Ghost Recon Breakpoint has been announced and will be released on 4 October 2019 and I can’t wait! This video will get into some of the announced new features of the game and take a look at the gameplay walkthrough from the reveal on 9 May 2019, and keep watching because I’ll throw in some bonus features I’ve spotted as well. First though, if you’re interested to hear my thoughts right off the bat from the announcement, check out my previous video from that evening where I make some comparisons and provide my reaction to what we heard live.
With that, let’s jump into this analysis and see what Ubisoft have in store for the follow up to my favourite game of recent years.
“Now when your Ghost takes damage they may also become injured. These injuries will slow you down and reduce your combat effectiveness requiring additional time and resources to heal your Ghost back up to peak fighting condition.”
Early in the reveal trailer, we see Nomad take damage from incoming fire, and you immediately see how it slows you down as he limps and staggers away from enemies. The first shot seems to slow you down a bit and a second shot gives Nomad a really slow limp and you can see blood running down is arm.
A little later we see our character rest up behind a tree and use a bandage from their equipment to heal up, so this isn’t something that just heals itself automatically over time. We also see Nomad give himself a stim shot with a syringe of what might be adrenaline or cortisone or a painkiller perhaps. He then seems to be literally fighting fit.
ADAPT TO ROUGH TERRAIN
“Traversing the world of Auroa will push your Ghost to their limits. Steep slopes will make you slip and fall, traversing water will slow you down, and snow will plow in your wake. Properly managing your stamina will be essential to surviving and fighting back.”
This is something else we see right at the beginning of the trailer is Nomad escaping enemy fire down a steep slope, where he slips and slides akin to Red Dead Redemption 2. A little later as you’re wading through some water, movement seems noticeably slowed the deeper you get as well. At first slightly slowed when knee deep, then significantly slower when waist deep, so we’re already seeing the effects of rough terrain in action early in this video.
They mention snow here, but we witness the mud get ploughed as we crawl under a tree, which is another nice touch we’ve seen in detail in RDR2, where horses, humans and wheels all squelch through mud and leave tracks. I hope these persist for a while in Breakpoint and don’t just vanish after a few seconds.
We also get introduced to what appears to be a stamina meter right at the beginning as well. As you run, the meter empties until you use it all up and it then turns red and flashes before refilling when you’re forced to walk (or stumble) around. The effect of sliding down the rough slope also seems to drain the stamina meter as it takes the wind out of Nomad and he moves extremely slowly with a noticable limp at the bottom, also suggesting the slide and tumble had a physical effect related again to the injury system, something to probably be avoided where possible during gameplay. When we see a more controlled slide down a slope shortly afterwards, it seems this does use up stamina to remain steady.
BROTHERHOOD NEVER FAILS
“Leave no man behind. When an ally is down and needs help instead of giving medical attention in the middle of a firefight you can quickly sling them over your shoulder and move to safety to get them back on their feet.”
For the first time we’re now able to move bodies, like in Assassin’s Creed and Red Dead Redemption 2, so teammates can be moved to safety before we revive them, and enemy bodies can be hidden from view, keeping things stealthy. These are some of the game mechanics that were missing from Wildlands to keep your infils on the DL, so this is very welcome.
Interestingly, after being revived, our Ghost doesn’t just get back to 100% and run around, he’s still injured and has reduced movement but at least he’s able to get into cover.
“As a Ghost you can disappear into your environment making you nearly invisible to your enemies. Use this feature to setup an ambush or avoid detection when cover is not available.”
We only seem to see this once in the trailer where the Ghosts warn Nomad of ‘three bad guys closing from the rear’ while we’re prone in mud, and we get shown the ‘prone camo’ option. When selected, Nomad then rolls in the mud and pastes is on his face like Arnie in the original Predator movie from 1987. You then seem to be able to look around while your character remains motionless and undetected, ready to spring into action for an ambush.
