Breed Review

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Graphics: 8.5
Sound : 8.0
Gameplay : 9.0
Multiplayer : 8.0
Overall : 8.5
Review by Kurt Knudsen
Breed is an upcoming FPS game developed by BRAT Designs and published by CDV. This game is sure to please a lot of gamers; it offers a very nice graphical engine, great voices and sound effects, and an incredibly addictive and intense story line. The graphics engine is full of the latest enhancements such as bump-mapping and specular lighting. The game style is much like that of Halo, but it is still an entirely different game.

The graphics in this game are quite good, compared to what most people expect of today’s games this would be above average. The weapons look great and show the reflections of the light and shadows and such. The models of the humans and enemies are excellent, they move and act very realistically. Scenery and terrain definitely adds to this game, a lot of trees to blow up and rocks to hide behind look fantastic.

Each weapon looks different from the next, different textures, different animations, just different. I mention this because some games I play have weapons that all look somewhat the same. This may or may not be part of those games' story, but for me it becomes boring. Giving the weapons a unique look keeps the excitement going, for me at least. You can see the light reflect on the weapons and surrounding metal. If you go into a dark area your weapon loses its glow and becomes dull, if you are in a well lit area your weapon shines and you can easily see the scratches and marks on it.

The missions are played on the same area at the beginning. Each mission you do is built off the last. For example, if you have to reach some building and secure it, your next mission may be to retrieve data from it. The map is just one giant island that you play on, ranging from small desert sands to small jungles with a lot of trees. The terrain and surroundings look amazing and definitely set the scene. If you shoot at a tree is explodes and falls over creating a very cinematic experience. The same go for small towers and buildings; blowing them up send fragments and debris flying everywhere. This also includes the poor Breed soldiers that were using them.



The characters of both humans and Breed look great. They move very realistically and act very intelligently. There is a small hint of some rag doll effects, but not much. If you throw a grenade near a Breed soldier you can see them fly across the screen and land in some odd positions. When you shoot a small group of Breed soldiers they all run for cover, and this looks very cool. You can see them poke their heads from behind the rocks and roll across the ground and fire at you, which is a very nice feature. Your soldiers perform the same actions; they just look human instead of alien. The animations flow pretty fluidly, adding a more realistic touch to the game. In many games we see great looking characters, but the animation is so choppy it takes away from the realism.

Besides taking the ground approach for action, one can take to the air as well. You get a variety of ground vehicles and air vehicles. All equipped with the best weaponry you could image. If you are not alone, your teammates will jump in and join you, as they are an essential part of this game. The vehicles look amazing and can give you a tactical advantage you could only dream of. Armed with a tank you can roll through hordes of Breed soldiers and take out enemy aircraft and buildings with ease. If you find yourself onboard an aircraft you can start flying like a pro in seconds. Although watching the cut-scenes fly the ships can look pretty odd, especially when a huge drop ship has the same agility as a fighter.

The first thing you hear when you start the game is the voice of your commanding officer. He sounds intimidating as well as perfect for the part. You hear him throughout the game; he explains the missions and gives you tips on what to do. If you mess up you will be sure to hear from him first.



The sound effects sound as they should. The gun doesn’t sound weak and it doesn’t sound way too powerful, as Goldilocks said 'It’s just right.’ You have a variety of weapons and they all come with a unique sound. Even the explosions sound on spot, the only thing I could wish for would be the sound of the crumbling building as you blow it up. It seems odd that the debris from the buildings fall somewhat silently.

The music in this game is some really good stuff, even if there are a few places where the music fails, and fails miserably. It isn’t the fault of the composer, rather the fault of the game. At times the music is interrupted by the voice of your commanding officer; usually giving you a short briefing of your objective, after that it is 100% silent. If only the music continued, it would have been a true winner. There are other places where it just falls silent for no apparent reason; hopefully a future patch will alleviate this issue.

As I said when the music stops there is usually complete silence. There really is no ambient noise such as birds chirping or wind blowing. The only thing you hear in those silent moments would be the tank rumbling or your soldier’s footsteps. But even though there are some silent parts, there is plenty of action to keep your eyes and ears happy.

The game offers a short tutorial that shows you the basics of the game. The first part of the tutorial is just your standard movement and firing. After that it moves on to vehicles and squad commanding. I must say these tutorials are a must if you want to get the best out of the game. It would be very difficult to command your squad if you didn’t know how, or to know the exact functions of the aircraft. If there is ever anything new during the game, your commanding officer will give you a quick explanation on what to do.



