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Prerequisite

October 4, 2019 by Tim

Breakpoint is not quite what I was hoping it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good military porn, and the Tom Clancy games usually deliver regardless. But I’d been hoping Breakpoint would veer a little more tactical/realistic like the old Ghost Recon games, and instead it went the other way. More arcadey with a dash of RPG.

Nevertheless, as much as I enjoy these types of games, I also always feel a little weird when I play them. I like playing as the elite soldiers in these (mostly) grounded-in-realism Tom Clancy games, but they always exemplify a personality type and culture that is so drastically different than my own.

Games are great for escaping our reality and letting us roleplay other experiences, of course. But I can play as a mute Hylian boy with a fated sword and penchant for lawn maintenance without having to think about actual mute Hylians out there risking their lives for a princess. Whereas there are people that really live (at least some facsimile of) the experiences depicted in games like Tom Clancy.

I have the utmost respect for members of the armed forces; they do a job that I was not willing to do. But I have never said “hooah” and meant it. I have never bearded up and worn a t-shirt under a bulletproof vest somewhere I might get shot at. I’ve never worn a shemagh, and in fact I had to Google “black and tan middle eastern scarf thing” to find out what it was called. I have never so much as touched a real gun, and frankly I have no interest to.

What I’m getting at is, that sometimes when I play these military-esque shooters, it almost feels like I’m trespassing in a weird sort of way. Like it’s not for me, like I don’t belong, but I’ve sort of snuck in anyway.


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Misterboyle
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Misterboyle

It’s funny I was watching the rugby yesterday (Ireland beating Russian) and over the course of the halftime ads I seen 3 ads recruiting for the Marines. No other country elevates their military to such a extend as American.

Kaitensatsuma
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Kaitensatsuma

I mean, Russia does military parades and China just celebrated their 70th anniversary with one, but in a way I agree.

But the more I listen to WWII and WWI documentaries the more I realize that it’s totally in character.

Ingvar
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Ingvar

I can’t speak for the Chinese but annual Russian military parade isn’t similar at all. It is a show of state propaganda and a memorial to numerous casualties of WWII but it isn’t a grassroots movement. Voluntary declaration of admiration for military every time it’s mentioned is something unique to American culture as far as I can tell (and IMO pretty weird).

Mike
Guest
Mike

To me those come across more as glorification of the country, or at least the military as a whole whereas in the US it’s more about the individual soldiers.

Guest
Guest
Guest

Not really. Nobody gives a shit about the soldiers themselves. Being a vet is nothing else but glorification of killing/dying for your country.

Glorified pawns.

Tyco
Guest
Tyco

18 million US vets and at least a few people know them personally and care about each of them, on average let’s say. There’s also a lot of us who genuinely appreciate their service. The fact that you can mock them and not get banned or arrested should give you some appreciation for what they are trying to protect. You think those in Hong Kong aren’t wishing they had a first and second amendment right now?

Kaitensatsuma
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Kaitensatsuma

I’d believe that if we didn’t regularly hand pick “Heroic Soldiers”, tell outrageous lies about what happened, and then shush anyone who tries to correct them. The Military is used to silence people in more effective ways in the U.S. than it is in other countries sometimes.

Look up what they did with Pat Tillman.

leduk
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leduk

well yeah all imperialists countries love their army (china, russia, usa, france, etc)

Tyco
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Tyco

France, pfft…that’s adorable. Also, don’t lump US in with China and Russia. UK maybe, but not those two.

Admiral Casual
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Admiral Casual

Well, yeah, we gotta compensate for weak allies after all 🙂

Hoops
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Hoops

would love to know who you mean when you refer to “weak allies”

Admiral Casual
Guest
Admiral Casual

oh FFS, I was KIDDING, internet! Jesus…

Ninebucks
Guest
Ninebucks

because in other countries for the most part military service is compulsory. Here in America it is completely voluntary with the exception of an unlucky few, and all the last two decades of warfighting has done is train a generation of young Americans to be gunfighters and field medics while doing nothing for them for their sacrifices beyond pissing them off.

