Breed

a game by CDV
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 5/10, based on 1 review, 8 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.7/10 - 3 votes
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See also: First Person Shooter
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How times have changed. Not so long ago, the smug self-righteous PC gamer could turn to any scabby-kneed console-owning urchin and reel his way through a list of first-person shooters in the certainty of proving that when it came to quality gaming, the PC was the best machine for the job. While obviously we still think that’s the case, Halo and, to a lesser extent, the GameCube’s Metroid Prime have put paid to some of that smugness. It matters not that Halo was only temporarily rerouted to Microsoft's Xbox, the point is that, in the main, console EPSs can be every bit as exciting and unique as those that regularly inhabit our PCs, in spite of the obvious control shortcomings..

In an effort to curb this rising menace to PC dominance, the more desperate among the games fraternity have been for the past year proclaiming Breed as the new Halo: On the face of it, there are many similarities: a relentless alien menace intent on wiping out mankind, an elite band of genetically-engineered super soldiers standing resolutely against them with various small arms, tanks and aircraft at their disposal, not to mention a 3D engine that allows for some frantic action across expansive horizons. However while the Brats have made it their aim to go a step beyond Halo in certain areas. Breed also, appears to be very much its own game; freer in its level design and with a cut-down tactical element that makes it a very different prospect from the long-awaited PC incarnation of Halo.

Ground Force

Unashamedly, Brat Designs has had to work on the cheap and it is evident that considerable savings have been made in the storyline department. After luring Earth’s forces into a battle far from home, an alien hive invades and quickly conquers Earth. However, one ship, the USC Darwin, has managed to about-turn in an effort to save the planet, and it's from orbit that you and your band of GRUNTS (a tiresome acronym that doesn’t bear definition) find yourselves stationed, odds suitably stacked against you, with a mission to free the human race from the titular foe.

After a particularly irritating brace of tutorial missions, the game proper begins with your squad aboard a dropship hurtling towards the Azores. Far from offering an idyllic break away from the rigours of war, your first mission is to wrestle a disk from the ’ Breed-infested islands that will help you break their security codes.

Rather than a slow stealthy search, the mission soon turns into a breakneck series of intense skirmishes, with artillery fire pounding you from afar and enemy fighters circling the sky.

The pace doesn’t let up later on. Whether among a squad of four, alone or aboard one of the game’s many vehicles, the Breed always outnumber you and the shortest route across the map is often the most dangerous. Yet being so large, the maps always offer scope for finding your own method of success: take the high ground and snipe away, sneak through the valleys or search for some abandoned vehicles and make an assault head-on.

Up The Arsenal

To aid you in your seemingly impossible quest are 10 weapons; ranging from the standard shotgun and sniper rifle to the 'Atrocity’ - a shoulder-mounted heavy machine gun that can lay down an impressive amount of covering fire. By far the most imposing infantry weapon in the game, the Atrocity even scythes through trees in order to lay waste to the advancing hordes. If only they sold them in Argos.

Although each weapon boasts an alternate firing mode, only two weapons can be equipped by a marine at a time -presumably to entice you into using your squad properly and not treating them as extra lives. Most of the weapons, it must be said, are pretty formulaic - even the Breed arms that become available later -but we were impressed with the standardissue binoculars with which each GRUNT is equipped. Invaluable when scouting ahead, they also automatically adjust magnification depending on what you are looking at, rather than having to manually zoom in and out. A neat touch.

Unlike more realistic squad-based shooters, Breed issues you with a preordained squad. Losing team mates is no big deal since being genetically brewed from fleshy tea-bags, GRUNTS can be replaced cheaply and quickly - as long as one of your squaddies survives to fulfil the objectives, the next mission is unlocked and a full complement of men assigned.

Orders are reserved to just a few: "spread out", "snuggle up", "hold fire/let ’em have it", "wait here", plus a selection of basic formations. If you were hoping to be able to crawl along the grass telling your Al-assisted chums to rummage through their rucksacks, prepare yourself for a disappointment. Just because you’re fighting alongside team mates doesn’t mean this a realistic simulation of small-scale warfare. There are no waypoints to set, you can’t scramble any lower than your knees and looting alien corpses is totally off the menu. Instead what Breed offers is instantaneous combat, with literally dozens of enemy Breed troopers coming at you at any ope time. Of course not all the missions are set on terra firma. A couple put you in the seat of the Falcon Fighter, a VTOL craft equipped with a chaingun, dumbfire rockets, guided missiles and some rather tasty bombs. Circling the island’s . strafing columns of Breed infantry is one of the game’s highlights, but later on you also end up flying through space as you defend the Darwin from a surprise attack - where those rather tasty bombs can be turned to excellent minefields.

