QC Games is an Austin, Texas based developer looking to create a game mixing some of their favourite genres. Breach is an action RPG that sends four players into a dungeon to battle mythical creatures. Challenging the team is the Veil Demon, an AI or player-controlled enemy who will harass, ambush, and generally do their best to kill off the intruders.
Breach has just launched on Steam Early Access in a format that will be familiar to MOBA players. The game currently has three maps, 18 character classes, and six Veil Demon classes. Players will be able to choose from a small selection of free classes that will rotate on a weekly basis or purchase classes using in-game or premium currency. Each class comes with a signature ability exclusive to that class and the option of swapping out their four default abilities for other abilities from the same school of magic. The classes are also organized in the classic RPG layout of tank, DPS, support, and specialist. Each class levels independently and can be equipped with a variety of gems and items.
The Veil Demon has five abilities like normal player characters and can also control AI creatures to give them a stat boost. The Veil Demon will also be able to unleash the creature’s special abilities, making a controlled enemy a formidable opponent. When not controlling units, Veil Demons can spawn in a variety of traps and elite units to slow and harass the enemy team.
Each map takes about 15 minutes to complete. They are essentially a short series of rooms with PVE objectives that will be familiar to competitive gamers, such as capture the flag, domination, and team deathmatch. Players must beat each room within the time limit to gain the bulk of the experience points. The Veil Demon must either slow the players down to gain the bulk of the experience points or knock out all the players for a victory. Each time either side gains a level within the dungeon, they can choose one of three bonuses based on their equipped items. Bonuses vary from universal buffs like extra potions to ability-specific modifiers. The in-level experience resets at the end of the map and are separate from the points gained from finishing a level. Each map is capped off with an MMORPG style boss battle. These fights require a little more coordination from players and often involve multiple stages. The boss fights are easily the best part of the game as the fight requires plenty of dodging and use special mechanics unique to that fight.
The audio/visual experience is decent so far. The writing can be a little cheesy at times, but the voice acting is generally excellent. Individual characters could use a little more variety in their lines, as some important call outs only have one or two lines. The art style is a bit on the generic side. The characters feel like they could be slipped into many other video games without sticking out. On the other hand, the levels tend to be more interesting, often mixing in familiar locations with the mythical to create attractive locales.
So far, I am pleased with Breach’s gameplay. QC Games have picked out a lot of excellent features from MOBAs, action games, RPGs, and co-op shooters and put them together in an entertaining fashion. Breach’s loot grind mechanics and generous spread of classes offers gamers plenty of reasons to keep coming back to the game. The optional PVP aspect adds a nice bit of complexity and challenge, as a human player’s creativity can bring some great surprises.
The game’s difficulty is reasonably well balanced so far. Although Breach uses the standard third person shooter perspective, basic attacks tend to home onto targets. However, the majority of a character’s effectiveness is in their skills. The easy classes are generally forgiving, letting players button spam their way through to victory. More difficult classes emphasize combo attacks and plenty of skill shots, offering a high risk/high reward type challenge.
Of course, Breach is far from ready for prime time. The game lacks a lot of content right now. With only three maps, things are quite repetitive. 18 character classes and 6 Veil Demon classes offers enough variety that increasing the number of maps should be the highest priority. I’d love to see five or six maps in total before any more classes are released.
The AI is definitely a work in progress. While QC Games wants to give solo players a chance to enjoy the game alone, the AI is very basic at this point. The developers have acknowledged improving the AI is on their top of the priority list right now, so hopefully the situation improves in the coming weeks.
Breach showed some flashes of greatness during my time with the game, but it’s also very clear the game still needs a bit of work before it’s ready to leave Steam Early Access. The developers have done a great job picking and choosing elements from a variety of multiplayer genres and melding them into a cohesive gameplay experience. Considering gamers will have to fork over a minimum of over $24.99 USD/$35.95 AUD to get into the Steam Early Access, only the most die-hard evangelists should be buying into Breach right now as the game is seriously lacking in content and the AI needs improvement. However, if QC Games can get that content mill going full steam, start polishing off Breach and hit the right balance for monetization practices, they will have a solid action RPG on their hands.