Art Williams
Guest
Art Williams

Aren’t the forces supposed to be properly equipped and not have to spend their own money on clothing and training as Ubisoft would have you believe?

Alexander
Guest
Alexander

Yes, and no. While issued equipment is generally pretty good (better than most countries), it is well known that aftermarket gear is generally superior to issued. Military issue equipment is to “Mil-Spec” which basically means “the best possible quality… we can get for the lowest possible price.” After all, buying hundreds of thousands of guns, and millions of rounds of ammunition on a regular basis gets pricey! There are a lot of soldiers who invest their own money in upgrading their gear. Laser range finders, thermal scopes, upgraded plate carriers, better boots, after market stocks, fore-grips, bi-pods, tactical lights, etc…… Read more »

Vedrit
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Vedrit

Coming from a military family, can confirm.

Roborat
Guest
Roborat

And of course, the special forces types have access to stuff that the run of the mill grunts can’t get their hands on. Also, there is a realization in some militaries that the one size fits all model doesn’t work for some cases, and there is some merit in allowing the troops to supply their own customizations if it will let them do their job better.

David
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David

I would say another way to look at it is that these games provide an insight into something you would never be able to perceive of in another way. Perhaps TC’s GR BP is not the best example of this (I must admit to knowing little to nothing about the game), but Specs Ops: The Line would be an excellent example of what I mean. Arguably so would Arma.

Robert Loughrey
Guest
Robert Loughrey

I’m not a member of any armed service, but I don’t think a video game will EVER give an actual depiction of combat. For one thing people don’t die immediately when you shoot them, even in the heart. They flail around and scream for quite some time, and no one wants that in a game.

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

Can you imagine an FPS like that?

People respond realistically to actual injuries and wounds, screaming, crying, praying, saying loved ones names, etc. And when they die, they just lie there.

How many people would, if the game gave options, would go stealth/nonlethal? And how many would not, and relish it?

Sylvain Marchand
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Sylvain Marchand

lol Well, obviously FPS are made to be enjoyed and will be made realistic only so far as it doesn’t detract from the experience. For the record, shooting people in the heart usually does shut them up real good, because they will almost immediately pass out from shock or just won’t have the strength to complain or flail around. 😛 Just sayin’

Geraint Wynne-Davies
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Geraint Wynne-Davies

I was actually expecting the last panel to be something about microtransactions. That whole game looks like one big cash shop.

Roborat
Guest
Roborat

Well yea, it is Ubisoft, after all.

Nextgener
Guest
Nextgener

well yea, but they weren’t also always greedy bastard’s who only cared about making everything into a mobile game.

Ang3lus033
Guest
Ang3lus033

You genuinely made me laugh ! I felt the same way just by looking at the trailer !

Stef
Guest
Stef

Going to school in the 80’s and 90’s, I had the opposite problem.
“You play rugby? You’re the captain of the athletics team? You play computer games?!?!?!?!?!?”

Raymond
Guest
Raymond

I’ve been in the military, and fired real weapons, and even a Browning .50 cal. with explosive ammunition. I was a frontline grunt during my service, part of a fire team. Supporting the Machine Gunner, I was given the role of carrying a bag of ammunition. Fun times. BUT… I can’t say I volunteered for the service. I just got a letter in the mail with a time, date and place. And seeing as it would be illegal not to show up, I just had to show up. But I was never abroad, in my country the mandatory military service… Read more »

Kaitensatsuma
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Kaitensatsuma

:whispers:
That’s exactly what they are

And I honestly credit Tom Clancy as a writer, I like reading many of his and W.E.B. Griffin’s books, but those tended to be just…”Military Fiction-Fantasy” not “Military Power Fantasy”

TuffMelon
Guest
TuffMelon

Given that he wasn’t even remotely involved in development of these games in like, even a decade before he died, the ‘Tom Clancy’ part is basically the name Call of Duty at this point. It sells more, so they stick it on there.

