Breach is the new XBLA game from Atomic. Taking on the role of an online FPS, Breach offers destructible environments, a cover system, unlocks, perks, a ranking system and much more. Personally, I love these types of games. Breach feels very similar to the XBLA title Battlefield 1943, which is a good thing, since I really enjoyed that game. With a 1200 Microsoft Points price tag, Breach is asking gamers to give up a lot for a game that has no campaign and only 4 multiplayer maps. Is the multiplayer madness worth the 1200 Microsoft Points? Read on to find out.
So here’s the rundown on Breach. To start things off, we get five different game types. We get Infiltration, Team Deathmatch, Convoy, Retrieval, and Sole Survivor. Team Deathmatch is well, team deathmatch. Sole Survivor is similar but without respawns. Retrieval is kind of like the CTF game mode where you must locate and retrieve a canister and bring it to the capture zone. Infiltration has players trying to hold capture points around the map and Convoy, well Convoy is kind of cool actually.
In Convoy, two teams face off against each other, one attacking, one defending. The defending team must escort a convoy through a number of checkpoints. It’s not that simple though. The convoy will only move if members of the team are beside it and along the way, there will be barricades that the defenders have to break down in order for the convoy to keep moving. While the defenders are attending to the convoy, the attackers must stop it at all costs. They have the ability to damage the convoy, causing it to have to be repaired, and if time runs out before the convoy reaches its destination, the attackers win.
The gameplay itself is fairly run of the mill for FPS games. You have your primary and secondary weapons and of course, attachments, grenades, gadgets and knifes are also at your disposal. You run around the maps completing your objectives while trying to win. You can choose to play as one of five classes, each with different weapons and gadgets. You gain experience from kills, assists, capturing capture points, going on a death streak etc. There are a number of ways to earn XP and as you do, you rank up. It should also be noted that Breach handles XP nicely as they give you more XP for killing people who are a higher rank than you.
As you progress through the ranks, like every other FPS game, you unlock things. Gadgets, perks, weapons, attachments etc. The unlock system here is decent enough for an XBLA title. You have a nice selection of options and it’s well balanced, just don’t expect anything like Call of Duty. With gadgets you get some pretty nifty toys. Some of which include the bionic ear which amplifies sound, allowing you to detect enemies easier, even through walls. There’s also the IR sniper detector, which bounces an IR beam off any scoped weapon within your sight. It creates a glare and helps you pick out snipers. There are a couple more and they all come in pretty handy.
Attachments are pretty standard and there are more than enough to choose from. From ACOG to reflex sight, to holographic sight and silencer, you get all the usual suspects here. Weapons also follow in the same suit. M4A1, M60, M240, M40A3, MP5, USP .45 etc. All your favorites are included.
Lastly, we also get Perks and while the system is no Call of Duty, it’s still a nice addition. There’s 13 of them and highlights include The Bad Ass, which takes away half your health, but gives you double XP, Strong Arm, which lets you throw grenades further and ESP which raises your accuracy when blind firing.
So that’s the basic layout of the game, it seems like a pretty standard online FPS, and it is, but is it any fun? More or less, ya, Breach is a lot of fun. It uses a tried and true formula and it sticks pretty close to convention, to ensure that gamers have little to complain about. That being said, there are a few things that can’t be ignored.
Firstly, there are only 4 maps. Ok fine five if you count one that has a daytime and nighttime version. But still, the amount of maps here is pretty weak. I got pretty tired of the maps real quick and for a game that is purely an online FPS, I really was shocked to see how few maps we got. While I’m sure they’ll come out with DLC eventually, a game like this should ship with at least 8-10 maps. 4 maps is just awful and it really hurts the game.
Visually, the game leaves a lot to be desired. If you’re walking into Breach after having played Call of Duty for the past few months, you’re really going to realize it. It’s not an awful looking game, but the visuals definitely don’t stand out. Textures and character animations are pretty rough. Lastly, the game suffers from the same problem most online FPS games do and that is, until you start to rank up, the game isn’t that fun, you’ll also die A LOT. It only becomes fun once you start unlocking new weapons, gadgets and perks. Luckily, ranking up isn’t too hard in Breach and after a few hours you’ll be on your way. Don’t expect to have as many customization/unlock options as a game like Call of Duty, but there is enough here to keep you playing for a while.
Aside from the aforementioned negatives, Breach runs and plays real well. Destructible environments are always welcome and in Breach, they work real well and truly do add a new element of strategy to the game. You can really get creative and use the destructible environments in any number of ways to kill your enemies. Due to this, maps are always dynamically changing. Let’s just say that I got quite the shock when the balcony I was sniping from collapsed underneath me.
Breach also features an active cover system, which is a nice addition. Personally, I haven’t used it a whole lot. I enjoy running and gunning more but for those who do like to take cover, you’ll be accommodated here. From what I’ve experienced, the gameplay in Breach doesn’t really lend itself to cover and cover systems but maybe that’s just me. I haven’t found much need for it but it is there for those who want to implement it into their gameplay.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed Breach so far. Over the past week, I’ve been playing with the developers and other press members and I think everyone has been having fun. Playing with the devs has helped as they’ve been able to point out a number of things to me and now that I fully have a handle on everything, Breach is quickly becoming one of my favorite XBLA games.
Is it worth the 1200 Microsoft Points? Ya, I think it is. A few more maps would definitely be welcome and a minor patch should be on Atomic’s to-do list, but aside from that, the game is pretty darn fun. While more maps and unlocks would have been nice, I guess you can’t expect a ton of options when the game is only 1200 MSP. It’s a shame but that’s just the way it is I suppose. Anyways I still say you should go out and pick up Breach, but remember, be aware of your environments. You may be resting behind the safety of a wall one minute and before you know it you’ll be out in the open, with the wall completely blown to pieces. Oh the joys of Breach.
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Breach was released on January 26th, 2011.