Breach Around, Eurogamer Review Out

By Quintin Smith on January 27th, 2011 at 12:13 pm.

You can tell this shot's staged because the wood's falling down instead of being cast upwards.

Morning my chirruping and greasy internetlings. Did you know that download-only multiplayer shooter Breach has been released? Alright. But did you know Eurogamer has also published my review? Yes! It’s like some kind of coincidence. In the review, I say things like this:

The English language has one four letter word which is more beautiful, more important and more heartening than any other. You know which word I’m talking about. It’s a word that can bring weightlessness to a lonely spirit, that can chase away the dark, that can come to define you existence. I bet you want to hear it right now. There’s no shame in that.

Read it (and find out what in the crap I’m talking about) here. Also, you can watch an absurdly well put-together launch trailer below.

…which is a nice way of saying it’s somewhat misleading. Still, enjoy!

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59 Comments »

  1. MuscleHorse says:

    Cunt?

  2. crainey92 says:

    I tried this, its alright for a timewaster when your bored I guess. For 8.99 or 1200 MS points you can’t complain, personaly I picked mine up for 8.99 on steam when it released there.

    Oh and as soon as I saw that Breach article I saw your name on it and automaticaly lol’d, sorry.

  3. Bilbo says:

    Fair review, but does this title not deserve some recognition for being very cheap? The Call of Duties and Bad Companies of this world retail for £35+, and this is £7.99. It might be valuable for some consumers to compare it to your Ghost Warriors or your Sniper Elites rather than to the AAA stuff – I don’t think anyone was realistically expecting this to put zillion-dollar mainstream shooters in their place, after all.

    • crainey92 says:

      Absolutely sir, I think people expect too much these days to be frank.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Actually, it’s not EG policy to treat games with varying degrees of harshness depending on how much they cost. Any such copy would not survive first contact with the editor.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Does a hooker deserve recognition because she’s very cheap?

    • Pop says:

      By the sound of the review though, a few patches here and there might be enough to raise the bar of the game to something more acceptable. Possibly worth revisiting in a few months…

      (Though that said, that’s what I thought about Alpha Protocol – a few months later still a like a less interesting, more broken ME 2 with a little bit of sneak thrown in.)

    • Chris D says:

      @Bilbo

      Generally I’d agree with you. Price does make a difference unless you have an unlimited budget. But in this case if you’re at all interested in shooters you already have at least one, so you’re looking for something that either does it better or adds something new. Breach has the terrain and that’s it ( apparently.) So I don’t know how much of a difference price should make in this case because you’re alternative isn’t necessarily buy an expensive competitor instead, it’s keep playing the shooter you already have.

      The shooter market is fiercely contested and if you want to stand out you have to offer soemthing different and unfortunately it seems Brink is not different enough.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      there are a ton of other multiplayer shooters in that price range though. section8, lead & gold, shattered horizon, bloody good time, blacklight tango down, iron grip warlord etc. the new section8 is coming out soon, also really cheap.

    • suibhne says:

      In fact, it’s not that hard to find BC2 for the same price as Breach these days. Any comparison between the two would be even less kind to Breach than this review.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Does a hooker deserve recognition because she’s very cheap?

      If she’s just as good as the others, then yes.
      If she’s even better, that absolutely.

      Why does nobody get that everything is relative. There are no absolutes.
      In this case, the difference between what you pay, and what it’s worth to you, is the recognition in case you are forced to pay to get it.
      Of course since this game is a bunch of information, and people already have copies out there, you aren’t forced to pay to get it. So the price becomes irrelevant in judging it.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      @BAReFOOt
      If a game is good, surely it deserves recognition for that first and foremost, not for something as volatile as price. It’s about priorities, since quality was not a factor in my initial statement.
      A good game is a good game. A good price is just temporary, especially when most games end up being cheap eventually.
      That doesn’t run against what you said, of course, but I felt the need to elaborate slightly.

