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Codex Review RPG Codex Review: Into the Breach

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
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    Tags: Into the Breach; Subset Games

    Back in 2012, the two-man indie studio Subset Games released roguelike spaceship simulator FTL: Faster Than Light. It was a pretty cool game, the first big success of Kickstarter, and if you squinted hard enough you could even call it an RPG. A year and a half later, FTL received an Advanced Edition that featured additional writing from Chris Avellone, making it even cooler. Today, nearly four years later, Subset have finally released their next game, Into the Breach. At first glance, it seems like couldn't be more different from FTL - a turn-based, tile-based tactics game where you defend cities from aliens with giant mechs. Into the Breach also features the writing talents of Chris Avellone, but there's no mistaking it for an RPG. Nevertheless, our tactical specialist sser was intrigued by it, and when sser sets his mind to something, he delivers. Without further ado, I give you his thoughts on Into the Breach:

    I’ve seen Into the Breach described in a lot of interesting ways, from a game of mechanized billiards to something more akin to aikido. While I was playing it I just kept thinking, “Whatever you do, just don’t call it a puzzle game!” But like so many writers who visit North Korea that cannot ignore the reality of 1984 come to life, I can’t really refer to Into the Breach without touching base with its puzzle-game roots.

    Barring a small yet potentially significant %-chance for attacks to miss the Power Grid, the game essentially has no RNG. Enemies telegraph attacks and, with a brilliant interface that spares no details, you only need to read the information and respond accordingly. Sure, there is a bit of variety that is in the spirit of classic RNG. For example, you don’t know where enemies will go. Your pre-battle setup may end up leaving you borked before the battle even begins as enemies scatter into such nasty positions it may as well have been you playing the other side. You also don’t know what sort of monsters might appear either. I had one perfect run slightly tarnished when a ‘grabbing’ insect snagged a mech to certain doom on the very last turn. C’est al Vek.

    But in the age of Jagged Alliance and X-Com and Battle Brothers, most look at RNG as a form of percentages, odds, and risk-taking. None of those reside within Into the Breach. Every single aspect of detail is covered with absolute determinism. Like any good puzzle game, things aren’t where they should be and you need to put the pieces where they rightfully fit. The schism between a good score and a smoldered run is solely the responsibility of the player. You have but the greatest weapon at your disposal: time. And, similar to the fantastic and also RNG-less Invisible Inc., there's an even more powerful tool you may be keen on using: the ability to revert time and restart at least one turn a fight.

    An infinite amount of time does give me pause, though. Due to the ‘sliding puzzle’ gameplay and the ability to read information so tight and terse Sid Meier would drool, there isn’t much in the way of challenge. I very nearly beat the game on my first run, beat it on my second with a completely different squad, and absolutely breezed through it on a third campaign with another fresh team. It’s a large break from beating FTL which was like trying to rescue a cat from Evil Dead’s rape tree.

    Unfortunately, if you put Into the Breach on Hard, it only increases the number of Vek in an attempt to brute force defeat into your hands. Despite following a familiar design path, Invisible Inc. felt as if it had a better grip on difficulty. It utilized a fog of war to present players with unforeseen challenges that they then responded to on the fly. Because Into the Breach is such a puzzle-game at heart, I think that it needs a timer or a ‘rope’ like Hearthstone to compel players to act quickly. I would not have cruised through the game repeatedly if I had to make snap decisions in the tougher situations. Though the game might look like a SNES title, I feel like emulating SNES-era difficulty by simply adding more enemies isn't the right or at least only route to go.

    If beating the game is so straightforward, what is the catch that’ll keep one coming back like there was in FTL? There is a bit of a ‘meta’ in Into the Breach that lends it replayability: the mechs themselves. There’s a large cast of machines to choose from and it’s a blast running new teams through a campaign. Some machines are overpowered while others struggle to make a cohesive, kaiju-pinballing unit. You’ll often be surprised which mech proves to be the MVP of the squad. Once you’ve unlocked your fair share, you can start mix-and-matching the pieces. You can make runs with all bruisers and try to stomp your way to victory. Or you could run a team of full-on utility, peacefully pushing and pulling insects around like a hardcore battle of Jains and Kaijus.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Into the Breach
     
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  2. tripedal Learned

    tripedal
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    One thing I'm surprised was missing is interesting attack/movement patterns. You've got a chess-like 8x8 board, but where are the knights, where are the bishops? Adding pieces with additional restrictions on them could've added significant (and much-needed) depth. I'm sure they tried it, maybe it didn't work well with random map generation? I also expected the more expensive squads to introduce new mechanics but nope.

    Overall it seems way too simple to have any staying power.
     
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  3. --- Magister

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    Mods will fix it.

    Show Spoiler
    They fixed FTL too, after all :M
     
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  4. Crescent Hawk Savant

    Crescent Hawk
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    I agree the game is ultra simple. Iteration is how games should go, they had their golden hit with FTL what you should do is a bigger and better in everything FTL 2, more ships, more length, better everything basically. And you can see other FTLs propping out there. Its still a nice game but will run out of gas quickly.
     
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  5. Achiman Arbiter Patron

    Achiman
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    So it sounds really fun but also that it's not worth $15 kwanistani dollars. Not buying a game for that much that can be beaten on the second attempt.
     
