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Breach Preview

Breach, a multi-player only shooter, is set to be released as a digital download this week, and as it approaches that time, information about the game is becoming more and more available. Atomic Games’ Breach is a stripped-down shooter with old and new innovations that harken back to more established AAA-shooters like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 as well as introducing other elements to make it more interesting.

Breach will come out with three maps available (as well as a night version of one), each playable through modes like Infiltration (players must capture and hold strategic points around the map), Convoy (an attack and defend scenario where a moving target has to be destroyed or protected), Retrieval (a randomly placed object must found and returned to a safe zone), a basic team deathmatch, as well as Sole Survivor, in which players are granted no respawns (like Counter-Strike). Each map is capable of handling up to 16 players on either side. The different modes available for each map allow for strategy development in different ways and may serve to spice up the gameplay beyond the more conventional scenarios in other games. While normally a first-person shooter, in Breach a third-person view is enabled when players take advantage of cover. Much like Gears of War, players can see over the cover and then take accurate shots from the cover’s safety or even blind fire over it. However, all cover is destructible and provides for a unique gameplay experience on each subsequent session.

As players fight through masses of online enemies, they will encounter and eventually master the initial classes available to them, each with unique abilities and roles. From the beginning, there are four classes: Sniper, Gunner, Support and Rifleman. As in other shooters, experience points are gained based on performance, allowing the purchase of weapons, equipment and class upgrades to assist in combat. To maintain the sense of development, a special Recon class is unlocked once two of the initial classes have been maxed out. While the main classes are all specialized to some degree, the Recon is a Rifleman/Sniper hybrid that can use weapons that are conventionally granted to both (i.e. an assault rifle as well as a sniper rifle).

There is a variety of equipment available that fills in the gaps in many tactical scenarios that we’ve gone without all these years. Right off the bat, players can make us of gadgets like IR Sniper Detector that allows you to ping snipers in your field of view, and motion sensors that allows for perimeter defense. Other tools are more conventional, like a Sabotage kit that can be used on mounted guns and other interesting devices to cause booby-trap explosions and medical kits to patch up allies. Perks are also available with gadgets to better customize your character, like Bad Ass, a perk that cuts your health in half but allows you to reap in double XP. The creativity of the list makes for some impressive imagined scenarios.

Breach was initially announced at PAX on March 26, 2010 and is set for release on January 26, 2011 on PC and Xbox 360. So far, it appears that it has taken the lessons of its forbears and adapted many recent innovations from them into the construction of Breach. As it comes out very soon next week, especially for a bargain price, you may want to give it a go if you liked Modern Warfare, Gears of War or especially Bad Company 2.



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