Ghost Recon: (MY) Breakpoint

April 2nd, 2020

Yeah, I know I said I’d talk shit about mobile games, but there was a free weekend for Breakpoint over on Epic Games and the full on deluxe maxi jumbo version with extra bells and a copious amount of whistles is heavily discounted so I figured I’d let you know whether or not I feel it’s worth it after sinking a significant amount of hours into it.

After trying to experience as much of it as I could, this is what I think about it: it’s seriously not worth any amount of money, not even if it’s stolen or tax deductible.

Thanks for reading, and have as nice a day as you deserve!

No, but seriously, let me expand upon that cause there’s a lot to go through and not all of it is bad, but I’m firmly in “hell no” mode about it over things that are very much gunplay/movement related. And since the damn game is based on either shooting guns or driving/walking/flying to the next place where you get to shoot guns, that’s a big drawback.

But let’s get some of the positives out of the way.

The game looks pretty damn good and it can run smoothly on a variety of older rigs without sacrificing much of the eye candy. The action takes place on an island that features swamps, jungle-like terrain, thick forested areas and arid or snowy mountain sides, all of which are beautiful or eye catching at the very least. This helps a lot with the “desire to know more” part of the game which draws you in to check out more of the locales and the environments.

The diversity also translates into a huge amount of equipment (gear, guns, clothing) mods, and vehicles. You can buy/upgrade dozens of carefully recreated real-life lead belchers and their component parts that you can just spend hours upon hours collecting, fine tuning, painting, and then not really focusing on since the last thing on your mind when you’re in a gunfight is that salmon pink underbarrel launcher you’ve just put in.
But damn, you’re gonna look snazzy leaning out the back window and shooting that primo custom piece, tell you what...

There’s a ton of square mileage to explore (I was too lazy to check exactly how much, which says a lot about my interest in the game), all of it populated with points of interest, roaming NPC brigades and random civilians. Initially, the map gave off a sort of Arma III Tanoa vibe to me, but it’s much more than that, both in terrain variance as well as sheer size, just on a rough guess.

You can use fast travel, but honestly I kept well off it since probably the game’s top achievement is the sheer amount of ground you get to cover in a variety of vehicles, land, sea, or air.

But most of them are shit to drive/fly, so… eh.

Honestly, these cars handle worse than the Arma III wheeled ones, and we all know how wonky those ended up if you tried to go even a smidge above the speed of smell. Much the same is valid here, just with more grippy tires and the inertia of a wild, bucking mustang on cocaine.
And acid.

These ones do have resistance going for them, so you can smash into a fair bit of scenery and/or other vehicles without blowing up, but that’s not much comfort since you’re liable to do so every other turn. Oh, and you’d think the dirt bikes are just magnets on wheels pulling straight towards the metal ore nestled within any piece of stone you might pass by.
They handle about as well as the Titanic did, post Jack and Rose sweating it all out.

Another giant shit bit about it all is the way gunplay works. Try to go at a gunfight in any way other than a highly tactical (read: just shoot everything that moves, one at a time), very (VERY) long range engagement, and you’re SOL and JWF.

Moving from cover to cov- scratch that; TRYING to move from cover to cover is a chore with the camera actively working against you every step of the way. There’s a weird, wobbly inertia movement of the PoV that comes with every half sprint you attempt but going to ground/getting up just cuts down any sense of it whatsoever so there’s a big disconnect in trying to figure out just what your character is going to do and how any given situation is going to look once you’re finish mashing the damn prone button in frustration.
Add what seems like an innate, shaky-stutter and having to jump from first person to third all the time and you’ve got a recipe for fresh, half-digested splatter all across your keyboard if you’re attempting it all just after a hearty lunch.

And if there’s an elevation change to deal with, fuck me, just hit sprint and hope your lumbering collection of polygons doesn’t break their neck trying to walk across a 1% incline. If these bitches manage to cross a mild mountain path without toppling end over end or falling on their ass and sliding down the “slope” it’s cause for celebration…
How the NPCs seem to have better pathfinding/navigation skills than your own character model, and why you always feel like you’re carrying an extra average, US-sized, fast-food aficionado on your shoulders regardless of the amount of equipment you have on, I’ll never know.

