Marcus Jones on September 1, 2016

Breach & Clear: Deadline Review

Breach & Clear: Deadline is the second game to be released in the series that began on mobile platforms. It didn't take long for it to be ported to PC, and eventually, it found it's way on PlayStation Vita. Deadline removes the original games' real-life scenarios and instead, focuses on the inclusion of zombies, taking the Might Rabbit Studios game down a different tactical path in a world on the brink of annihilation.

Deadline is at its core an action role-playing game, centered on a group of special forces operatives stuck in what's left of a city ravaged by (for all intents and purposes) zombies. While they are not technical zombies and are instead the result of a nasty parasitic worm capable of taking over its host, they shamble about and moan appropriately to fill the role. While it's kind of an odd affair, the story itself never really caught me. Yeah, I was trying to survive and keep my personally created team alive, but I never felt all too invested in what was going on around me. Sure, the world is ravaged by these cultists, the undead, and other creatures of the night, but trust me, you don't want to call my squad.

I say that because there were a number of times in battles where my team would awkwardly get stuck on trivial objects. It's not necessarily a terrible thing since most battles I let myself sit in one or two positions the entire time and just kill wave after wave of enemies. But! There were also times where it (and the enemies) kind of bit me in the behind. Like the few times where one of my squadmates would get repeatedly stuck in objects as he tried to maneuver around them. I would have to switch from tactical mode back to real-time (more on that in a second) to help the soldier in question. While not always an issue, there were times where someone would inevitably get stuck on an object before the horde amassed and devoured his very soul for the mistake. At this point, I found myself loading a previous save just to rethink my strategy.

I actually enjoyed the combat mechanics within Deadline. The game allows players to alternate between two controlling modes - a real-time mode and a tactical mode. The real-time mode is essentially the base gameplay version as it's akin to a free roam with all of your men following you. The tactical mode seems to be the best option for combat, allowing players to freeze time, issue move orders, ability commands, and then slowly progress everything forward by pressing a trigger. Either mode is usable at any time, but I found myself sticking to tactical mode for combat, and real-time for everything else. This allowed me a constant overview of any combat situation, paving the way to plan out my next moves thoroughly to decide how best to use my squad.

Your squad is comprised of four individuals of varying skills and classes. Each comes with a unique set of abilities and weapon proficiencies, though it's key to note the medic is apparently the only one trained enough to revive a downed teammate. The classes range from a scout/sharpshooter type to an explosives expert to the all around fire team leader. The RPG elements of the game do shine some here (since it's really the only major piece) where skill points can be used to develop new skills or increase stats. Further enhancing this is the occasional scrap dropped by enemies. The scraps are used to upgrade weapons and armor. Granted, you can also end up picking up new items too, so you have multiple options at your disposal.

When not engrossed in relatively small combat areas, the game itself is quite large, taking place over a sprawling, destroyed city. The bus lines still work oddly enough, making it possible to fast travel to locations on the map, but in doing so, it takes away some of the exploration fun and excitement reminiscent of games like the original Fallout and Wasteland. The only downside is that while exploring in itself is fun, the game's rough textures and overall graphics can be a turnoff.

Simply Put

Even though Breach & Clear: Deadline released on PC initially last year, the visuals don't hold up on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It's not a huge issue in these type of games, especially as long as the narrative and RPG elements were strong, but I felt like those pieces were just not enough to carry the game all the way through. It's not terrible, and I do enjoy many aspects of the game, but at the same time, I wouldn't exact anyone to rush home eagerly to play it either.

Note: The Breach & Clear: Deadline review is based on a digital Xbox One copy of the game, provided by the publisher.

Breach & Clear: Deadline

Breach & Clear: Deadline 6
Fun combat and ability to switch control modes
Exploring a ruined city and the open world setting
The story didn't feel engaging
Squad AI disappoints