Borderlands 3 has some big shoes to fill. It’s been a good seven years since Borderlands 2 came out back in 2012 and people are STILL playing it.
When Ghost Recon: Wildlands dropped two years ago in 2017, it deviated from the usual Ghost Recon formula. The linear level based design was swapped out for an open-world, sprawling with things to do as you attempted to take out a drug cartel. The world was accurate and gorgeous too, so nobody could really complain. However, there were the various issues the game had at launch, such as the numerous bugs and the incompetent AI teammates. Despite everything though, the game did pretty well, and fans enjoyed the game. Ubisoft has taken things even further in this direction, giving Ghost Recon: Breakpoint quite a few RPG-like elements. Ubisoft seems to be doing this with a lot of their IPs of late it looks like. Look at Assassin’s Creed for example. Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey look and play nothing like the Assassin’s Creed games of old. Sure, they’re good games, but they – Odyssey especially – don’t necessarily feel like Assassin’s Creed games anymore.
The main reason for this line of thought is the introduction of weapon and gear levels to the game. You now have to keep an eye out for better gear as you play the game, looking to keep upgrading and updating your gear to keep your overall gear level good and high. Even enemies have gear levels, which basically means that at higher levels they’ve got better armor and gear, and will detect you faster. You get a warning when you’re going into a high gear level area. Just the warning, nothing stopping you from continuing. You and your friends can attempt and challenge yourself but it’s going to be hard. Now a cause for concern here is that in a tactical game like Ghost Recon, we can’t have bullet sponge enemies. Headshots are meant to be one-shot, one kill. According to Ubi this is still the case in Breakpoint. No matter the enemy gear level, a shot to the head will kill them. One shot if they aren’t wearing a helmet, and two if they are, one to take the helmet off. This applies to all human enemies. Unfortuantely, thanks to the game’s plot setting, you’re going to have to deal with a lot more than just humans, including but not limited to murder-hungry mechs and drones.
The reason for the gear level system, according to Ubisoft, is that the data they collected from Ghost Recon: Wildlands showed that players were sticking to one gun for the entire duration of the game. So we guess this way players are “encouraged” (read:forced) to switch guns when they come across a better one. We don’t get this decision. It goes against the concept of what’s supposed to be a hardcore tactical skill-based shooter. Wouldn’t you ideally want to stick to a single weapon and get fully used to its ins and outs? Master it’s recoil, its bullet drop, rate-of-fire and all that? People got attached to their favourite weapons in Wildlands, and customised them how they saw fit, and spruced them up with all the cosmetic goodness that Ubisoft has to offer, and we didn’t see an issue with it. We still don’t. While you can still upgrade and mod your weapons extensively in Breakpoint, it will eventually fall off and affect your overall gear level.
We’ve got to say, gameplay feels very crisp and satisfying. Gunplay and stealth (when it worked, we probably just suck) felt good. We didn’t really get to experience co-op. There seemed to be issues teaming up on day one of the closed beta, we didn’t really attempt co-op after that. They’ve done away with AI in the game, we’re thinking because of how abysmal they were in Wildlands at launch, however, they plan to patch them soon after the game fully releases, by popular demand. In the closed beta we got to play two main story missions and a whole bunch of side-missions. If you’ve watched the game’s trailers then you probably already have a good idea of what the story is. If you haven’t, basically, the ghosts have been betrayed by ghosts, but the bad ghosts are wolves, and now you’ve gotta take the wolves down.
Like we mentioned above, there’s extensive modification that can be done, both to your weapons and gear. We didn’t get much into it, because we kept coming across better weapons and didn’t know whether we should bother investing resources into them or not, and whether we could carry them over to the new weapon or not. If it does so automatically, that’s great, if it doesn’t, we see that being a pain-in-the-behind. There are four ghost classes to choose from in Breakpoint – Medic, Assaulter, Sharpshooter and Panther. Basicaller a healer, frontline, sniper and sneaky class. They come with their own abilities, which basically compliment their class. Healers can res themselves, Assaulters can get tanky, Panther’s have stealth, Sharpshooters can shoot through walls. The skill trees have also been touched up a bit. Nothing too complicated.
We encountered a few issues every now and then, which is to be expected in a closed beta, nothing game breaking though. Opening stuff is a pain sometimes, your character refuses to angle the right way and you have to hold the key down instead of just tapping it. Traversing is fine for the most part, except when you get stuck in uneven terrain. The ability to turn the HUD on and off is great, really improves immersion.
Speaking of immersion, the game also offers a no guidelines mode, where you have to figure out where to go without any assistance from markers and such. You’ll have to actually go through intel you acquire in order to progress. However, it can be turned on and off with ease, so you can flip it on and off on the fly.
The game’s taking place on a remote island this time around, we didn’t really get to take in the sights, so to speak, but whatever we saw looked pretty good.