5yearE4
Guest
5yearE4

It’s all fantasy. Look at it this way…a game where you would *really* feel like you are sneaking in would have you doing maintenance on vehicles *just* long enough to not get yelled out…cleaning out a connex where when done everything goes back inside to be forgotten again…picking up cigarettes dropped by other soldiers…and generally doing your best to avoid work as best as possible. And if you fail a level you do something stupid like bear crawls around the vehicles in the rain. The game would be called E-4 Mafia. And it would be a much more realistic portrayal… Read more »

Lorenzo
Guest
Lorenzo

They’ve gone Rambo, the first part of the trailer is straight out of First Blood.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

Then they rocketed into the other Rambos without blinking it looks like though.

Kendhor
Guest
Kendhor

Not to mention that all videogames that depict real weapons have to pay a fee to guns manufacturers. So you’re basically supporting their industry and lobbying practices when you play those games. Yuk!

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

Not always. EA announced in 2013 that they weren’t going to be paying licensing fees anymore, arguing that using it in fiction was fair use and similar to when an author might reference a Colt in a book. Since then, at least Take-Two and Rebellion have joined them.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/08/how-video-games-license-guns/596296/

Mike
Guest
Mike

I thought it was the other way around, where the gun manufacturers paid to get their guns in the game in a good light since it’s basically advertising.

Alexander Azarov
Guest
Alexander Azarov

I most certainly am no expert, but with the advancing realism of computer modeling for games in the past couple decades, perhaps what the gun companies wanted to be paid for was the right to use their specifications, which are presumably proprietary, to model the guns. *shrugs*

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

It’s kind of funny to me that you feel like you’re trespassing on someone’s experiences, because generally speaking, for westerners like us, armed military conflict involves trespassing on someone else’s land. Most of Europe obviously hasn’t seen any conflict since 1945, the US hasn’t seen a battle since 1890, and Canada’s last was probably the Fenian Raids of 1871. I fully respect members of the military for doing things that I couldn’t, but I have no respect for the leaders and officers who tell them to invade other countries and subjugate other peoples. And, frankly, I generally have no respect… Read more »

Robert Loughrey
Guest
Robert Loughrey

While I agree with your general point about atrocities some of your info is off. Eastern Europe was a war-zone for most of the 90’s and the Ukraine is a war-zone now. America was attacked and invaded numerous times during World War II and defensive forces were attacked by North Korea during the Korean War. I’ll just leave it to the reader to decide if 9-11 was an attack (I don’t but YMMV.) Canadian soil was also attacked during those conflicts. Also no officer or general sends anyone into a conflict. The US military can’t do that without their civilian… Read more »

kaladorn
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kaladorn

I was actually quite shocked to find out two of my friends in USCG were in an Armed Service. That’s because I’m Canadian and our USCG is not a military branch. It’s exploration, search and rescue, ocean science support, ice breaking, and some law-enforcement activity. My friends who served with USCG were SAR pilots – one was the senior pilot when Katrina happened and planned all the helo missions into New Orleans from aboard the USS Iwo Jima after the CG was given that job. He also got a decoration for landing a one-engine-down chopper at night in pitching seas… Read more »

Roborat
Guest
Roborat

You are conveniently forgetting soldiers that are deployed on peace keeping missions. They aren’t subjugating anybody, they are protecting them.

destino
Guest
destino

I was a teen during the 80s, and I have to say, I feel quite at home wi4h games like this, I dont think it has anything to do with my military experiences ( I was forced to service after finishing my residency at the end of my Medschool, it’s a mandatory thing here in Brazil). It’s related to this era and culture, big action heroes, great action movies, first 3d experience with Metal gear solid and so on. yeah, more a cultural thing. just enjoy the ride, like when you used to watch Juck Norris on the tv.

