The Terminator tie-in is the best part of Ghost Recon Breakpoint
A reader complains about the directionless nature of modern open world game and describes how the Terminator solves the problem.
I had the most engaging time with the release of the Terminator expansion for Ghost Recon Breakpoint recently. When Ubisoft publicly announced its intention to avoid politics in games it created somewhat of a disconnect between real world events and the ultimately sanitised environments of their games. As such, a great deal of Breakpoint is spent aimlessly attempting to resolve a conflict between an authoritative regime attempting to impose its will over some form of utopian colony.
But you never really feel any sense of resonance for the motivations of your character or any of the islands citizens. Unfortunately, as a consequence of weak voice-acting and dialogue, your allies and compatriots are forgettable and bland, and you quickly lose any drive or motivation in overcoming this all-encompassing threat.
One aspect of recent open world titles that does frustrate me is the seeming lack of tangible consequences to your actions. With the exception of Dragon Age: Inquisition, which did try to change the environments depending on your actions, whatever else I do in Breakpoint has no consequence, no impact. No matter how many drones I destroy, villains I kill, henchman I take down, there are more. At this point I will have single-handedly destroyed an entire army and yet for a small security incursion, this private army of mercenaries has a seemingly endless supply of soldiers and equipment to overcome. It’s the artificial nature of gaming that breaks the immersive experience.
The Terminator event, perhaps unintentionally or maybe not, feels like a refreshing change of pace. The premise finds you investigating a soldier sent back from the future, to where the weapons for the resistance were developed that would eventually be used against the threat of the machines. It relies perhaps on foreknowledge of the series but really, as one of the largest grossing films, you would be hard pressed not to know the broad narrative threads. Soon enough, a Terminator arrives and becomes an unstoppable menace that stalks you like Nemesis. With the use of the electric musical score from the first film, it certainly created a very uncomfortable feeling when you were crouched down hiding from the cyborg threat.
In its entirety the two missions available can be finished within a few hours, a modest investment of time but certainly a memorable experience. The dialogue is restrained and to the point, your character seemingly taking time travel in their stride. Whenever the threat of the T-800 is present the familiar musical beats from the first film play, which creates a great deal of resonance to the movies and the feeling of being stalked, especially when played in the nighttime setting.
The final factory challenge, whilst not the most original of fights, certainly fills you with dread as you travel down into the depths of the facility to confront the final machine. For a brief period, it really was everything I had actually hoped this game would deliver: a clear identifiable threat with concise dialogue and a reason to invest and care about the world around me and my character.
Where Blood Dragon was the clear antithesis of the island setting of Far Cry 3, this used the setting and premise of the main game but in an alternate direction. The lack of a certain Austrian actor is notable but as a token defence you don’t especially want to stand around admiring the aesthetic of the Terminator. Which is to say, when the music starts, your sole focus is survival which, is as it should be for a character of this type.
As you would expect, there are a variety of collectables to find, including a welcome homage to the appearance of the late Bill Paxton in the first film, as well as a variety of cyborg aesthetic perks. It’s a nice and welcome addition to the usual generic items and guns that have no real visible difference.
In a largely self-inflicted sanitised, directionless game, for three hours or so you have direction, motivation, and focus and a clear idea of what you are doing. Given I have probably invested over 40 hours in this fictional world its damning that only a fraction of that has had a concise purpose behind it. But it does make you wonder what a well-funded Terminator game could be like, given the investment and backing of a major studio.
By reader ATBonfire (Facebook/WordPress/Twitter)
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