If Ghost Recon: Wildlands was the starter, then its sequel feels like the dinners you've been eating for the past week rolled up into one gigantic main course. Seriously, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is huge. We've poured a handful of hours into this past weekend's beta and come away impressed thanks to what appears to be a much more fleshed out open world, customisation up the wazoo, and intricate gunplay. It has turned us initial non-believers into an interested party that'll be there day one come the game's launch on 4th October, although we can't shake the feeling that what's on offer might almost be a little too much.
After crash landing on the island of Auroa, what we assume is the game's set of introductory missions paints the picture of a business empire gone wrong. Jon Bernthal and his army of Wolves are working together with Skel on undercover projects and doing their best to stop anyone from leaving the island. It's all fairly standard for a military shooter from the outset - regroup with your squad, make contact with the locals, and start to forge out some ground to work with - but it's the more we progressed that we started to realise that Breakpoint almost seems to be a completely different beast when compared to Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
You'll quickly reach the main hub area, a gigantic cavern filled with real-life players all going about their own missions, quests, and tasks. It feels like Ubisoft's take on Destiny's Tower space - a place to interact with others, group up, and take on bounties. It's here where the series appears to deviate from what it's known for and presents itself as almost a blend between the looter shooter trappings of Destiny 2 and the realistic, gritty nature of The Division 2. It's an intriguing concept that we're most definitely on board for.
When you're actually out in the field, there's a whole army of trained mercenaries on your tail. When the game's marketing pitches you as the hunted, it actually means it. Planes fly overhead and track your position from above, calling in reinforcements when available. Bases are heavily guarded, health is at a premium, and ambushes on the road between landmarks are aplenty. But on the other hand, gunplay feels weighty, accurate, and brutal to make sure every kill you make on your path to success a satisfying one. There might be a whole squad of trained killers closing in on your position, but at points we were the ones sending out the invitations. Lining up a shot, pulling the trigger, and the sound of bullets on skulls feels good - something we never tired of throughout our time with the beta.
There's a throughline to all of this, though, and it's to do with just how much content Ghost Recon: Breakpoint looks to be packing. A mammoth amount of customisation allows you to personalise each and every weapon you acquire with numerous attachments, while cosmetic options receive their very own tab on the game's menu screen. You can go back and edit your avatar with tattoos, clothing, and different skins, while loot found out in the jungle can change your character's look completely.
However, it's the sheer amount of mission types on offer that had us taken aback. There are the typical main missions that revolve around the narrative, side quests which have you helping the locals, Faction missions which supposedly rotate daily, a full PvP Ghost War, and tasks that seem to emulate Destiny's exotic weapon quests with missions that specifically reward certain rarities of guns. Hell, there are even assignments for specific attachments and an insurmountable amount of question marks to uncover and complete across Auroa's map. Add to the fact that raids will be added to the game post-launch, and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint seems like kind of a lot.
Ubisoft's latest open-world behemoth appears to build upon the successes of Wildlands with an even better map to play about in along with better customisation, even more branching skill trees and all-new classes, and what looks to be a much more dynamic setting. Its always-online commitment did bring about some teething issues, but let's hope those are ironed out before release. If Ghost Recon: Breakpoint plays its cards right when it's time to put up or shut up, this could be a surprisingly captivating alternative for those burnt out on the latest looter shooter.
Did you get the chance to sample Ghost Recon: Breakpoint's beta this past weekend? What did you make of it? Make it off the island in the comments below.