XBLA’s first poor game of 2011
Posted 2 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Some know it as “the game that kid tried to steal at PAX”. Others as Breach, Atomic Games’ brand new shooter. Does the developer’s name ring a bell? Remember Six Days In Fallujah? The somehow controversial effort based upon current (and real) war events? Well, it seems Fallujah wasn’t going to make a lot of fans in some parts of America, so the developer decided to work on a total different title.
Although no one will ever know how Fallujah would have turned out, Breach had potential to become a great downloadable title with its levelling system, destructible environments and perk-system. A sort of smaller-scale Call of Duty. Plus, since the XBLA platform does not have a lot of first person shooters to offer, it seemed like a great time to give Battlefield 1943, Blacklight, and Monday Night Combat a run for its money. Unfortunately, every single positive expectation I had was flushed out of my head.
...Oh and you can add a toilet flushing sound to accompany that last sentence.
A class-based, 16-player online shooter, Breach has truly everything needed to please the FPS crowd. Five different classes with four available right from the start: Rifleman, Gunner, Sniper and Support. The fifth, Recon, is unlocked once Rifleman and Sniper are maxed out. Experience points are awarded during matches, which can later be used to unlock an amalgam of new perks, weapons and gadgets to increase efficiency on the field of combat. Five gameplay modes - both adversarial and objective - including Team Deathmatch, Sole Survivor and Retrieval. Throw in a cover system, four maps (there’s a fifth one but its only a night version of one of the others), customizable load-outs, destructible environments and boom, you have something somewhat solid for 1200 Microsoft Points, right? Wrong.
Much like Mr. Miyagi’s “Wax on, Wax off” technique, Atomic Games delivers hopes of a great experience with the left hand, to later erase all positives and addictive gameplay with the right. In order to have access to the first set of unlocks and start building a respectable character, several gameplay hours will be required. Rewards don’t come as quick and for a game where progression comes in slow, finding motivation to pursue any further will turn out to be the real challenge, making the game much less enjoyable.
Controls, although being almost identical to any other shooter currently on the market, are clunky. Aiming is loose and often imprecise. The “active” cover system isn’t consistent and very limited. It isn’t broken, but it’s damn close. Those who expect something a-la Gears of War will be very disappointed. There are only a few places within in a given map where it can be pulled anyways and in all honesty, players can rack 25 kills and die once without even using it. The game doesn’t make you feel the need to use it, which negates the point entirely.
As for the destructible environments, which is certainly Breach’s most hyped feature, underwhelming is the only word I can use to describe it. Arbitrary houses, bridges and walls can be blown out with explosives, mounted machine guns or rocket launchers, but it feels more “gimmicky” than an actual combat strategy. Matter of fact, if this review didn’t mention the “destructible environments” feature (if I can call it that), most gamers won’t even notice it. Question: if a game has destructible environments, why is shooting through wooden walls not an option? Actually, why is it harder to destroy a cheap wood fence than a brick wall?
Add in low-quality textures, unimpressive visuals, cheap sound effects, the inability to pick up weapons off the ground, plenty of collision bugs, constant framerate drops, and random server disconnections and you have a package that is sure to disappoint. I understand Atomic Games isn’t DICE nor Infinity Ward. They clearly did not have the same budget to create this game, which explains why they chose the downloadable route instead of going retail. Are there worse shooters out there? I can name some. Actually, I could list more than just a few. However, the willingness to compete against bigger titles (fact: Atomic Games did say at one point that they were going to teach Battlefield a lesson) is what hurts Breach the most. A game that clearly tries to do too much for what it’s truly capable of. The result of a developer who burned itself by trying to accomplish something that was definitely out of their reach.
A lesson of humility for next time?
It may be “just a $15 downloadable game”, but there’s no other way to say it: Breach is a mess. The game’s foundations have something to build upon (and mostly to learn from), but those who’ve been waiting for the next best FPS on XBLA might have to stick with Battlefield 1943 or Monday Night Combat for a while...heck, even the fast-paced CellFactor: Psychokinect Wars deserves a solid look. I’m dead serious.
+ Different classes and gameplay modes
- Low-quality visuals, various bugs and glitches
- Clunky contorls
- Both cover system, destructible environments are less a feature and more of a gimmick
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Release Date : 2011/01/26
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Atomic Games
Developer : Atomic Games
Category : Shooter
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
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