by Josh Miller
reviewed on X360
Breach is a first person shooter that places you in an unspecified conflict where two teams - consisting of sixteen players at the most - face off with the common goal of killing each other. This is just about as unique as it sounds and even less exciting. The one main draw of this game was supposed to be its unparalleled dynamically destructible environments, and even that failed to live up to what it was alleged to be. That bad? Umm... yes.
Dated Graphics and unoriginal game modes
When you first start up Breach, the first thing that you will notice is the very bland and boring startup menu. From here, you will begin to see that “bland and boring” is somewhat of a recurring theme throughout the game. If you open up the settings tab to select the level of graphical detail, you are given but two choices: low, and high. You can’t select any custom settings beyond this and regardless of which option you choose, you are really just picking between “ugly”, or “slightly less ugly”.
Breach would be a beautiful game, if this had been 2001, not 2011. Compared to the quality of modern day gaming, which is reaching its apex with upcoming and current shooters such as Crysis, Killzone 3 and Battlefield 3, Breach is pretty much left standing in the corner on account of its looks. The terrain is generic and bland, the buildings look like they were all made out of dry baked clay and the entire design is completely uninspired. Character models, weapon models and animations are nothing to be excited about either. You may begin to understand what I meant about that bland recurring theme at this point.
Defending the Convoy
The game sports five game modes: 'Infiltration', 'Retrieval', 'Team Deathmatch', 'Sole Survivor', and 'Convoy'. The first four you have probably experienced before in the myriad of other First Person Shooters available to date and - in all likelihood - those modes were probably better executed in those games as well. “Infiltration” doesn’t actually involve any infiltrating, but instead involves players vying for control of different strategic areas throughout the map in order to rack up points until one team wins. The “Retrieval” mode has the two teams trying to trace a randomly positioned weapons canister and bring it back to a score zone where that team will receive points. If it sounds like some sort of a capture the randomly placed flag fight, it is because that is exactly what it is. “Team Deathmatch” is just what it sounds like as well: an all out battle where two teams fight to the death until they have killed enough enemy players to reach the point limit. “Sole Survivor” is a variant of “Team Deathmatch” with the same game play elements but an added catch: everyone only has one life. This leaves you with a Counter-Strike like experience with destructible environments that is very enjoyable when everyone is not using sniper rifles.
The last mode, “Convoy”, is probably the highlight of the game and also the only unique feature that it can boast. “Convoy” involves one team that spawns alongside a group of automated vehicles with turrets on top and an opposing team that must disable the vehicles and stop their incursion. The turrets can be controlled, but the vehicles move on their own to a predetermined point. The idea of this mode is for one team to defend the vehicles until they reach their predetermined location at which point that team will win. This is a pretty fun mode, though even this one highlight in the game is brought down by the fact that it is extremely hard for the team that protects the vehicles to win. All that the attacking team must do is constantly barrage the small convoy with heavy arms fire, rocket launchers, and grenades, and eventually, they will win. The defending team could stay with the vehicles and try to protect them, but they are usually mowed down by the barrage, and if they attempt to leave the convoy and seek out the attackers, the convoy is only left more vulnerable.
The custom character loadouts are similar to those found in the Call of Duty franchise. The weapons that can be unlocked as you rank up throughout the game are all generally different, but in the end you will never feel like you are firing a weapon, due to their insipid firing effects and sounds. The perks that you can unlock are, however, very unique and quite fun to use. Whilst you have your common perks that reduce recoil or make you stronger, you also have a few very cool and challenging ones, such as the 'badass' perk that cuts your health by half, but at the same time you are awarded double the amount of XP for each kill. You can also switch your character model for each of the game's five classes if you wish, though they do nothing to further gameplay, and whilst they look varied, the choices are limited and simply don’t look that good.
In the end, the graphics, game modes, and customization options are simply not what Atomic Games had promised us in the months leading up to the release of Breach. The claims that they had created an amazing destructible environment found in no other FPS, using realistic and dynamic destruction proved to be false. Honestly, the destruction is nothing special. Sure, you can set how much debris forms and how long it stays on the ground after being blown up, and sure, nothing seems to blow up in the same way, but in the end it still fails to amaze. There are so few buildings spread throughout the handful of maps in Breach that you will never encounter the level of destruction you would in a shooter like Battlefield: Bad Company. Plus, the objects and cover that can be blown up are often very small and they don’t go up in a blast of flames and dust, leaving you devoid of any sort of excitement. Ultimately, this one main feature, which Atomic Games said would be the highlight of the game, just ended up being another disappointment.
Is Breach worth your money currently sitting at a measly fifteen dollars? If you could not already tell with the direction that this review has been going, the answer is no. Whilst the game does have dynamic destructible environments, one unique game mode that can’t be found in other shooters, and a cool third person camera system which activates whenever you move into cover, the terrible graphics, uninspired gunplay, and bland gameplay bring the whole product down like a house of cards.
A cool cover system and one unique Game mode
Terrible Graphics, generic game play, and less than thrilling destructible environments