With other vehicles to drive, like APCs, buggies and tanks, Brat has very wisely adopted a streamlined control system in which the same keys you use to fight on foot are utilised when behind the wheel or in the cockpit. Like Battlefield 1942, it is the aircraft that are the trickiest to master.

Time Is Running Out

Although Breed has the potential to be a world-class game, considering it should be close to completion by the time you read this (a review is a cert for next issue), there’s an incredible amount of work still to be done in terms of weapons-balancing, sound, Al and general mission-tweaking.

Most worryingly of all, while the engine allows you to see incredible distances, enemy units seem to pop up out of nowhere, making the feature totally redundant - though in fairness this is one fault we’re assured will be corrected. The engine itself is pretty sound however. The ability to render such massive levels and countless units without so much as a hiccup is an impressive feat and, though at times the levels seem overly angular, in the heat of battle such complaints become quibbles. The water reflections are quite beautiful and the vistas across snow-bound levels, particularly the weather effects, are magnificent. The snow-filled blizzards ravaging the game’s bleak hillsides later in the game are without equal.

But the question remains: does Breed have the muscle to out-Halo Halo? Despite the expansive levels, the clever switch from and to space-based levels and squad-Wiltactics, our preliminary verdict has to be a negative. However with time to spare and with effort applied in the right places we can see ourselves eating our words. Brat Designs has some fresh ideas and certainly isn’t short of talent; we only hope it’s not too late to make the right changes.

Go Forth And Multiplay

It’s Battlefield 2042 As Breed Heads Online

Games like Tribes, Battlefield 1942 and, more recently, PlanetSide have already very successfully combined first-person and vehicle-based combat, yet none of these have been quite so impressive offline as they have been on. Our hope is that Breed will fill that gap and offer a decent multiplayer game to boot. Of the three modes of play, Assault is by far the most promising, offering a spin on the much-missed Assault mode of Unreal Tournament, combined with a heady array of vehicles and Breed’s trademark vast environments. (Unfortunately for Breed, UT2004 is about to come out with both vehicles and an updated Assault mode - see our preview page 42 and our exclusive supplement mag ZX -so it may have had its niche gazumped.) However, most innovative of all are the planned mothership battles, which would see Breed and USC forces facing off across space with teams of infantry being ferried around to take out the motherships from within.

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PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Desperate battles against aliens - who can resist them? Certainly not Breed, which pitches you and your comrades against a nasty race that's occupied the Earth and left you struggling to wrest it back. After watching the long intro movie, you start off in a spaceship with a time limit, within which you must drive a tank into your dropship and then fly the thing out. Try not to get stuck on the scenery as this is an annoying way of dying and you'll be forced to watch the intro movie again.

Once safely off the main ship, head your dropship towards the planet, after which you'll start to see some action. Once you've broken through the atmosphere, several enemy fighters swarm towards you. Homing missiles are the best bet for this dogfight, but be sure to stay as clear of the island as possible, as the SAM silos on land are unerringly accurate. Backspace cycles through your targets, while pressing Control switches between land-based and airbased targets, so be sure to take these out before you land.

Once you're on solid land, drive the tank out and annihilate the ground forces - easily the best part of the demo. Your comrades arm the weapons and you're in control of the main gun - and although it's limited in ammo, it's a true force to be reckoned with. After a while, you'll be forced to abandon your tank and continue on foot. Good luck.

I Think we can allow ourselves a slightly embarrassed titter at this one, a game that we briefly tried to convince ourselves would be the UK's answer to Halo. Of course, as history records, it turned out to be the UK's answer to boiled monkey gonads.

Not worthy to lick the Flood-guts off Master Chief's boots, it is, however, a Halo-wannabe, replete with space marines, mountable vehicles and sprawling alien landscapes. Unfortunately, it has none of the polish, finesse or style that Bungie's masterpiece demonstrated. Nor any of the fun, come to that.

Basically, Breed looked cutting-edge for about 40 minutes three years ago. By the time it came out it was not only outdated, but riddled with bugs, shoddy programming and some of the worst voice acting ever recorded. The squad Al is especially bad, causing your pals to commit suicide with alarming frequency. And while a fiver isn't that much to pay, a bad game is still a bad game.

