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*PC Version

 

Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Atomic Games

 

Developer

Atomic Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

January 26, 2011

 

 

- A cheap alternative to Call of Duty with similar gameplay
- Steady sniper rifle aiming makes the percentage chances of long-range kills much higher
- Taking cover controls are relatively smooth and add an extra strategic element to the gameplay
- Convoy mode is a great alternative to the standard team deathmatch/capture the flag-style gameplay

 

 

- Online lag, connection unreliability and glitching can get extremely frustrating
- Levels are almost too big and have many wide-open spaces that easily can become a “death zone”
- Too hard to actually use the “breaching” explosions as a killing technique (although they do provide helpful “breach” points to access entry into hostile-filled buildings)

 

 

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Breach

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

breach           breach

 

Breach kind of looks like Call of Duty: Modern Combat/Black Ops. And it kind of plays like Call of Duty: Modern Combat/Black Ops. But Breach, the online-only title on Xbox Live Arcade, isn’t entirely the same as Call of Duty: Modern Combat/Black Ops, and that’s both a good and bad thing.

Although it shares a visual style more with Counter-Strike than Call of Duty, Breach’s gameplay is directly copied from Call of Duty. Just pick a weapons class, set up a loadout, and get deployed online in a variety of modes, from the typical team deathmatch and capture the flag-style battles, to the refreshing convoy mode, where gamers must provide support to a moving convoy attempting to travel though a hostile war zone while the other team is trying to stop it.

While almost everything is similar to Call of Duty in some way, right down to almost the completely same control layout, Breach has one tactic that is shares more with

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the Battlefield franchise than Call of Duty. Spurring the name of the game, gamers are encouraged to use C4 explosives to breach access points, especially in buildings, to enter in safely and fight possible occupying enemies without walking into a deadly line of fire. Gamers are supposed to use the destruction of buildings as a killing strategy, too, using explosions to crash buildings down on enemy forces inside. However,

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that doesn’t work very well online, as gamers generally don’t stay in one place, particularly buildings of any kind, long enough for gamers to explode the necessary C4 to bring a building crumbling down onto an enemy.

Controls, from using weapons and slicing enemies with a knife, are nearly identical to Call of Duty’s setup, making Breach an easy transition for veteran Call of Duty gamers looking for a break from Modern Warfare 2 or Black Ops. The cover controls are really good, allowing gamers to use environmental features and objects as protection from enemy fire while also being able to return fire from their embedded position.

Weapons are carbon-copied from Call of Duty, with the ability to upgrade weaponry by purchasing items such as scopes. One blatant difference in Breach is with its sniper class. Unlike Call of Duty, where gamers must steady their aim when using a scope, bringing another added challenge to killing foes, sniper scopes in Breach are already steadied. Gamers (like myself) who have difficulty racking up sniper kills in Call of Duty because they don’t have very good steady-aiming skills will find Breach’s sniper rifles much, much easier to use.

 

breach            breach

 

Maps offer a variety of different environments, and are rather large with different features, including caves and underground tunnels. But unlike Call of Duty maps, which are purposely designed so that there are no areas that are ever completely safe from an enemy attacking from multiple points of entry, there are areas on most every Breach map that gamers can hunker down and almost unfairly stay there the entire match because of the protected cover that those certain areas provide. Annoyingly, respawns after deaths seem to always occur at the furthest points away from the meat-and-potatoes fighting action on the maps, too.

All these features make Breach a nice (although pared-down) respite from Call of Duty. However, what really has been a problem to date (and almost never a big issue in Call of Duty, which switches an individual game’s host if they begin to occur) are awful connection issues, from lag to disconnection after disconnection, to ghosting (enemies that appear to be right in front of gamers really aren’t even there, only a “ghost” that imprints into that particular spot). For an online-only title, connectivity problems are extremely ruinous.

Those completely frustrating online lag, connection and ghosting problems can prohibit Breach from being a viable and cheap alternative to Call of Duty gameplay. A recently deployed patch did seem to improve what many times was disastrously commonplace unplayable sessions, but lag and disconnect issues still do remain, although on a lesser level. When the playability distractions are absent from Breach, though, it is a relatively good, albeit barebones, Call of Duty online military shooter substitute.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(February 22, 2011)

 

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