Breach & Clear is a fun, highly nuanced strategy game.
You take command of 4 military operatives and perform missions across China, Germany, Mexico, Middle East, Turkey, etc. There are a slew of maps and each one has three missions for you to fulfill (independently of each other):
- Suppress terrorist groups
- Disarm a bomb
- Evacuate troops
As its name suggests, you breach the base and clear it out.
Gameplay & Customization
It’s a strategy game, so you plan your moves to enter the stronghold, but don’t enact them until you hit ‘play.’ In this way, the game functions similar to a turn-based RPG, but you don’t have the luxury of foresight. Terrorists can be anywhere within the facility, so until you enter a room, you don’t know what areas of “cover” are going to protect you or open you up to fire.
As I said however, the game is deeply nuanced. Not only do you control where your 4 operatives move to, but you can make little markers everywhere in between for where you want them to point their weapon — so my guys always do pirouettes while sweeping rooms. This feature does make missions feel that much more epic. Having my wounded Corporeal Hicks chauffeured to the extraction point by Lieutenant Ripley while Hudson backed out behind them, plucking terrorists off one-by-one feels every bit as cinematic as I hoped.
(I will say though (to new-comers), you should start on ‘Normal’ difficulty setting because ‘Easy’ is so easy that it’ll bore you.)
If that weren’t enough however, the game has an overload of military grade weapons to change the way you play. While I’m sure a gun fanatic would have a field day with this variety of arsenal, I felt overwhelmed and unless it explicitly said, “Sniper” or “Machine Gun,” I didn’t understand the various model differences. That said, the game takes it a step further by allowing you to buy parts to the guns so you can literally build your own.
Of course you can customize your team with outfits too, but I did not as it cost real money.
The Art Design Spoils the Game
To be honest though, I had a real problem with the art design.
Part of the reason I enjoyed the extraction missions was because they were the most… or rather least ‘Murican of the three missions. See regardless of the soldiers you choose, they all look like — what I imagine would be — foreigner stereotypes of Americans. There’s the fat guy with an unkempt beard, American bandanna and aviator shades; there’s the Ranger with a cowboy hat, wifebeater, and toothpick in his mouth. It’s all very… ‘Murica, and it made me feel wrong performing terrorist suppression missions.
Maybe it’s my own naivete, but I’d like to think that the soldiers promoted to tactical breach & clear missions are formal, level-headed troops… not ragtag meat-heads. Maybe that was the intention, but it’s why the game lost its longevity with me. It didn’t feel right.
I’m by no means against the military and I have no political party affiliation… but when I “played” suppress the terrorists missions in the Middle East, I got bonus experience points for headshots. And, while the game is not bloody, the art design goes for realism.
The worst part though is, you’re not penalized if your own team members are gunned down. They get negligibly fewer experience points. To me, this is the type of game that would benefit from the staple of the Fire Emblem franchise, i.e. when your character dies, he dies for good. As it is, you just keep going and leveling up until you get bored and decide to build a new team. It would’ve meant something if you needed to hire on a new addition and would’ve made me a bit more attached… but as it is, the terrorists are gunned down and my troops just take a little nap. Again, it’s oddly off-putting for me.
In fact, it’s so off-putting that I started doing the German and Mexican missions instead of China or the Middle East. Germany because it’s in the past (and very green!) and Mexico because there’s so much gang violence down there that I can live with offing a few virtual substitutes. I guess what I’m saying is, it was easier to pretend to kill people if the reality of it was further away.
PS. Seriously though, if they took this exact game, but made it into an Aliens-inspired setting, I would never stop playing it. Faceless xenomorphs, that’s how you sell me.
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