Leon
Guest
Leon

Yep, dont fuck with Juck………

Leon
Guest
Leon

Take steroids to play

Leon
Guest
Leon

*over-the-top threatening growl while flexing ridiculously sweeaty pectoral muscles*

Admiral Casual
Guest
Admiral Casual

It’s all good, Tim. I’ve never seen that error report before in my life, and would be quite capable of playing the game. However, it’s made by Ubisoft and my hatred for them is unrelenting, so take my testosto-pass.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

I get the feeling that rather than “Trespassing” in the sense that “You aren’t Military Manly” enough, you’re simply Trespassing in the “You don’t have daily fantasies about Red Dawn being a real thing”

This isn’t a “Military” game anymore, it’s a “Wannabe Sovereign Survivalist Porno” game. By the standards of Military Shooters, this makes the “No Russian” thing seem reasonable and realistic.

Fuck you, Fight me.

Miz Rebill
Guest
Miz Rebill

You’re also scared of guns…so…there’s that

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

Am I the only one that mentally named the game “Point Break” instead of Breakpoint?

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

I can kind of relate, and kind of not. I like my games to have a fictional, ‘not real world’ quality to them. They can be close – like how Phoenix Wright and Trauma Center are ‘kinda’ like being a lawyer or a surgeon. Also, I have no issue with historic (say, Assassin’s Creed-ish) Where I feel weird and strongly dislike is if the game is depicting real-world and has me using real firearms to shoot ‘real’ people. That’s just too much realism. And similarly, military shooters aren’t cool because not only do they have that, but it’s also a… Read more »

sean
Guest
sean

So ok to stab people and kill them ninja assassin style. But using a firearm to kill someone is bad…….First it’s all pixels on a screen so feeling bad about that is weird, do you feel that way if you kill a pig in minecraft or cause an explosion in a game that kills NPC? The thought that shooting pixels is any different than using a sword or explosives is strange. That’s like saying murder isn’t murder if it’s done with X instead of Z.

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

I’m not saying one is bad and one is good. I’m saying one feels like too much realism for me, and the other feels different enough from ‘real life’ that I disassociate it with real-life violence. Killing a person with a sword is, in many ways, far WORSE than a gun, but because we dont normally run around with broadswords it doesnt feel ‘real’ and my emotional brain doesnt override my logical brain, which knows it’s all pixels. The best example of this. I love Skyrim; it’s one of my favorite games ever. I’ve never played a ‘fighter’s, and prefer… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

So yeah, just to be clear – has nothing to do with ‘judging’ people for liking other things. You like what you like. It’s all pretend, man. It has EVERYTHING to do with psychological association and how the game ‘feels’ to me personally. Hitting a Minecraft pig with a sponge until he dies doesn’t ‘feel’ the same as casting Lightning at an attacking Necromancer, which doesn’t ‘feel’ like shooting muskets at British soldiers, which doesn’t ‘feel’ like shooting a cowering shopper in GTA with a rifle. And for me, the level of enjoyment goes down with each step towards realism.

ErinElizabeth
Guest
ErinElizabeth

They are all pixels and none of what happens in these games is real violence. No one gets hurt by your actions in a game. But that doesn’t mean people who get squidgy about things feeling too realistic are wrong to feel that way. Different people have different tolerances for what they are comfortable seeing and doing and drawing those lines in totally individual and arbitrary places doesn’t make them wrong. I feel bad building overcrowded animal farms when I play games like Minecraft and I know that’s silly but that’s just me. Feeling comfortable slicing game characters with a… Read more »

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

You know what?

I also feel bad for making an overcrowded farm in Minecraft.

And, uh… I kinda also feel like crap for a few other things. Realizing that (A) I’m low on food, (B) I’ve got a ton of feed and a ton of cows, and (C) giving all my cows food so I suddenly have a bunch of baby cattle, then murdering their parents right in front of them.

