Breach – XBLA Review


Game Name: Breach
Platforms: Xbox 360
Publisher(s): Atomic Games
Developer(s): Atomic Games
Genre(s): Shooter
Release Date: January 26, 2011
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Price: 1200MSP ($15 USD)

Breach is all about the online play. There isn’t really any real story behind the game and throws you straight into online combat against an entire enemy team. Atomic has years of expertise creating military simulations for the US Army and CIA and according to them they have placed this experience into the game. As you play the multiple game modes the entire goal is to just win the match no matter what you have to do to win it.

Multiple modes are located within this game. Each mode tasks the players to complete a certain task as they attempt to beat the opposing team. These tasks can range anywhere from killing as many people to achieve a certain kill count in team death match, or escorting vehicles to a destination as you race against the clock. The multiple modes enable the player to play whatever he feels like at the time. Another mode is a capture the flag type of game mode where you grab the biochemical canister and bring it to the drop off point, this particular game of capture the flag only consists of one flag item and you must compete against the opposing team to maintain control of the biochemical canister.  A fourth mode consists of a domination type game mode where you compete to keep control of the most territory. The final mode is essentially a last man standing sort of game mode, which brings out the campers even more.

One of the key selling points of this game has been destruction; however, Breach isn’t just about the destruction of buildings on a large scale it is also about the destruction of buildings on a small scale. The unique thing about Breach is that you can literally shoot a single stone out of a building’s wall, or only a small plank from a wooden floor. This lets you create incredibly strategic vantage points that will assist the player if used correctly and wisely. On the other hand, Breach has ammo depots that let you replenish ammo as well as grab an RPG. These RPGs are in limited supply per round, but they enable people to cause some serious destruction to buildings and other destructible structures.

Tons of gadgets are also in the game to give the overall feel a little more variety. As you level up you can spend the credits you earn on additional equipment. The equipment available range from more protection, to sights for guns, and even to gadgets that help you detect where people are. There is one gadget that actually causes sniper rifle scopes to reflect light and essentially tell you exactly where the snipers are hiding. Another gadget is a motion detector that tells you when someone goes passed that particular area. This equipment can assist you in a number of ways; however, a majority of them only assist in helping players camp which will probably be a disappointment to many players.

A large chunk of the game is in fact camping and waiting for someone to poke their head out so you can kill them. Some of the game types force a more pro-active approach, but games types such as team deathmatch pretty much just has a whole bunch of people peeking out of holes they created in walls with sniper rifles or their preferred weapon. Occasionally you may get a match where everyone in the game is running around with heavy machine guns and spraying bullets everywhere, but if even one sniper enters the fight and decides to hide they will dominate until everyone stops running around and starts sniping as well. Breach is an FPS that also contains a third person cover system. This cover system lets you hide behind walls, rocks, and other obstacles. From the safety of that obstacle a player can peek out and shoot somebody, only to hide behind the wall once more if they get shot at. While this feature makes staying alive a lot easier, it also makes killing a lot harder. You can probably see how camping becomes quite abundant in this game. You don’t move that much; unless there is an objective, players tend to stay in one spot completely safe for a very long time. Many fire fights boil down to who has the better hiding spot and who has the most patience to wait for the best opportunity to shoot.

Graphics & Audio
The Graphics in Breach are actually quite nice for an XBLA title; however, the major noticeable moments are caused during the destruction of objects. First of all, the actual destruction is pretty cool looking and bricks or wood go flying and tons of dust and dirt is picked up. On the other hand, there will occasionally be floating pieces of wall that just don’t seem to fall. As everything around it breaks, some objects may just float there instead of breaking as well. This bugged me quite a lot at first, but I quickly got used to it and it doesn’t affect gameplay all that much either.

The audio in this game is where my major annoyances came in. First off, it just doesn’t sound natural. As bullets fly around and ricochet, all the sounds don’t sound as good as they could have been. The announcer is also incredibly annoying and regularly getting hung up on the exact same phrase and just repeats it multiple times right after each other. However, the biggest problem of all was when there was an audio glitch and the sounds just weren’t stopping like they were supposed to. Occasionally I was shooting and when I finished, the audio would continue, or audio from the game would overlap audio from the menu and just cause a mess of ear-aching audio all competing for supremacy. The only way to actually fix it was to leave Breach entirely and reload the entire XBLA title.

The achievements in Breach are pretty standard for this sort of game. There are the bunch with killing so many people in each class, which can pretty much be done with the pistol or RPG as long as you have that class selected, so if you are bad with the class I suggest spamming the RPG or getting good with the pistol. The next round of achievements consist of rank based achievements; however, the top one requiring 48000 experience will take a while. The average range of experience points a player receives per round is between 50-150 (in a full game with max players). If you do the math, to reach that much experience you will need to complete about 480 games which might not even be possible if the game’s community dies and there aren’t enough people playing anymore. The final achievement requires the player to kill other players by crushing them. This achievement is near impossible, because it requires you to pretty much collapse entire buildings on people, otherwise it doesn’t count. Honestly, it is way too hard of an achievement, 5 may have been reasonable but the amount that are required is simply too much. I have played quite a few rounds over the weekend while I reviewed this game, and even during the times I was trying for this achievement I simply couldn’t get any of these kills.

Below is the achievement list:

  • Lieutenant15 Earned the rank of Lieutenant.
  • Commander15 Earned the rank of Commander.
  • Top Dog25 Earned the top rank of Commander Tier 3.
  • Agent15 Earned the rank of Agent.
  • Operative15 Earned the rank of Operative.
  • Specialist15 Earned the rank of Specialist.
  • Expert Sniper15 Get 100 kills playing the Sniper class.
  • Expert Support15 Get 100 kills playing the Support class.
  • Expert Recon15 Get 100 kills playing the Recon class.
  • King Crusher25 Successfully crushed 30 enemies with structural collapses.
  • Expert Rifleman15 Get 100 kills playing the Rifleman class.
  • Expert Gunner15 Get 100 kills playing the Gunner class.

Breach has its moments and it honestly isn’t that bad of a shooter, but it simply is just too normal. I don’t feel that it has what it takes too stay alive as solely a multiplayer game and this hurts it incredibly. The audio problems also hurt the game pretty badly and hopefully they will be patched somewhere in the near future. My best advice for a reader debating whether or not to buy this game is simply this: if you want a fast-paced close ranged shooter than you won’t like this game at all; however, if you are content with sniping from a range and spending a majority of the time camping and taking out enemies from a distance than you will probably be happy with this game. While the entire game isn’t comprised of only campers and snipers a majority of players I played with (including myself) picked up this tactic as we played because the game simply seems to push this kind of gameplay and not many people will enjoy it. Breach was a truly brilliant attempt at making a decent multiplayer FPS as a download title, but there are just too many things that fall short in the long run. While the game is overall fun, it still has a whole bunch of kinks that need to be ironed out.

I give Breach

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