There Are many reasons why we're excited about this game. Chances are they're the same ones that won Breed PC Game of Show' at ECTS a couple of months back. And one of them - the spectacular graphics - is certainly the reason Breed has been chosen by NVIDIA as one of a select handful of games to showcase the power of its new GeForce FX chipset (along with Unreal II and Splinter Cell). Rightly so as well, as Breed really does look like nothing else out there. The polygon count may not be huge, but there's a sense of grandeur to the game, with its vast and luxuriant environments and immense draw distances, that's difficult to match.

As we write this, we've just come from Comdex, where Breed was running under the new NVIDIA cards, and it looked spectacular. But that's only one of the reasons we love this game. How about the gleeful way it blends genres...? The mission-based structure takes you from squad-based tactical manoeuvres through vehicular action and space combat all the way back to trigger-happy gun-and-run carnage. Innovation? It's got more original ideas than you'd expect from ten games. Tactical shooter of the year? You never know.

Let's Face It, PC gamers are not known for being I the most formidable of foes when it comes to a ruck. If you had to put money on an angry post-pub set-to between a clan of hardcore online fraggers and your average women's hockey team, you'd really have to go for the short-haired lot with the sensible footwear.

It's a heavy burden to have to carry through life, that's for sure. And if you think about it, it's probably the reason PC gamers are such a bitter, subversive lot when they get together online. Software piracy, illegal file-sharing networks, anti-corporate hacking - it all clearly stems from a deeply ingrained underdog mentality.

It's not necessarily a bad thing of course, but it does mean that PC gamers love to see the little guy triumph once in a while. Bill Gates gets a pie in the face brilliant. KaZaA picks up where Napster left off, leaving the RIAA powerless? Love it. The dotcom bubble bursts and bankrupts hundreds of smug teenage millionaires? Oh, shame (snigger).

And Your Point Is?

The point is, if any of this nonsense is even vaguely true, you're going to love UK developer Brat Designs and its debut title, Breed. If ever there was a David and Goliath tale on the brink of being told in the games industry, it's this one. Here's the story so far...

In mid 2000, Brat Designs is formed by veteran coder Ed Scio and artist Jason Gee. Between them they boast more than 30 years experience in the biz. Their vision: to create a world-class game based on clever in-house technology, using minimal resources and a stripped down development team. Their secret: Mercury, a proprietary engine designed from the outset to be hugely flexible and fully scripted (ie all game values can be viewed and altered via a spreadsheet, hence requiring no coding knowledge to add or alter game elements), effectively putting the power of development back in the hands of the designers. Using the Mercury engine, Brat intends to show the world what a small, focused development team is capable of. Its first game, Breed, is a stunning sci-fi shooter, combining elements of squad-based strategy, space combat and vehicular action.

The thing is, the game's almost finished (we've played it), and all of a sudden it looks like they've gone and pulled it off. It's not quite there yet, but it looks very much like somehow, a handful of modestly-funded UK developers have made a game that's going to put the big studios to absolute shame.

Chalk One For The Little Guy

But before we get too excited, we'd better enlighten you a bit about the game itself. Or better yet, let our new pal Adam Perfect do it. He's the guy who's scripting all the missions on Breed, so you can blame him if they're not much fun. Adam?

That's not going to happen. OK, just kidding. How about this game then? We've been through the whole don't compare us to Halo' thing. Have you found a more appropriate way to describe the action?

We like Battlefield 1942 meets a more action-packed Operation Flashpoint'. Breed is on a huge scale and involves a lot of teamwork. It also mixes a lot of genres, so it's very hard to compare it to other games. Flight-sim fans could have fun with the flight missions, driving fans can enjoy the ground vehicles and shooter fans will enjoy it all because a lot of shooting goes on. Basically, there's something there for everyone, but even if you don't like flying, it's kept simple enough that you won't be left cursing Brat for forcing it upon you.

Our own experiences with the game support this. Like in Battlefield 1942, you can pilot all sorts of vehicles, both friendly and alien types, and pick up the control physics fairly quickly (see the How To Haul Ass panel for more on vehicles). But where 1942 just provided a big toybox for players to bring to life in multiplayer, Breed is very much focused on providing a tight and structured (yet still wonderfully varied) single-player experience.

Not A Seam In Sight

Take the first level in the game. As in many of the missions, you begin the action aboard your mothership, the USC Darwin, where a dropship is preparing for launch in the hangar bay. If you want, you can just run around inside the Darwin for a while, investigating the massive hangar space and its contents, but soon enough, the persistent requests from the ship's computer for you to board the dropship will get the better of you, and you'll join the rest of your team in the waiting vessel.

