Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Version Reviewed: PC
RADIO TRANSMISSION TRANSCRIPT: BREAKPOINT OPERATION.
MIC: Special Agent Karen Bowman, CIA
SO: Ghost Leader, codesign “Nomad”.
Time: 04:00 Hours
Location: Langley/Somewhere on the island of Auroa.
[Special Agent Bowman]: Ghost Leader, this is Special Agent Karen Bowman, do you copy? Over.
[Bowman]: Codesign Nomad, this is Agent Bowman, do you copy?
[Bowman]: Codesign Nomad! Is there a problem?
[Nomad]: Of course there’s a problem! I’m hanging upside down from a helicopter stuck in a tree that’s on fire!
[Bowman]: Roger that, Nomad, report status of Operation Breakpoint.
[Nomad]: Operation Breakpoint is FUBAR. The helos have been shot down. All Ghosts missing, presumed dead. Oh God, the blood from my ears is going up my nose.
[Bowman]: Can you expl-
LOUD CRASHING NOISE
[Bowman]: Codesign Nomad?
[Nomad]: The good news is I got down from the helicopter. The bad news is…ouch.
[Bowman]: Can you explain what happened?
[Nomad]: I was hanging from the helicopter, and then-
[Bowman]: I was referring to Operation Breakpoint.
[Nomad]: Oh right. Thanks so much for your concern. Anyway, remember how you sent us all on a mission to investigate why an island that produces killer drones suddenly went dark?
[Nomad]: Turns out that Skell Industries, the incredibly wealthy tech giant that specialises in producing advanced technological weapons has been hijacked by a rogue mercenary group. Also, before that, Skell decided to safeguard its enormous private island with automated defence systems. Defence systems we presumably didn’t know about. Isn’t that interesting?
[Nomad]: Yeah. So now I’m alone in hostile territory with no backup.
[Bowman]: What about the three companions who accompanied you on the Wildlands operation?
[Nomad]: Well, for some reason that I cannot possibly fathom, they weren’t assigned to this mission. I’m completely alone. I mean, I wouldn’t mind, but this is very obviously not a solo endeavour. Was it budget cuts, or did you simply forget to tell them to get on the helicopter?
[Bowman]: Sarcasm isn’t going to help, Nomad.
[Nomad]: It can’t hurt more than everything already does.
[Bowman]: We have intel that some of the inhabitants of the island are holed up near a mountain named Erewohn. I’ll send you the co-ordinates, if you can make it over, perhaps we can salvage the operation.
[Nomad]: Copy. I’ll report back if I make it.
Time: 09:23 hours
[Nomad]: Agent Bowman. This is Nomad. Do you copy? Over.
[Bowman]: I copy, Nomad. What’s the situation?
[Nomad]: I’m at Erewohn. There are a lot of Ghosts here.
[Bowman]: That’s excellent news! How are they holding up?
[Nomad]: Well, this is the thing. We had 30 Ghosts on this mission, right?
[Nomad]: But there’s hundreds of us here. Did you send reinforcements?
[Nomad]: I mean, I guess it doesn’t matter. But if this was supposed to feel like a dangerous survival mission, the sudden appearance of a small army in this very specific area would somewhat spoil the atmosphere, no?
[Nomad]: Also, remember that guy, Cole Walker? You know, the ex-Ghost who went a little bit off the rails and formed his own private mercenary company?
[Nomad]: The one who looks almost exactly like noted actor Jon Bernthal?
[Bowman]: Oh him! Yes I remember.
[Nomad]: He’s here too…
[Bowman]: Oh good!
[Nomad]: …and he's responsible for hijacking the island and killing all of our Ghosts.
[Bowman]: I mean bad. Extremely bad. But at least it sounds like the setup for an exciting story to tell all your Ghost buddies.
[Nomad]: You mean all the ones here experiencing the exact same mission as me?
[Nomad]: In fact, let’s drill into that a bit. I’ve had conversations with a few people here, and by a few people I mean 'almost everyone I encounter". I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t expect this to be such a “Hearts and Minds” operation.
[Bowman]: Hang on, I distinctly remember you complaining that the Wildlands operation was too dismissive of the Bolivian culture and its people. Remember the quinoa factory?