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  6. Urthor Scholar Patron

    Urthor
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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    It's definitely a lot more casual than FTL, but it's also a really slick turn based game. Feels a lot more like a work game with minimal narrative and dialogue, closer to bejeweled than FTL which had CYOA adventure DNA and lots of lovely reading.

    Complete absence of RNG is massive incline though.
     
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  7. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

    Fenix
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    Christian BaleWhoa!facejpg
     
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  8. Ruzen Learned

    Ruzen
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    Content isn't there for asking 15$
     
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  9. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    How is the hard mode? Does it feel interesting or arbitrary?
     
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  10. --- Magister

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    You spent your dolla bills on worse things, I'm sure.
     
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  11. Arnust Learned

    Arnust
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    I'd say it does the same job as FTL's; the standard for the more knowledged players that find Normal a tad easy by then. Probably makes a better match for the overpowered custom squads you could make, too.
     
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  12. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    What made FTL a 40-hour experience rather than a 100+ one for me was the sameyness and the lack of incentive to play with the goal of unlocking new ships. Sounds like this just exacerbates those issues.
     
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  13. Ruzen Learned

    Ruzen
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    I have a minimum wage job i always spent on worst things
     
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  14. Volrath Arcane Patron

    Volrath
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    They did? What mods are you talking about.
     
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  15. --- Magister

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    It's plenty of mods for FTL. Just take a look:
    https://subsetgames.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26619
     
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  16. cvv Arcane Patron

    cvv
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    Funny, "this game's gonna run out of steam very fast" was my first coherent thought about ITB, after watching the first five minutes of the preview gameplay.

    Well, FTL was pretty sparse too at first, only the Advanced Edition turned it into the legend that it's now.
     
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  17. --- Magister

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    I think it'll be very supported by the developers and - hopefully - by the modders too.
     
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  18. mwnn85 Learned

    mwnn85
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    I think that's a fair review; it's very much in the same vein as FTL.
    There's vague similarities to Advance Wars on the GBA/DS.
    Played it for a few hours last night.
    Took a while to get the hang of it - the game becomes somewhat easier once you make it off the first island.
    It all went pear shaped on the fourth island as I couldn't find the right balance between crucially blocking the spawning tiles and/or killing the numerous alpha enemies quick enough.
    I did have three max attack robots but you're still restrained by movement points and/or a favourable map spawn.

    Not sure I like the game ending global power mechanic, specifically the way it ties into just the current map's buildings.
    Doesn't seem to make much sense - particularly when you might have previously saved several districts worth of generators and buildings.
    There's very few ways of restoring power and the buildings are made of Papier-mâché.
    Becomes a bit of issue later on when alpha enemies have multi-tile hitting abilities.
    Grid Defence is nice when it triggers but otherwise useless.
    Writing and/or explanation is non-existent.
    I'd say there's about 10 or so enemy types. A mix of melee, ranged and buffing units. Walkers (leapers), flyers and burrowers. A decent mix. The robots are quite gimped by comparison.
    The alpha & boss variants have a stronger attack and/or wider spread.
    Only four islands but not massive amount of difference between the tile types!
    There's a handful of unique scenarios - pilots, freezing, dam, tanks, etc - but the aim is basically the same on each map.
    Whether I can muster up the enthusiasm to unlock some the more interesting robots remains to be seen.
    The robot with the lightning whip seemed almost as dangerous to allies as the Vek.
     
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  19. Van-d-all Learned

    Van-d-all
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    Well $15 seems a bit much just to check out if collecting new mechs will be enough to make me replay this game for more than 2 days. Will grab it on some sale I guess.
     
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  20. tindrli Arcane

    tindrli
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    i dont know about this one... will try it
     
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  21. imweasel Arcane

    imweasel
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    I played FTL for 30 hours until I had seen everything and it got repetitive, but I still liked it quite a bit.

    I'll try this out after I have finished Kingdom Cum: Oblivion and Age of Decadence.
     
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  22. dawcio Learned

    dawcio
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    I kinda like it. Played it 3 times today. Little gane but it got it's charm. Reminds me of Game Boy Advance era. Never tried FTL tho.
     
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  23. Bastardchops Novice

    Bastardchops
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    I'm enjoying it so far.
     
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  24. Pequod Unwanted

    Unwanted
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    Dunno about ITB being easier than FTL. I'd say its harder if anything. Played first run on Hard and lost on last mission of first island by that fucking hornet triple striking all the buildings...

    In FTL I basically (on the first run) parked the ship with a shield in an asteroid field to grind evasion of the crew and then the grinding goes towards the invis field which lets you alpha strike enemy guns or engines. The rest of the game you grind for uber guns for the endboss... Its not hard or smart, its tedious...

    ITB on the other hand needs some time to figure out the most useful tactics.
    It does resemble Chess tactics exercises. I even had a blunder once. The 'Repeat turn' feature does not help if you already pressed 'End turn'...

    Right now playing on Normal and it is too easy. I did lose a pilot of the arty piece but got a much better one in the pod on the second island.
     
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  25. baud Learned

    baud
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    Doesn't the limitation of the firing lanes of the mechs make up a little for that? In the starting trio, two mechs can only fire in straight lines, so it adds restrictions to what they can do. Still I agree with you that it lacks staying power, even if I think I'll try a few more runs with different squads.

    Still I got FTL out of the deal, so I'll have another game once I've exhausted this one.
     
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