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December 2021

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Release Date: Oct. 4, 2019


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PC Review - 'Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint' Terminator: Dark Fate DLC

by Cody Medellin on Jan. 30, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint is an entirely new adventure, putting players back in the boots of the Ghosts, an Elite US Special Operations Unit. But this time they are stranded behind enemy lines, facing their toughest enemy to date.

The launch of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint a few months ago was terrible. The game didn't suffer any server issues, but it received a drubbing from critics and players alike for being so similar to The Division without adding anything new. Combined with stunted shooting mechanics and an practically nonexistent survival system, the title marked a real low point for the once-venerable series. The end of our review for the game hoped that the title would follow in the footsteps of other Ubisoft titles that launched badly but got considerably better through a series of patches and improvements. Viewing the game through the lens of its first big event for "Terminator: Dark Fate," the improvement hasn't arrived just yet.

The content, originally scheduled for release when the related movie hit theaters, is now coming out one day after the Blu-ray release, and it will do so in segments, with the first episode coming out on Jan. 29 and the second on Feb. 1. The whole thing lasts for a week, and while the main campaign missions will be around permanently, the side missions will only occur that week. The same goes for the various Terminator-related accessories and blueprints, which range from the famous sunglasses to some badly done arm tattoos to an obscure nod to the clothing worn by members of the Resistance in the future.

After you complete the first major mission and gain access to the hidden base in Erewhon, you'll be able to access the event by talking to Maria. She wants you to rescue a woman who successfully fought drones and is no longer a prisoner of Sentinel forces. Once you find this woman, she claims that she's from the future and must develop a special weapon to stop an army of T-800s — who were sent back in time to wipe out everyone on the island.

Even if you take into account that the content is supposed to be a one-off thing with no real bearing on the main story, you can't help but feel that the narrative is aiming for a series of familiar events from various movies in the series. The woman getting locked up in a hospital for talking about a dark future feels like a familiar trope by now, and the T-800's preference for the same clothing that was worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the second movie might make you groan. What makes the narrative even flimsier is that this all takes place through two small missions. It might make some sense to have a little build-up to the reveal of time travel, but the quick resolution to the appearance of intelligent bipedal machines makes it feel like some content is missing.

Two main missions make the content seem short, but it ends up feeling long for all the wrong reasons. For starters, most of your time in each mission is spent traveling because each point of interest is so far from one another. Vehicles help make the journey shorter, but keep in mind that this is a Ghost Recon that's trying to force you to go stealth with random patrols of drones, soldiers, and radar-jamming planes. Going fast means there's a good chance you'll get killed, and the respawn system isn't too kind. Going slow keeps you alive, but you'll begin to loathe the vast island size.

The other reason the missions feel long is because of the Terminators. Compared to every other enemy on the island, you expect them to be bullet sponges, and even when you get the special weapon that you're supposed to use against them, it still takes a long time to down one. A non-canon detail that the development team added is the fact that the T-800s now have cores that get exposed once you whittle down their health, and these need to be destroyed for the machines to "die."

The problem you'll run into is that the combat wasn't built to fight off bullet sponge bosses. Your tendency to stick to cover drops your mobility significantly, and your wide arc when turning means that you're going to leave yourself exposed for far too long. The unflinching nature of the machines, when combined with the amount of bullets needed to down them, leads to some very long, drawn-out fights, and while they move with a slow walk whenever you see them, they can take off running when you don't see them, causing a few situations where they seem to appear out of nowhere. This makes every fight a slog, but it gets much worse due to the game's injury system, which prolongs your frustrations since there's no way to heal before dying, even with a full squad at your side.

Should you play the game during the event week, you'll gain access to various side missions that offer up some rewards while giving you the chance to fight against both the clothed and skeletal forms of the T-800s. The missions are rather normal when compared to the vanilla game, but they also have the side effect of diminishing the impact of the content's main boss, since they have the same amount of health. As such, playing these missions before the last big one makes that mission unexciting, and playing these afterward only amplifies why the addition of Terminators drags down the game.

Perhaps the most puzzling aspect is how unstable the game is. Having reviewed the title at launch on PC, Breakpoint was relatively stable, with some texture detail pop-up being the only bugbear present throughout the campaign. Checking out the game now, there are a few cases of missing textures, but the most egregious issue has to be the crashes. In roughly four hours, the game crashed at least six times, with all of them occurring while I ran around. The interesting thing was that the crashes occurred in different areas of the map that were light on effects, providing no consistent element to pin the crashes on. Compared to launch, this is by far a worse experience.

The late arrival of the Terminator: Dark Fate content for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint has done something rarely seen in games nowadays: make an already mediocre game even worse. The missions range from boring to frustrating due to the vast amount of ground that needs to be covered for each quest and the bullet sponge nature of the T-800s. The clunky shooting mechanics are only highlighted with each skirmish, while the game instability makes it feel like the product is no longer receiving any development attention. It is free content, though, so current owners who are still playing the game won't lose anything for trying it, but if you've already moved on from the title, don't expect this update to bring you back.

Score: 5.0/10

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