By now the dust has settled on Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and all the purists and haters have either abandoned the game or embraced it with all its flaws. I fell into the category of " who cares what other people think about the game" and started playing it at launch. I had intended to write a complete review of the game but shelved it after seeing the critical beating it was taking from a community of gamer's who proclaim to love the game. It dawned on me that stepping away from a formal review until the dust settles was a better approach. Game Nexus has never been able to respond to the launch day pressure to get a review out and in most cases we usually write " post-mortem " reviews after the game has been out for weeks or more. In Ghost Recons case it has given me time to really immerse myself in the game and pull out the strengths and positive features that are thrilling me to this day. It doesn't hurt that the newly released " Ghost Experience" has breathed new life into the game and flipped some of the complaints that players had about it on day one.
Lets dive in and tackle some of the main points of the Ghost Experience that have resulted in myself and hopefully others to dive back into Breakpoint and enjoy it.
Removal of loot Tiers
The biggest feature of the Ghost Experience is the removal of the various levels of loot that you could acquire in the game or as I like to call it " Division Loot Mechanics" . This was the biggest shock to my system when I started playing Breakpoint at launch. Don't get me wrong, I love The Division and the RPG mechanics definitely add to the enjoyment of that game but I don't like the idea of it in a realistic tactical shooter like Ghost recon.
The removal of tiers in loot means you are not running all over the island of Aurora trying to find a different color of assault rifle that looks exactly like your existing one but with better stats.
Turning tiered loot off makes the game more of a tactical choice when outfitting your character. Speaking of tactical choices...
The Ghost Experience now lets you decide how many primary weapons you can carry on your body. This may seem like a minor detail at first but in practice it becomes a lesson in planning and REAL tactical game play. Playing the game in default settings means you have the freedom to switch between long range sniper rifle to medium range sub machine guns or assault rifles at whim. This makes you a walking versatile killing machine and really impacts the difficulty you face in the wild open world encounters. I have now set my character to be limited to one primary weapon ( he still carries a pistol) and the amount of thinking that goes into my engagements is insane.
With the ability to swap out weapons with fallen enemies it leads to some stressful moments. If I only have a sub machine gun in my hands, how I tackle a mission changes versus if I am carrying a long range Sniper rifle. These choices now impact your moment to moment game play and I like it. Not to mention the fact that if you run out of ammunition in your gun you now have to grab a gun from a fallen enemy and make do with what you find until you can get to Erewhon or a bivouac site.
Ammo is a commodity
In vanilla Breakpoint you can trust that you will always have a surplus of ammo for your chosen weapons. I am currently playing with the " lost ammo" setting turned on. This is a setting that will discard the remaining ammo you have in your clip after a reload. For example. I have a full clip of 50 rounds in the mag and fire off a couple shots to take out a guard. I then reload my rifle and in the process lose 48 bullets. A nice little indicator above your ammo counter in the bottom left flashes a nice bright number to show you how much ammo you lost just to add salt to the wound. With this setting engaged I now find myself being VERY cautious about my shots and trying to curb my impulsive " reload after every shot" habit.
" I don't need any way points!"
Guided mode was a much needed feature to go! One of the problems I have with open world games is that as beautiful and big as they are the developers feel the need to lead everyone around the world by the hand. Coming from the world of classic MMO's that required you to navigate the game space and discover locations on your own, I find the current state of open world gaming a little sad. Because of this I have adopted my own rules for playing these games and one of them is to minimize fast travel ( More on my house rules below). Not having a guided mode means you actually have to follow clues and NAVIGATE your way around the islands of Aurora . Using landmarks and traditional means of locating objectives means you have to rely on looking and experiencing the game world versus just zipping around it with giant symbols on the map telling you where to go.
There are plenty of settings that you can play with in the new Ghost Experience and I have only listed a few. I highly encourage you to take a look yourself and see exactly how you can customize the game to become the Ghost Recon you truly want it to be.
My house rules for Ghost Recon Breakpoint actually started out as a new way to play The Division. They have added a very enjoyable RPG style experience to that game and Ghost Recon Breakpoint as well. At first they may seem like a limitation and unneeded self imposed restrictions but if you give them a try and embrace them I am sure you will start to enjoy the game more. In fact I encourage you to adapt these house rules to any open world game you play for a similar experience. Games like GTA, Assassins Creed, Destiny, and even Anthem could turn out to be entirely different games.
- No Fast Travel between points at all! This means between bivouacs and home base or even mission locations that you have previously visited as a way to navigate the game map. Vehicles only my friends.
- Change your outfit to match the environment. Camo swaps if you are in different biomes and especially NO running around in the snowy peaks in a T-Shirt! This may seem silly but really ads flavor to the game!
-Stop running. Sprinting can be used but try and minimize it Especially inside buildings when you are looting and exploring. Would your character really sprint everywhere inside an enemies halls when he is trying to locate a person with Intel? Walk and take in the scenery. Look tactical.
-Talk tactical. When you[play with a co op partner try and make references like you would if you were standing in the world. Avoid meta talk and play the game in " Immersive mode". It may be a result of playing Dungeons and Dragons all my life but I cant help from injecting a little Role Playing into my video games.
The Friend Pass has just been released and is a great way to get your friends playing Ghost Recon with you not to mention that they don't even need to buy the game! Have a look below at the details that I reposted from Ubisofts Ghost Recon Breakpoint page.
"Ghosts, We are pleased to announce that the trial and Friend Pass are available now in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Be ready explore Auroa with your friends for free! FRIEND PASS We are pleased to announce that the Friend Pass is now available in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. If you’ve purchased any edition of the game, the Friend Pass allows you to invite up to three friends at a time who don’t own the game to join your session and play co-op with you for free. You can invite as many friends as you want, but no more than three at a time. The Friend Pass is available on Xbox One, PlayStation®4 system, and PC until June 16th, 2020. Your friends will have to play on the same platform as you and will need to have the trial version of the game installed with the owner of the game connected. TRIAL If you do not own Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the trial will give you access to the entire game for six hours of playtime. The trial timer pauses when the Friend Pass is used, and once you reach the time limit, your progression saves and you can keep playing through the Friend Pass or by purchasing the game. Players who played during the free weekend for six or more hours can download the trial but must be invited through the Friend Pass to play Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Players who spent less than six hours with the game will be able to enjoy the remaining playtime in the trial version. To install the trial version, go to the store (Microsoft Store, PlayStation®Store, Ubisoft Store, or Epic Games Store) on your chosen platform and download the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint trial. The Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint trial is free and will always be available. You need a PS Plus or Xbox Gold account to play co-op. Squad up and take on the Wolves in Auroa together!"