Why do I put myself through it? Every time I get onto a multiplayer FPS, I turn into a twisted version of the Hulk. I end up shouting at the screen ‘What!?’ And, ‘That’s not fair!’ And, ‘How the heck did he see me behind that wall?!’ Which inevitably finishes with me ranting about the other gamers having better mice and keyboards or accusing them of cheating. I can’t help it, I get fairly good results, it’s not that I’m completely awful at FPS’s, it’s just I always seem to get shot when I’m an inch from completing a goal, or a second from holding onto the target. Clearly, very unfair. But don’t get me wrong, I love FPS’s, I guess it’s just the masochist in me. So you can imagine the language that was targeted at Breach, from Atomic Games. Hardened sailors would have blushed at the curses I hurled at one particular individual called Sgt. Pepper who clearly had it in for me.
Breach, as you can probably tell from the above, is an FPS, and in a world of absolutely loads of FPS’scan it hold its own with some of the big boys out there? Well, there are several reasons why it possibly can. One, is that it only costs about £8 from Steam. Two, it’s actually quite nice graphically. Three, it’s online with up to 16 players in a team orientated fashion. And four, it incorporates some of the best and coolest features of the Tripple-A FPS’s out there.
Destruction is the name of the game here. Pure deliberate destruction. If your opponents are dug in and holed up in a wooden building, which is attached to the cliff face by several support beams, then what else is left to do but shoot out the supports and watch the blighter’s fall to their deaths, giving you some much needed XP whilst forming an evil grin on your face. Needless to say, the environment can be shot, blown up, set fire to and generally abused to your own ends. Turrets, vehicles, buildings, bridges can all go up in smoke with a well placed RPG and although the Battlefield: Bad Company destructibility functions are all fine and well, they won’t do you any good if you keep poking your head up to take a shot at them. So, to that end, Breach has added the now very familiar cover system, whereby you stick to the wall or other object then reach up and blind fire your weapon without exposing your assets to enemy fire or, if you want more accuracy, then lean over and use the sights, however, the latter makes you more of a target. It’s a system we’ve all gotten used to, it works (sometimes) and it’s effective, enough said.
The online missions or objectives, as such, are few but quite enjoyable. There’s the usual team deathmatch and capture the flag (called Retrieval in Breach), but there’s also Infiltration, whereby you have to take control of certain way-points, Sole Survivor, where you fight to be the last one alive, with no spawning (if you die you sit the rest of the game out), and my personal favourite, Convoy, where you have to escort your two vehicles from point A to B whilst protecting them from enemy fire and dealing with any blockades en-route. The action certainly hots up as you try to stop the vehicles or as your running along side and providing cover fire whilst the other team are raining down machine gun fire.
Killing off your opponents gives you XP points, which can be exchanged for upgraded weaponry, gadgets, attachments and there’s a ranking system starting from Grunt up to Commander. The XP is relational to the type of character class you choose at the beginning of a game: Sniper, Rifleman, Gunner, Support and Recon. Each class has their own specific weaponry and abilities and each can be upgraded via the XP system. Reaching 500 XP will unlock the first level of upgrades for that particular class.
Finding a game is easy enough, just click on ‘Find a Game’ and you’re presented with the list of available hosts, together with their objective type, number of players and ping results. Hosting is equally as easy, pick the type of mission, the amount of players and so on, then host and hope you have some visitors. Building up enough XP will unlock the ability to host a hardcore version of the missions, which basically means the on-screen information is slimmed down, you won’t be able to take as many hits and the kill-cam is disabled, so you won’t be able to find out where that sniper was hidden!
The graphics, as I said earlier, are pretty good. I didn’t have any trouble running the game, and while could be argued that they are simplistic compared to the Tripple-A crowd, at least those who haven’t got the latest gaming rigs can at least participate. The environment is rich enough to provide cover, albeit destructible cover, but cover nonetheless. The other players and vehicles are fluid in their movements so there’s nothing to grumble about really. Sound is good, with distant gunfire breaking the silence and the ‘ping’ of a bullet straying too close to your head for comfort. A nice touch is the occasional voice from another grunt shouting ‘take cover’ or ‘yeah, eat this!’ Or some such remark, what more can you ask for?
However, this is by no means a brilliant game. Yes it incorporates the features of other world class online FPS’s but it fails with poor connection speeds, drop-outs, annoying times when you’re unable to connect and the only way to exit is via Task Manager and the ridiculous amount of XP you have to build to start to level up. These are problems that unfortunately will keep Breach at the lower end of the online FPS titles. After playing for a while you get the impression that the game still has some development time left to finish off. But that said, I admit I’ve had a lot of fun playing, when the connection worked that is, and for £8 Breach is worth at least a look, especially for those whose PC’s can’t run the latest and greatest DirectX11 titles. Breach is okay, it ain’t great, but it’s okay, the sort of game a few mates can afford to muck about on, but don’t be surprised if in six months time, you’re the only one left online.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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