Ghost Recon Breakpoint is taking the open-world setup of Wildlands and weaving in new mechanics inspired by the survival and looter-shooter genres, like crafting and tiered loot drops. You can still expect the startlingly quick time to kill and methodical pace the series is known for, but this time you’ll be up against an army of rogue Ghosts with no AI squadmates to back you up.
This time, Ubisoft wants you to feel like the hunted, not the hunter. A helicopter crash will unceremoniously dump you on the Pacific island of Auroa with no allies, limited gear, and no line of communication to HQ. The environment is more deadly this time around as you can contract semi-permanent injuries, but you can also disguise yourself using your surroundings, and there are even crafting resources to harvest across the island.
On the other side of the realism spectrum, Ubisoft is also trying to offer you more reasons to stick around after completing the main campaign, whether that’s through the new class-based progression system, rare loot drops, or post-launch events like raids. On top of all that, Ghost Recon fans can look forward to a suite of subtle gameplay changes and quality of life improvements.
Here’s every new feature coming to Ghost Recon Breakpoint when it releases on October 4, 2019.
In case you didn’t learn this at Scouts as a teenager, a bivouac is an improvised shelter used by soldiers and mountaineers, and typically consists of a simple frame covered with leaves or a tarpaulin. In Ghost Recon Breakpoint, you’ll have to establish bivouacs across the island of Auroa, which you’ll use as a place to heal injuries and reconfigure your character’s class and gear. These also serve as main fast-travel destinations across the archipelago.
Another useful reason to stop by at a bivouac is to check the weather forecast, so if you want to skip time so that it’s dark and stormy when embarking on your next covert mission, just stop by a bivouac.
Take a lot of damage in Ghost Recon Breakpoint and you’ll contract a semi-permanent injury. These can affect everything from your aim to your movement speed, and come in varying degrees of severity. For example, a shot to the arm might cause your Ghost to run slightly slower as they pressure the wound with the other arm, but in more severe cases you might find your character dragging their injured leg across the ground or even reduced to a crawl. Interestingly, you can even pick up injuries while traversing the landscape through major falls or tumbles.
No specific details have been given on how you actually contract injuries and if specific actions will lead to certain injuries. However, you will have the ability to fix your ailments either by returning to your bivouac or by using bandages and syringes.
In addition to standard injuries, Ubisoft says you’ll now experience hunger, thirst, combat stress, and fatigue, although we’re yet to see these in action.
If you prefer to take the stealthy approach in Ghost Recon games then this neat new mechanic is for you. Find yourself being hunted down in Breakpoint with no natural cover in sight? Then go prone in the nearest muddy patch and cover yourself in dirt to blend in. It’s not exactly a game-changing stealth mechanic, but it’s always handy to have more tricks up your sleeve.
New enemy archetypes
Wildlands doesn’t boast much in the way of enemy variety, but Ghost Recon Breakpoint will improve on that with fresh enemy archetypes, ranging from heavies with miniguns to car-sized drones. From our brief hands-on time battling the armoured heavies, we were pleasantly surprised to find you can still kill them with a few shots, so don’t expect to come up against any bullet sponges.
In addition to these more exaggerated enemy archetypes, you’ll also have to face the Wolves, who are former Ghosts and therefore pose a substantial threat on the battlefield. We didn’t get to fight any Wolves ourselves yet, but we were told they react and move faster than standard enemies.
More military vehicles
Ghost Recon Wildlands boasts plenty of vehicles for you to commandeer across Bolivia, but few of them come with armour or mounted weapons. In acknowledgement of that, Ubisoft is promising to bring more military vehicles with Ghost Recon Breakpoint, including attack helicopters and a range of armoured jeeps with different mounted weapons.
Ubisoft embraced branching dialogue trees in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and now Ghost Recon Breakpoint is getting in on the action by offering you a range of dialogue options during mid-mission cutscenes. It’s unclear if these are just for flavour or if you can actually change the course of a mission by selecting a different response.
Tiered loot drops
Though our hands-on time with Ghost Recon Breakpoint was very brief, we did notice one interesting new quirk: enemies drop tiered loot. Sure, you can always grab a dead grunt’s gun in Wildlands, but in Breakpoint goons drop different rarities of weapons. The only example we came across was a PP-19-01 Vityaz that dropped with a greenish glow, which traditionally flags in-game gear as ‘uncommon’. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to investigate its stats to see what made it different. Much like in looter shooters and MMOs, you’ll also be able to unlock gear and cosmetics from chests scattered around the world, ensuring every map marker is teeming with potential loot rewards.
Ubisoft’s post-launch plans for Ghost Recon Breakpoint are much more extensive than they were for Wildlands. The epitome of that ambition is the reveal that Breakpoint will get raids after the game has launched. These are intended to be played as part of a four-player co-op squad with the first one set in a base built into an active volcano.
PvP at launch
We had to wait a few months for PvP to arrive in Wildlands, but Ghost Recon Breakpoint will launch with PvP from the get-go and with shared character progression.
New ways of breaching
You’ll have a few new means of breaching compounds in Breakpoint. The only example we’ve seen so far is using a blowtorch to cut an opening in a chain link fence.
Instead of progressing your Ghost by gradually accumulating abilities from a sprawling skill tree, Ghost Recon Breakpoint offers four classes that you can switch between whenever you visit a bivouac. Each class has its own progression tree and suite of special abilities, meaning you’ll have to specialise your Breakpoint character build a bit more. For example, you could pick the Panther class to gain access to abilities like ‘smokescreen’ that allow you to quickly break away from a firefight. More Breakpoint character classes have been promised post-launch, too.
And there you have it, every new feature that’s been revealed for Ghost Recon Breakpoint so far. You can expect Ubisoft to reveal more about all of the above as the October 4 release date approaches, especially with E3 2019 and Gamescom on the horizon.