Articles Breach

Published on January 26th, 2011 | by Ben Gray


Review: Breach

Release Date: 26th January Genre(s): Shooter Publisher(s): Microsoft Game Studios Developer: Atomic Games Rating: Teen [Rating:7/10] Breach Breach enters the market in the midst of big name shooters, between the unstoppable force of Black Ops to the upcoming releases of games like Bulletstorm and Homefront. Essentially, it’s a suicide for a game of this genre releasing on the downloadable market. We’ve seen shooters on XBLA become highly successful (Battlefield 1943) and others that have fallen (Blacklight: Tango Down). In a gaming world dominated by retail shooters, is Breach enough to pull players away from the big dogs to try a downloadable, affordable shooter? In some ways, yes. In others, no. This downloadable nugget boasts about its realism in contrast to other shooters; bring real-life gadgets into play and a destruction system like no other. Breach tries to get as close to realism as possible without making it identical to real-life experience (I’m talking Dragon Rising level). There are gadgets thrown in there that aren’t common tools in the well known shooters, such as the Bionic Ear. Now, in most games, you won’t care whether you can hear an enemy’s footsteps around the corner, because in most cases, it will be the last thing to think about. But seeing as Atomic Games are trying to maintain the realism, footsteps are about as loud as running and gunning in this game, and you’ll be surprised how stealthy you try to become as you approach enemy controlled territory. What the Bionic Ear does is amplify these footsteps and gunshots, making the enemy’s presence even more obvious, so you’ll be able to make your move first. This, among other gadgets, provides clever tactical advantages on the battlefield. The cover system works well, switching to third person when in it, but when firing returns to ADS. It’s the first FPS I’ve seen effectively use a cover system.

Duck and cover!

Four maps are on offer, each offering a slightly different style of play, but mainly stay symmetrical. Ascent is split down the middle, and in most cases the players on the high ground overpower those on the bridge, making it tedious to travel over and take the foe out, even with the mining tunnels for a safer workaround, which is especially evident in the Convoy gametype, where players escort two vehicles throughout the area. Peak takes advantage of the destruction engine with its map design – you can block off some of the most populated routes with a few bullets to the support beams – a feature that makes Breach stand out when it comes to tactical decisions that affect gameplay. Silo offers an intense experience in Infiltration (the equivalent to BFBC2’s Conquest mode) where one objective in particular is constantly contested over; but the high ground above this point allows one team to rain down hell on those attempting to take it. Finally, Passage shows its colours in Convoy, with a high intensity experience that keeps you on your toes, but some areas are quite linear and don’t really show off some of Breach’s best elements. The menu design is rather sloppy, shown when trying to purchase new perks and weapon attachments. Breach uses a similar unlock system to Bad Company 2 (where the game seems to take most of its influence) where being active in a particular class will earn you some new weaponry for that class. It works, but with only three guns to unlock in each class, it’s a real experience grind to unlock even your first new weapon. Atomic Games’ idea of having a fifth class (Recon) only unlockable when enough experience is earned in each class encourages players to not stick to one class and experiment, but creates a serious imbalance against players who have yet to unlock the class. Attachments, Perks and Gadgets are purchased using credits earned by kills, similar to Black Ops’ customization. Atomic have obviously tried to take elements of different shooters and incorporated them in Breach, but while some features are working to affect, some feel like a poor attempt at creating their own spin on that feature. Unfortunately, no secondary weapons are available for purchase, so you’ll have to stick with a single pistol.

Fire in the hole!

Some sections do feel unfinished. On some occasions, reload animations were broken when in cover, and hit detection can be way off. Host Migration isn’t included in Breach, making it frustrating in a game full of frustrated rage-quitters, causing more frustration – the cycle continues! Controls could use some improvement – change weapon is mapped to down on the D-Pad, for instance. The shaky screen is an interesting way to add an effect of realism to the game, but doesn’t necessarily throw anyone off their aim. These are the features that are letting Breach down – the features that with improvements, can change gameplay for the better, and overall make it a polished experience. Breach is a game with a clever combination of level design and the destruction engine that will have campers crying for mercy (in most cases), but misses on those features that could make Breach the best shooter to download.

The Good:

  • Brilliant destruction engine
  • Smart level design
  • Innovative gadgets

The Bad:

  • Awkward control layout
  • Messy menu design
  • No choice of secondary

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  • DG

    Good review , im hearing some negative stuff for breach and positive, want to try it 🙂

  • Was wondering how this will play. Can’t wait to try it.

  • I keep thinking of that kid who stole a copy of the game and put it on his USB key.

  • MaggoLive

    Not the best looking game but a solid XBLA Shooter that can compete against BF1943

  • Beverley

    Sounds great! We like shooters in this house and this one sounds like a welcome addition to the collection. I’m especially enjoying the thought of campers crying for mercy – that’ll certainly cause some screaming in this house!

  • Nicely done review 😀

  • agentcoop007

    Oh no choice of a secondary gun?? that sucks. Otherwise i’m very interested in how the game changes views during the cover system, maybe this will make the game special enough to set it apart from the rest.

  • iZer

    I will download the trial for this bad boy tonight. There’s so many shooters but i want to test it for the destruction engine and see how it could change the game.

  • Sounds like it would be worth checking out. I’ve been itching for some fps online action as of late. First it was Battlefield BC2, then Halo Reach, then back to BFBC2 and Vietnam. Throw in the Killzone 3 Beta in between all of that and the anticipation of it’s release along with Homefront and Bulletstorm. So yeah, I definitely would love to give this a shot. Especially since one of my best friends has been playing this for the past week for his review.

    Speaking of reviews, good job on yours. Like your website too. 🙂

  • Darrenyuen

    Good review, hopefully the flaws can be fixed with patches.

