Been There, Done That

Breach Screenshot

HIGH The suspense of hunting someone in Sole Survivor mode.

LOW Spawning right in front of a rocket.

WTF I can blow up this piece of wall, but not the other, more hollow looking wall?

Originality is a difficult find in any form of modern media. Games are no exception, as once a winning formula is found, copycats come from far and wide to re-hash and brand it as their own. Of course, emulation isn't a bad thing in and of itself. Every successful creative work has built on the ones that came before it in some way. However, as I've said before, this sort of work needs to take those advances and do something unique with them. Unfortunately for Breach, it seems content to emulate and not expand.

A multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) from Atomic Games, Breach tries to wedge itself into the gritty military-themed space currently occupied by games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and….well, Call of Duty in general. The most crippling thing about Breach is that I couldn't shake the thought that I was just playing a watered-down version of those games.

There are several games modes of varying difference, but all of them have been seen elsewhere in one form or another. The best experience by far is Sole Survivor, which pitted me against a rival team in a no-respawn match. The slow, suspenseful hunting of the final member of the other team is very gratifying, if a bit too prone to ending in a draw. However, even this type of gameplay has been done better by others.

The world of Breach is quite dull. The realistic war setting doesn't lend itself well to creativity to begin with, and even then the maps are drab and uninteresting. Fortunately, things are pretty well-done layout-wise, especially for the aforementioned Sole Survivor mode. The maps also contain Breach's one truly unique feature—the ability to destroy certain structures to create new vantage points. Bring the ceiling down on an unsuspecting enemy, and lots of other wacky hijinks quickly ensue. Still, this isn't enough to break the general sense of blandness surrounding everything.

On top of the lukewarm qualities I've just mentioned, actually getting into a game is a chore. I was constantly disconnected and would routinely have to try two or three times to join a server. Whether this is the fault of the game itself or Xbox Live I can't say, but my internet connection was up and running the entire time. Such frequent interruptions and mishaps were extremely annoying.

Breach isn't terrible, but I don't see anything here that hasn't already be done better by another game, resulting in an instant recipe for mediocrity. Atomic is going to need to bring some more toys to the party if they want to stand out amongst the big kids. Rating: 5.0 out of 10.

Disclosures: This game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Xbox 360. Approximately 2 hours of play were devoted to multiplayer modes. There are no single player modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game contains violence. There's really nothing dangerous in the game itself, but one always has to beware the behavior of internet citizens over the voice chat.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing: Not being able to use voice chat might be a problem depending on how coordinated you want to be with your team. Aside from that, audio is a non-factor.

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