One of the most underrated games of the last few years has to be Ghost Recon Wildlands. It didn’t get the same widespread praise as other Ubisoft shooters such as The Division and Rainbow Six Siege, but it was one hell of a game. Set in Bolivia, you were tasked with taking down a dangerous drugs cartel, and the methods at your disposal were vast. It was a lot of fun in a team, giving you countless options to take down an enemy hideout, allowing you to use stealth or all out warfare. Either way, Wildlands was able to shine when planning strategies with your buddies via headsets.
Today, in London, I witnessed the reveal of Ubisoft’s follow up: Ghost Recon Breakpoint. The tone was much different, focusing on the element of survival, putting your experience to the test on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, known as Auroa. Snowy peaks, fjords, and jungles were just some of the biomes on display, and within seconds of watching the reveal, I was already hooked. From the footage, the story is pretty clear: you play as a Ghost sent to the island to destroy AI machinery, controlled by a team of rogue Ghost agents known as The Wolves. They’re menacing – almost supernatural – and they mean business.
A scientist known as Jay Skell created machinery with the intention of stopping food shortages, healing the sick, and ending poverty. But one of Skell Tech’s droids ends up assassinating a political candidate, and it’s from there we pick up the story. The Wolves have reprogrammed Skell Tech’s Swarm Surveillance Drones into killing machines, and that is where you and your friends come in.
Breakpoint, by definition, is a military phrase meaning ‘the inability to carry out a mission objective’. You are pretty much stuck on this island, hunted by The Wolves, with no means to escape. You must use whatever skills you have to succeed, and the first bit of gameplay showed us plenty of neat new features. Firstly, you not only lose health, but also get injured. You can get sick, break a bone, or more, and by accessing something known as the Bivouac, you’ll be able to apply bandages and heal whilst hidden from the enemy. When it comes to hiding, it looks like the ability to use cover is back, and not only that, you can use something known as Prone Camo: the ability to hide in the mud. I watched as the Ghost laid in the muck, and smothered himself in it, allowing him to remain undetected by the enemy.
Eventually, you meet back up with your team, and from there you must rescue an engineer known as Madeira. Within the jungle you find a compound where you believe she is being kept prisoner, and the way in which the squad of four approached it gave me plenty of trust in the things this once 30-strong team, now 1000, have done with Breakpoint.
Scattered around the compound are enemies and drones alike, and each member of the team brought a unique skill to the operation. Firstly, you have the bearded grunt and another who used their automatic rifles to head into the buildings within the complex and take out the threat from within. Another member of the team had a sniper rifle, and he waited from above, using drones to scout out the place. Another had a rifle, but she waited in place to attack. Once beardy-lad and his mate (known as Alpha Team) was in position, the Bravo Team (the woman and the sniper) were ready to launch a full scale attack on the enemy soldiers.
Beardy fired his rocket launcher, the sniper set of the two drones he had sent in to electrocuted the enemies and a nearby drone, and the woman attacked from behind with her rifle. What ensued was organised chaos, born from a uniquely tactical approach that looked and felt vastly different to the baby steps taken in Wildlands. At one point, one of the Ghosts got taken down, and the female Ghost was able to get to him, throw a smoke grenade to cover their position, then carry him to a safe place before trying to revive him. This kind of tactic is going to be very useful, and although a simple tweak, it’ll help getting the Ghosts back up to full strength without being at the mercy of enemy gunfire.
When the team finally rescued Madeira, it became clear how brutal The Wolves can be. Just when you thought all the threats had been neutralised, The Wolves burst through the window with their killer drones, and all hell broke loose. Pair that with the fact that the mind blowing reveal of just who appears to be the head of these Rogue Ghosts (I won’t spoil in case you’re abstaining from trailer watching), Breakpoint looks set to be all kinds of awesome.
After watching the impressive gameplay demo, a few other tidbits were announced. There will be four classes available at launch, and you will play as your character across the multiplayer and single player campaigns. It was unclear whether your story will progress at the same time when joining a friend’s game, but I have my fingers crossed. You’ll also be able to change your class at any time. There will be a huge campaign with over 100 cutscenes, and it’ll include plenty of dialogue choices along the way. The enemy AI will be smarter, meaning that their attacks will be coordinated, and they’ll also be on a constant patrol. There is also a new enemy type known as the Behemoth that is bulky and well armoured.
Character customisation has been improved, with plenty of guns and attachments available at the Gunsmith, as well as a load of awesome new vehicles, such as the Falcon and the Fatboy. There seems to have been a lot of feedback from the community regarding the changes made from Wildlands, and Ubisoft have heard them loud and clear. PvP will be available from launch – something I was hoping for – and for the first time ever, Raids will be coming to Ghost Recon when the first DLC goes live.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is coming October 4, 2019. That’s only five months away, and with the stunning gameplay I watched today, the hype is real, my friends. If Ubisoft has truly listened to the fans, and what I saw is truly a reflection of how good the full game will be, then buy me a plane ticket to Auroa and slap some war paint on my cheeks (face or arse, frankly), as Breakpoint is going to be awesome.