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    Breach Review

    January 26, 2011

    With the future of Six Days in Fallujah far from certain, Atomic Games decided to shift focus onto another title, which turned out to be Breach, a multiplayer-only first-person shooter. With the console market being rather clustered, Atomic Games decided that it would be best suited to Xbox Live Arcade. But even in that landscape, Breach doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the table.

    There are four maps to play on (Ascent, Passage, Silo and Peak), with a fifth also available in the form of a night-time version of Passage. However, what's good is that despite the same maps being used for all the same game modes, whatever mode you play, they still feel perfectly balanced. Whether it be Team Deathmatch or Convoy, the map still feels like it was crafted with that in mind. There are necessary choke points and there's a good degree of symmetry in the basic design.

    Convey is a great addition though, as it tasks players with escorting a group of vehicles through hostile territory. It's possible for players to actually ride in the vehicles as well, allowing them to utilise a much strong machine gun. It's the oppositions objective to stop the convey, but there are numerous obstacles in the way anyway, like road blocks. It's a rather frantic match type, and there are some hidden tactical nuances in there too - like the more men you have in close proximity to the convey, the faster it'll move. This comes with its own drawback though, as it's easier for the opposition to get kills.

    When you enter into a match, you'll have the option to play as four basic classes: Sniper, Gunner, Support and Rifleman. There is also a fifth class available - called Recon - to those who have "mastered" two of the four base classes. Each of the classes has a unique weapon type which can be upgraded, although some might be rather peeved that certain classes can be upgraded more than others. There are three different weapons per class, but the modifications for the weapons differ quite drastically. For example, the Rifleman can purchase 11 different scope upgrades, while the Sniper can only purchase 5.

    Aside from the differing weapons, there also isn't a huge amount of difference between the different classes. This is a bit disappointing, as there are perks and gadgets to unlock, but they're the same for every class. You can see why it's been done this way, so that people can effectively make their own classes. But as a result, it actually feels quite limited, as you can only equip one Perk and one Gadget. It would have been better if the perks and gadgets were more unique to each class, because it would have given people more incentive to actually try out the different class types. Examples of perks are "Explosive Personality", which increases the blast radius of explosives, or "Steady Hand", which reduces the recoil when firing weapons.

    To actually be able to unlock any of these new weapons, perks or gadgets, you need to acquire credits. Some things just unlock by achieving a total amount of credits, such as rank or weapons, while gadgets and perks must be bought by spending credits. Credits can be attained via simply taking part in matches - you'll get credits if your side wins, for example. But there are also credits for kills and assists. The gameplay just doesn't feel that solid, and even the cover system feels far too rigid.

    Graphically, the game isn't all that impressive, especially considering what's out in the same space. It does have some destructible scenery though, which is rather nice and it's possible to change your skin so that you're a bit more distinguishable on the battlefield. Overall presentation doesn't fair much better though, as the sound is pretty average and the animations of characters look very rigid quite a lot of the time.

    The replay value of Breach really is down to the user, as it's multiplayer only. There are some incentives there, such as unlocking the Recon class, and all of the different gadgets and perks, but the game doesn't really push progress on you that much. It often feels like you're playing for the sake of playing, as opposed to working towards something really neat.

    Breach is a competent first-person shooter, but that's about it. It doesn't really bring anything to the market that hasn't already been done before and against its competition it really doesn't shine. There are a few maps to play on, and some different game types, but the progression system is rather basic and graphically it doesn't look all that great.

    Breach was reviewed on the Xbox Live Arcade. You can read more about GamingUnion.net's scoring policy here.

    10 5
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