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Playing as Breach's Veil Demon will be fab - when the game works

Breach up for the stars

Tricks! I am big into tricks. Blue Magic decks, teleportation, messing with people ‘till they can’t tell their ups from their downs. That’s me.

Breach is an asymmetric multiplayer dungeon-runner that entered early access early this week. It pits four adventurers against a Veil Demon, who lays traps and hops about possessing the sort of demonic hordes you'd find in Diablo. That demon has some of the best tricks in the biz, but it's trapped in a laggy mess of a game that I can’t recommend you go near - yet.

Breach does have a story, though it's pleasantly ignorable. Alice Bee summed it up as "basically Dragon Age: Inquisition". She's not wrong: demons are behind a veil. Man starts breaching veil. What do.

What you do is send in teams of modern day wizards, then get them to fight in combat that's also remarkably similar to Dragon Age: Inquisition. While I'm yet to try all of the 18 current classes, that side of the equation feels distinctly under-cooked. Sword swings have no bite to them, magic bolts fizzle when they should dazzle, and bullets ping off foes with all the intensity of a lamb nuzzling against your kneecaps.

I like that those last two things are in the same game (bullets and bolts, not nuzzling and kneecaps), but neither feels quite right. I'm not especially confident that will change - but I'm also not especially bothered. In my mind, Breach is already "the Veil Demon game".

At the moment, wannabee heroes and demons have to wait in the same queue - but I've been lucky enough to land the demon's role five times. That's nearly enough to try every demon class, who each have their own ideas about how best to go about ruining a mortal's day.

I've cackled while locking heroes into cages next to elite minions, and smirked at their attempts to bypass my mazes of walls and ice. As the Veil Shifter, I've punted them into my own dimension - cruelly knocking healers off ledges, giggling and zapping away as they scramble to reach the portal back home. I know how infuriated my puntees feel. I've been there: it's probably why I find it so gleeful.

You can definitely wind up feeling like the devil's plaything, as a hero. You've got numbers, not power. The Veil Demon has giant boss units with axes ten times the size of a human, moves that can turn people into stone, and the kind of flexibility Papu Benze dreams of.

Part of the reason why I'm enjoying myself so much only just clicked when I wrote that. You're frightfully mobile as the Veil Demon, leaping from form to form while constantly assessing whether you should actually be somewhere else. You've got to learn dozens upon dozens of abilities, and deal with fights where ten things can happen at once. In other words, it's quite a bit like Dota.

There's a lot going on, and I haven't even gotten onto the class customisation gubbins. You're supposed to be able to essentially design your own classes, picking abilities that belong to certain archetypes - though I don't know if that's the case for the Veil Demon. At the moment it doesn't particularly matter, because I'm not going back until the lag has been ousted and the bugs have been crushed - or whichever combination of those causes characters to freeze and spell effects to not register. It's on the fringes of playable.

The first open beta patch notes mention that a separate queue for Veil Demons is priority, so I'll check back in when that happens and let you know.

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