The first video of Breakdown unveiled at the last E3 had made a very big impression on me, with a very good directing and excellent graphics. Since then the new videos and images released killed my enthusiasm quite a bit. I have finally played the game last night, here are the video and my impressions.
Electronic Arts announced today that they will distribute the game in Europe and that it will be released in June. Update : Added a 320x240 version of the video.
Let's start with the bad point of the game. The graphics are as bland and repetitive as what was shown in the latest videos. I really feel cheated compared to the E3 video, announced as real time...
The 3D models are also disappointing, in particular the sidekick Alex should have been upgraded a lot considering we get to see her a lot. The lack of polygons really shows on her. The ennemies are also quite average, and also all looking the same...
The sound effects in the game are excellent, with a very good 5.1 usage. Very good point here.
Technically the game is veru fluid, I detected no slowdowns during my play, even with 10 ennemies in the same room. Of course considering the lack of details it's not that incredible.
The gameplay is rather strange. The default configuration was just unusable for me (strafe on the right stick), but at least you can change it to a more usable "halo like" setup. The lock system is a really annoying feature, because you can't just deactivate it. You have to use it from time to time, so you have to do to the option menu and activate it or not depending on the situation. Trying to play the game using it is almost impossible because you lock an ennemy as soon as you see it, and unlocking is difficult. So instead of running from him, you run in circle. Frustrating, to say the least.
Another strong point of the game is the directing. As soon as the game starts some strange stuff starts happening, and you get to see some other strange stuff a lot while playing. It really helped me forget the graphics and just focus on the story. Unfortunately it also forces the game to be very linear, and halls with only one door unlocked are very common (and uncool).
In conclusion, Breakdown us a mix a some very good ideas, unfortunately toned down by the bad graphics in general. It's also important to note that it's the first time a FPS makes me want to puke after a few hours. If you are sensible to fast camera movements then it's definitely not a game for you !
The 320x240 and 160x120 versions will be available tonight.