Breach and Clear: Deadline is a turn based, tactical, nerve wracking strategy game developed by Might Rabbit Studios and published by Gun Media. The original Breach and Clear was released in 2013 for PC; Deadline was released in 2015 on PC and just recently on XBox One and PS4. I haven’t played a turn based strategy game in a very long time. I can’t recall the name of the ones that I had played. It has been since before Doom came out to give a ballpark estimate (the original Doom). That being said, I jumped in with both feet and decided to see what this game is all about!
The premise of Breach and Clear: Deadline is that a special forces team is sent into a bio-chemical facility based on an emergency call that was sent out and then went silent. Upon entering they quickly encounter the enemy… zombies. I’m calling them zombies anyway, which probably isn’t exactly true. The lowest level creatures look and move like zombies but there is mention of worms (even Alpha worms) and if the title screen is to be taken into account there is some behemoth somewhere along the way. The team is quickly outnumbered and must retreat out of the facility. This is what the introduction and tutorial cover. It is a very short, succinct, tutorial which is much appreciated. After that the team gets sent out into the city alone, unable to be extracted, and the real game play begins.
This game is billed as a turn based game, and while that is true, it is very different than what comes to my mind when “turn based” is mentioned. In this game it is not a round by round engagement where the player makes a move and then the AI counter moves. In Deadline, the player is in control of the progression of time. Turns are only limited by the players attentiveness and need to make adjustments to their decisions. Time does not advance unless the right trigger is held down. Once released, time stops and the only limitations are how many moves can be selected and what specializations, and/or equipment is desired.
Being able to control the progression of time sounds like it would make the game a breeze to play, except that it isn’t. My best laid plans (and some not so great plans) quickly had to be readjusted time and again for a multitude of reasons. The zombies moved faster than I had anticipated, or the fire rate of my weapons were slower than I would have liked in the given situation. The most common one was poor decision making while under attack from a wave of zombies. At one point I left myself in group mode (in this mode a command is applied to the whole team) and had this super tactical special forces unit retreating, cover to cover, until they managed to somehow come out alive. After each encounter there are gear points to pick up (literally white gears on the ground) and a report on how well you did or didn’t do. Gun modification and storage of extra equipment is done at the safe house. This is also where a lot of quests are found. Loot, equipment and ammo crates can be found through the map as the team moves between missions.
As I said, it has been quite a while since I have played a turn based strategy game. So I wasn’t sure how the experience would be going into it. How terrible would I be at it, would I be able to get into this style of game again? Both valid questions from my point of view and thankfully the answers were positive. Alright, so I’m definitely not a pro at these kind of games, that is for sure, but I didn’t do anywhere near as bad as I expected. The game drew me in pretty quickly as well. I definitely had a great time playing it and will be playing it on a regular basis. I search every corner of the map for crates and I have made it a personal goal of mine to get better at remembering to use specializations and equipment during the heat of an engagement. Breach and Clear: Deadline‘s take on turn based strategy games is refreshing to me. I love that every moment is in your control, that you don’t have to wait for the AI to act like it’s also taking time to think of it’s move like the old standard used to go. Check out my Let’s Play video down below to see the game in action and stay tuned, there are more to come!