As soon as you board, the hatch closes and you're off. The ship is on auto-pilot, so at this point you're quite free to gape in amazement as the azure orb of the Earth looms before you. The hull glows red as you enter the atmosphere, the view out the windows disappears briefly in a white haze... and you're through. The earthly terrain stretches out below you, possibly a little closer than you might have expected, but convincingly vast and planet-like nonetheless. The boys at Brat are particularly proud of this bit, so we'd better let Adam have a word: Probably the most important innovation in Breed is the sheer scale of the environments. You can fly down to Earth from the Darwin with a seamless transition through the atmosphere (ie no annoying loading screen), land, get out and go through what would be a whole mission on land in another game before getting back in the dropship at the end and flying home.

Die Alien Scum

There's no doubt that all of this is impressive stuff in technology terms, but it's shooting aliens that we really want to know about. Fortunately, you get your first chance before you've even hit the ground.

As you're approaching the surface, a door whooshes open, allowing you to lean out and lob grenades into the middle of a mass of scuttling aliens, sending their twisted robotic forms flying left and right.

Once on the ground, and despite your best airborne efforts, you find yourself mobbed by waves of laser-toting alien grunts. Your team quickly gets to work thinning their ranks, but it's clear you're up against a highly organised force. The enemy will definitely feel coordinated." agrees Adam. Enemy soldiers spread out to surround you with fire, try to dodge your shells and bullets, do cool commando rolls to jump out of the way, as well as taking strategic decisions like hiding behind cover if you're hitting them too much.

You'll also really appreciate the Al of your fellow grunts. Many's a time I've just run out of ammo with a couple of Breed soldiers homing in and had that dreaded panic while I reload, only for one of my team-mates to jump in and save me with a hail of bullets and a well-placed grenade.

However, even without the Breed riddling you with plasma, you've still got to consider exactly how to approach an environment of this magnitude. Your job on this mission is to protect an engineer and get him to a central control tower, but that tower is so far away it's barely a speck on a distant hilltop. It's only then that you realise just how ambitious this game really is. Each individual confrontation with Breed units plays out like a set-piece from a tightly scripted linear FPS, and yet the freedom to roam anywhere across a sprawling environment is all too apparent. It really is like no other game.

Calculated Violence

It's also worth remembering that this is an action/strategy affair. It's not just about running around shooting rockets and flying spaceships - you've got responsibilities to think about - a team, a family, the future of humanity. So while the occasional mission is a purely solo affair, most take the form of squad-based incursions.

Adam says: Breed is definitely more of an action game than a strategy game, but you'll suffer if you ignore strategy completely. Being part of a squad and giving the right orders at the right time is a big attraction in this type of game, and we've worked long and hard on making sure there's a good balance."

One way to help set this balance, as well as vary the tempo of the game, is to not necessarily put you in charge of your squad. In many missions you're nothing more than a grunt, with your team-mates running around doing their own thing. Like Medal Of Honor with more intelligent allies.

Other missions however, do put you in command, at which point you can give basic orders (stay here, spread out, follow me, etc), set rules of engagement and switch between different team members. It's not quite Ghost Recon, but neither is it Serious Sam. For the most part you won't be able to leave your squad behind and wade in alone, claims Adam, mainly because you'll get mowed down by Breed soldiers. We're not making it too serious and difficult though, as this game is primarily about having fun.

Fun Fun Fun

Yes, fun. For all the seamless transitions and innovative engine technology, it all boils down to how much fun it is to play in the end. And - call us crazy - but we reckon Breed has the potential to be one of the most enjoyable shooters we've played in years. Hell, maybe even of all time. The graphics are rich and distinctive, the environments staggeringly large and the gameplay mouth-wateringly fresh and varied. It all bodes extraordinarily well, and that's without even mentioning the potentially brilliant multiplayer game.

Don't just take our word for it though, as you can have a taste of the action yourself next month, when (fingers tightly crossed) we'll have an exclusive playable demo of the game on our cover discs. Told you we cared.

Starman, Waiting In The Sky

The Other Kind Of Extra-Terrestrial Combat

One thing we haven't seen working in any of the levels yet is space combat. We thought maybe this element had been removed from the game, given the scope of everything else going on in there, but once again Brat Designs' Adam Perfect set us straight: Space combat is definitely still in. It will include fending off enemy fighter attacks on both your dropships and the Darwin with your own fighter, as well as jumping in the Darwin's defence cannon and firing at incoming enemy craft. Fair enough. So while you can't just jump into a ship and fly off into space at will, there will be at least two or three specific space shooty type missions.