  • Woooo! nice review!

  • Nice looks pretty fun…looks like a solid shooter compared to other popular shooters

  • SLRibs

    Meh, seems more or less like any other generic shooter.

  • Mart

    Off to download a trial for it. I can live with a messy menu and no secondary weapon as I tend to stick to the one anyway, but I’m intrigued as to what the destruction engine is capable of. The screenshots look pretty cool and I can see the potential for causing some ass kicking action

  • George Woodward

    Deciding weather on not to purchase the game. Worth the money?

  • Been interested in this game for a while, hopefully it can compete to MNC and BF1943. I hope it doesn’t go the way of Blacklight and just disappear from everyones interest.

  • Marvin C.

    Great review, and pretty spot on. I’m a quite partial to third person shooters and so far this has all the makings of what I like in a game. I absolutely love the fact that some of the buildings are destructible something I wished was added in more games lately. I would’ve wished for more maps but I guess that’s generous as this is XBLA game. It’s a terrible shame that it seems like it’s unfinished, I would’ve liked them to at least wait a couple of mines refining the game before rushing it out there; that’s the problem with a lot of games nowadays. Thanks for the review, it really brought my attention to this game of something I otherwise probably would have ignored.

  • eugaet

    Doesn’t appear to be as good as I was hoping. I’ve heard many reviewers complain about lag…how was your experience w/ online? I may still download the demo just to mess around w/ the destruction engine.

  • Weejok

    Trial seemed ok but movement was a little slow for me. Still wouldn’t mind playing the full game

  • Wow, you gave it a much better review than I did. I hated it. Not much about it was good in my opinion. Pity made me give it a 6/10.

    Do you think that Battlefield has a better destructive environment than Breach? I do by FAR. (BF1943 as a comparison before anyone knocks the price difference :p)

    • Ben

      Frostbite Engine and the one included in Breach both have their advantages.

  • This looks pretty interesting. I’m downloading the demo to give it a shot. I like all the destructible stuff. That should force different strategies than what you see in a lot of shooters.

    Would love to see some sort of comp stomping co-op in the game… A wish for future DLC I suppose.

  • Good review. The bad doesn’t seem to bad, and the good doesn’t seem to make me want to play, so I think a 7 is a fair score.

    “Host Migration isn’t included in Breach” – ACK!

    The loud footsteps thing is awesome, is there a way to walk at 50% speed or something similar? (Reminds me of counter-strike)

  • During the review did you attempt to kill anyone by taking out structures or collapsing buildings on them?

    • Ben

      Hell yeah. Nothing like putting a camper in misery when you bring down the ground beneath them.

  • The game looks alright to me, but it sounds like there’s a lot of connectivity issues with Breach. 7/10 is a bit lenient for a game that’s kind of broken.

    • Ben

      I think I was being rather generous. Maybe if there was more people to play against online, my opinion may have changed – for better or worse.

  • killerMuppet

    Sounds cool a more barebones shoot it up kind of affair. Let hope a bunch of purist sick of Black Ops jump on and make it party

  • I didn’t know what to expect from Breach – I do like the idea of the destruction aspect of the game. Definitely going to try the demo later tonight.

  • That game looks amazing for an XBLA game. I’m going to go try out the demo as well.

  • A 7/10 is a pretty good,though I was hoping the game would be getting 9’s..Weird that you get no secondary weapon,but glad the cover system works well.Great review and i’m going to dl the demo now after reading this with high hopes :).

  • Great game! 🙂

  • Hey, thanks for the Breach review. Last year I watched a developer’s video that piqued my interest, but I hadn’t heard much more about the game since then. Looking forward to finally downloading the trial and checking it out first-hand. I ran across a few rumblings (mostly disatisfied) about Breach this morning but nothing really specific ’til now. Seems that some of the shortcomings you mentioned could be patched, although that doesn’t excuse them. The unlockable recon class isn’t much different from the unlockable weaps and perks of other games. Host migration in a FPS, or any competitive multiplayer game, is an absolute must.

  • Hey, thanks for the Breach review. Last year I watched a developer’s video that piqued my interest, but I hadn’t heard much more about the game since then. Looking forward to finally downloading the trial and checking it out first-hand. I ran across a few rumblings (mostly disatisfied) about Breach this morning but nothing really specific ’til now. Seems that some of the shortcomings you mentioned could be patched, although that doesn’t excuse them. The unlockable recon class isn’t much different from the unlockable weaps and perks of other games. Host migration in a FPS, or any competitive multiplayer game, is an absolute must.

  • keklar

    I’m intrigued by the environment destruction and the cover system. Even more curious how that ear thing works, think I’ll have to go try the demo 😛 I hate it when these games come out without host migration… really kills multiplayer

  • I don’t get it why didn’t they make a 3rd person shooter like Socom when the only press pictures released are 3rd person? Well, I’ll give it fair shake and download the trial. Btw, nice review cleared up a lot of things for me!

  • Chronorayven

    I’m a fan of Bad Company 2 multiplayer and it’s destructible environment so I’m quite intrigue on how Breach does it. My one concern is that the game from the review seems like it needed more time for the developer to fix the flaws hopefully it doesn’t detract too much from the game. I’ll probably try the demo once i finish with Crysis 2 and Bulletstorm.

  • Looks like it has awesome graphics for an arcade game!

  • I’m hearing mixed stuff on this game some seem to enjoy it and others seem to hate it but I can’t even try it right now since have to use my Silver Account to buy stuff since moved country and its a Gold Exclusive… Seems kinda pointless downloading the Trial on my Gold Account if I can’t buy it if I enjoy it 🙁

  • ok!

  • ok!

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