Breach Alpha Hands-On Preview – 4v1 Made Fun

Breach Alpha Hands-On Preview




Asymmetrical multiplayer games aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, but we’ve seen a few of them emerge during recent years. Turtle Rock’s Evolve was one of the most popular, until the hype eventually died out and the late switch to free-to-play wasn’t enough to save it. Fable Legends was canceled before it was released, but you can always look out for Dead by Daylight, Friday the 13th or Discord’s exclusive Last Year: The Nightmare.

Or you can wait for QC Games’ Breach, which is currently in technical alpha and is going to be free-to-play at launch.

We played Breach during this alpha that is probably competing for the title of ‘shortest alpha test ever’, as it ran on December 21, 2018 for the wholesome duration of… three hours. One minute we’re playing and the other we’re disconnected. That’s the gaming industry for you.

Breach Alpha Hands-On Preview Character Screen

FROM THE ASHES OF THE SHADOW REALMS

Breach isn’t born out of a whim, as some players may think; it was in fact designed from the ashes of Shadow Realms, a free-to-play game that at one point was in development at BioWare, went through a complete revamp and eventually ended up being canceled. QC Games has in its ranks some ex-BioWare staff, which goes a long way to explain the similarities between the two games.

Breach is a 4v1 game set in a modern-day Earth where fantasy and reality lines are blurred. Four players act as heroes fighting against the supernatural powers of the Veil Demon – think smoke monster from Lost, only smaller but also just as evil. The Veil Demon is also player-controlled and there are six classes/variations of it: Chaos Weaver, Dark Artificer, Soulfiend, Taskmaster, Veil Shifter and World Shaper. Each one comes with different abilities and summons, but they all have one thing in common – you can possess any of the creatures, using its attacks and special skills.

Breach Alpha Hands-On Preview Class Selection

Breach has an interesting roster when it comes to Heroes. We were able to count 17 classes, with one more coming soon – the Exorcist. You have all your standard types from different Schools: Battle, Arcane, Shadow, Hedge, Tech and Dark. Roles available range from Assassin, Support, Warrior and Specialist, with the obvious distinction between melee, mid-ranged and ranged characters. You can pick one class at the start and customize its appearance through some slim choices including hair style and color, clothes, tattoos and little else. The cash store will obviously allow for further customization, and you can unlock additional classes using in-game gold.

We tried a few classes, but ultimately our choice relied upon the Demon Hunter, a mid-range Assassin with a lovely shotgun and the incredibly useful sticky grenade signature move. Each class comes with three abilities (or spells) and one ultimate that needs to be charged by using said abilities. You can also self-cast one of these if there is the option to do so.

You can dodge enemy attacks – and you will, frequently – but the dodge move is limited in quantity and recharges with time, so use it wisely. By completing objectives, you gain Team Levels and unlock a talent that is valid for the rest of the mission, from a selection of three active or passive buffs.

Breach Alpha Hands-On Preview Egypt Map

Four Heroes Go into a Pyramid…

But enough about technicalities. Breach’s controls are smooth as butter, with running, jumping and dodging feeling just right for the kind of action game that it aims to be. While initially sceptic about Breach’s ability to make some of these messy battles enjoyable, it turned out to be just that – fun. A nice balance between melee, ranged and support characters makes for some exciting teamplay, and the unpredictable nature of the Veil Demon – which is an enemy player, after all – adds to the viciousness of the matches.

Your standard match in Breach isn’t linear, as there are objectives for each one of the areas. For example, in one area the heroes may be tasked to defeat their enemies before the timer runs out, while in the next one your team must escort a drone. Moving on, you need to capture uplinks or collect beacons from fallen enemies and deposit them. Obviously, the Veil Demon will do whatever it takes to make sure that the heroes fail these missions, with one point being awarded to the winning side for every clash. In the final area, a fearful boss creature is waiting for the team, ready for a skirmish that is made the more difficult by the frequent intervention of the Veil Demon, summoning more creatures and laying traps at every opportunity.

Breach Alpha Hands-On Preview Tokyo Map

Each match, victory or defeat, will reward your character with XP, gold and loot. You can use the newfound gems to upgrade your character in some ways, as many as the gear and gems slots allow you. The shop has a few equipment and gems boosters that you can purchase with gold, but if the developers don’t fall prey to the temptation of allowing players to buy these with real money, things should be good. There is a complete section for cosmetics, so let’s hope that this is the place where players will be able to buy things and support Breach’s ongoing development.

The levels that you get to explore are inspired by real-world locations. Thematically inspired, that is, but that is where the designers draw the line, as the maps are built for an optimal gameplay experience, with large spaces suited for the frenzied action and corridors connecting the areas. We managed to explore the Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the streets of Tokyo, and the initial region of Downtown Kiev, Ukraine, as time ran out and we were abruptly disconnected. There is a nice variety to the regions and some interesting backdrops, but don’t expect state of the art graphics in this game – they are mostly practical and adequate for Breach’s gameplay needs. After all, QC Games isn’t a full-on AAA team, although it’s not a tiny indie studio as well.

Breach Alpha Hands-On Preview Tokyo map boss

But this short technical alpha made me remember why I like games in the first place: because I want to have fun playing, no matter the genre and goal, and Breach was able to provide me with a large dose of that. Playing as the Veil Demon seems fun as well, instead of the usual busywork that playing the ‘bad guy’ translates to most of the time. Breach has a non-negligible competitive side to it, with a myriad of build combinations around every corner, but it seems to make progression enjoyable and rewarding.

I can see Breach getting a dedicated player base when it launches. January 2019 will bring Steam Early Access, while the official free-to-play launch is planned for Summer 2019 or earlier, also via En Masse Entertainment’s launcher. Here is the official Breach website.



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