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint Preevu – Conclusion
To put it bluntly, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint feels like a traditional (that’s a thing now, we’ve made it a thing) AAA ubisoft game, with all the features you’d expect in one. You’ve also got the huge map with the collectibles and the question marks sprinkled all over it. Heck, it’s even a good game. Fun too. We really enjoyed the gameplay. We did get to try out some co-op before the closed beta and that was also fun. But it’s beginning to feel less like Ghost Recon and more like the Division at this point. Getting better gear of higher rarity and seeing your gear levels going up is still fun, especially paired with good gameplay, however, we’re losing the essence of Ghost Recon.
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Avalanche Studios and id Software’s Rage 2 is a game sequel that people have been waiting years to see. It’s been 8 years since the first Rage came out, and finally, fans of the game have a sequel. It’s easily one of the more anticipated games of the year, so naturally, stakes are high. Let’s find out how the sequel fares.
Rage 2 most certainly feels and plays like an id Software game. Combat is fast-paced, chaotic, fun, and fluid.There’s a variety of weapons you can use. Wingsticks, a 3-pronged boomerangs for silent kills, from the original Rage also makes a comeback here. You soon get an assault rifle and eventually a shotgun as well. Specialised ranger weapons can only be found inside Arks (vaults that are hidden around the wasteland). It’s worth your time to collect and unlock all of them as they add some variety to the combat.
Nanotrite powers include things like double jumping via the Grav-Jump ability and dashing via the Rush ability. Then there’s offensive powers like Shatter, basically a Jedi force push, and Slam which makes you slam your fist down to the ground and deal damage. There’s a total of 11 Nanotrite powers to be unlocked in the game and they can only be found inside Arks. The Nanotrite powers weave nicely into combat and give you a sense of OPness.
After you’ve gotten a certain amount of kills, you go into Overdrive. This is basically the “wrap things up quickly” mode. Activating it instantly gives you some health, bumps up weapon damage to 9000, health regen, makes everything go splat and drop more feltrite. Overdrive affects ranger weapons differently, giving them additional features. We thought Overdrive was a fun feature, it instantly quickens the pace of combat, and the timer on it gives you a sense of urgency as well.
There was, apparently, a lot of attention put into vehicular combat. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as regular combat. The controls weren’t as fluid or responsive. It was quite easy to cheese an enemy base with a vehicle by gunning them down with the vehicle’s mounted weapon. However, vehicles can go down pretty fast if you get mobbed by too many enemies.
Vehicle mounted weapons come with an auto-target feature. The auto-target feature got pretty annoying because one moment it’s zooming around and locking onto enemies, the next it refuses to shoot at what we are pointing towards.
Upgrades and projects
Weapons, powers, vehicles, and combat can be further enhanced using feltrite, project points, weapon, and vehicle cores. You get project cores as you complete activities on the map, however, certain project trees are locked until you progress the story and meet the relevant character. There’s no order to how they unlock, it depends on how you proceed in the story. Weapons can also be upgraded, unlocking features like larger clip size, faster reload, armor piercing rounds and more. It’s a bit annoying that you have multiple different resources to keep track of and gather.
The story of Rage 2 takes place 30 years after the events of the first game. You play as Walker, the last Ranger. The world is a wasteland because of an asteroid that crashed into the planet in the year 2029 and wipes out most of humanity. The surviving humans rise up and split up into factions. One of them, the Authority, and their leader, General Cross, are the primary baddies of the game. While Cross was assumed dead or missing-in-action, he unexpectedly returns and wipes out most of the “first generation” rangers, leaving you, a “second genner”, as the only surviving ranger. It’s up to you to restart an old plan called Project Dagger in order to defeat General Cross.
The story was pretty meh and too short. None of the characters stood out for us, although, there were recurring characters from the first game. The game’s attempts at humour were also pretty dry. Even the side quests felt lacklustre and we felt absolutely no desire to pursue any of them.
The open ‘waste’land
Rage 2’s vast open wasteland is quite barren. The few activities that are scattered around the world just repeat over and over again. Lootable objects exist in the game, but it feels like they’re of no worth. The only thing worth looking for is ammo, which you seem to run out of a lot. You really don’t want to run out of ammo, because that means you have to stop the combat, which is the only fun activity this game has.
Graphics and audio
The game was made using Avalanche Studios’ Apex Engine, and not id Tech. We also got some serious Borderlands vibes from the game, without all the cel-shading of course, because of the general colour scheme of the setting and the attempts at wacky characters. Overall, the graphics felt a little dated, but we still liked it. The vibrant neon hair of the bandits, the banners in the cities, etc, did bring some personality into the world.
Rage 2 has a pretty good sound-track that compliments its gameplay, although it has the tendency to suddenly start playing out of nowhere. The voice acting was fine. We did come across a bug where dialogue audio would suddenly disappear while someone was talking.
Developer: Avalanche Studios, id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Played on: Windows
Price: Rs. 3,999
Rage 2 is saved purely by how good the combat is. Everything else could use some work. It’s very obvious what they were going for, or at least attempting to go for here. Everything has been turned up to 11. The story, the combat, the vehicles, the enemies etc. However, it was only the combat that shines for us, and we’d honestly go back, just for more of that.
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