My Ghost has green eyes, a white mohawk, and a faded scar that cuts a crooked line across her cheek and forehead. At the start of my hands-on session with Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s PvE campaign last week, I poured over all the options in the character customisation menu to pull this look together. The key words here are my Ghost, because Ghost Recon Breakpoint really does give you all of the tools you need to craft your own unique character, one that you can customise and develop to further reflect your preferred playstyle.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint wants you to really feel like you're in control of every aspect of your Ghost. That ranges from their appearance to their skill set and weapon loadout. It's all part of the game's push to give you an authentic spec ops experience.
Panther mode activated
As someone who has a particular fondness for being able to create my own characters in virtual worlds, seeing the menu presented to me at the beginning of my adventures as a spec ops officer truly made my heart sing. While it certainly doesn't offer the most extensive character creation menu I've come across, there's definitely more to play around with. Customisation was pretty heavily featured in Ghost Recon Wildlands, but this time around Ghost Recon Breakpoint introduces new classes to the spec ops experience, meaning you can really play to your strengths and hone in on different tactical approaches using unique class specific perks. Currently there are four different classes: Sharpshooter for all those sniper fans out there, Assault for close quarters combat, Panther for stealthy approaches, and Medic for all your healing needs.
I'm a fan of being a sneaky devil. If the opportunity to bypass enemies or execute an attack from the shadows presents itself to me in any game scenario, I'll always take it. So, naturally, I had to opt for the Panther class. I only got to unlock a handful of skills during my session, but as a Panther, I had some very useful perks that help with infiltration and giving any foes the slip. Some of the perks I tried out included using a smoke screen explosive to disappear from view, and the very handy skill of being able to detect enemies within a certain radius. The classes really flourish when you're in a team, because you can really put your pool of different perks and skills together to execute some slick tactical approaches in both PvE and PvP modes. Hilariously, despite the many different looks you can give your character, the three other players I co-oped with during my hands-on time all went for white hair like we were in some kind of Witcher fan club. Still, we did look more like a team in that sense, so it wasn’t such a bad coincidence.
Stylish and functional
Beyond being able to choose the physical appearance of your Ghost, tiered gear and weapons with different levels have been introduced in Ghost Recon Breakpoint that will give you stat boosts and certain bonuses. Levelled items of clothing such as hats, trousers, chest pieces, and gloves can be discovered and equipped to give you better protection and change up your style. You'll have plenty of opportunity to change up your weapon loadout too, with a variety of guns that handle differently and weapon attachments to chop and change as you wish. Loot is scattered around the world map, and you'll come across various different weapon blueprints on the Island either by using the intel you acquire during missions, or from looting boxes. If you want to stick to a particular weapon you like, you can, but Breakpoint wants to encourage you to try out as many different weapons at your disposal to give you a taste of every kind of approach you can take. Essentially, it's easy to find something that compliments the tactical approach you opt for and you really will be spoilt for choice.
When I sit down to talk with UX director Matthew Tomkinson, I ask why Ubisoft paid so much attention to the customisation options in Ghost Recon Breakpoint. "It’s really something that lots of players asked for," Tomkinson tells me, explaining that players really wanted a way to make each Ghost their own – including a few really granular cosmetic tweaks. "They ask for very precise details. For example, one of the things that players asked for is the ability to put their pants inside their boots, so it's something that we have included." Community feedback is something Ubisoft really paid a lot of mind to for some of the aspects of Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and minor features like tucking pants into boots is just one example of many.
A neat new feature when it comes to gear in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, as Tomkinson explains, is that you'll be able to change the look any of item of clothing you find to a style you like. In the example he gives me, if you were to, say, find a World War 2 helmet with better stats than your current gear, but you didn't like its style, you're able to retain the stats of the new gear and keep the style of the old. It's not unlike the customisation system introduced in Assassin's Creed Odyssey post-launch that lets you change the visual appearance of your armour to any style you've discovered so far.
Getting well acquainted
I've always found that sometimes PvP can break the immersion because suddenly you're in control of a random generic character. One of the best elements of Breakpoint is that your progression is carried over across PvP and PvE, so you'll be playing the same character across all modes. This means you can truly get well acquainted with your Ghost and benefit from any and all experience you gain. From a tactical standpoint, it also helps that you know what your character is best at, and you're well attuned to your own playstyle, which can give you some advantages when you switch things up to PvP.
At the beginning of the preview event, creative director of the Ghost Recon franchise Eric Couzian said, "your ghost is your own". Throughout my experience with Ghost Recon Breakpoint, I really felt like she was. I became quite attached to my white haired, slightly scarred Nomad by the end of my session. And what's more, I also felt comfortable doing missions and taking on tough enemies like drones and Wolves because I was completely in charge of how how I wanted to fill her boots. The classes and customisation really do add to the immersive experience of being a spec ops officer, and for me, it was one of the most appealing features of playing the game.
Want to know more? Read our Ghost Recon Breakpoint Ghost War preview for insight into the new competitive PvP modes.