Let’s take a look at … – Breach and Clear: DEADline

Breach and clear: Deadline is a zombie A-RPG/tactical strategy simulation from Mighty Duck Studios and Gun Media. A follow up to 2014’s Breach and Clear, Deadline offers a new setting for the franchise, with the enemy this time around being a swarm of nasty-ass zombies. The original B&C got great reviews, I haven’t played it myself, and so does the second instalment deliver? Let’s take a look.

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Breach and Clear: Deadline starts with a really nice tutorial mission. It introduces all the combat aspects of the game, but isn’t overpowering as a lot of tutorials are. There is plenty of action, and lots covered. Gameplay is broken in to 2 distinct phases, free movement mode, and command mode. In free movement move it plays like a standard ARPG. You have a squad of 4 characters, and at any one point you are in direct control of 1 of them. Your other teammates will either follow, or stay put, depending on the commands you given them.

Command mode is where things get real, and the strategy aspect of the game comes into play. In strategy mode you gain control over the flow of time, and your view retracts to give a view over the entire situation. You now have unlimited time in order to plan the individual movements and actions of each squad member. Members have a stack of up to three commands, so you can move them into position, set them to use an ability, then open fire as an example. Once all your soldiers have commands you’re happy with, hold space to advance time and watch how the action unfolds. If at any point your movements aren’t working out, you can stop time and set new orders, clearing the previous queue of unexecuted commands.

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The ability to switch between the two at will is great as it means the pace of gameplay is not broken. If you’re working your way up a street, and there are 3 enemies in front, you don’t have to enter combat mode to kill them. You can just continue on your way in real-time combat. When you approach an area and the game automatically kicks into command mode, that’s usually a sign that shit is about to go down, and command mode is probably where you want to be.

At the start of the game you get to create your squad, and this includes picking each member’s speciality. For example, on my squad I have a Fireteam Leader, Scout, Explosives Expert and a Medic. The makeup of your squad is important, and will determine what skills you have available. Each soldier has skills that match their class. So my Explosives Expert can lay mines, and throw satchel charges, while my scout can tag enemies. Getting the right squad makeup to match your play style can really help. Each squad member also has a skill tree with skills from each tree available. You can put skill points onto any tree you want. So if I wanted to fill out the scout skill tree on my explosives expert I could.

These skills unlock better abilities, and like standard RPG skill trees, the more you commit to a single class, the better skills you unlock. Skill points are earned by levelling up, which is a natural progression as you complete quests and kill enemies.

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As a squad of 4 elite soldiers, it’s your job to stop the spread of a deadly new breed of human monsters. You travel across multiple environments, completing main and side quests, collecting gear and levelling up. It’s a very traditional RPG experience. I especially like how much control you have other your kit. For each weapon and piece of gear you can rename it, upgrade it, and add attachments to make it more powerful. This is all done back at headquarters, where you have a workbench to perform your upgrades, and a locker to store any gear you might want later.

Weapons are upgraded using scrap, which is a resource dropped by zombies. It’s essentially the currency of the game, and can also be earned by scrapping weapons and gear that you don’t want. Gear also come in a range of levels, ranging from common to, what I presume is, legendary or something akin to that. I have collected white, green and orange named weapons, with the orange weapon being worth a lot more scrap than the others.

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The environment feels free and open, and you feel totally in control of what you do. There are main quests, with a linear progression, but aside from that you are free to move wherever you want, searching for loot, side quests, or just kicking zombie ass to farm scrap and upgrade your weapons. The map is big, and movement speed is slow, so there are bus terminals scattered around key locations that allow you to fast-travel. This menu is one of the ones that need immediate attention. You go from a nice looking game, to a menu that looks place-holder. One of the uglier parts of the game.

The graphics are nothing to write home about, but it’s an ARPG. You spend most of the time zoomed out, so the graphics are fit for purpose. Nothing special, but nothing particularly bad. Some of the UI could use some work, as it feels a little un-polished in places, but overall it’s nice. The music is great also. High temp tracks when you’re getting down to business get you into the mood for a fight, and compliment the combat experience well.

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From what I’ve seen so far, I think B&C:D looks and plays great. The UI for the most part is nice and easy to use, some areas are shocking and need immediate work, the graphics are up to par for what you’d expect from an A-RPG, and the gameplay is lots of fun. Yet, if you head over to the steam page, it’s sitting on an underwhelming mixed review average with 66% positive reviews, and lots of that points towards bugs and issues with multiplayer. I have 6 hours in the title, and I can honestly say I haven’t run into a single significant bug. Sure, I’ve seen a few textures flicker every now and again, but that’s hardly game breaking, and happens so seldom that you could easily forget about it. Multiplayer on the other hand is a different story.

