With its release now less than a month away, early reports are indicating that Ghost Recon Breakpoint will be a fitting continuation of our favorite Tom Clancy gaming series. Ubisoft has opted for evolution rather than revolution, with many of the strongest features from the last Ghost Recon installment, 2017’s Wildlands, set to appear again in Breakpoint. That evolution comes in the form of a sharper focus on survival aspects, an area of gaming which has been trending in recent years.
What do we know about Breakpoint?
Ghost Recon Breakpoint will be released on October 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Events are set on the fictional Pacific island of Auroa, the home of Skell Technology. This notorious military contractor has reared its head in previous Tom Clancy games, while another familiar face returns as head of the Wolves, a crack team of rogue soldiers that have taken control of Auroa. Former Ghost Cole D. Walker heads the rebels, with Jon Bernthal giving Walker the same gravitas that he brought to his roles in The Punisher and The Walking Dead.
Players will control “Nomad” Perryman in their attempt to restore peace to Auroa, in which they will have to fight against commandeered Skell tech. That includes drones and all sorts of weaponry, so players will have to be on constant alert to avoid enemy patrols and complete missions. Nomad is not alone, with players able to cooperate with AI-controlled Ghosts to watch one another’s backs and enact coordinated takedowns of enemy soldiers.
The key to survival
At its core, Breakpoint will still be a tactical shooter game. However, the survival mechanic now means that it isn’t enough to be a master of combat if you want to come out on top. Players will have to manage their health and equipment to ensure that they are in top shape for when they do encounter an enemy patrol.
Michael McWhertor’s preview for Polygon notes that survival tasks include:
- rationing food
- ensuring hydration
- maintaining weapons for optimal performance
- treating injuries
- using bivouacs as safe zones
- negotiating dangerous terrain
This should give Breakpoint a new type of immersive quality, as players will be more attuned to managing Nomad’s overall health. Gathering intel will also be pivotal to toppling the Wolves, whose training as Ghosts will make them formidable foes. Of course, there will be players who could find the survival aspects to be a distraction from the military side that popularized the Ghost Recon series. However, Ubisoft has reassured players that they will be able to tailor the gameplay to meet their personal preferences.
Despite that, the inclusion of overt survival tasks looks set to appeal to gamers at a time when the genre is enjoying a surge in popularity. Many survival modes take the form of a fight against zombies, with that genre perhaps helped by the huge success of The Walking Dead television series in the past decade. Released in 2018 after its predecessor sold over 4.5 million copies, State of Decay 2 requires players to scavenge and cooperate to endure in a zombie-ridden open world. What’s more, the Lost Vegas slot from Ninja Casino places a unique spin on the genre, allowing players to choose either Zombie or Survivor Mode in their efforts to prevail at a darkly comedic game.
However, the best point of comparison for Breakpoint may well be the survival mode added to Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. Rather than zombies, The Division 2 uses an apocalyptic blizzard to place player characters in immediate danger. You are also required to manage your character’s disease with medicines while fighting off both the cold and rival gangs. This survival mode was the game’s second expansion from Ubisoft, with the positive reviews it received possibly influencing their decision to introduce survival themes to Breakpoint.
A battle royale future?
The success of the battle royale genre has helped to drive the popularity of survival games. While the former inevitably has more of an emphasis on “battle”, games like Fortnite and Apex Legends require players to do what it takes to survive by acquiring necessary resources and making intelligent moves. After all, the winner is the person who survives for the longest.
Guiding Nomad through harsh weather conditions and the unforgiving terrain of Auroa will be crucial to defeating the Wolves. Auroa is a remarkably diverse environment given that it is a sole Pacific island, with players expected to navigate mountain regions, deserts, and a volcano. This type of map prompted Andy Kelly of PC Gamer to suggest that Breakpoint looks readymade for a battle royale expansion mode, although only time will tell if Ubisoft delivers.
Following up on the success of Ghost Recon Wildlands was always going to be a daunting task, but early signs indicate that Breakpoint will find the ideal balance between innovation and familiarity. Remember to grab ten Breakpoint rewards before September 27, as they could be extremely handy in the battle for survival.