It’s really difficult for me to tell you who Breach & Clear is for. On one hand, I want to recommend it to people who dig strategy games, but on the other I’d rather tell them that their time will be better spent playing literally any other tactical strategy game, like the vastly superior Frozen Synapse Prime.
Here’s the bottom line, Breach & Clear is one of the most boring games I’ve ever had to endure on Vita, and here’s why.
Just like it was hard for me to figure out who this game is for, it’s hard for me to figure out where to begin. How about one of the first things that you’ll see? The visuals.
Now, I don’t mind functional/mediocre graphics if there’s at least something enjoyable in another aspect of the game, but Breach & Clear is different. Visually, the faces of the soldiers will make you want to vomit, and the bland textures of the offices and buildings that you are breaching are about as boring as a real office job. As you get further into the game, different locations will be playable, like a snow fort; but they’re still lifeless and you’ll be wishing for the Abominable Snowman to be bust through the walls to spice the game up for a bit.
A military setting is sometimes hard to be visually interesting, as we’ve seen from years of dark shooters that lack a color palette, so I will cut it some slack, but it really did feel like I was playing a PS1 game the entire time.
What grabs people towards Breach & Clear is the fact that it is a tactical strategy game, as I mentioned above, but that even starts to wear thin as you go through the game. The missions don’t get better, they’re just repetitive. You may get a bomb that needs to be taken care of thrown in there every once and a while, but the game you’re playing at the start feels like the same game you end with, and that’s the biggest problem with Breach & Clear; it’s just so boring and repetitive.
What I did enjoy was the options to customize your team the way you want, from choosing their names, to picking their classes. There is the Fire Team Leader, the Medic, Weapons Sargent, Intelligence, and the Breacher. It’s important to choose your team wisely, because your team’s movements are made all in one turn, so you’ll want to have the best men for the job.
There are also various breach beacons in a stage where you can send soldiers to enter from. Pairing soldiers with ones that compliment their skills is very important for your team’s survival. You can have one soldier take care of the shooting, while the other throws a flashbang to stun your enemies, or one of the soldiers can be a primary target, while the other takes care of the opposition. There’s a lot of mix and matching, which is where Breach & Clear shines brightest.
Stages are unlocked by collecting stars from other stages, so there will be a lot of going back and replaying stages for more stars. This is why you’ll want to do your best the first time around.
The three game modes, Terrorist Hunt, Bomb Defusal, and Escape Plan are exactly what you think you are. You take down enemies in Terrorist Hunt, diffuse bombs in Bomb Defusal, and escape in Escape Plan. Crazy, I know. All are challenging in their own right, but I like how the enemies aren’t visible in Terrorist Hunt until you get near them. This adds a nice challenge to those who like getting tortured by video games. And if you’re playing a strategy game, then you most likely do!
Like stars, as you do more missions you’ll get more cash that can be spent on the marketplace. Here, you can buy weapons, devices, and other items for your guns, or you can spend that cash on outfits that give you stat boosts. The marketplace is quite cool, but it’s a shame that the menus are completely counter-intuitive. Dealing with that after a frustrating mission is what led to many rage quits.
I suppose the strategy nuts will find some kind of enjoyment at first, but I honestly don’t see how anyone could put up with this game after about too long. It becomes a repetitive mess, with nothing new to keep you hooked.
Breach & Clear is for mobile gamers that want a cool army simulator to play when they’re stuck waiting in a huge line at Walmart. I just don’t think this game should have ever been ported onto a console, let alone a handheld.