Breakdown has been one of the most frustrating games I have played in years. I call the game "Do Over" because most of the game time is spent replaying the same scenes over again. This game is based more in chance then in skill. If you like spending yours days at the roulette wheel waiting for your number to come up then this is the game for you. I will say that game premise and story are compelling, but the game play is so frustrating that it may push you to look for the next selection in your game queue before you finish the story. This game may also be detrimental to your controller due to the many times you will be throwing it. If your thinking about trying this game out good "Luck." Hopefully your masochistic side will enjoy it.
posted by shadowfire (GRAND JUNCTION, CO) Feb 21, 2009
Member since Apr 2005
Breakdown is an entirely first person sci-fi action game. Absolutely everything is scene through the eyes of Derrick Cole, the main character. While the style of the game is interesting, unfortunately it fails in a few ways.
The story, when it actually starts, is a huge mind bender. The unfortunate part is that the story takes a long time to actually start. In the whole body of the game not much happens other than you beat on some enemies and shoot some of them.
The shooting in the game is very frustrating. Having a 4 weapon selection, only 3 of which can be used on regular enemies, there's not much variety. Your character becomes frighteningly innacurate at medium-long range and you are forced to close the distance and take large amounts of damage to get close enough to hit them. Then there's the hand-to-hand combat, oh boy. While keeping things inventive by giving you a large selection of moves, most of the moves are sluggish and don't deal considerably different amounts of damage. To add to the frustration it's also very hard. Your character moves slowly and when taking even a little bit of damage, will fall over, which takes forever and lets your enemy beat on you to take a huge chunk of your health. You can expect to get killed quite a few times before you get the hang of it.
Overall, the game was not made extremely well. with the extremely sluggish hand-to-hand combat, innacurate targeting and shooting system, and insane difficulty, it's understandable why many gamers would run in pure fear of this game. I myself however, was able to play through the entire game and enjoy it, while still being able to see the flaws.
So Derrick Cole has been having a terrible day. He has amnesia, he's groggy and now armed soldiers want to kill him. And the only way you can escape is with the help of a girl. What's worse, the soldiers are getting slaughtered by T'Lan warriors and you can't hurt them with the guns you just picked up. Yeah, it's gonna be one of those days... Basically, this is Breakdown. It's big on concept, but lacking in many other areas. The concept: an adventure game experienced entirely through the eyes of the main character, enemies you have to fight with your fists and a mind-bending world that will make you question your sanity. To it's credit, these concepts are implemented in full force. How well they're used is another subject. First, through-the-eyes gameplay has been explored in other games, but most have third-person perspective sections (Metroid Prime, Chronicles of Riddick). While this might take away from the immersion, it makes the gameplay more cohesive. With all the acrobatics in Breakdown, some players will likely get nauseous after the fifth evasive roll. And fighting can become disorienting, which you don't want when fighting. Which brings us to fighting. The gun play works well enough, but the fighting sequences leave you dealing with big, bulky science experiments with mean left hooks. After you die a few times from overly-complicated punching mechanics, you'll likely be weighing how much you want to continue playing. This threshold is reached far too soon. In the end, the gameplay is too counter-intuitive to keep you playing and the storyline isn't engaging enough to lead you through the slog. You have to give Namco credit for having tried something different and for that it gets points. But a good idea does not automatically make a great game.