      “Of course since this game is a bunch of information, and people already have copies out there, you aren’t forced to pay to get it.”
      Is this still about the hooker?

    • Vague-rant says:

      Turns out “There are no absolutes” is basically an absolute.

    • Bilbo says:

      @Malawi Frontier Guard

      Yes, broadly speaking most (but not all) games end up at a comparably low price, but this process can take any unspecified length of time, by which point the player base will have moved on to something new. In the specific arena of multiplayer shooters, the counter-argument that all games wind up costing sub-£10 in the end doesn’t really hold water. I still think the fact that it’s a budget title counts. Javier makes a good point, my appraisal of the budget market as a whole was very narrow.

      Oh, and @Quentin? Yeah that’s not what I was trying to say. Never mind.

    • bill says:

      but RPS policy seems to include taking cost/team size into account. So i assume the RPS version of the review would be a 7/10.
      If RPS did scores.

      PS/ Surely things like leaving one beam standing in bridges and having fences be slow to destroy are cases of game balance over realism?

    • RQH says:

      I would posit that it is, in fact, possible and even necessary to discuss whether a game is any good irrespective of its price. Because games take time to play. The question “Is it worth your time?” (or better: “For as long as it lasts, is it a good time?”) ought to take priority over “Is it worth your money?” Especially as sale prices do frequently land much better games than Breach (just as an example–haven’t played it, but this is what sparked the discussion so I’ll run with it) into the same price range as Breach. The question becomes, all other things being equal, whether it’s worth my time to play Breach: because regardless of price, Breach still exists in a world where other genuinely good games also exist and there’s not enough time to play all of them.

      Now of course, Quinns can’t tell me whether it’s worth *my* time specifically, but I can gauge based on whether he thought it was an enjoyable time for him, or whether it offered any unique wrinkles (such as art design or game design elements) that I might be interested in experiencing, and draw my own conclusions. If it’s a stellar recommendation, I’ll be more inclined to seek it out and pay more for it, irrespective of what the developer has set as an initial price tag. If he says it’s a tremendous game and it turns out to be ten dollars, that’s a bonus and I can still feel confident as a consumer that I’m not wasting my time. If Quinns (or anyone) were to review according to price, then a tremendous review is no longer trustworthy, as I then have to wonder whether whether the game is actually enjoyable, or only enjoyable relative to what Quinns thinks 10 dollars is worth to me. Am I about to spend my time playing this 10 dollar game which is only awesome for a 10 dollar game when I could have gotten 60 dollars worth of awesome game on sale for 30? Read that sentence a couple of times and absorb how silly it is to measure the quality of a game in currency.

      Furthermore, if Quinns is lukewarm about a game but it’s something I might be interested in and then I see that it’s available cheaply, I might give it a go anyway based on my knowledge of my personal predilections: there’s no need for Quinns to process price into his evaluation because most consumers will process price (along with countless other personal factors which Quinns could not possibly predict) into their purchasing decision.

    • Chris D says:

      RQH

      I don’t think I follow the “Is it worth my time” argument. If you’re not enjoying it then stop playing it and you’ve lost very little time. What you have probably lost is money, which brings us back to the original point.

    • RQH says:

      No, it’s not that I as the consumer don’t take money into account. It’s that I don’t want the reviewer to have to try to judge what that money is worth to me. And what I’ve lost if I buy and play even part of a crappy game is the total opportunity cost of time + money I could have spent doing something better.

      I read reviews to avoid spending money poorly: what determines whether I’ve spent my money poorly is whether the game entertained me sufficiently for the time I invested in it. Therefore, I don’t want the review to be based on whether it is worth what the reviewer guesses $10 is worth to me. I want the review to tell me about the game and whether it was fun or enlightening to play hour-for-hour (I also want to know how many hours it is, but here’s the key distinction I’m making: I don’t want to be told whether it’s “too short for the price tag.”) Give me data + a personal appraisal of your experience with it: was it fun? Did it present any interesting wrinkles? Was it ambitious? Did it succeed, in your opinion, at realizing its ambitions? Then I will decide whether to wait for it on sale or buy it at full price, based on a combination of my financial situation, my available time, whether that sort of game has entertained me in the past, and how persuasive the reviewer was that the game is worth playing, etc.