Why even bother with energy at that point, seriously?
On that note, why even bother with skill trees, at all? It’s true we didn’t play for too long, but as soon as I got the hang of how the game is supposed to be dealt with, I never felt the need or want to unlock any skills past the initial couple I did in the tutorial sequences.

The bottom line is the game tries to do a lot of things spectacularly and fails at many of them in highly spectacular fashion. Thankfully, most of the time my buddy (hi, Mada!) and I tried to infiltrate bases and large PoIs we just did mondo overwatch and hit most targets from far away in between bouts of dealing with the reinforcements being sent to off us.

Oh, and these things are worse than two-star level GTA cop fare: if you manage to whittle down the base you’re attacking to a handful of unlucky sods, you’re only going to have to deal with a single wave of reinforcements, ever. I get the mechanism behind it (some guards alone can raise the alarm), but I find it contrived and downright unrealistic in a game that thought enough about its gameplay options to add in tall grass and mud-smear cover.

It’s just one more on the list of items that actively work against any immersion or sense of gritty realism the game may be going for. Thank fuck you can’t actually lose and whenever you die in co-op you just get respawned nearby and can go at it again, cause that shit happens A LOT and for a lot of stupid reasons.

Getting down to the story, I found it inspired, moving, and thought-provoking.
Who the fuck am I kidding, I only installed this game because Jon Bernthal had a role and his likeness in it and I forgot he was even a thing less than twenty minutes in.

The excuse for events coming to pass revolves around this future-minded company trying to ensure that future-future generations are able to live out their best future lives. Naturally, shit goes bad fast and your team gets deployed to deal with the resulting mess. Your choppers get shot down, you’re the only survivor, your old pal Jon’s a traitor...

Cue some weak plot twists and classic rescues of characters who will aid you down the line and fuck knows what really happens, we just gave up and started playing World War Z at one point.

Add to this the mind-numbing way “investigating” happens (read: lots and lots of fetch quests and a literal “press x to investigate” event) and you’ve got a by-the-numbers, cheap Hollywood bang-bang flick trying that looks pretty but feels hollow, but not in the useful way that hollow point rounds are hollow.

Seriously, I have no idea what kind of shooter this game was even trying to be, let alone what it ended up as. It’s not a military sim in the slightest, it’s too slow and lumbering to be a fast, twitchy one, it fails at making the vehicles bit feel fun enough to warrant prolonged, repeated use. The best thing about it was I got to play it with a friend, and the co-op angle of it worked a charm, but I could basically drink superglue with this guy and still have the best time of the rest of my life.

I do believe the most fun I’ve had was sitting my ass down in a bivouac and making every piece of camo I could a bright red just to fuck with Mada’s totally tactical thread game.

Pictured here, with his character’s disgusted look probably mimicking his own at that point:

There was also an extended bit with us trying to take down a base which seemed to be challenging at first (a good change of pace) but that we basically breezed past once we spent more than 30 seconds looking around the place and finding a couple proper perches to just snipe everyone from. It all ended in a boring, 10 minute sweep of the entire base because we couldn’t finish the mission on account of ONE random soldier was still casually strolling along after all his mates had been corpsed up.

And while long range, systematic engagements are usually fine and dandy for us, there’s no pleasure in doing it here, either because of the feel of the guns or the AI. Oh, and did I mention I had to ‘nade Mada after he fell down a sewer drain and couldn’t get out?
That shit tended to happen a few times, hence my previous “stupid ways to die” comment.

Another part of why things are so meh is you never really need to take bullet drop into account, so there’s not a lot of ranging you have to actively work for, and the stupid fucks you’re supposed to center your screen on and make dead just stand there and wait to get shot down for the most part.
Sure, they hunker down behind cover now and again, but if you’re taking on an extensive base with AI on every corner and come in from one end, more than two thirds of AI in and around the damn thing will just keep going about their predetermined business.

This goes for pretty much all levels of difficulty and it’s laughable, honestly.

I have no idea what more I can say here, you were probably better off not even reading what amounted to a giant ass rant and just taking my initial word for it. If you’re still buying it in spite of all of this, do reach out and tell me why you did it and what you thought of it, I’m dying to find out what more of the good bits of this game are and how they outweigh the bad.

Oh, and did I mention the horror show that are the facial animations? And the face paint only makes them worse, as my lovingly dubbed Red Panda here can attest:

Thanks for reading, and have as nice a day as you deserve!

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Tags: Costin Becheanu, Videogames