Ubisoft’s open-world stealth-em-up returns with Ghost Recon Breakpoint, a boring and exploitative experience that makes parody feel embarrassed.
The Ubisoft open-world formula got old before. Repetitive tower-climbing and a menagerie of bases to capture in near-every title the publisher released made each consecutive title in numerous series feel tired and boring. With Wildlands’ successor Breakpoint, Ubi is back up to its old tricks in quite possibly the driest title the publisher has ever released.
Advertised as a thrilling survival title where the titular Ghosts (that do indeed do reconnaissance) are the hunted, Breakpoint’s actual execution couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is indeed a nighttime forest opening that sees your squad gunned down by the always-awesome Jon Bernthal, but ten minutes later you’re hiding out in a cave sprawling with other soldiers. It’s a bigger façade than Halo 5’s AWOL Master Chief!
Instead of being a tense survival title, Breakpoint is simply more of the same… Just duller. Everything in Breakpointhas been done before: its sprawling open world on the island of Auroa isn’t particularly pretty to look at or interesting in its geographical makeup but it’s exactly what Ubisoft wanted it to be – big, sort-of-impressive and full of bases to kill enemies in.
Unlike the thought-out streets of Watch Dogs 2 or the gorgeous Egyptian locales of Assassin’s Creed Origins, the island of Auroa is underwhelming at best. Even compared to the culturally offensive interpretation of Bolivia in Ghost Recon Wildlands, there’s no semblance of culture here. It’s incredulously slapdash. In Breakpoint, you can even shoot through solid windows. They won’t break, but you can shoot straight through them.
If you’re a fan of Wildlands that simply wanted more content to shoot, drive and run around in, Breakpoint does have you covered. There’s some solid shooting here: guns feel punchy and powerful even without levelling them up and grinding for attachments. Most enemies go down in a headshot or two, although body shots are dependant on the level of gear your enemy had equipped. In typical Ubisoft fashion, there’s a lot of bugs in the way that can utterly ruin your attempts at taking over a base, but that’s the least of the game’s issues.
New survival mechanics are added, but they don’t feel needed at all. Drinking water found in streams and housed in your trusty canteen can be used to refill your slowly draining stamina. That’s an interesting mechanic! Too bad your stamina resets upon death rendering it useless. You can go prone and cover yourself in local terrain to blend in. It’s no more useful than just going prone and only lasts for a few seconds once you move.
It works as a barebones looter shooter, albeit an incredibly exploitative one. Everything, and we do mean everything, within Ghost Recon Breakpoint can be bought with real-world money. Guns, vehicles, attachments, ammo, skins. Everything single item has been put up for sale in a title that’s only redeeming feature is being able to find items. Ubisoft has somehow made the most disgustingly predatory title we’ve seen yet. Move over launch-day Battlefront 2, Ubi has you beat!
For those who just wanted a simple co-op shooter with some political intrigue, Breakpoint is still a disaster. The Punisher and The Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal provides a great performance, but his appearances can’t save an utterly despicable and hands-down grating experience.
There is no saving Ghost Recon Breakpoint. It’s a disgustingly predatory experience wrapped around an expansive world with the soul of a corporate PowerPoint. It’s got all the features modern open world games have, but with none of the heart. If Ubisoft were aiming to make the dullest experience possible, well done, they’ve achieved their goal with flying colours.