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Breach Review

danielrbischoff By:
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS 1- 16 
PUBLISHER Atomic Games 
DEVELOPER Atomic Games 
T Contains Blood, Mild Language, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

When a game dies, does it go to heaven?

A game's life can begin and end in a multitude of ways. Did you know Miyamoto originally wanted to create a Popeye game? Some video game legends combine chance and skill on their rise to fame. Atomic Games has encountered controversy and hypocrisy on its development path. Their latest game, Breach, feels more like an embedded narrative than a game with a story of its own.

click to enlargeSix Days in Fallujah is the developmental framing narrative of Breach. Originally a military tale set in the middle of the Iraq War, Six Days in Fallujah ran into publishing issues when veterans and activists reacted and Konami backed out. While Atomic Games continues to develop the game and search for a publisher, they've released Breach. As an online multiplayer combat game with a level progression system, players may feel a little too familiar with Breach. Despite the initial similarities, Breach has a host of ideas that differentiate it from today's shooters.

Those ideas include a system of perks tailored to Breach's gameplay and a batch of "real-world" gadgets. Making use of a remote motion sensor, bionic ear, or sonic imager can mean controlling a key area in battle or losing it to the opposing force. Lots of these gadgets are passive, like the IR Sniper Detector which makes scopes flash and allows the player to detect perched snipers easily, or the Bomb Sniffer that highlights explosives for the player.

Knowing how and when to use these gadgets can make combat fast, fluid, and frenetic. Despite the distinct similarities to other modern warfare games, Breach strikes its own pace and style in a variety of ways.

click to enlargeIn fact, it's practically impossible to nail Breach down as a Call of Duty or Counter-Strike clone. Players have a health bar, move slowly, and can't lay prone. Objectives are an absolute must as games can't be won without completing them. Players will also have to make use of the game's active cover system, which first locks players to cover and then allows them to push up, left, or right to pop in and out to mow down advancing enemies easily.

Much has also been made of Breach's destructible environments. The perks and gadgets require players to tell the difference between what can and can't be destroyed, but doing so is easy. Of course, demolishing a building that contains a capture point means that the walls won't be there to protect you either, so players have to make careful decisions on what to demolish.

Breach is one of the most tactical, weighty, grounded-in-reality shooters available. With Call of Duty's ever-constant crawl towards absurdity, players looking for a shooter that requires thought and patience might find sanctuary here.

click to enlargeUnfortunately, Breach is slow, at times even too slow. Even sprinting, there is little sense of urgency. The bland sound design doesn't help the situation, either. On a side note, having someone yell out "How's that feel, bitch?" every time you die also motivates the player to put the controller down and walk away. If a warm and inviting community doesn't surround Breach, it'll fail to keep new players around long enough to unlock the best gadgets and perks.

The complete focus on multiplayer means there's no campaign mode to speak of and no bots to populate matches that don't have enough human opponents. Breach needs all of those active, thriving community members behind it to garner a strong recommendation. Hopefully, the game will have the kind of following Battlefield 1943 did in the coming months.

Despite Breach's obvious ties to the flaming carcass of Six Days in Fallujah, a few details can be sponged from the game Atomic Games has developed in its place. Breach shows strong respect for armed combat. The weight, realism, and dry approach to the online shooter genre proves Atomic Games as a developer who takes their first-person shooters seriously. By dealing with its content maturely, Breach proves that sometimes games don't die; they just change shape.
B+ Revolution report card
  • Serious shooting
  • Active cover system
  • Gadgets and perks
  • Tons of destruction
  • Sooooo.... slowww....
  • Is anybody online?
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