[Nomad]: Ah, I see you’ve learned how to pronounce the Q word. Yes, I would have liked it if Wildlands had taken the people of Bolivia a bit more seriously. But that doesn’t mean I want to be bored to death by exhaustingly long conversations with every goddamn person on this island. People who say things like, 'I’ve known some of those people since they were babies. I saw them take their first steps.' What, you saw an entire island‘s worth of people take their first steps? Are you some kind of immortal Allfather? Who says something like that?
[Bowman]: Agent Nomad…
[Nomad]: And some of them think it’s a good idea to strike up a chat right in the middle of an operation! Like there was this one scientist, right, who thought it would be just perfect to have bit of a natter while flanked by two enemy guards! I thought these people were intelligent! I barely got out alive!
[Bowman]: I think you’re getting a bit worked up, Agent Nomad. Why don’t you go outside and shoot something? It’ll make your feel better.
Time: 23:00 hours
[Nomad]: Agent Bowman, do you copy?
[Bowman]: Copy, Nomad. How’s things?
[Nomad]: I want to go back to Bolivia.
[Bowman]: What? You hated Bolivia!
[Nomad]: Please. This is awful.
[Bowman]: Did you shoot people like I suggested?
[Nomad]: Oh, so many people. And it made me feel better for a bit. I like sneaking into bases under the cover of darkness, shanking a few of the guards, then lighting up the place when I finally get detected. I like the fact that when I shoot someone in the face, they actually die, unlike when our Division team were recently deployed to D.C. and everyone just had numbers falling out of them. I like getting covered in mud and/or snow depending on weather is like. You know how I like to play in the dirt.
[Nomad]: But almost everything I do here feels the same. I collect a bit of intel from one location, and it just sends to me to collect intel from another location. Sometimes I might get to rescue someone from a building or interrogate a guard, but outside of these handful of activities there seems to be no variety whatsoever. Also, this place is bloody weird sometimes.
[Bowman]: In what way?
[Nomad]: I keep picking up different coloured guns, but they all feel functionally identical. It’s like they’re guns designed to work in some other universe where your opponents are ranked in a large number of tiers. Levels, you might say. On top of that, I’m a trained special-ops soldier, and yet I get really tired from walking up a hill a bit, and I seem incapable of stopping myself from falling back down to the bottom. I can’t drive anywhere because I immediately get shot to bits, so the only way around is by helicopter, which is kinda boring.
[Bowman]: Did you, ah, try shooting people with another Ghost?
[Nomad]: Yeah, and that made it better for a while too. I like being able to co-ordinate a plan with a fellow Ghost, although with two or three Ghosts it gets a bit chaotic. I especially like establishing one of my buddies in a sniping position to report guard movements while the rest of us work on infiltrating a base. That was fine for the first few hours. But my enemies don’t put up much of a challenge, and more to the point I don’t feel any of this is going anywhere. I only have access to three or four gadgets, most of which I used in the Wildlands operation. I want more options, Agent Bowman.
[Bowman]: What do you mean?
[Nomad]: Well, there was this spec-ops guy who was operational back in the 80s; I think his name was Snake. Bit of a dodgy fellow, did some questionable stuff in Africa and Afghanistan. But he had a dog that would spot enemies for him, a helicopter that would drop him off at missions and pick him back up and even play his favourite music track while en-route. He had loads of guns and cool gadgets, like an inflatable decoy of himself, and a special balloon that let him grab resources from his environment. He even had a horse that could shit on command.
[Bowman]: Wow, that is impressive.
[Nomad]: Right? But he needed all those things too, because his enemies wouldn’t just sit around waiting for him to pop their heads. They actually adapted to his infiltration style, changing their defensive strategy and responding to his tactics. So he actually had to plan for his missions. It was all about the plan. Choose your mission, prepare your gear, infiltrate, complete the objective, get home, plan for the next one. Now, imagine if we could do something like that, but with up to four Ghosts involved. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
[Bowman]: Sounds a little bit beyond our budget, Nomad.
[Nomad]: Well maybe if everyone didn’t spend so much fucking time talking we could actually get some espionage done. You know what? Screw the Ghosts and screw you. I’m joining team Rainbow.
January 24 2020 | 12:00