Resulli
Guest
Resulli

I’m just hoping that Breakpoint isn’t as tedious as Wildlands turned out to be. The world map was just waaaay too big for its own good. It got to the point where I would space out while my friend drove the helicopters around and I would have literal minutes to browse and by the time he landed I wasn’t even paying attention anymore. After a few dozen times of having to do this I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I never ended up finishing it.

TuffMelon
Guest
TuffMelon

Yeah, the issue with basically every Ubi sandbox in the last few years is (as Yahtzee Croshaw put it,) its basically a bunch of small locations with travel time in between. The world is only really big because there’s so much empty space in it, and while its satisfying to see such a massive gamespace, the games have a tendency to overstay their welcome.

Roborat
Guest
Roborat

I have to admit I played all these games when I was younger, but I found the later ones kind of silly. That said, I did discover ARMA and jumped into that world with both feet, I have owned all the various iterations, and am currently playing ARMA III. I find that I like the more realistic shooters much more than the various variants such as the subject here. I find many of them too much RAH RAH, USA fuck yea for my liking, and being able to survive getting shot multiple times and instant healing ruins the immersion for… Read more »

kaladorn
Guest
kaladorn

Tim, My group of gaming friends (some very close) over the last few decades includes: US SF – 18 years, 7 before in 82nd, USCG – 18 years, 6 before in 82nd, 2 or 3 other US SF whose backgrounds I’ve never had the stones to ask, US Army Ranger, Australian Infantry, Canadian Infantry -> Air Force Intelligence, Canadian Infantry -> Navy, Canadian Communications, Canadian Air Force Engineer, US Combat Engineer, RCN Engineer -> Maritime Surface Warfare (when they phased his trade out in the Reserves). I’m probably missing some. I myself served in Canadian Reserves in the 1987-1988 time… Read more »

TuffMelon
Guest
TuffMelon

Strange thing about Breakpoint is that the first time i saw anything about it, people (not saying the games marketing, just the influencers reviewing the early gameplay sessions) said it seemed pretty tactical by comparison. Then the later gameplay seemed to have a bunch of bullet spongey robots in it…

Not entirely sure what they were going for with breakpoint, but at this point wildlands seems more tactical SOMEHOW.

Helldemon
Member
Helldemon

Just came over from Jim sterlings review of this game, always fun seeing multiple peoples feelings on a game.

Teris
Guest
Teris

@Tim,

As one of the ones who has bearded up and worn the scarves, you belong. We had people IN the military who had the same mentality, and their job reflected that. They weren’t wearing bulletproof vests or shooting guns all day, they were at computers making spreadsheets and telling people what the best course of action was.

Tom Clancy just doesn’t show those people.

And if you had snuck in, well.. we’d have all been surprised. And impressed.

Lincoln
Guest
Lincoln

Huh… I’ve been playing this same game, but I chose to play as a woman. So she’s walking around in jeans and a t-shirt just stabbing and sniping… Whenever a game gives me the option of playing as female, I’m taking it. Not sure if this affects how testosterone-y it is, but… Makes it more fun.

matt
Guest
matt

On the discussion of glorifying the military, countries with voluntary service do more of it than those with compulsory service. The US does tend to be far and away bigger on it than other countries. One thing to keep in mind is our history. In WWII especially, there was compulsory service, but it was a massive war and we wanted both volunteers as well as pump up the war effort itself with bond drives. Making it seem like a regrettable, detestable thing isn’t a good way to do that. Vietnam especially we looked down on vets and the military and… Read more »

3DJutsu
Guest
3DJutsu

It’s ok, back in the Army I had somebody I talked to online perplexed. They were slightly confused as to why I played Battlefield and CoD. They were under the impression that those kind of games were too close to what I did everyday. I explained to them that they were *nothing* like what I went through in the Army… XD

We don’t need killstreaks to call in airstrikes.