When I first played Breach I was disappointed, angry, and feeling a bit ripped off.  I will start by saying that I was quite excited for Breach throughout its development due largely to the fact that it was billed as a “AAA title for an Arcade price” – that selling line however couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Announced back at PAX East in March 2010, Breach was set to feature incredibly dynamic destructible environments, a cover system to rival Gears of War and simple yet refined shooter gameplay. Fast forward 10 months later and Breach is here for everyone to unfortunately play. Developer Atomic Games were previously working on Six Days in Fallujah, a military survival/horror title set during the Second Battle of Fallujah, however publisher Konami dropped the title due to controversy and negative feedback from the media and fans alike, leaving Atomic to move onto this project.

Breach is impressive for such a small studio but for every progressive stride it takes, it takes another twenty backwards. Breach is an entirely multiplayer and digital download only title, so there’s no campaign or single player side at all. Players have access to five ‘classes’ akin to Call of Duty – Rifleman, Gunner, Sniper, Support, and a final unlockable class called Recon. As generic as the copy/paste weapon system is (With the exception of ‘Convoy’) so are the multiplayer modes.

You’ll see your usual Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes return, a Capture-the-Flag mode is featured as well, titled Retrieval and there’s also a last-man-standing gametype called Sole Survivor. Convoy however is where Breach does something unique instead of copying features from practically every other current first-person-shooter. The game only ships with a meager three maps which hardly feel even worth playing considering and only one map feels like it actually fits well within the game.

Convoy sees one team leading a, you guessed it, convoy of vehicles through the map whilst one team aims to destroy them.  At the same time as leading the vehicles up the map the allied team is tasked with removing roadblocks and repairing the vehicles if the enemy team manages to destroy them. Convoy is a great game mode and makes for some tense moments as you fight off enemy gunfire from both sides of the valley and destroy buildings with well placed rockets.

The main selling point of Breach is it’s destruction and physics engine that allows individual blocks and bricks to be shot from buildings. By destroying support struts underneath buildings, whole structures can be brought crashing too the ground, killing everyone in and beneath it. Moments like this help define Breach as a new experience but it’s unfortunately not one that shines through when you have games like Medal of Honor, Black Ops, Bad Company 2: Vietnam and Halo: Reach bouncing around the market.

Just like the copied ‘class’ system, Breach also has a tacked on progression and level up mechanic that ultimately feels slow compared to the father that it inherited from; Call of Duty. Oh, and that cover system I mentioned? Horrible. It’s something that could’ve worked, however it ultimately just didn’t.  Smashing the cover mount button time and time again only to have your character do nothing, then walking  a meter to the left and having it work perfectly really detracts from the gameplay and usually gets you killed in firefights. The aiming feels incredibly lose and light and the weapons have no ‘weight’ to them, making it nearly impossible to accurately aim and shoot.

Breach could have and should have worked, but the number of apparent flaws ruin what could have been a surprise title in an all too overcrowded and jaded FPS market.

Here’s The Rundown:

+ Convoy is a great mode
+ Convoy makes for dynamic combat and changing environments
- The rest of the game is f**king lame

Breach was developed by Atomic Games and published by the Xbox LIVE Arcade and Steam. Our copy was purchased by the reviewer (although he wishes it wasn’t) and played for 4 hours. Breach released January 26th 2011 for 1,200 MSP and $10 USD on the Xbox LIVE Arcade and Steam respectively.