      I would rather buy no game than buy a crappy one that is considered “great for a budget title” for $10. I have no shortage of ways to spend my $10 on quality entertainment. And grading more generously just because a game is initially cheaper than most games initially increases the likelihood of the scenario you just outlined: where I spend $10, realize the game is not worth my time, and then I’m out the money, all because some reviewer assumed that I demand less for my $10 than I do. It is also ridiculous: aside from certain multiplayer experiences, the vast majority of games do not decrease in quality when they get cheaper over time; some even increase in quality, having benefited from patches and mod support. So a budget title isn’t just competing with the latest greatest $50 and $60 games, but with everything else out there, including those great games I missed last year that are now heavily discounted.

    • Bilbo says:

      @RQH My point wasn’t really directed at you, then. Not everyone has enough money to completely disregard cost, and for those people some acknowledgement of the fact that the game’s a budget title is a helpful notion. That’s really all I meant and it’s a) not as hard to grasp and b) not as wide-reaching a concept as you’re making it out to be.

    • thesundaybest says:

      So something like this then?

      “In a sense it’s unfair to compare Breach directly to competition like this, since Atomic Games are a much smaller studio working with a fraction of the budget. On the other hand, unless you’re going to do something really different with your game, competing directly with the big boys is the worst idea in the world.”

    • Bilbo says:

      I wasn’t talking about the game’s budget. Just the fact that it’s a pocket-money game, and that consideration might render the comparisons with genre heavyweights even more redundant than it’s already been generally agreed on. Much as film reviewers don’t admonish the latest disney cartoon as too childish for the serious filmgoer, it might be the case that cheap games shouldn’t be admonished for being aimed at people with less dosh to throw around than your average. I don’t think this was an unfair sort of idea to brooch – and I prefaced it by saying that, on the whole, I thought the review was fair.

      To be honest, the more I think about it the less I really believe that it is aimed at anyone other than the sneering jaded lot of us who are naturally going to hold it up against its superiors. It’s just cheap. I was just playing devil’s advocate, really.

  4. Fwiffo says:

    While I can appreciate Atomic wanting to present an independent alternative to the AAA dominated military shooter genre, surely someone should’ve chimed in they weren’t going to wrestle fanboys from the big publisher affairs? Seems like a business no-brainer.

    Magicka tried something different and thanks to word of mouth sold over 30k copies in its first day. It really looks like in today’s independent PC gaming world taking risks and letting the internet do the marketing work for you is the winning formula rather than trying to ape what the mainstream is doing.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      That’s just an artifact of the underlying winning strategy. Which is what artists have done since the dawn of time: Do something inspiring. Something special. From your heart.
      This will never reach everyone, and that’s how it’s supposed to work. But those that it reaches, will love it a lot more.

      See it like this: A hundred people really loving it, goes way further, than a million people saying “meh”. :)

      Someone once told me, that a TV show (how do you call that in the UK? Telly programme? ;) manager used to judge if he produces a show, by looking at how many people really love or hate it. Even if they hated it, there was a bigger chance of success than when everybody just said that it was “OK”. :)

    • GoodPatton says:

      @Barefoot: “See it like this: A hundred people really loving it, goes way further, than a million people saying “meh”.”

      Not in the case that a million people actually buy the game. If a million people buy the game and say “Meh” it’s a hell of a lot better than only 100 people buying it…

  5. Pop says:

    Re pic: Man I want to be the flying guy tearing the place up.

  6. stahlwerk says:

    “Once again, this is executed with competence without ever being impressive, like watching a friend park his car quite quickly.”

    That’s a very nice metaphor.

