Breach is the new release from Atomic Games. Some games that you may know from the company consist of the Close Combat franchise and Six Days in Fallujah which was unfortunately pulled before release. Atomic is also known to have designed military and law enforcement simulations, so it’s pretty safe to say that these guys know what they’re doing. The first time I heard about or seen anything about Breach I immediately thought, “Ok, this is going to be a Counterstrike clone.” I was right to a certain extent, then I started playing for about 5 minutes and thought that it was Counterstrike 2.0. As soon as I shot a rocket and saw the aftermath my mind completely changed, this is definitely not a Counterstrike 2.0… It’s something more.
Don’t expect any type of campaign or anything from Breach, because it’s strictly a multiplayer game. Breach was designed with a tournament type gameplay aspect in mind, hopefully Major League Gaming will notice and pick this up to add it into their games for competition. This game has a lot of competitive aspects from game modes like Escort, to tactics like breach and clear. Being a FPS you would think that hiding behind cover will protect you, but that’s where you’re wrong and this is where the FPS tables are turned. When running up to a corner, a boulder, or type of barrier you can press up against it and use it as cover. Once you initiate the cover, the camera zooms out from first person to third person and you’re tucked behind the barrier. Just because you have cover it doesn’t mean that you’re safe though. Breach throws in another element, destructible environment. Bullets and explosives have their own unique destructive strength. A M203 under barrel grenade launcher will be able to take out chunks of barriers while a RPG will completely obliterate it. The M4A1 rounds will be able to tear away at wooden structures, so picking away at rock cover, or someone inside a house is viable. One of my favorite things in the game is shooting out the support beams on a house and either collapsing the entire building on the enemy or dropping the floor from underneath them dropping them to their deaths since the game uses real physics.
Another great addition to the game is unlockables. There are two types of leveling systems, one for individual classes, and one overall. The overall leveling, enables perk and gadget unlocks throughout all of the classes. Each class has unlockable weapons but only if you level that specific class up. Another great addition is a special Recon class unlock, which is only available after you max out the Assault and Sniper classes. So you can definitely expect to get your time in on fire fights to complete your two classes to unlock the remainder Recon slot.
All the cover and destructible environment is great, gameplay on the other hand is missing one or two things. Hit boxes for characters are just a tad bit off. For instance, lining up a zoomed in sniper shot to the head and not getting any hit marker, while I aim just a bit higher above the head and fire a shot I’ll get a direct hit. Unfortunately the hit boxes aren’t limited to just bullets, the blast radius of the M203 and RPG’s can be deceiving as well. Multiple times while shooting a RPG or M203 at the feet of some of the players, it seemed as if they just bulldozed through the blast to end up killing me.
Level design and layout of each map comes pretty standard with a desert, canyon, snowy mountain, and mountain valley levels, but the great thing is that the design can change. Bridges that lead to higher ground or vital capture points can be demolished, and buildings providing a great sniping point can be turned into buildings with a sun roof. I think Atomic has taken a step towards the direction in where future first person shooters will eventually venture. A cover system, destructible environments, and real time physics mixed in with a multitude of weapons makes Breach a great game, although hit detection is lacking a bit it was some really good FPS action going on here. For a XBLA title and only being 1200 MS points ($15), Breach is well worth it, you don’t need to make a $60 FPS game to make it work and Breach is proof of that. .
Overall = 8.6