At the time of previewing this game, I managed to play two builds. Post patch being significantly better to play for a newbie to the game. This may lead to some inconsistency when you look into this game yourselves, and you should look, as this game is worth the £11 or that it’s currently on sale for.
Breach and Clear : DEADline is the second game with the Breach and Clear name attached to it. Devolver is the publisher attached to it, and the icing on the cake being Gun and Mighty Rabbit. I haven’t had the privilege to play the first game – although it is on my list for the next Steam sale – so the only thing I can compare it to is if the first two Jagged Alliance games had a baby with XCOM. The gameplay is fairly simple. Build a team of soldiers – made up of several classes – and complete the missions given by WoW style quest givers on an isometric map.
Players are treated to a great little prequel mission, where the game gives you a very good tutorial on how the mechanics work, skills and how to control the camera. As you play out the first mission it becomes apparent that a lot of care and attention has gone into the character models and their behaviour as a unit of soldiers. Manually aiming your rifle (of whoever you have selected) causes your team mates to aim down sights and move slowly, move into cover and your squad try to assume low profiles alongside and start covering fire lanes like real soldiers would. Upon contact with an enemy one of two things happens, your team open fire, or the game pauses all of the action meaning you have triggered an event.
Enemies in this game are made up of zombies, humans and zombie-monsters – AKA the Tank from Left for Dead. These enemies also seem eerily well modelled, headshots will trigger massive damage, knee and leg shots cause them to fall to the ground and drag themselves along the floor, leaving a blood trail as they go. The concussive nature of the weapons fired at enemies will also cause staggering to varying degrees, a shotgun and sniper rifle will knock a target off its feet completely.
Back to triggering an event, this is where the game moves from the standard fare to the sublime. All action pauses, allowing you to make tactical decisions based on the equipment and skills your team have to hand. This could be enabling a huge burst-fire to suppress an incoming horde, using your scout to highlight enemies from a pack and ensure they take additional damage for the next few seconds, and throwing smoke, flash and explosive grenades for evasion and group damage. This mode can be jumped into and back into real time with just a single button push (just like Dragon Age), when used in combination with the extensive cover system, can make for some excellent set piece fights for survival.
For an Early Access game, it does have some bugs still left. I encountered building internals not loading correctly, Soldiers acting in perfect synchronicity until you give them a second command, resulting in one member stood still whilst zombies ate his face off. The skill tree system is good, but it felt as if my guys were levelling up after every small encounter and the skills seemed VERY cheap for the effects they gave. Loot is earned from scattered crates which when opened vomit up the loot Diablo style – this led to loot becoming stuck in scenery or disappearing completely.
Those superficial slights aside – which the Devs know about *high five* – This game plays really well. The studio is looking at adding dungeon encounters, an online mode (squeal!) and a greater amount of enemy types and weapons loadouts. A personal wish of mine would be to make the skill trees a little deeper and specific, and make the corresponding skill point cost a little more expensive.
Keep your eyes open for this one. It’s going to be a cult classic.