Published on September 10th, 2019 | by John Werner
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint – Xbox One Beta Impressions
“Ghost Recon: Breakpoint” takes place on in the Auroa Archipelago, a group of islands somewhere in the South Pacific. Having played quite a number of open world games set in similar settings, as well as “Ghost Recon: Wildlands”, I naturally had my concerns about how the world map would unfold. Normally, developers would find clever ways of fitting every possible environment biome into a single world like a HD Minecraft map. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with “GR: Breakpoint”. Auroa has a rich cultural backstory that shapes its landscape and sets the scene nicely for exploration and missions. Without giving too much away, Auroa was the home to a large military occupation during the Cold War before being repurposed as a technological utopia for a mysterious company called Skell Technology and their newly employed private arm. As a result, Auroa is dotted with repurposed Cold War installations, ultra-modern research facilities and shanty town settlements of the equally mysterious inhabitants called the Homesteaders.
From the playable regions of the beta, Auroa appears to mostly be set around a large snow-covered mountain range at the centre of the main island, with the melting snow forming waterfalls that then create the various lakes, streams, and rivers that eventually flow into the ocean. From there, the regions closest to the mountains form dense tropical forests before intertwining further with the wet ways to create swamps and mud lands around the edge of the island. The transition is quite seamless, and the vegetation density has been constructed to a very high standard.
The beta began at the very beginning of the game, with players creating their own character before stepping foot onto Auroa. Character customisation is pretty much on par with “GR: Wildlands”. Players can pick their gender, facial features, and nationality. Truthfully, this wasn’t a huge feature and most of the aesthetics could be changed later in the game. Only the players gender appeared to be fixed from the start of the game. Clothing on the other hand plays a much bigger part in “Ghost Recon: Breakpoint” than it did in its previous title. Instead of been purely aesthetic, garments now play a more important role with the introduction of RPG elements.
As opposed to the previous title, players now have access to a wider range of weapons and clothing options. “Ghost Recon: Breakpoint” now uses an RPG system that allows players to loot new weapons and clothing from fallen enemies and storage crates scattered around the world. I personally find this a welcome change from “Wildlands” where you only had access to a fixed number of guns that could only be unlocked by exploring the entire map. Additionally, “Breakpoint” introduces a crafting system where players can upgrade their weapons stats or build new guns from blueprints they’ve discovered. Furthermore, one of my favourite new additions to the game is that the upgrades to weapons now apply to all guns of the same type. For example, I can upgrade my low level M1911 handgun and those same upgrades will then be applied to all other M1911 handguns in the game. This will encourage players to try new weapons and playstyles without worrying about losing all of the resources they’ve invested into a single playstyle. This is especially rewarding when finding a higher tire weapon that provides additional stat bonuses on top of the upgrades that I’ve already unlocked.
However, while everything may seem like sunshine and rainbows, I still have my concerns about this game. With only a month until launch, the developers still have a lot of work to do. As much as I am aware that this was only a beta and not the final game, one can only wonder how much the developers will be able to achieve in such a short period of time. The two biggest issues I found during my play were the land vehicles and graphics for player aesthtics.
In all honesty, I’m not surprised that the vehicles are still an issue. Anyone who played “GR: Wildlands” would remember how painful it was to drive the 4WD’s and motorbikes. Sadly, “Breakpoint” feels like a massive step back. In my attempts to ride the dirt bikes, the bike would accelerate like a rocket and handle like a rhino on roller-skates. Depending on how long I could stay on for, I would either crash into a tree and be thrown wildly into the air or drive the bike into the river and have to swim back to shore. The larger vehicles handled better, but their engines sounded like my character didn’t know how to drive a manual. I would be cruising along in a large truck, only to hear the sound of a two-stroke lawnmower rather than a big chunky V8 engine.
The player graphics on the other hand seem to be lagging. Not to say that they are bad, but the issue is they’re not updating when you make aesthetic changes. During my play, I was often changing my outfits as I’d constantly be picking up better gear. My issue is that whenever I would equip a new piece of clothing, it would still show my character wearing the old garment. I’m more than confident that this issue will be fixed but still felt that it needed mentioning.
In conclusion, after playing “Ghost Recon: Breakpoint” for about 12 hours, I can easily see the games full potential. It’s clear that a lot of work has already gone into developing the game and it’s definitely paid off. However, with just a few weeks to go until the launch, I’m predicting a rather large day one patch and possibly another decent one before Christmas. From what I’ve played, I do recommend this game, but I also advise a little bit of caution. Tom Clancy games have always managed to deliver what they promise, but I recommend keeping your ear to the ground and following this game closely before buying it. Depending on how much work the developers can do in the few final weeks before it comes out, it might be worth waiting for the pre or post-Christmas sales to pick up this game. That will give the developers more time to produce any patches that are required for a solid game and also provide players with an opportunity to pick it up on sale.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is available on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC on October 4th