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Hands-on Preview: Breach

On Monday, Atomic Games announced Breach with little to no detail. Today, they stopped holding back. The game uses technology developed for Six Days in Fallujah to offer fully-destructible buildings and cover.

The game is playable at PAX East 2010, but I had a chance to play a build of the game on the Xbox 360 earlier this week and I came away impressed. The game is still a little rough around the edges, lacking the polish of a final version, but I had a really great time playing against Atomic's QA team.

Atomic Games president Peter Tamte explained to me why Breach's destruction and cover systems are unique. In a game like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the destruction, while impressive, is still set. Hit a building with a grenade launcher and the same chunk of wall might blow away each time. Breach uses a full physics simulation to simulate destruction.

To show me how versatile the destruction is, Peter shot individual bricks out of a wall giving him just enough of a view overlooking a road at an angle. By doing this, Peter gained a full field of fire on a major through way, but kept himself mostly covered.

The games "Active Cover" system is also extremely powerful, allowing players to take cover as new cover is created by the destruction. The Rifleman class gets breaching charges, which can create holes in walls. Players can take cover on the new corner created next to the hole after the charge explodes.

Breach is a class-based game with five character classes (one needs to be unlocked) that all get different weapons and gadgets. The game's 12 gadgets are all real-world "spy" gadgets in use by actual CIA Special Activities Division operatives. Kills will grant experience points, which can be used to purchase weapons, gadgets, perks, and more.

The damage model is very realistic. A single headshot dropped an enemy every time during my play session. Health will never regenerate and there are no magical medkits in Breach. Taking a page from Modern Warfare 2, there will be death streak aids to help players that repeatedly die.

Atomic Games wants to follow the Battlefield 1943 model. Breach will be a $15 downloadable game on the Xbox 360 this summer with the PC version following by a few weeks. Four maps will be included at launch with two additional maps unlocked for free after community objectives are completed, similar to BF1943.

My time with Breach was limited, but if you have any questions, please feel free to drop them in the comments section.

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