At first I simply couldn’t find a multiplayer game open to join. Not a great start. I decided to host one, and jump into the game. Your single player save works on multiplayer, you just open the lobby up to others, which is nice. I played for around half an hour, and forgot I was hosting a lobby until the game paused on me for some reason. When you play online, and the other person pauses the game, it pauses yours also! It’s horrible. The person that joined my lobby just sat paused meaning I couldn’t do anything. Sure I could have kicked him, but I want to play online with someone!

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I eventually had someone join and stay, but he left pretty quickly, and that was the end of my multiplayer experience, no-one else joined. Other have reported big problems with it, and the developer has since released an update saying a reset of the servers fixed a lot of issues. I wish I could say more, but I just haven’t seen enough of it. My experience as it took a while for people to join, and when they did I just ended up sitting on a pause screen. If you’re looking to play online with friends, I’d wait until people are confirming that the multiplayer issues are sorted.

Steam reviews almost unanimously give tales of bugs and an unfinished product. I understand this regarding the multiplayer, but I’ve not encountered a single significant issue in the single player in my X hour play time. My only complaint is that the characters move too slowly. Hardly a big deal. Maybe I came in after they had been fixed, but the Steam reviews don’t reflect the experience I have had so far. I’ve really enjoyed the 6 hours I have in the game, and will be back for more. I’ll also be buying the first tile in the franchise.

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Maybe I missed the launch issues and they’re now fixed, or I’m a lucky one. But Bread and Clear: Deadline to me is a fun A-RPG, which great depth of control and good gameplay. Multiplayer is currently lacking and a feels empty, so take that into consideration if you like to play online a lot. I had fun with my team and look forward to finishing it.

Tl:dr – Breach and Clear: Deadline is a fun zombie ARPG, with a great tactical combat system. Graphics and sounds help deliver a good experience, and despite current Steam reviews I found no bugs or crashes. Multiplayer is both empty and flawed at the moment, so if you’re buying it solely to play online I’d hold off until it’s definitely sorted. I’ve really enjoyed playing the game, I currently have 6 hours in the title, and will be finishing it off.

Rating – 7/10

Purchase – Steam £14.99 (£10.04 until August 3rd)

Trailer – 

Let’s take a look at … – Guns, Gore & Cannoli (PC)

The zombie craze rages on, inspiring movies, television shows, and video games, and we can’t get enough.  In a unique spin on a world overtaken by the rambling undead, Crazy Monkey Studios and Claeys Brothers Arts bring us an action-packed 2D platformer, Guns, Gore & Cannoli.

Vinnie Cannoli is your typical badass mobster in the 1920s.  Prohibition is in full swing, and so is organized crime.  Vinnie is sent out on some mob business and runs into a bigger threat than his rival mobsters: hoards of flesh-hungry zombies.  Vinnie has to use a plethora of weapons to escape and complete his mission, enthusiastically eating cannolis along the way.

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This shoot-em-up side scroller features basic, but not easy, combat.  Vinnie picks up new types of weapons as the game progresses, including hand guns, tommy guns, shotguns, revolvers, flamethrowers, grenades, and rocket launchers.  It’s up to you to manage your ammunition (more of which is available along the map for you to pick up), make sure you accommodate for reload times, and choose the right weapon for different types of enemies.  To give himself a little time to line up a shot, Vinnie can kick enemies away, which stuns them briefly.  There are also elements in the environment that can help you- barrels to explode, cars to blow up.  It’s easy to get surrounded by hoards of zombies and intelligent mobsters, so assessing the situation and coming up with the best way to combine your weapons and items in your surroundings is vital for your survival.  Many of the weapons are very satisfying to use, especially the flame thrower.  I will admit to cackling in glee while I send multiple enemies to their crispy death, screaming and fleeing in agony.

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The major group of enemies you will face are zombies.  There are a wide variety- undead mob guys, cops, soldiers and sailors, sexy women, butchers, even leprechauns.  They are all unique, whether it be some kind of protection they might have (like a helmet) or special ability (like speed or toxic belches).  You will need to learn the best way to defeat each type before you become overrun by a hoard.

Other enemies include rival mob members, rats, and the environment itself.  The gangsters are much smarter than zombies and can duck and hide, requiring a different strategy than you might use going after the undead.  Watch out for fires all over the city, which can kill you if you get stuck in them, and be careful when blowing up barrels and cars- they will hurt you too.  One of the clever aspects of this game is that the zombies will attack your rival mobsters, buying you a little bit of time where you can focus on killing the undead first while the ones you haven’t killed yet help you take out your living enemies.

