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Score: 70%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Atomic Games
Developer: Atomic Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 2 - 16 (Online Only)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Reviewing a game like Breach is the ultimate test of journalistic integrity. I think I speak for many when I say that I'm always rooting for small development teams. I'm always hoping like hell for an awesome experience that bolts out of the blue and sends a shockwave through the entire gaming community. However, if I had to describe my experience with Breach in one word, it would be "uncomfortable." Don't take that the wrong way; it's not a broken game, nor is it a particularly awful one. It's relatively inexpensive and has the indie thing going for it. However, it fails to make a mark on the most oversaturated genre in the entire industry.

The Xbox 360 is capable of some really nice visuals, but it's abundantly clear that Breach doesn't put a whole lot of pressure on the hardware. However, unimpressive is not synonymous with ugly. Breach is clearly aiming for the military simulation motif, and as a result, it kind of looks like something a military force would use as a training program. It looks low-budget, but it's got a very utilitarian feel to it. That's not always a bad thing. It just won't wow you, that's all.

When I say that nearly everything about Breach is generic, the statement encompasses just that: nearly everything. Sound design included. There isn't much music, though that's certainly true of the multiplayer component of most shooters. The main menu features a pounding drum and the occasional tolling of a bell set against a backdrop of comm chatter. It's completely shrug worthy, but since it's all just a means to an end, the déjà vu is easy to ignore. Weapons fire and explosions sound fine, though none of it will drive you to invest in a quality sound system or a really nice set of headphones. Again, it's utilitarian through and through -- only there to help sell the illusion.


Breach is a multiplayer shooter with an experience system and few other frills. We've been here before, haven't we? Unless you've been living under a rock for the last four years or so, 90% of this game will be old hat. The good news is that the shooting works fine for the most part. The bad news is that "fine" doesn't really cut it in this genre.

Most of what Breach offers is boilerplate multiplayer shooter fare. Naturally, there's Team Deathmatch, as well as a no-respawn variant. There's also Infiltration, which is essentially Annex mode from Gears of War; your team must capture and hold a set of tactically important points. Retrieval is Uncharted 2's Plunder mode with first-person gunplay. These modes are fun on their own, but if you consider yourself well-traveled when it comes to games, they won't do much but remind you that earlier games have covered this ground more thoroughly.

Convoy is the standout mode in Breach -- for several reasons. Remember my warning that 90% of the game is old hat? Convoy makes up that last 10%. I've not seen a game yet that does what this interesting and innovative mode does, and it's easily where I've had the most fun with Breach. As the name implies, this mode involves a mobile transport that must be defended by one team and attacked by the other. There are obstacles that stand between the convoy and its goal, and the escorting team must work with a time limit. The attacking team simply has to prevent the convoy from reaching the end. These matches are hectic and dynamic, ensuring that matches very rarely play out the same way. Long story short, if Breach has a saving grace, Convoy is it.


I'm not one to insult the collective intelligence of the gaming community, but there's no getting around it: Breach gives the player far too much credit. This game lacks a single player mode and a proper tutorial, which means you've got to discover this game's secrets on your lonesome -- not an easy task.

More troubling is the difficulty you may encounter when trying to get into a game. Perhaps the community will eventually rally around this game, but as of this writing, it's rather difficult to get into a full match. And even if you do, you will notice some latency issues that affect the overall experience.

Getting into Breach is difficult on its own, but it doesn't take much time to realize the size of the investment the game demands from you. If you want to rise up the now routine "XP chain of command," you'll have to log quite a few hours. And even then, if you don't play skillfully, you will get nowhere really fast. To be fair, the perks and gadgets you'll unlock are nice. But again, only the most dedicated players will earn the privilege of using these items and abilities.

Game Mechanics:

Environmental destructability plays a surprisingly large role in Breach, and while it doesn't amaze on the same technical level as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, it manages to deliver something arguably more dynamic. Breach is less concerned with jaw-dropping moments than it is with localized tactical destruction. For example, if a brick wall is hiding an enemy, you can shoot out individual bricks to get a clear shot. More impressive is the fact that you can turn viable passages into dead ends with well-placed shots and grenades. Cover is very important in Breach, and learning how to take it apart is every bit as important as learning how to use it to your advantage.

Apart from the destructability, Breach is about as generic as shooters go. Aiming down the sights, acquiring new gear, and completing objectives is all part of the modern shooter, and this game doesn't really skimp on any of it. The gunplay can be exciting, but it's simply not as smooth as it is with most of Breach's competition.

Every time I loaded up Breach, my thoughts constantly drifted to better shooters, and I suspect the same will be true of most FPS fans. When playing a game does little more than remind you that you could be having more fun elsewhere, you know your money hasn't been well-spent. Put simply, you should simply cough up the extra dough for a better experience. Lord knows there are enough to choose from.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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