Atomic Games is bringing their expertise with wargames to Xbox Live Arcade with Breach, their new online multiplayer first-person shooter.
What’s It About?
With multiplayer first-person shooters being all the rage right now, it’s no surprise to see some of them coming to the downloadable realm. Breach attempts to differentiate itself from the Call of Duty and Battlefield games that dominate the genre by taking more of a realistic approach to the way you play the game. That approach includes destructible environments and cover, weapons, and more of a focus on teamwork and tactics that require a bit of a different approach if you’re used to Modern Warfare or Bad Company-style multiplayer.
Breach feature many of the features that you’d expect in a game of this genre with perks, an experience/leveling system, and plenty of weapons, mods, and gadgets that you can unlock by spending the credits that you earn through the multiplayer. The most unique aspect of the multiplayer has to be the cover system, which puts you in a third-person view like Rainbow Six Vegas after pushing in the right stick against walls or other suitable cover. Cover is usually a temporary option early on in a match since most of the potential cover can be destroyed easily with grenades or a well-placed shot from a rocket launcher.
There are four main classes that offer the usual range of play styles with the sniper, support, rifleman, and gunner, though there is a fifth class that unlocks when you’ve mastered the two classes whose skills it merges. The five game types include the usual suspects with a capture the flag-style mode, team deathmatch, a survival mode, a point capturing mode, and another that’s centered around one team advancing a convoy to the other end of the map while the other team tries to stop them. Each of those modes offers a hardcore version that removes the radar, limits health, and offers a much more challenging experience for those that want that kind of game.
Why Should I Care?
The main issue with Breach is that it's a derivative game with all of the modes and multiplayer features that you'd expect as Call of Duty and Battlefield are dominating the shooter market right now. The destruction certainly sounds like Battlefield's Frostbite destruction engine, though I’d describe the Frostbite engine’s explosions and destruction as more of an exaggerated Hollywood-style destruction while Breach is more realistic in its approach to that stuff. The rest of the combat definitely feels familiar for those that enjoy multiplayer shooters, but it still requires more teamwork and more cautious tactics to do well since running and gunning is more likely to result in quick deaths than anything good. That is probably a key element that makes Breach appealing, as a lot of what it offers is similar to what the competition offers but in a cheaper downloadable form that can certainly appeal to a certain audience.
The leveling system in Breach does offer a similar progression system like many other shooters out there, though it features a shop where you spend the credits that you earn on the guns, mods, perks, and gadgets that you want. The one quirk here is that weapons and mods are class-specific, so investing in them limits you to using that class while the perks and gadgets are class agnostic. That kind of makes it obvious that you shouldn’t buy the first mod for your class’s gun right away since it’ll take a while to unlock new guns if you’re not religiously sticking to one class. It’s not quite as in-depth as what games like MAG or Call of Duty: Black Ops offer, but it requires its own strategy to figure out how to best outfit your character to best match your own play style.
Breach does have a bit of a learning curve to best learn how to succeed and die less, but once you get the hang of the modes and gameplay, there is quite a bit of fun. I got killed frequently at first while still playing like I was in Call of Duty, but once I used the radar and played more cautiously, I got a lot better to the point of even finishing at #1 or with a positive kill/death ratio a few hours in for a few matches at a time. The convoy and control point modes were the most fun to play with good teammates that understood how to play the game. The biggest for an online multiplayer-only game like this is that it definitely will require a big enough audience that is dedicated to this game to make it easy to find matches whenever you’re ready to play, which is certainly an issue with all of the competition for your shooter time and money on the Xbox 360.
Why Is It Worth My Time And Money?
Breach is an enjoyable online multiplayer FPS for XBLA with all of the bells and whistles that you’d expect, but it will have to gain an audience quickly to make it worth a purchase for $15. It can’t compare to the retail shooters that outclass it in every aspect, but the cheaper price point and the content that it does have puts it more in line with Battlefield 1943. Compared to Battlefield 1943, Breach has more maps, classes, modes, depth, and unlockables for the same price, but 1943 definitely has the kind of dedicated audience that Breach needs. With that in mind, it’s hard to recommend this game at launch because the multiplayer could easily die out like most XBLA games, so you should definitely check out the demo to get an idea of whether Breach is up your alley and to see how the community takes to it this early in its life.