Ubisoft’s latest open-world game, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, is tactical, co-op-infused, and also a looter shooter. There are a ton of issues I see in the game that would turn people off but I find myself enjoying it after a few tweaks in the game’s settings and fully understanding two points: how Gear Score works and that the game’s enemy AI is atrocious. Here’s what I learned so far.
What’s the deal with Gear Score?
Let’s make this clear - this is not The Division. I don’t even put Breakpoint in the same light as other looter shooters like Borderlands 3, and I suggest you don’t either, even though an enemy might just drop purple boots for your troubles.
The changes provided by the color-coded equipment are minimal as I don’t even think about what I'm equipping anymore. Should I use a weapon that speeds up your reload or have an increased range? Does it matter in an hour? Probably not. As long as it’s higher than my current gear that’s fine. It’s a routine of increasing your Gear Score to reach the max with no incentive to experiment. It could be important later on but at the early stages of the game, I just look at the number that brands each item I pick up and move on.
If you neglect your character’s Gear Score though, it gets harder for you. From what I see, fighting goons or drones with a higher gear score will make it difficult to sneak past them, they will hit harder, and will take a few more shots than usual to take down. Think of it as a disadvantage instead of the game saying “no, you cannot do that yet”. I’ve taken down enemies with a Gear Score of 150 when I was a measly Ghost with a Gear Score of 1. It was tough but headshots are one-shot kills to helmet-less foes no matter what so there’s hope if you find yourself in a pickle.
It’s an easy game - pumping it to the extreme is the only way
Breakpoint is stupidly easy in the default setting, which resulted in me pumping the difficulty to Extreme, the highest difficulty setting available at launch. The culprit - Enemy AI, which is the worst found in a tactical shooter in a long time. While being stealthy, there’s no quick reaction from the opposition they find out something is wrong or a heavy consequence for not cleaning up your mess. When I go loud, they are predictable. I've funneled 20 enemies through a flight of stairs. I just stood there below and shot whoever came down. They even went down one by one.
This game is vulnerable to enemy AI exploits, which is a sin to those looking for a challenging tactical shooter. But I still had fun, and it got better once I started playing it on Extreme and removed some indicators in the minimap which made it easy for me to identify if there’s danger nearby. The combat is currently doing all the heavy lifting as that’s the only thing that’s keeping me from playing.
Ghost Recon Wildlands was hard for me to get into back in 2017, but Breakpoint - which is pretty much a sequel to Wildlands - feels much better in a combat perspective, and with it being easy, it’s the most accessible tactical shooter out there today.
The story is another miss as it isn’t shaping into one that would keep me invested as all I get is the urge to watch Netflix’s The Punisher thanks to Jon Bernthal's performance as Cole Walker.
Despite the issues I've experienced so far, this is still a fun shooter that will require patience and some tinkering in the game’s settings to make it feel right for you, which is another problem. I’ll go into more detail once I've finished the game and published my full review. But it’s so far an undercooked tactical shooter with an identity crisis, and I'm weirdly having a blast.
Thoughts on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint? Let as know what you think and join the discussion as we have more to say once we go deeper in the game’s endgame and experience how the story concludes.