Genre: class/team based FPS(up to 16, online only)
Developer: Atomic Games
Platforms: PC and Xbox 360(XBLA)
Release Date: Jan 26, 2011
Price: 1200 Allards/$20 on PC
Breach is a class and team-based FPS(first person shooter) developed by Atomic Games, utilizing the Hydrogen engine. Breach made gaming blog/site headlines last year during Pax East 2010 when there was a foiled attempt to steal the game from a computer on the show floor. Nevertheless Atomic spent the rest of 2010 working on and polishing Breach.
Breach offers five modes of gameplay with slightly different nomenclature perhaps to set itself apart a bit. FPS are well known and often played. Infiltration requires teams to gain control of 5 areas within the map, retrieval is much like 1 flag capture the flag except that the flag is a bioweapon canister, team deathmatch defines itself, sole survivor immediately reminded me of Counter Strike and perhaps the most interesting mode I played was convoy. This mode has either team stalling(it’s timed) or protecting a convoy as it attempts to reach a location on the map. The convoy will stop moving if no team members are nearby or mounted on turrets attached to the trucks. Damage inflicted on the armored trucks by the opposing team will also impede progress. As if that were not enough the defending team must use explosives on the armored trucks to destroy existing barriers on the road. This mode felt the freshest to me either because it is rarely done or my limited time and/or patience with team-based FPSs has left me unaware of the ubiquity of this game mode.
There are a total of 5 classes available: rifleman, gunner, support and sniper are all immediately accessible with a locked recon class. Recon unlocks when the rifleman and sniper classes are maxed out. The classes have slightly different loadouts with either grenades or c4 to start out with. The c4 worked as expected but the grenade tossing seemed a bit jittery to me. Players earn experience points for each class they use. Every kill and completed objective earns experience points towards the maximum for each class. Like many other FPSs the option to customize load outs is not available at the outset. But once unlocked there are around 10 spy gadgets, 15+ different weapons and attachments and about 12 perks to choose from. Bionic ear, IR sniper detector and sonic imager were stand outs in my opinion. Bonic ear amplifies sounds like footsteps and gun fire even through walls. IR beams are employed to reflect off of any scoped weapon within the players view to better detect snipers with the IR sniper detector gadget and the sonic imager let’s players see through walls.
The Bad Ass, Nerves of Steel and Vendetta are perks that seemed the most unique. The player’s energy is reduced by 50% but that risk is rewarded with the ability to earn double XP with The Bad Ass perk. Nerves of Steel allows steady aiming while engaging in a firefight and vendetta places a marker on the mini map showing the location of your most recent dealer of death.
One of Breach’s bullet points are the destructible environments. While it is nice to be able to blow holes into the walls, bridges and floors(ceilings too) none of the vehicles or comm towers are destructible. The randomly placed propane tanks in and around cars explode and only engulf the car in flames for a few seconds. I was expecting the car to explode and cease to be usable as cover. This shortcoming is not a deal breaker but is somewhat disappointing. I would have appreciated more control options as well. While there are 3 control options available none of them offered alternatives for key controls I find most important, like weapon switching or melee. Much like the selectively destructible environments this is not a reason to ignore this game but the limited control choices are slightly frustrating. The other heavily emphasized feature is the active cover system. Which from my experience worked pretty well. I must admit that at first I found that the active cover system took some time to get used to but after using a couple times it felt just fine.
-fun team and class based online FPS
-solid gameplay at a budget price
– destructible walls, floors, bridges and barriers
– weapons, gadgets and perks to unlock
-gun turrets don’t overheat
– vehicles and comm towers are not destructible
– control choices are limited and not customizable
– lives and dies on community or lack thereof
-some graphical hiccups, animation stuttering when throwing grenades
-sprinting does not feel that much faster than walking
-gun turrets don’t overheat
-you can only purchase and alter your weapons, perks and gadgets from main menu, not during or in between games
Breach is a very enjoyable FPS however it cannot exist in a vacuum. Obviously it will face some stiff competition; mostly from retail FPSs currently available on the 360 and PC. None of these titles will make Breach any less fun and engaging, but they may bring the value proposition to the forefront of one’s mind. Nevertheless, Breach is vying for the same time and attention currently being given in droves to mulit-million sellers of the same genre. Breach is an online multiplayer only game. If no one plays it, it dies. I think Breach is worth your time and attention as it is a great bite sized FPS that people can get their hands around and enjoy. I say that as someone who generally dislikes class, team and objective based FPSs. Whatever community does or does not latch onto this game the developers at Atomic, bravely or foolishly, put their best foot forward and offer a quality alternative to an already popular and divisive genre. Try it, I think you’ll like it.
Full Disclosure: Breach was provided to GameEnthus.com by Atomic Games