October 4 is a big day for all fans of cooperative tactical shooters, as Ubisoft's Ghost Recon series is about to enter the next round with Breakpoint. The French publisher had previously offered an unbelievable number of interesting missions and let us wage a small war against nasty drug cartels in Bolivia in Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Big selling points were the game's co-op features and the extensive Open World, which made the title one of the big successes of 2017.
Fight for survival
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint takes you into a rather gloomy future, in which you fight against your former comrade Cole D. Walker on an almost paradisical Pacific island called Auroa. The meanie has taken control of the high-tech company Skell Tech and now wants to maltreat the world with AI-controlled drones. You slip into the skin of the ghost elite-soldier Nomad, who leads a troop of about 30 men on a reconnaissance mission - an American freighter has disappeared off the coast. Unfortunately, the mission doesn't run as smoothly as in Bolivia and you quickly transition from being the hunter to the hunted. You have to fight against many numerically superior enemies who have enjoyed the same Ghost training as you and, on top of that, know Auroa like the back of their hand. Injuries are very noticeable - if your leg is caught by an enemy bullet, you start limping and if an enemy hits your arm, you can only aim your weapon to a limited extent.
Right at the beginning of the game, hundreds of mini-drones attack the helicopters of the Ghosts and turn them into scrap metal in a matter of seconds. You belong to the few survivors of the troop and are happy to leave the crash with relatively minor injuries. After watching Cole D. mercilessly kill one of your comrades, you manage to escape to the mountains by the help of a buggy. Finding shelter in a huge mountain cave called Erewhon, you meet a faction that has declared war on the Wolves. At this point, the game really opens up and lets you deal with its various game elements, factions, and secondary tasks. From this point on, you can complete the many missions with another player or deal with PvP battles. Ubisoft Paris has really done a great job in representing the tough fight for survival and existence as a hunted fighter.
Strengths and weaknesses
Breakpoint scores with the many strengths of its predecessor. The Open game world is simply huge and offers a lot of variety thanks to its different climate zones. The combat system, however, feels rather sluggish. During the first main mission of Breakpoint, you attempt to earn the trust of Mads Schulz, the leader of the Erewhon faction. You need to look after the boats with which some former Skell Tech employees plan to flee the island. Similar to Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, you can either choose a guided mode or complete missions without automatic target markers. Sadly, many of the opponents drop dead after only one hit in Breakpoint's PvE mode. Drones are relatively easy to take out with a shotgun and aren't too dangerous - unless you give them enough time to alert foot soldiers. Aamons and Behemoths, on the other hand, are strong vehicles with either rocket launchers or big guns. They can withstand several machine gun loads and should ideally only be attacked by several players.
Missions often follow a similar pattern. You have to stand up to a superior enemy, which is actually quite easy to master - a little practice and you always manage to hit the head. The game offers a huge arsenal of authentic machine guns, assault rifles, shotguns and snipers, each with their own specific equipment values. The latter, however, being of minor importance in the co-op or single-player missions, as they are easy to play with any weapon. Certain missions provide variety and make you go on the search for clues. The leader of the Erewhon faction was involved in the Cold War and lost a comrade on Auroa. Mads Schulz only knows the place where his friend is said to have crashed. After flying there by helicopter, you manage to find a dog tag on a destroyed jeep - but it's not from Mad's comrade. Finally, the search in a nearby anti-aircraft base leads to the comrade hiding in a bunker. However, all help is too late and you only manage to find Mads' buddy's skeleton - alongside nuclear weapon plans.
Best against other players
Contrary to the missions, the PvP mode of Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is anything but easy. The battles by the name of Ghost War are designed for a total of eight players and are a sniping party. Two four-man teams fight against each other on specially designed maps, without the possibility to respawn. As in Battle Royale shooters, the mode features a game area that gets smaller and smaller with time. Altogether, the game makes a good first impression. A similarly huge and varied game world as in Wildlands coupled with new features, a loot system, a tough fight for survival, and a promising story - Ubisoft Paris seems to have reworked the right things. When the game world opens up, however, you can see how easy the later missions will be and the incredibly accurate files don't contribute to the challenge. Nonetheless, fans of the series will certainly be well entertained, while players expecting a loot shooter similar to The Division 2 will likely be disappointed.