The zombie menace scenario has been played to death over the years with just about every developer wanting to portray their own version of the undead brain munchers. They’re everywhere from the classic survival horror Resident Evil, the open-world wild-west in Red Dead Redemptions Undead Nightmare DLC and Call of Duty’s fast-paced zombie carnage. Well prepare yourself for possibly the most unique take on the zombie setting from Gambitious and Devolver Digital. Following up from the critically acclaimed android game; Breach and Clear: DEADline switches up the norm by throwing deep real-time strategy gameplay with RPG elements, an open-world, large battles and of course a huge amount of firepower.
The story is essentially the same plot you’ll find in every traditional zombie-flick; survive! You take control over a small military unit that have crash-landed in the middle of a zombie infested hell-hole. You are given a set of goals by your superiors via radio while aiding a number of survivors you meet along the way. Overall the story is mostly just chuck away stuff as it gets overshadowed in the long-run by the number of fetch quests you are sent on by the locals. Playing as a ragtag military force with a massive amount of firepower behind them might seem like overkill but then these aren’t your average flesh piles and with mercenaries thrown in you’ll be glad you’re armed to the teeth.
You have the option to play in two different ways; real-time and command mode. Playing very much lie the original android version; real-time is essentially the guns blazing approach playing as a top down arcade shooter. Taking this route can offer some fun and addictive action however it’s not really advised. As the game currently stands the camera controls in this mode are awkward making it hard to combat ambushes. That’s not to say that this way is completely bad, the isometric view and free camera makes it the much better mode for exploration purposes and it’s more useful when playing in multiplayer. When things start to get a little tense it’s nice to fall back on a more tactical strategy.
The game actively encourages you to play in Command mode which is good as it’s a far better mode giving players a deep strategic edge. Here you’re effectively playing a general RTS game where time stands still allowing you time to plan out your strategy and issue orders before you advance time and watch your plan take shape. At first glance the UI can discourage players somewhat but stick with it, it’s easier to manage then you may think. Coordination is key as you can move your units in and around cover, tell them the general direction they should be patrolling and use one of the many abilities or items they have at their disposal. You can even stock up your commands for each unit for example you can lead your sniper into position and have him take out an explosive barrel before picking off the survivors.
As you get further into the game you’ll find the introduction of RPG elements become more obvious allowing you to upgrade weaponry and improve classes natural abilities through a skill tree. Exploration is actively encouraged wherever you go as loot crates are strewn thought the landscape. This can be a bit of a win-lose scenario as yes you can acquire much better gear but then you could also be too weak to use it. So levelling up your characters in battle is crucial. The use of work benches becomes more of a necessity giving players the chance to upgrade all of their equipment and adding attachments like scopes and stocks.
Appearance wise the game at first glance doesn’t appear to be anything special, that is until you realise the game was originally designed for the android market. When exploring the city you can’t help but feel a slightly retro-vibe, who else keeps seeing Raccoon City? The soundtrack is dark and moody which really helps add to the atmosphere and there’s a great shift whenever you enter a battle that helps to get you pumped up. That’s not all in terms of sound, there’s also a solid set of sound effects to back it up. Explosions are satisfying and you can feel hear the weight behind each bullet. While the Breach and Clear: DEADline does offer full controller support it feels unfinished as some controls aren’t as responsive as you’d think and the layout can take some time to get used to.
Breach and Clear: DEADline is certainly a welcome change to the increasing popular zombie setting. Sure it’s a little rough around the edges but there’s definitely potential. There’s a great amount of content, scenarios and customisation options on offer to keep players entertained and fuel their addiction for zombie carnage. If you’re just interested in mowing down waves of undead in a wild frenzy then this might not be for you. Fancy taking a slow methodical approach to combat then this game won’t disappoint.
This review is based off a review code of Breach and Clear: Deadline provided by Indigo Pearl.
This review was originally published on the site GamersFTW which unfortunately has now been taken down. It’s been published on my personal blog, DanielVaughanReviews, out of respect for the developers/publishers that were kind enough to give me review copy of their game.