ADVANCED ENEMY AI
“The Wolves and their allies are experienced elite soldiers and will communicate amongst themselves to hunt you down if detected. With a wide variety of AI archetypes and behaviours no two encounters will be the same.”
There’s a little evidence of this communication between enemies when we’re prone in the mud, and you hear the enemies talk over their radios and say ‘Nothing to report. I’m going to continue my search’, and ‘Reconning for location’. Before they’re neutralised silently, we hear a couple of enemies in the compound say ‘It’s quiet on my side’ over the radio, and ‘There’s nothing here either. Nothing ever happens around here’.
When the Ghosts open up on the enemy with their coordinated attack, you hear them call out ‘Contact! Enemy contact!’ and ‘where the hell are they?’ as well as some things I’ve expected from The Division 2 enemies like ‘These guys are dead!’. I’m impressed – at least in this video – we don’t hear the same enemy chatter more than once, and although I’m no operator myself, so I couldn’t say if it was realistic, it does seem to be varied and believable to the situation.
Enemies also call out when they shoot a Ghost, shouting ‘Hey, I hit him’ and we even now hear from the non-combatants which I don’t think we did in Wildlands. They used to just duck and run silently.
“An innovative cover system will automatically adapt your Ghost’s body position to match available cover and execute advanced tactics such as leaning to aim around corners.”
I tried to pick up on this in the video and it explains some of the FMV-style behaviour I thought I saw from Nomad just after he moved through the water and spotted the deer early on, for example. Here you see him get near the tree and the third person perspective changes a bit as he uses it for cover, then aims around the tree.
We get this again when approaching the compound behind another tree where it’s a little more obvious and Nomad also leans around the corner without ADS. In the house, you snap to doorways and can lean and aim before moving out seamlessly. So here I think we’re already seeing more fluid and natural movement than we experienced in Wildlands.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR GHOST AT WILL
“Every aspect of your Ghost is customizable. You’ll be able to adjust everything from their appearance to their skills, with thousands of combinations of gear and upgradable weapons, and a new class system that lets you prioritize stealth, range, or assault.”
I’ll do a separate video about the new classes available in Breakpoint, but for players of Battlefield this seems to be similar. Select a class that best suits your play style and you’ll get benefits that enhance the focus area of that class. 8:12 We can see the sniper class able to rapidly load multiple rounds into his rifle here, for example.
As a bonus, here are some more new and exciting little differences I noticed in Breakpoint that we didn’t get in Wildlands.
Right near the beginning as Nomad takes fire from his six, a bullet hits a nearby tree and we get chunks of wood fly off towards the camera, which is a nice interactive environment touch. I think we can expect more of this kind of detail as the environment reacts more to the fight.
There’s some new equipment such as the gas axe which Nomad uses to cut through a fence and get into the compound quickly and quietly when it’s not possible to just climb over.
The neutralise feature is reminiscent of the assassinate option in Assassin’s Creed, when you get close enough to an enemy for a silent takedown, and the Ghosts seem pretty creative with their takedowns I have to say. We see Nomad rapidly stab an enemy from behind, and our lady Ghost here trip an enemy down before slitting his throat from behind on the ground. At 9:14 we see a front facing neutralise option as the Ghost charges an enemy and still gets a takedown with their knife skills.
More weapons are available now in Breakpoint, including rocket launchers (which I did wish were in Wildlands early in the game when I was finding helicopters a challenge to shoot down and grenade launchers inaccurate).
We see a new smoke grenade which instantly provides cover we haven’t had before. Combined with picking up and moving teammates, or even for reviving on the spot this would’ve been really useful in Wildlands too, so will be very welcome here.
Character animation seems improved in Breakpoint. This is something I’ve always thought Rockstar have done really well, and Wildlands was fine, but Breakpoint appears to add something a bit more natural to take it to another level of realism. We also see this near the beginning again when Nomad’s checking his surroundings and turning round to check behind him. It looks really good.