After the tutorial you are dropped into combat. The demo that is out is currently the first level of the game; it just doesn’t have a squad. If you played the demo and then play the full version of the game you will notice how important a squad can be. Not only do they assist you in combat, but also the game allows you to take control of them and use their weapons. If you need a sniper, just switch team members and take the enemy out, it couldn’t be easier. If one of them dies the game is not over, unless they are needed for the mission.

The missions you have range from long to short. Most of the time they are short, but once in a while it takes a bit of time to complete them, mainly due to the speed of the game. If you die or fail your mission you will be able to start at the beginning of the mission, unless you saved your game of course. The load times between missions couldn’t be quicker; it is just a simple splash screen with some loading text and WHAM, you are in the game. At the beginning of each mission you are given a short cut-scene and briefing, which cannot be skipped. These tell you exactly what to do and where to go, they do not give away so much detail as to ruin the story, but enough to point you in the right direction.

As you play the game your squad comes and goes. They don’t gain experience or become better players after time, at least not to my knowledge. So if you happen to get your entire squad killed, it isn’t the end of the world. Some missions will make you leave your squad and venture alone for the last leg of the mission, and this really adds to the story. Other times you will leave your current squad and attain a different one, more than likely people with different skills. The team members that seam to stick around the longest are the sniper, usually female, and a heavy machine gunner.



When you give your squad orders they will usually say 'Yes sir’ or something similar, and what is cool is they all say it at different times. This doesn’t become annoying because most of the time there is gunfire or some other noise to drown it out. There are several commands you can do. Such as spread out, close in, change formation, get a health pack, and a few more. You will find yourself using these commands constantly, as you will want your teammates to stay put while you switch to another character. If you tell your teammates to follow you and then switch to another person, they begin to follow the new guy. This is fine for the most part, but there are times when your teammates get stuck on walls and such, as the path finding ability of your teammates isn’t that great. They will follow you up to a certain point, and then try to go in a straight line, ignoring mountains and cliffs. Imagine your teammates following you and then switching to a person that is stuck on a wall, only to realize your teammates can possibly fall to their death.

In each mission you are given a number of health packs and engineer packs. These revive your health and repair your vehicles, respectively. If you have a medic on your team you can ask him for a health pack and then use if it need be. As far as I’ve seen teammates do not heal themselves, if they do then I must be a real bad leader to have all my men die in a battle. Overtimes your health regenerates, but it peaks at 90 until you find a health pack on the ground or use one yourself. The same goes for all of your teammates, their health slowly regenerates and peaks at around 90.



Multiplayer, from what I saw, looks to be great fun. I didn’t have the chance to play against anyone else for the obvious reasons, but I did get to mess with all the maps and vehicles – check our screenshots gallery for some exclusive multiplayer mode screens.

There are only a few modes of play; I do hope they add more in the future. The included modes are: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch melee. The noticeable lack of Capture the Flag or other popular modes might be the downfall, only time will tell. The modes should speak for themselves since they aren’t anything out of the ordinary.

There are loads of maps to play on, and many modes share the same maps. Most of the maps are loaded with all sorts of vehicles, some I haven’t seen in the single player campaign yet. Some of the new ones include a jetpack and scout. The jetpack is as simple as it sounds, strap it on and fly around. The only downside of the jetpack is that there are no weapons built in; it is strictly for flying around and infiltrating enemy territory. The scout is like the jetpack except it has weapons on it. It is a little bigger and a bit faster, so your chances of getting noticed are higher than if you were flying a jetpack.

The maps themselves are quite large, and the game supports up to 16 players per map. I think they should raise this number in future releases since these maps are so large. The vehicles included in the multiplayer version are great and offer a lot of variety. I think with a few minor adjustments the multiplayer could be one of my favorites. As it is it still looks to be great fun and could lead to hours upon hours of fun.



Conclusion:

Breed offers tons and tons of missions, and swarms of enemy soldiers to kill. All of these elements combined with a great graphical engine make for an extremely addictive game. I find myself wanting more and more of this game, I feel it will be a sad day when I complete this game, because there will be nothing more to play. Hopefully the multiplayer will keep this game alive for some time to come.

This game may not meet the caliber of Half Life 2 or Doom 3, but it definitely is something that will please many gamers. I hope to see more great games from BRAT Designs, and I would like to thank CDV for the review copy they sent us.