posted 2/18/2011 by Sean Nack
other articles by Sean Nack
One Page Platforms: 360
Atomic Games’ Breach steals from the best: feeling like Counter-Strike and Battlefield: Bad Company’s love child, it combines the realistic visual aesthetic of the former and the building-busting physics of the latter. Sadly, it becomes readily apparent that the North Carolina developer could’ve used a little more time to polish; Breach shows some pretty clear cracks in its foundations even while you’re having a good time.

The game sets up an everlasting conflict between the CIA’s Special Activities Division and the now-ubiquitous Russian “OpFor” as a back-drop for endless multiplayer sessions in one of five game types. There’s the classic “TDM” (team deathmatch); “Infiltration,” which acts as a Battlefield-Conquest-esque-capture-and-defend mode; “Convoy,” a mission where one team escorts a, well, convoy, while another team tries to destroy it; “Retrieval” is capture-the-flag if the flag was a bioweapon; and “Sole Survivor” is a variation on TDM with no respawns.

There are 5 character classes to choose from, each with its own progression and weapons to unlock, although the “gadgets” and perks are more or less shared among the classes; if I buy body armor in my rifleman class, my support class has it available. Like BFBC2, you actually have to use the character class and weapons in order to progress with them, so no unlocking seemingly at random like in COD. There’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but I would criticize the decision to use fairly low numbers (and seemingly random numbers) for earning XP.

For example, I’ve been playing the game for a while and I have about 2000 XP to go before my next weapon unlock. At an average of 5 XP a kill, that’s quite a time commitment; I already really have to like Breach in order to work towards the 400 kills I need in order to unlock that weapon, whereas if those weapon unlocks came a little sooner, I’d be more motivated to play that “one more round” to earn that reward. Atomic Games did a great job of securing the rights to realistic weapons and I understand that this is a downloadable title, but setting that bar a little lower and giving more weapon options really would’ve helped keep my interest.

Compounding that, it’s not clear which actions earn you what numbers with XP. I frequently play the sniper class and the thing that throws me is that my one-shot kills regularly earn me 5 XP, while two rounds or more get 9 XP. Shouldn’t that be the other way around?

Another big issue is a control scheme that really could’ve used some smoothing out. It’s hard to explain, but it’s most noticeable when playing as the sniper (one of five classes with unique weapons); the game doesn’t really seem to acknowledge diagonal look. It does X/Y axis just fine, sharply even, but trying to move with any kind of subtlety and carefully put a set of crosshairs on somebody’s brainpan becomes a real challenge.
Page 1 of 2