[Game Review] Breach (Xbox Live Arcade)

System: Xbox 360 (Live Arcade Exclusive)
Developer: Atomic Games
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: First-Person Shooter

The first thing we need to get out in the open is that I am not a huge fan of first-person shooters. I don’t play Call of Duty, have never played Halo online, and am generally not interested in any FPS coming to the market. There have been exceptions where I’ve fully enjoyed FPS games, like with the recent Goldeneye 007 remake for the Wii and the Left 4 Dead franchise on the Xbox 360, but generally speaking I have very little interest in this type of game. However, when the folks behind Breach sent me an email with a code to download the game for free a few weeks before it came out, I decided to go ahead and jump on in.

Now that you know I’m not a fan of first-person shooters, you may think that I’m not the right guy to be reviewing this game. And really, I’m probably not. Especially if you’re a huge fan of the genre and want to know how it stacks up against the likes of Call of Duty. That said, I can definitely tell you whether or not this game is fun, and I can do so without dwelling over pointless comparisons to other games.


Breach is best described as a budget game. It costs $20 to download off of Microsoft’s Live Arcade platform for the Xbox 360 console, and is a fully three-dimensional first-person shooter with some impressive visuals and extremely impressive physics. In fact, the low price and the physics engine are its two biggest selling point.

And I can see why. The idea behind a budget title is that not everyone can afford a sixty dollar game like Call of Duty just to play the multiplayer, as most gamers do, so Atomic Games wanted to offer what the majority of the population finds to be the most enjoyable and addictive ingredient in successful fps games, making a multiplayer-only shooter.

But of course, that’s not really enough to set your game apart from the crowd, so Atomic utilized a very impressive physics engine to allow for some destructible environments.

However, I don’t feel like Breach ever did enough to make me want to care. I’m not interested in first-person shooters for a reason; they’re largely all the same. When I care about a game in this overly-saturated genre, it is because it is doing something unique. Red Steel 2 had a killer art style, Goldeneye 007 was a remake of one of my favorite N64 games of all time, and BioShock was the most engulfing first-person shooter I’ve ever played thanks in part to the amazingly unique environment.

I promise, it is never this exciting

Breach just looks like ever other fps I’ve passed up without a second glance. The only thing about it that held my attention was the thought of destructible environments, but even that turned out to be less than I’d hoped for, as it is very limited. It’s still very cool to shoot a building with a rocket launcher and watch it crumble, but it just isn’t what I’d hoped for.

My major complaint with Breach is the controls. You simply seem to move too slow, all the time. You’re like a tank, even when you’re running. Character movement just seems clunky and far too heavy, especially when moving to the left or the right. There’s also a cover system in place that doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped, but it’s something to use for more strategy. Too bad no one you ever play with will ever give a shit about strategy.

My favorite thing about Breach is easily Convoy, a mode of play where one team must protect an armed convoy and the other must try keep it from reaching its destination. It is the only mode where players on a team will actually work together, it is very balanced, and is just an all around satisfying game mode that I haven’t seen before.

Final Words:

I wouldn’t buy Breach. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, I’m just saying I wouldn’t. The game does relatively little in terms of new experiences, and is just like every other fps I’ve held no interest in since the great WWII subgenre explosion of the PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube generation.

I did really enjoy Convoy mode, and the cover system and destructible environments, while admittedly limited, were pretty cool. Does that make the game worth $20? To me, absolutely not. But if you’re a first-person junkie looking for something relatively cheap, maybe just to garner some achievements, then Breach might be worth taking a look. For everyone else, I’d say it’s safe to skip this one. It isn’t bad, but it’s just the same thing you’ve seen before.

Score: 7.0/10 (Average)

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