Breach & Clear: Deadline is a surprisingly good action-RPG


You got your Diablo in my Rainbow Six!

The original Breach & Clear was a tactical strategy title in the vein of the XCOM or Rainbow Six series. It was fairly surprising when its sequel Breach & Clear: Deadline turned out to be an open-world tactical action RPG with zombies, which is probably a new genre and you heard it here first. I was skeptical of the idea at first; I mean tactical and zombie games are usually worlds apart in gameplay style, but after 30 minutes or so of play those fears were laid to rest.

The events of the game take place during an outbreak of “zombies” who are not zombies, but hyper-evolving parasitic worm infested human bodies. You play as a team of highly trained soldiers who make it their mission to protect the remaining humans of Harbor City, and stop the infestation at its source. Plot isn’t a strong suit in Deadline, but the execution is quite a bit of fun, and sometimes it’s nice to not have to concern yourself with an epic tale.

Although there are some kinks to work out before release, the core gameplay feels solid. The game is played from an isometric perspective, and focuses on small-unit combat using the four soldiers who make up your squad. This game does something I absolutely love, and that is the ability to switch instantly from a turn-based command mode to real-time combat. I love turn-based games, but if this whole game was turn-based it would be a slog fest. Being able to real-time single zombies or small groups without having to slow-down makes a huge difference for pacing, and I found myself only switching to command mode for hordes or the more powerful mutations.

The open world was a real startle. After the tutorial, the game opens up into an action RPG similar toDiablo III. There’s tons of exploration and NPCs to meet, some of who will give you quests. The overworld is a constant, but the dungeons look to be randomly generated each playthrough, with different loot drops and enemy varieties. The items themselves need some work as far as interface, but I really liked that the firearms were modeled after real life counterparts, which is a huge attraction for gun buffs.

I did run into some issues, the most frustrating being during the tutorial when I was asked to use one of the squad’s abilities and the confirmation key didn’t work. I had to re-plot the movement and action around 15 times before I was finally able to proceed. The menus still need work, not all the graphics options are there, and there are a few graphical glitches here and there. Whether it’s unique or not, I had a lot of fun and with a little polish it could turn into something really great.

Breach & Clear: Deadlineis currently in alpha and is not a finished title. If you wish to try it out and support the developers, the game isavailable on Steam Early Access for $14.99.