It’s not just the fancy physics and class systems that Breach messes up either, as even the fundamentals of the game design are marred by a lack of attention to detail. Death animations, for example, seem to suffer from a slight delay – so you can shoot someone five times and they’ll only start to fall over a half-second later, still spewing out bullets as they go.
The level design is also terrible, to the point of being broken, with huge maps that feel empty to the point of being haunting even with a full 16 players. The huge empty spaces that define most of the maps also bias Breach heavily in favour of snipers, with almost nobody playing as either the Gunner or Support class as far as we could see. The result is an endless stream of insta-deaths.
There are bugs too, naturally – some of them so glaringly obvious that there’s absolutely no way Atomic Games could have not known about them. In half the games we played, for example, the UI didn’t appear at all – and for the first hour of play we thought that was the way it was meant to be.
The worst problem, however, is the mouse sensitivity option. Basically, an error in the .ini files means that, no matter how low you set the in-game option, mouse control is always uncontrollable. We mentioned that this was our first game in the in-game chat and were bombarded by other players telling us that we’d need to quit and edit the .ini file manually before we’d be able to play.
I will be sniped in three, two, one...
Correcting this mouse issue turned out to be simple enough, and it’s highly likely that an update is on the way too. However, this isn’t something that consumers should have to tolerate in a final released product, and this is reason enough to approach Breach not just with caution, but with dread.
There’s nothing we could find to like in Breach; its shallow and dull gameplay isn’t even masked by good graphics or originality. Everything it does is done better and prettier elsewhere, by games that are also more stable. They’re faster too, as one of the more unusual features in Breach’s arsenal is that it perfectly emulates the feeling of wading through treacle.
Don’t even get us started on the active cover system, by the way.
Breach features a stunning lack of depth for a game which is clearly trying to be a more modern Counter-Strike too. There’s almost no recoil on most of the weapons, for example, while melee attacks unfold at a leisurely pace. Meanwhile, knife fights often verge on the hilarious, especially one which we saw that had two enemies ineffectually circling each other halfway up a hill with an 80-degree incline.
Oh, this game is so bloody terrible
It’s honestly hard to find any reason why anyone would want to play Breach. It’s an ugly, buggy and poorly balanced game which handles terribly and requires serious grinding to get anywhere – at which point you’ll discover it wasn’t worth the effort anyway. Everything from the menu system, which forces you to always re-choose your class when spawning, to the defining destruction feature, is poorly designed – blowing up things should be fun and rewarding, not dull and dreary.
Breach's only saving grace is that, at a penny shy of a tenner, it’s very cheap. Seriously though, this is a game which only rarely and barely delivers an approximation of the fun and accomplishment that most other titles deliver in spades. It's not an enjoyable experience. It's not well made. It's not a game you should consider buying, and if it seems like we’re rushing through this conclusion with a series of short, declarative sentences then it’s because we’re desperate to finish this review and uninstall Breach as fast as possible.
It only doesn’t score a 1/10 because, according to our score guide, it would need to be ‘severely broken’ in order to do so.