7 Reasons Ghost Recon Breakpoint Is The Game Wildlands Should Have Been | Breakpoint Gameplay
Hello and welcome to Rock Paper Shotgun where
you join us between a rock and a hard place.
Or should that be a hard thing?
The thing in question being this Behemoth,
one of Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s drone enemies.
Forget the jeeps and helicopters of Wildlands’s
cartel – the fictional island of Aurora is
home to clanking monstrosities, courtesy of
a company called Skell Tech.
Their leader Jace Skell is a mix of Steve
Jobs and Elon Musk – though instead of Musk’s
self-driving cars it’s a self-driving murder
machine, and instead of Jobs pumping music
into your ears, this pumps lead.
Or worse, just runs over your ears.
Drones are Ubisoft’s solution to the question
of how to escalate action without losing the
‘one shot one kill’ ethos that defines
their special ops shooter.
A human head can only take one hit, so an
army of metalheads has been built to create
a different challenge.
The Behemoth is a straight out slog – we start
with three co-op partners raining down rockets
on it from above, only to peel back a bit
of armour and a fraction of its health bar.
The fight that follows has as much in common
with a Monster Hunter fight as anything in
And that isn’t a criticism – my beef with
Wildlands was that it was basically the same
easy fight over and over again.
And drones aren’t just bullet sponge bosses.
You’ll find bases roamed these Incubus cars,
forcing you to creep around or ensure your
squad has a sharpshooter specialist who can
use their armour buster skill to pierce the
Or just gang up and murder it with machine
Or there are the Azrael aerial drones, turning
even the simplest trip from A to B into a
delicate run from cover to cover as they spy
your location and call the Wolves – your special
It certainly creates drama between enemy settlements,
which was lacking in Wildlands.
And drones are just one way that Breakpoint
is improving the Wildlands formula.
I’ve played the first four hours of the
campaign, and a bit of Ghost Wars mode, and
have gathered further things I enjoyed in
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I don’t know about you, but when I think
‘sneaky men’ and ‘giant robot bastards’
I think of Metal Gear Solid.
And Breakpoint captures that vibe.
Take this moment when my forest stroll was
rudely interrupted by an Aamon drone.
It caught the tiniest glimpse of me – even
its threat indicator looks scary, like a giant
alien eye – and called its best friend over
to drive around my hiding spot like the Big
Bad Wolf eyeing up one of little pigs houses.
Of course, if the Big Bad Wolf had Skell Tech
even the brick house pig would have been fucked.
But I’m getting away from the point, which
is that when you are playing alone you are
often greatly outgunned and feel genuinely
vulnerable as a result.
Desperately shuffling through ferns while
strange enemies sniff you out gives me major
Metal Gear Solid 3 flashbacks – as does the
need to bandage up seeping wounds – and it’s
thrilling in a way that Wildlands never was.
But it’s Metal Gear Solid 5’s stealth
sandbox that Breakpoint really brings to mind
– at least when you’re playing alone.
The process of spotting a base in the distance,
scoping it out to get the lay of the land
and then trying to pick sensible route in,
is basically the same loop at the heart of
For me, the magic of that game, and in turn,
this one, is that it’s difficult to silently
clear a base before entering it – there are
areas with too many eyes, or too many robot
eyes, where stealth options are limited.
And so you have to find a chink in the armour,
sneak through that and hope no one finds you.
The Breakpoint team talk a lot about trying
to conjure a sense of being behind enemy lines,
and it’s here, when you are snuffling out
intel from under enemy noses that this is
Given that Konami don’t seem that interested
in making another one, and Kojima is off delivering
babies to holographic Geoff Keighley – or
whatever the hell that game is about – this
is the closest thing we’ll get to another
stealth sandbox, and I’ll take it.
Of course, all that only goes for solo play,
which is kind of a tricky subject matter.
Short version: Breakpoint wasn’t going to
have AI squadmates, but now it will, but they’ll
be coming after launch.
But here’s the thing: it works great without
Every small group of enemies you meet is a
minor dilemma – can you outgun them or are
you better off trying to cosplay as mud until
they walk on by.
Taking out a squad with no alarms is a mini
It’s even better when you start playing
with sync shot drones – which are little sniper
bots who can be sent out to shadow an enemy
and fire on your command.
Yes, it’s the sync shot from Wildlands,
but recalibrated for solo play.
It’s also more limited, as the items have
to be crafted or purchased from shops, meaning
you can’t just spam it, like I did in Wildlands.
Oh, and what’s really cool?
You can use sync drones in co-op – imagine
four players, each with three drones – that’s
16 simultaneous kills.
My god, I’m already salivating for the YouTube
That aside, I think you’ll be surprised
at how good the game is in solo.
As much as I like watching four special ops
soldiers steal a sports car and drive it into
patrols while hanging out of windows like
dogs enjoying the wind, I really like the
sense of loneliness and challenge of solo
I mean, it’s kind of what Breakpoint was
originally designed to be, right?
Also, another benefit of delaying AI friends
until after launch is that the team can polish
them up and make them behave more believably
in the world – that’s what creative director
Eric Couzian tells me, anyway.
I mean, they can’t be any dumber than me.
[FALL OFF ROOF]
A lot has been added in the name of authenticity
– the terrain you cross has a different impact
on stamina drain – represented by that bar
at the bottom – and pushing your stamina too
far can shrink that bar.
Likewise, you can take severe wounds that
require a bandage to heal and will leave you
hobbling until then.
It’s far from a survival game – there’s
no thirst or food meters – although you can
drink water to replenish that stamina bar.
