Imagine the love child of pugilistic manga/anime Fist of the North Star, PC classic Half-Life, and Akira. Now imagine that, despite its parentage, this wunderkind tells a convoluted but ultimately coherent and satisfying story. Meet Breakdown, the new kid wholl knock your block off. You play the entire game from the visceral perspective of Derrick Cole. On the one hand, your amnesia means itll be a while before you have any idea what the hell is going on. On the other hand, literally, youre sporting potent, plasma-infused dukes, perfect for punching invading aliens. From the beginning, youre aided and abetted by Alex (think Matrixs Trinity with more personality), the most valuable computer-controlled ally youve ever had. The first act suffers from a surplus of shooting, but once your fists of fury come to the fore, Breakdowns combo-friendly combat system makes serving up knuckle sammiches a true pleasure. I wont spoil the story for you, but when you see a single tear slide down Alexs face and later, when that scene is rewound, the tear erasing its trail across her bloody cheek youll know Breakdown is something special.
You gotta figure that any first-person adventure with technicolor vomiting, screen-tumbling acrobatics, and a bona fide out-of-body experience deserves the tag revolutionary. But Breakdown is also the most boring gripping game Ive ever played. Its pacing is just off especially in the first half, when you dart through lame environments for too long with nary a bulgy-veined monster to muss your hair. Put up with all the games dead air (and cruddy inventory system), and youre rewarded with the most fascinating head trip on Xbox. I can hear the cult following forming already.
Despite Breakdowns many flaws, which include drab level design, repetitive combat, brain-dead enemies, and sub-PS2-level graphics, I still recommend that every Xbox owner give it a try. Why? Because playing from a first-person viewpoint 100 percent of the time (even when puking!) rocks, and the intriguing (if a bit ciiched) plot will keep you hooked to the very end. A note to would-be quitters: The second half of the game is much better and more interesting than the first, so stick with it!
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP