App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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I hadn't heard of Breach & Clear until recently, but apparently it's been rather hotly anticipated by war and strategy fans for a while now. So a lot of people have been looking forward to it, then here I am having no preconceived notions going in totally blind. Not completely unlike trying to clear a building without using a drone to scout out enemy placements in advance, actually.
I'm hesitant to compare Breach & Clear to a bunch of other games, because it's not simply a rehash of those ideas, but it's also the best way to explain what playing it is actually like. So I'll do it without going into specifics. Imagine some of the most popular modern warfare games (shooter, tactical, squad-based, etc). Now imagine having multiple elements from all of them blended together into a single strategy game. It's like that. Players create their own custom 4 man squads, assign classes, equip gear, customize weapons, and so on. Individual soldiers' stats can be manipulated, and their equipment swapped around, to better suit their class. Then it's on to the next mission: carefully positioning each squad member, making full use of their talents, keeping each other covered, and trying to clear each room as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Player and AI turns in Breach & Clear happen simultaneously, which means players will have to plan their movements carefully. Wouldn't want to chuck a grenade only to have a buddy walk right into it, right? What's great about it, though, is just how easy it is to come to grips with everything. Assigning waypoints, changing soldier facing, taking cover, using skills, and everything else that can (and will) come up in a mission is smooth and surprisingly simple. mistakes can be undone move-by-move, and nothing is set until the turn is submitted. In between missions there are also tons of tweaks that can be made to the squad's loadout; including weapon attachments, camo patterns, one-time use items, and more.
There are a few clunky elements to Breach & Clear, however. It can sometimes be difficult to tell who's who, at least until everyone starts wearing different patterns, which has resulted in a few accidents such as using my medic (instead of my breacher) to breach. Some of the rules involving certain skills aren't entirely clear, either. For example, I had to learn through trial-and-error that suppression can't be used in the same turn as a movement, or the proper timing for grenades.
Even so, I can't believe something as impressive as Breach & Clear almost managed to sneak by me. It's a fantastic combination of turn-based strategy and team-based tactical shooter that absolutely shout not be missed. At least not by anyone who enjoys the genre or any of its spin-offs.