Interestingly, the rumour is that Breed started its life as a space shooter, so the quality of the action should be assured. And even if the space element is played down in the main campaign, there's always the multiplayer...

Occupational Hazards

Just Who Are These Breed Anyway?

Weill, basically, the Breed are a tricky bunch of semi-robotic aliens on the hunt for a new home planet. Earth looks pretty tasty, but in typically devious fashion they attack our new Martian colony instead. Earth's entire space fleet is rallied and sent to Mars, where they take massive losses, but are eventually victorious. However, when the Darwin, the one remaining operational ship in the fleet, returns home, the crew finds Earth under alien occupation. The whole Martian war was simply a diversionary tactic while the more intelligent Breed took control of Earth, explains Adam. This is where the game kicks in and you will lead a number of missions down to the planet from the Darwin, which is hiding cloaked in Earth orbit, to gather data on how the Breed won and then start making sharp guerrilla strikes against their still-weak defences.

That's that then. Not that we need any excuse to shoot aliens in the head, but it's nice just the same.

While It's Been a long time since Britannia ruled the high seas of games coding, there's always hope when you've got the likes of Breed battling against the tide. We recently got our hands on the latest alpha code of developer Brat's tactical action epic and it's looking better than ever. The new build introduced us to the heady joys of orbital space combat, shown here in all its glory for the first time, as well as new character models (like the female sniper and remodelled heavy gunner), new enemy types like the Breed scutters and commanders, and a few new vehicles to boot.

The brand new squad-command interface is equally impressive (see the top-left corner of the shot on the far right). With a click of an icon, you can instruct your squad to close in, spread out, hold, regroup or cease fire, as well as switch between a number of basic assault formations. It's an incredibly simple system, and doesn't slow down the aliensplattering action a bit, but it's also crucial if you want to stay in one piece. Of course, the squad-based FPS-style missions are just one part of the Breed formula, and vehicular jaunts offer plenty of frantic respite from the tactical shooting.

The Story of Breed is a long and troubled one. We're not going to bore you with the sordid (or so we hear) details, but suffice it to say this sci-fi shooter has been in development since the beginning of time, was looking really nice about 18 months ago, and even as little as a year back was still being touted (not unreasonably) as Britain's answer to Halo. Fast-forward to 2004, and Breed doesn't look so hot any more. Not only has the genre (large-scale vehicle-based shooting) advanced immeasurably in the past 12 months, but the game itself has been finished with all the finesse of a plane crash. Indeed, rather than being 'polished' in its final months of development, it seems to have been beaten around the head and neck with a sock full of rusty wheel nuts.

Clearly, we're disappointed. What was looking like a really classy and distinctive triple-A title has emerged as something less than that. But rather than lamenting the wasted potential here, we're going to pick ourselves up and muster a bit of objectivity. And on that basis, Breed is not a total write-off.

I Can See For Miles

For a start, the game looks rather lovely. The proprietary Mercury engine is skewed towards rendering vast outdoor environments, and it does this with some aplomb, offering huge play-fields and a draw distance to rival Far Cry. You'll find island chains linked by imposing bridges, rocky canyons cut through desert hills and snow-swept tundra dotted with alien installations. Admittedly it all looks a bit samey, but pretty nonetheless.

Similarly, the weapons, vehicles and characters are very easy on the eye. Your own USC forces favour chunky Aliens-inspired hardware, with exosuits, heavy assault rifles and lumbering tanks, while your robotic antagonists lean towards blue plasma effects, mosquitolike Stinger units and anti-grav craft. Clearly, there's a talented art team at work here.

The gameplay also has its strong points, not least among them sheer variety. In the brief training stages, you're taught how to command a squad of USC troops, with a rudimentary orders system and the ability to switch characters at will. This initially seems to be the default playing style, but you actually find yourself doing surprisingly little squad-based FPSing. Within the first few hours of the game, you'll face missions involving driving tanks, manning gun turrets, infiltrating bases and dogfighting in a zippy space-fighter.

Decrepit

But while I could carry on listing trivial redeeming features all day, it's just dodging the issue. For no matter how pretty the game or how varied the gameplay, Breed is B-grade fare at best. It has an amateurish, low-budget feel throughout, not to mention some laughably poor design decisions.

Let's start with some basic technical stuff. Yes the graphics are quite nice, and two years ago the Mercury engine was looking slightly ahead of the curve; but now, it's just plain dated. Things like collision and physics are way behind today's Havok standards, resulting in clipping issues and floating corpses not seen since last century. The draw distance may be vast, but enemies still only come into view within a certain range, and often appear literally from thin air.

While such things may be partially excused, other problems can only be described as straight-out bad coding. Take the Al. To put it nicely, it's dog dirt. Just a few examples of your team-mates' incompetence include: a complete inability to use cover or even move when being fired upon; abysmal pathfinding that sees them getting stuck behind every available piece of architecture when in 'follow' mode; an inability to use lifts and other devices; and a propensity to throw themselves off cliffs and drown themselves in nearby bodies of water. (Though with a game this depressing, maybe that's the best sign of intelligence you could hope for.) As for the enemy Breed, the best they can manage is the occasional barrel roll.

Breeds Contempt

Worse still, the missions are simply dull. The overall storyline isn't a bad one (the alien Breed have taken over the Earth and only one orbiting battleship remains to fight back), but once again, it's all gone to waste. The missions are poorly put together, with seemingly random objectives, no sense of tension or pace, and zero reward for completion. The vast environments are rarely put to good use, and though the experience is somewhat saved by the vehicles, it's hardly enough to justify the trouble.

There's also a complete lack of characters in which to take an interest. Aside from a couple of weak protagonists later on, you're stuck solely with your CO, an archetypal battle-scarred veteran whose job is to read out mission objectives in a ridiculously over-egged military growl. In short, he's a cock.

This brings us to probably my favourite thing about Breed - the diabolical voice-acting. I'm not kidding here. It honestly sounds like the developers have blown their sound budget on hookers and got some mates from down the pub to have a go instead. My favourite has to be the Scottish heavy gunner, whose unconvincing highland burr yields such gems as: "Help us oot mun, I need more armo." Any remnant of credibility Breed still possessed goes rapidly out the window at this point.

I could go on. I could mention the clumsy 'my first synthesiser' musical score, the many glaring bugs, the lack of squad tactics - but we've only got so many pages.

Obviously, Breed is a huge disappointment. It's not the worst game in the world, but it is a frustrating and flawed game that will only reward the most forgiving of players. And as much as it pains us to say this after all the expectation, Halobeater it is not.

The Big Question

But, You Cry, What About The Multiplayer?

Breed's online potential was always a huge part of its appeal. The possibility of a 'Battlefield 2042' type of game, with vehicles, bases and huge, tactically rich maps was all too apparent, but sadly it hasn't materialised. Instead, what we've got is a hastily knocked together deathmatch with the barest of options and eight uninspiring maps. Bizarrely, all the interesting, objective-based modes have been stripped out, including the promised CTF, Assault and other custom modes. What you're left with is vanilla DM, Team DM and Team DM Melee, all equally pointless and desperately unsuited to the sprawling maps. And that's if you can even get the thing to run, as Breed has some of the most unstable network code we've seen in years. There was only one server up at the time of review, but even on a LAN, the game is beset by drop-outs, crashes and much swearing. Just buy UT2004 instead and be done with it.

For first person shooters to be successful these days, a number of key elements must be represented. Elements such as engaging plots, dynamic AI, high quality graphics, and a responsive easy to use control system are all required if there is any hope of giving real competition to games like Halo and Farcry. Although in development for some time, Breed seemed poised to follow in Halo's footsteps with an outstanding sci-fi FPS but ultimately appears dated and in no way can stand next to Halo or Farcry.

Breed has a number of similarities with Halo but has difficulty with the execution. The plot is based on an attack by aliens called the Breed on Earth's colonies in space. Although ultimately successful in defending the colonies, the attack had only been a diversion to take over the poorly defended Earth. The game unfolds with the surviving battle cruiser from the colony war cloaked in orbit trying to overthrow Earth's invaders. The problem is this great start to a sci-fi game is wasted on substandard mission design. Many of the missions are extremely repetitive and require little strategy to complete.

The AI isn't any help either. Your teammates, who are supposed to be an asset, are more of a nuisance then support. They won't take defensive positions well and are easily picked off. In addition, they often get in the way and can get 'stuck'? if you're not careful. The enemy AI is just as bad and can be taken out by standing still and picking them off.

The graphics aren't bad but appear dated. The textures are weak in some areas but the environments are semi-destructible. The general detail level appears to be a few years old but doesn't distract from the game as least.

Besides the already mentioned issues, Breed is also plagued with stability issues that will kick you out to the desktop in addition to long loading time. The vehicles do help to bring up the gameplay, but overall Breed will leave most waiting for Halo 2.

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