The most memorable thing that happened to me when playing Breach was dying. Destruction, especially if it leads to your death or the death of an enemy, is Breach's main hook, and it works rather well in its online-only environment. Flimsy shacks and wooden walls burst and crumble when damaged appropriately, which creates some satisfying ways to boost your kill count. I love luring enemies onto a bridge only send the whole thing smashing into the ground.

Breach is a bit of a one-trick pony in this respect, and nearly all of its attempts to capitalize on other first-person shooters' great ideas -Rainbow Six Vegas' third-person cover, Call of Duty's perk system, and even the Battlefield: Bad Company-esque destructibility - fail in some major way. Blowing up a bridge isn't so much useful as it is inconvenient, since it eliminates the fastest way across, say, two giant hills, and the too-sticky cover system often led me to an unnecessary death.

My largest concern is with the reward system: unlocking additional abilities and gear simply takes too long. I didn't feel like I'd made any progress until I'd scored enough 10-point kills to unlock my first 500-point rifle scope. However, this took nearly four hours because I couldn't earn kills as quick as I'd have liked.

Also disappointing are the rewards themselves. Few of them are worth their price - the Badass perk, which halves your energy but gives you double experience points, is certainly one of the weaker options - and the rest feel sort of phoned in. It's also aggravating to have to pay to throw grenades further when the grenade throwing mechanic feels unrealistically weak to begin with. Players shouldn't have to waste in-game XP to compensate for poor design.

Breach also has a handful of smaller issues that serve to undermine the experience further. For one, it's slow to the point where it ruins what could have been an intense experience. The visuals are so dark I had to crank the brightness on nighttime maps just to see what was going on. Finally, and most importantly, Breach is an incredibly limited multiplayer first-person shooter.

The match types are as typical as you'd expect - capture control points, kill everyone, etc. - with "Convoy" standing out as the main mode to play. However, if you want to fight your way across a map while escorting a vehicle, Red Dead Redemption and Team Fortress 2 already do it much better, so there's no real incentive to play Breach instead.

That's pretty much Breach's biggest problem: even if it's a cheaper Xbox Live alternative to more expensive, triple-A shooters, everything it does has been done better elsewhere. If it had contributed something new to the landscape I'd forgive its attempt at imitation, but its target audience already has immediate access to great games like Halo: Reach, Call Of Duty: Black Ops and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. With such a high standard of competition, is there any real incentive to aim so low.

Next page: Our expert verdict

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Breach: Specs

  • OS: Windows 7, Windows XP or Windows Vista
  • Processor: Core2 Duo 1.88Ghz or faster
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia 8600 or better, GT240 or better or ATI HD 2600 or higher
  • DirectX®: 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 1.6 GB
  • Sound: Any DirectX compatible card
  • Controller: Supports Keyboard/Mouse or Xbox 360 Controller.
  • OS: Windows 7, Windows XP or Windows Vista
  • Processor: Core2 Duo 1.88Ghz or faster
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia 8600 or better, GT240 or better or ATI HD 2600 or higher
  • DirectX®: 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 1.6 GB
  • Sound: Any DirectX compatible card
  • Controller: Supports Keyboard/Mouse or Xbox 360 Controller.

OUR VERDICT

Breach offers nothing new to a genre crowded with superior alternatives.

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