You’ll see your health ticking down as zombies claw at you, mobsters shoot you, and fires burn you.  You can be revived by finding and eating boxes of delicious cannoli as you proceed along the map.  Health regen is full and quick, thankfully, but sometimes it just doesn’t come in time.  You will inevitably die.  Checkpoints are relatively fair, but even then, sometimes starting over too many times can be infuriating.

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I used a controller while playing this game.  The key binds are different than I’m used to, and I still make mistakes hitting the wrong buttons even after playing for quite awhile.  This gets really frustrating when you’re trying to fire and instead accidentally switch your weapon.  Basic controls are to switch weapon, fire, reload, throw grenads, kick, and jump.  The graphics are colorful, fun, and unique, hand drawn and HD.  Movement is fluid and the 1920’s detail is clever.  Anyone who appreciates gratuitous animated gore will love this game.  Killing fat zombies, for example, will cause them to explode their guts all over your screen, temporarily blocking your view.

To make this game even more fun, try the local multiplayer.  You fight along Vinnie in your own perfectly tailored suit and wingtip shoes.  Cannolis are shared, so health regen happens for each character at the same time, which is a feature I appreciated.  Multiplayer allows for respawn, although you come back with very low health, so it’s important to find some more of those cannolis as soon as possible.  Once everyone on your team is dead, the game restarts at the last checkpoint.  I had a great time playing this way, probably more than playing alone, which gets very frustrating sometimes.

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Guns, Gore, & Cannoli is available now on Windows and PC for £6.99, with Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U version to follow.

Tl;dr – Guns, Gore, & Cannoli is a fast-paced, shoot-em-up, 2D side-scroller with gorgeous hand-drawn, gratuitously gorey graphics.  Help your enthusiastic prohibition-era gangster fight his way through zombie hoards and rival mobsters, and stay alive by treating yourself to “some good cannoli,” as Vinnie says with his mouth full.  A great twist on the zombie fad!

Rating – 9.5/10

Trailer –

 

 

Let’s take a look at … – Survival Squad: Gauntlets (Early Access)

Survival Squad: Gauntlets is a top-down, zombie-survival strategy/puzzle game from the team at Endless Loop Studios. With a squad of up to four survivors under your control, you must lead your team to safety, travelling through various Gauntlets, each filled with deadly traps and hordes of infected. It’s currently in Early Access on Steam for a price of £5.99/$8.99, so let’s take a look.

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Survival Squad: Gauntlets has a unique control system. As well as being able to move characters individually, or in a selected group, you can also control their lines-of-sight. This adds another layer of control over your squad and their movements, creating a deeper, more involved combat experience. There are two modes of attack, and your survivors do not attack whilst travelling, so micro-management and well thought out movements are required. The two modes of attack are:

  • Auto – Characters will fire at anything within sight
  • Focused – Characters will only aim and shoot in the direction you choose

Different situations call for different attacks, so it’s up to you as squad leader to assess the situation and decide which method is best suited to keep the zombie hoard form becoming overwhelming.

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Not only are you in-charge of your squad’s movement and combat, it’s also your responsibility to ensure they are readily equipped to face the infected. Weapons and gadgets can be found scattered around the Gauntlets (the names of the maps, built by both the developers and the community), and to acquire an item you need just walk over it. If the item is better than the one currently being held, it will be auto-equipped.  There is a range of various gadgets that can be found by your squad, such as a remote control for opening gates. Each survivor has an area to the lower left of the screen showing what weapons and gadgets they are carrying.

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The goal of Survivor Squad: Gauntlets is not to ensure the survival of your squad, in fact, they don’t die! The goal is to get rescued at the helipad in the shortest amount of time possible, and with the least amount of damage taken. This will earn you rewards in the form of stars and three categories of achievements at the end of the run.

Getting to the helipad usually requires solving puzzles to enable access to different areas, for example, finding multiple switches that have to be engaged at the same time to open a gate that you need to pass through. There are plenty of blind spots and corners that require rigorous searching to find not-so obvious solutions to problems. If you aren’t a patient gamer this could become tedious on the tougher maps.

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The replay value of Survivor Squad: Gauntlets is very high. Given the wide variety of maps produced by the developers, and the community, there will always be a fresh challenge waiting. There’s even the ability to create your own gauntlets so you can create your own challenges and share them with others. If you’re a fan of competing against yourself it gives you the opportunity to obsess over improving scores and achievements from your last attempt. The graphics are basic, but smooth, and the music is subtle and perfect for the game, picking up intensity during interactions with the undead. It creates a great atmosphere.

