What a year of FPS gaming we have ahead of us. Not only do we have blockbusters like Doom 3, Deus Ex 2 and Half Life 2 to look forward to, but we also have a plethora of less 'hyped' FPS titles to look forward to aswell, such as Chrome, Far Cry, and today's FPS in question, Breed.
However it hasn't been all well in the FPS genre industry lately. Thanks to recent titles like 007: Nightfire, Unreal 2 and Devastation, FPS fans have had very little to cheer about. With this in mind, and with the climb of other genres such as MMORPG, one would be completely sane to suggest the gaming market is starting to tire from the humble first person shooter. It will be games like Breed that need to succeed for this lingering outcome to reverse. Although it is hard to picture the FPS market dying after HL2 and Doom3 is released, that certainly doesn't mean titles like Breed don't play an important role in bringing the FPS back to its 'icon for PC gaming' status.
So what is Breed all about? Breed is about the familiar story of Human versus Alien. Such a story usually comes with certain characteristics, like being the future, and having to overcome impossible odds for success. These are, as expected, present in the story of Breed. Basically, while you were humming around in a space ship fighting a battle in deep space, a bunch of aliens, known as the "Breed", took over earth. It is now your job to come back to earth, with nothing but your ship and a few other teammates, and cause a human resistance bold enough to retain ownership of this surely depleted planet. Let them have it I say, but the game insists on saving it, so there's nothing to do but sit back, crack your knuckles, and dive into hero mode yet again.
Years and years of FPS gaming can leave one a little critical when it comes to games that focus more on the fundamentals than originality, mainly because we all strive for something new, and it seems to be the case for Breed. From the time I spent playing this nothing overly unique or new could be said about the basis of the game, it felt like your average FPS. However one interesting question this game brought to my mind was "has any previous FPS title REALLY excelled in the fundamentals?". For me, the answer is no, atleast after playing Breed it is. It seems to me that Breed will attempt to take one step at a time. Rather than try going in gun hoe with bells and whistles attached at every inch, Breed will try to offer a solid and proven FPS experience.
This is not to say Breed is without its features, however. Since it is a team based environment gamers can expected a reasonably detailed set of team mate commands that the computer controlled characters will actually abide by. Not only this, but these team commands actually become useful for your combat strategy, unlike some games where they do nothing to actually shape your attack.
Another cool aspect of Breed is the landscapes. Besides their obvious beauty, they are quite large, and you are free to utilize all and any part of it in your attacks. Despite the fact missions usually leave you with little roaming space, you can choose which path you want to take to the objectives. This will certainly be of much more use in multiplayer, where vehicle control similar to that seen in games like Battlefield 1942 should prove as a very fun and action packed way of doing large scene combat. Unfortunately there seems to be no official word on how many people will be allowed to play on the same map, but I'd say it is a far amount considering the possible landscape sizes. However battles aren't limited to ground, it is said Breed will feature a seamless method of going from ground to orbit, although we could not test this aspect of the game.
As mentioned, the landscapes are quite pleasing to the eye, but then again so is the whole game really. Everyone knows the FPS genre is the genre for the latest in graphical technology and Breed addopts what appears to be the latest. Textures are very high resolutions, models look superb and animation isn't too shaby either. The best part is, Breed even in its early stages appears to operate smoothly on less than god like PC's, which is always a good thing to see with up and coming games in today's market.
It is hard to say at this stage what Breed will be like dressed in a retail box, but it you had to put a contrast in, I'd say it is a combination of Quake and Ghost Recon. It has strong ingame elements, and although the storyline won't be winning any originality awards, it builds a strong substance of realism, as far as futuristic team combat goes anyway. Don't expect Breed to take magazine covers world wide by storm, but I would certainly expect it to prove as a very worthy FPS contender. With Multiplayer over internet and LAN, and the expected large array of weapons, levels and interactive vehicles, Breed just may surprise you.