Better to drink from crisp natural streams
than the cocktail of chlorine and child piss
that is the local swimming pool.
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The element I enjoy the most is the introduction
of bivouacs – think of them as campsites,
marked on the map with handy towers of smoke.
I actually built a bivouac on scout camp once,
but someone put a rabbit skull inside and
I was too scared to sleep it in.
I don’t think this will happen in Breakpoint.
Where my bivouac was mainly a hiding place
to eat sweets, these ones let you change your
character class, craft items, sleep to a set
time of day or perform an action to get a
This might be drinking to put off fatigue
or boosting accuracy by, er, looking at your
I’m not sure this is how accuracy works
in real life, but who am I to question the
special ops experts who helped with the game.
The idea of prepping for a mission, and setting
favourable lighting conditions for your approach
adds a strategic edge missing in Wildlands.
And it strikes a good balance, giving you
extra things to consider, without being a
According to creative director Eric, earlier
builds were tuned as it is in reality – sliding
down a slope could see your leg snap like
He says some early testers loved that raw
realism, but when you’re left to walk for
ten minutes on a crippled leg, it was too
Again, it’s something that comes more to
the forefront during solo play – when *this*
is happening in co-op, the last thing you
are thinking about is the correct angle of
Regardless of whether you’re playing with
pals or not, the island itself is a much more
interesting playground than Bolivia.
Eric says they opted for a fictional place
because they wanted to build the perfect landscape
for their terrain tactics – they’re not
beholden to fact.
The offshoot of this is that Aurora is varied
place for the action to play out.
The opening escape sequence could probably
have come from Wildlands, especially once
you find yourself tearing over dirt roads
on a stolen bike.
But at the heart of Aurora is a massive corporate
wonderland, which means the island is home
to modern suburbs, complete with white picket
fences and delicious swimming pools.
And the nature of Skell’s work means more
outlandish facilities than drug production
lines – not an hour into the game we found
ourselves fighting very real enemies in a
very fake town built for drone testing, before
shifting to corporate headquarters that give
you sniper battles across gleaming glass buildings
More importantly, there’s more going on
between settlements, whether it’s those
drone encounters or collecting rare loot – while
the game does have randomised loot drops,
Eric says lots of unique weapons and gear
are found in specific locations, giving you
greater treasures for properly exploring.
You won’t just fly a helicopter between
Another thing stopping you from taking a helicopter
from point to point is the lack of obvious
points in the first place.
Borrowing a trick from Assassin’s Creed
Odyssey, Breakpoint has two modes: exploration
In guided it behaves as Wildlands did – big
mission markers and points of interest dotted
on the map.
In exploration mode you have vague intel and
have to find the location.
If you played Odyssey, these clues will be
instantly familiar – you’re given a map
region, a landmark and some compass pointers.
Searching the map is only a small step at
the start of a mission, but the clues seem
to require a bit more interpretation than
Assassin’s Creed’s, which were often solved
by going towards the nearest question mark.
Without question marks it’s possible to
get it wrong and spend thirty minutes assaulting
the wrong building.
So much for the Recon part of Ghost Recon.
Still, it’s another way of getting you to
read and interpret the map, and maybe spend
a bit more time exploring on the ground – a
much better use of that giant map.
We only played an hour of Ghost War PvP mode,
but it’s already feeling better implemented
into the main game.
For starters, your campaign character is carried
over, bringing their look and unique weapons,
and progress is shared between the two modes
so it doesn’t feel like a hollow distraction
on the side.
More interestingly, it looks to avoid the
stumbling blocks of Wildlands’ Ghost War
mode – instead of finding locations on the
map to re-use as maps, the maps are built
specifically to cater to a range of tactics
and weapons – as good maps do – before being
placed into the wider world map.
What’s more the maps at launch riff on popular
maps from Wildlands – we got to play PMC Camp
which is based on Desert Outpost, the arcing
docks of Skell Port which is like a wetter
version of Quarry and the Research Center
which shares some similarities with Forest
Likewise, the two modes at launch – Elimination
and Sabotage – were picked as they were most
Throw in the removal of class restrictions
for constructing your dream squad, and the
promise of dedicated servers and it feels
like there’s a big push for Ghost War – and
the inclusion of a biog Battle Royale-esque
wall, pushing teams closer together as the
elimination clock ticks down, makes you wonder
if we might see a riff on battle royale in
new modes and maps set to be released post-launch.
When you’ve a playground as big as this,
would be interesting to see what could be
done with it.
Of course, some of you will see all this for
yourself when the game’s closed beta launches
this week – it’s one for people who pre-ordered.
I enjoyed what I played so far – I hope you
don’t mind that I talked more about solo
Like I said, I’ve been desperate for a proper
sandbox stealth adventure and having played
most of Wildlands by myself, I was keen to
see if they’ve nailed it.
Four hours is no way to gauge the full success
of a game, of course, but it made a good impression.
If you’d like to know about anything else
I saw – please do ask questions below, I’ll
be happy to clarify anything.
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That is a very quick look at Ghost Recon – I’m
actually going to add a quick look at the
wider skill tree at the end of this video,
so you can see how you can upgrade your character.
I didn’t get a chance to unlock much of
it, but thought you might like to see what
I hope you enjoyed this video and found it
useful – please do let me know in the comments
if you did, as it makes me feel all smug inside.
And please do subscribe to Rock Paper Shotgun
for more videos like this – we’ve got loads
of big reviews and previews going up soon.
So stick around for those.
Thanks for watching and bye for now!