Tl:dr – Survival Squad: Gauntlets is a top-down, zombie-survival strategy/puzzle game giving you control over a squad of survivors. With an interesting squad management system, a multitude of gear for your survivors and plenty of community created content, there’s plenty to go at.

Rating – 7/10

Purchase – Steam (Early Access, £5.99/$8.99)

Let’s talk about … – Zombie Army series receives dance spin-off!

Can’t get enough of the Zombie Army series? Well luckily Rebellion have stepped up one again to alleviate those woes. Enter Zombie Army Thrillogy.

You thought you’d silenced zombie Hitler once and for all? Well him and his undead Nazi army are back for one reason, and one reason only … to dance.

That’s right, launching April 1st on all platforms* you’ll be able to strut your stuff with the same zombies you swore to destroy. Join up to 666 players in a motion-controlled online co-op dance party extravaganza.

Check out the freaky launch trailer for a sneak peak at what you can expect from the groovy title.

*Zombie Army Thrillogy requires next-generation four-player dance mat and motion capture jumpsuits

Let’s talk about … – Zombie Army Trilogy release confirmed as March 6th

Rebellion, the studio behind the popular ‘Sniper Elite’ series, has set a date for the release of its conclusion to its Zombie Army trilogy; March 6th.

Zombie Army Trilogy will be released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, giving console owners the opportunity to experience the blood-pumping co-op shooters that were such hits on PC. The conclusion to the series will feature lots of exclusive new content including 15-missions of intense solo and co-op survival across THREE epic campaigns, a new horde mode, new player characters and more. Here’s the trailer. It looks EPIC!

Digital downloads will be available through Steam, XboxLive and PlayStation network, and will also be seeing a physical release in most regions; marking the studio’s first foray into retail publishing. Zombie Army Trilogy is available for pre-purchase on Steam right now, and as a thank you to existing fans Rebellion are offering some hefty discounts. For each Nazi Zombie Army title you own you get 30%, meaning if you’re a big fan and own Nazi Zombie Army 1 & 2, you can get your hands on the conclusion with a 60% discount! Now that’s how you treat fans.

To celebrate the announcement, Rebellion released a selection of awesome looking screenshots that are sure to get you even more pumped for the release.

For more information on the title, visit the official Zombie Army Trilogy website.

Did you play Nazi Zombie Army 1 & 2 or are you new to the series? Either way, how do you feel about the conclusion from what you’ve seen so far? Let us know in the comments.

Let’s take a look at … – Rock Zombie

Rock Zombie is a 3D Side-scrolled, kickass zombie murdering styled arcade game. If you love metal and smashing zombies with guitars; this one’s for you. Quaternion Studio have produced a really good game that deserves to be recognized for what it is.

Well the title of the game explains pretty much what you have got yourself into when you load up ‘Rock Zombie’. Rock music that Roars through your headphones, flames and more flames, Rock chick band members that cave zombie heads in with brute force using their favorite guitar, Motorbikes and an original idea.

When I write a review I like to note everything from music through to how many times I could play the game, but when I was playing Rock Zombie I was so enraptured in the gameplay that I slowly drifted away from the sound and all of those small little things that I didn’t really care about while playing the game. The sound of the game had included all of the effects from the guitar swinging through objects to zombies blowing up after their reincarnated bodies slowly drifted back to where they belong and most importantly heavy music that kept you in the mood to play the game.

The story is very straightforward and designed in a really fun comic strip. The story is about three females that are in a band that is obviously struggling to get noticed in the rock scene. They attend a concert and the next thing you know, you are involved in the biggest apocalypse in metal history.

The Graphics really surprised me in this game, I really didn’t have too high expectations for the graphics when I was looking at the preview, but you can tell that Quaternion Studio tried to make the players graphical experience the best they could when they were designing the game. Even though when I play most side-scrolled arcade fashioned games, the graphic side of things don’t bother me too much but I really enjoyed the 3D graphics for a change.

The gameplay at times did feel a bit jagged and laggy, but do not let this get you down! The game controls were very simple! Yay for simple controls, this means if you want to destroy zombies it makes things a whole lot easier and enjoyable for you. The levels didn’t feel too lengthy, which sometimes in my opinion can really destroy a good game. All the levels included the basic needs (health refills and all of that stuff). I really enjoyed the gameplay experience. I honestly will keep playing this game over, and over for days.

Quaternion Studio I would just like to say thank you for putting together such a wicked game and wish you the best in the future. In my opinion I really enjoyed the game and for the price it is selling for it is definitely worth it. You will endure hours of endless fun. Everything about the game just made it feel so right. I easily give this game a 7.5/10.

If you are interested in buying this game please check it out at www.rockzombiegame.com

Reviewed By Ben Duncombe

Twitter: @H2Omate