at around 575m, as opposed to the 600m rendering distance in Wildlands. Still, it can be a rewarding experience to nail a target at 500m and perfectly compensate for bullet drop.. Especially when you ditch the suppressor and hear the boom of the .338 as it exits the barrel. Breakpoint may not be a dedicated sniper game, but it is definitely fun (and encouraged) to play a sharpshooter.
The separation of DMRs and sniper rifles is also a welcome change from Wildlands, as is the different ammo pools.
If you’re more of a fan of up-close-and-personal engagements, you’re going to be in good company. SMGs, pistols and shotguns all have their place here, as do ARs and LMGs.
Or, you can get really up close and personal, and stab someone. Different knives even have different animations for the act, which is a nice immersion factor.
Play Breakpoint how you want to play: The Ghost Experience update
The Ghost Experience update added new immersive mode settings, and later on they added even more options.
Want a hardcore gaming experience with no enemy markers, an injury system, limited stamina and no gear score system? No problem. Want something easy that you can breeze through like Rambo, and know where every enemy is once you’ve seen them once? You can have that, too, and everything in between. Fully customizable options for just about mechanic of the game are there, down to whether you have unlimited bandages or not.
Even better, recent updates have made it so you can turn off drones (except when a core part of a mission/objective), helicopter patrols and more should you want to.
There are presets available for all these settings, but you’re welcome to tweak them in more detail.
Finally, the Darkest Night option is almost definitely going to be a recommended setting. Before, night vision was of limited utility; now, you’ll be toggling between that and thermal vision to get the best picture of the battlefield at night, boy, does that battlefield look good.
Final Thoughts: Is Ghost Recon Breakpoint worth it in 2020?
Absolutely. Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a cornerstone game for Ghost Gamer News, and part of the reason it was founded. Though not without its bugs, it is such a fun experience, especially when you can customize it to suit your playstyle.
The game is also absolutely gorgeous. Seriously. I had a hard time nailing down just what screenshots to include in this article, and many people have really embraced the Photo Mode feature common in games now to great effect in Breakpoint.
Finally, we now have access to the raid location in solo-mode; that’s right, Breakpoint has a raid.. And that’s right, you can now access it without having to group with a bunch of randos. Happiness, they name is Golem Island!
Don’t forget to check out all of Ghost Gamer News’ guides for Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and we’ll see you in Erehwon!