  7. WombatDeath says:

    I enjoyed the review apart from this bit:

    For Atomic to enter into it with no prior experience of making a multiplayer FPS is a bit like you or me wading into the Congo and punching a hippo square in the eye.”

    I object to the automatic assumption that I am not well versed in human/hippo unarmed combat tactics.

  8. malkav11 says:

    A game trying to trade on destructible terrain and then only allowing you to destroy certain specific pieces of terrain in certain specific ways is pretty much the worst cop out imaginable.

  9. Acosta says:

    Before reading, I hope that word is “fuck…”

    “The word is BANG.”

    I’m disappointed.

  10. Delusibeta says:

    Sounds similar to The Escapist’s review. Tl;dr edition: “Meh, buy Bad Company 2 or something similar as you’ll probably find it for similar money these days”.

  11. DoucheMullet says:

    Quintin you seem like a very angry man.

    Also, after reading your atrocious New Vegas review, I’ve found that you attempt to bend the truth a lot with things like misleading screenshots in order to assist you in tearing apart games. How do I know you aren’t just doing the same with Breach?

    • bill says:

      buy it and see

    • Lilliput King says:

      After putting 60 hours or so into New Vegas I now think that Quinns was pretty much spot on, to be honest. Pretty much. Maybe he went slightly too far, but it’s easy to understand why. Quintin specialises in games that are interesting and innovative mechanically or thematically. There really wasn’t anything in New Vegas for him.

    • DoucheMullet says:

      Yeah, but when he goes out of his way to take an empty screenshot of a casino or a picture of the NCR crops at a terrible angle, it seems a bit shady to me, honestly.

    • gwathdring says:

      What was dishonest about the Breach screen shots? They didn’t seem to be trying to prove a point, to me … I haven’t played New Vegas so I don’t know if those shots were dishonest, unlucky, or poorly taken, but I could tell they were clearly used to make a point in the review. Not so much with these.

      Besides, if it accurately reflects his experience with the game, I guess that’s his call. I’m not sure it’s exactly dishonest to accurately reflect your experience by angling the screen shot to point out what bothered you or just being terrible at taking screen shots. Maybe you should try and find reviewers that match your gaming preferences better. Everyone “bends” the truth in describing games and movies based purely on how much they liked it and what parts stick out to them. Try to find reviewers who “bend” the same way you do, and read lots of reviews. No need to make personal attacks.

      P.S. Of course, for all I know he was deliberately and carefully lining up every screen shot just to sabotage the game. That just doesn’t sound like the sort of thing very many game reviewers would do though. Most reviews I read seem to make fair comments, especially Eurogamer’s. A lot of IGN reviews even. The main difference is what elements of the game effect the score the most and how much the reviewers like/care about each thing they comment on.

    • Lilliput King says:

      He wasn’t really far off with the screenshots. There were a few more people in the casinos, and a few more square meters of “farmland” but in general the use of visuals in the worldbuilding was pretty atrocious.

      The idea that those sharecropper farms could support more than a dozen people is ludicrous, let alone tens of thousands.

      Not totally Obsidian’s fault, but a salient point when reviewing the game.

    • Urthman says:

      DoucheMullett, you’re being “that guy.” Don’t be “that guy.”

      If you have an issue with the Breach review, say what it is. Trying to re-ignite old flamewars just makes you look stupid and undermines any actual point you have to say.

      If the only thing you have to say is “I don’t trust Quintin’s reviews anymore,” saying so makes you look bad, not him. Because either you’re lying or you’re the kind of idiot who wastes time reading reviews written by people whose opinion he doesn’t trust.

      If you just plain don’t trust Qunintin’s opinions across the board you aren’t required to read them. Really. There are several other people who write game reviews on the internets. Read one of them instead.

    • DoucheMullet says:

      I was not aware that I wasn’t entitled to my own opinion. I am sorry every post cannot be full of praise and admiration. I am simply throwing in my two cents about Quintin reviews from what I’ve seen in the past and stating how I simply take his opinion with a grain of salt, which is what I believe others should. I am not trying to re-ignite a flamewar. I am simply reminding those reading how much Quntin loves to stage screenshots and hyperbolize game flaws.

