I liked Ghost Recon Wildlandsway more in theory than in execution, but with this year's follow-up, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, my mind is at ease. Ubisoft's E3 showing brought me around and, frankly, I'm as surprised as anyone by this turn of events. I feel like most people who had fun with Wildlandsdon't need any additional convincing, but for everyone else out there, don't write off Breakpoint.
It was an eventful playable demo full of botched plans, full squad wipes, pre-release graphical weirdness typical of Ubisoft E3 builds, and even a complete power outage at one point, but despite having a rough go of it on Jon Bernthal's island of drones, I came away optimistic about Breakpoint.
The actor's performance has staying power, and even in just a single cinematic during my demo, Bernthal brought a sense of weight to the story. His presence is something to latch onto and keep us invested beyond the basic allure of co-op shenanigans. The setting – a fictional island with extravagant biomes and an army of killer machines – isperfect fodder for an open-world game in which you'll gradually power up your super-soldier, one piece of gear at a time. And the shooting! It felt good. It felt right. It's exactly what I needed from Breakpointfor me to believe it's going to stick the landing.
My four-person squad went on a mission to extract a turncoat scientist from a heavily-guarded R&D facility. We marked a patrolling unit of soldiers and took them out in-sync, as you're meant to do as a rule-following Ghost Reconplayer, and then we flew our drones around to scout out the base, taking note of the area's deadlier guards. There were bumps – a few bandages here, a few retreats there – but overall, we meshed as a team. The same can't be said of our encounter with a Behemoth.
You know that scene in RoboCopwhen ED-209 shreds a guy for not dropping his gun during an internal OCP demonstration? When we tried to take on a Behemoth in Breakpoint, I felt like that poor dude.
The tank-like drone had my number (and everyone else's). Our plan was to split up and fire rockets into its vulnerable underbelly, but it bombarded us every step of the way, almost as if it could hear our panicked comms – and you know what? It was thrilling! The Behemoth felt like a genuine threat, something we don't see enough of in carefully-curated demos. We failed, hard, and I respect that.
I hope it wasn't just a matter of our inexperience and the specific circumstances that come about when you're trying to quickly wrap your head around a new game at an expo brimming with new games. Even beyond the Behemoth, I got the distinct sense that Breakpointisn't screwing around. I want the full game to lean into the tactical slant as much as possible – don't let us sleepwalk through missions.
If Breakpointcan make the most of its big-name villain and keep the stakes high long after we've gotten a feel for dismantling outposts with that One Method That Consistently Works, this game stands every chance of being a great time. You're definitely gonna want to roll with a harmonious crew, though.