  12. Navagon says:

    Seems fair enough to me. Personally I think that cost should be taken into account though. But only in regards to quantity of content (maps and weapons in this case). A low cost does not excuse game breaking bugs or dismal fun factor.

  13. Kryopsis says:

    I quite like the two last paragraphs on page 1, however I have a question about the overall conclusion, mainly “I can’t imagine someone choosing to play [Breach] over any of this generation’s excellent shooters”. Which ones did you have in mind?

  14. dripgrind says:

    In principle, the cover system and destructible terrain *should* make it different from most FPS multiplayer (except maybe Bad Company 2 – haven’t played it).

    For a few minutes of the half-hour 360 demo, it felt quite tactical and deliberate and less of an exercise in run and gun than most multiplayer. At one point, as my group of three allied shooty men worked our way between buildings, it actually made sense for two of the team to spray the windows of an occupied building with bullets while the third ran up and blew through the wall. Normally there isn’t time for that level of coordination in the twitchier online games (or maybe I’m just too crap to manage it).

    The trouble is that, as Quinn points out, better players tend to ignore the cover system in favour of run and gun, and that seems to work, because being in cover is no match for someone coming pelting up from behind or around the side. Nobody was bothering to pick up RPGs, either, because firing one off tends to get you shot.

    Maybe they could fix this by making the weapons less accurate unless you are braced against cover, or enabling suppression effects for all the weapons, or changing the maps (some areas were interesting to play in, but the tunnel areas of one map just became a Counterstrike style twitchfest). Or maybe I am imagining the hidden potential – hard to know based on a stingy half hour demo.

  15. TheApologist says:

    Greasy greasy greasles

  16. mondomau says:

    I never really got why people gave this so much attention, other than because it was from a smaller team – it looked incredibly generic from the very first screen cap and subsequent videos only cemented that impression in my mind.

    If you’re going to go head to head with the AAA FPS big boys, churning out a bland, less well-funded version of the same mediocre shit they are already flooding the market with seems a little dumb. But then, games that try to inject something new into the genre seem to have just as tough a time (I’m thinking of Bloody good time specifically, but I’m sure there are others).
    What’cha gonna do?

  17. Sigh says:

    This game is reasonably fun.

    This is one of those games where if you can approach it with a suspension of disbelief (such as ignoring the presence of Bad Company 2) it is actually quite fun. The graphics, textures, and overall look finds contemporaries from 5 years ago and the sound leans towards amateurish, but if you like trying out different shooters and injecting some variety into your palette of options I say give this a try. It cannot compete with AAA titles from the last few years, but I played for 3-4 hours last night and I am looking forward to returning to it again…I certainly was not repulsed or disappointed at any point.

    This game is all about positioning and thoughtful tactical decisions. An earlier poster said that those who are playing a run-and-gun style still have the edge. I disagree. I think that perhaps at this early stage of the game’s release that might be true—as players are just getting used to the maps, controls, tempo, and objectives—but I don’t think that phenomenon will continue. There were a handful of moments where the run-and-gunners got the jump on me, but if you are positioned appropriately and sense where they are coming from they don’t stand a chance. Once I got a hang of things I could easily take down 3 frantic runners from one immobile position with partial cover. Also if you team is paying attention at all the runners won’t get far. Open ground in this game is suicide against an alert opposition. Discharging your weapon puts a blip on the opposing team’s radar that shows your position for a good 15 seconds so it is easy to track and surprise indelicate shooters. The fact that I am thinking about this game now and how I might approach it later is a testament (to me at least) that there is enjoyment to be found.

    It is worth the sale price.

  18. MikoSquiz says:

    The ability to blow bridges and the like adds a little depth, but mostly it’s the same kind of vague, clunky, joyless oops-you’re-suddenly-dead grind as Counterstrike and its ilk.

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