'Into the Breach' Turns Mech Combat Into a Tactical Dance


#21

Ugh I wanna play this game so bad but my laptop is both on its way out and a relic from 2013. Hoping for a console release!!


#22

and a relic from 2013

I think your laptop will probably still be able to play it FYI.


#23

Really stirring review guys- wanted to drop by and reinforce a couple of things so that you hopefully continue in this vein…

I was already sold on this game by coworkers and the pedigree, but even though I wasn’t coming to this article for info so much as validation, reading the review yesterday at work as I anxiously awaited the opportunity to head home and play, skimming the text and breathing in the praise was a form of catharsis; a way to cognitively dip a toe in, so to speak.

I wasn’t really reading the piece in Austin’s voice, but some of the prose about the game being all about movement must have stuck, because the mechanics really clicked for me last night in some ways that most turn-based games fail to do.

Commuting in this morning the audio version popped up on my podcast feed, and even though I’d already read the words, Austin’s impassioned delivery really got to me, and my eyes welled up with happy shared experience tears.

I dunno how many takes you need on average or how hard the editing is, but please keep recording select review readings, even if not all of them can make the main podcast feed! In the past I’ve skipped some of the review audio because I can read the content so much faster, but if you can bring this level of polish then I’m sold.

The follow up conversation also adds a lot of value in my opinion, just like Polygon’s “Quality Control” casts. It’s great to hear some of the thinking that backs up the opinions in articles like this and given that hyperbolic sentiment in both directions sells, this kind of “post-coverage” adds a layer of authenticity; “So I get that you loved/hated this, but let’s dissect the review a bit.”

Waypoint firing on all cylinders, keep it up!


#24

This is a great review of an amazing game. I’ve only played for a couple hours, but my God it nails exactly what its going for perfectly.

I feel like the game doesn’t just nail the action beats of mech stories but a lot of the storytelling too; especially the desperation. The grid system acting as health is such a perfect double edged mechanic. For one, it makes you play as a savior, protecting civilians and often sacrificing mechs and pilots to keep them safe. But at the same time, in this desperate and corporate future, the “grid” these buildings maintain has more gameplay impact than the civilians inside. Yes, you don’t want people to die, but maybe protecting an objective is more important than some grid damage. Besides, one of the objectives might give that grid power right back.

But the civilians say things when you land.

My first time on the ice island, a dialogue box popped say “Mom, its the Rift Walkers! Look!” Shit. There’s a kid pressed against the glass in there.

I finish both the objectives, nothing’s gone wrong yet, but the Vek get 2 more spawns and there’s 2 on the board already. 4 vek get to attack and all 3 of my mechs are damaged. I’ve already used my reset.

All the enemies target buildings, and the strongest targets the one with the kid.

I panicked.

I knocked the enemy away from the kid with my best mech, but that knocks it into 2 buildings. I lose 2 grid. Over 150 civilians dead. That move puts me in the range of an enemy attack and I can’t move. My other mechs can’t knock me out of the way. My best pilot dies. Another pilot says “his sacrifice won’t be in vain.”

Except that sacrifice left a building open, one more grid lost. 87 civilians lost. Were there kids in the other buildings? Did 200 people I couldn’t see die so I could save the one I did? I’m commended for completing the objectives. One of my pilots gets a promotion. Victory.

The grid collapses in my next fight and Vek swarm the world. That kid is almost certainly dead. I need to go back and try it again.


#25

I love those moments. I’ve had several events where the only remaining tactical option was to just put a mech in the line of fire and tank a hit to save the civilians, even if that means the mech goes down. It’s so good.

And when everything goes wrong, in desperation you open the breach again, and your sole surviving pilot is back, to try to save the world again. Who knows how long they’ve been trying? It’s their whole life.


#26

Its so great! I think I actually got an achievement for sacrificing 2 mechs while sustaining no grid damage. I need to check exactly how I got it.


#27

I hadn’t thought about it this way until reading your comment, but the mechanical dovetailing of “The enemy attacks then moves, and you move then attack” brilliantly opens the space up for its particular brand of anticipatory call-and-response gameplay.

Oh, man this comment takes me back!
Being able to jump out of your mech in games like these or Blaster Master meant SO MUCH to me at the time, direct evidence of the relationship between pilot and machine, RIGHT THERE in the mechanics instead of instruction manual copy assuring you that the pilots are in those shooter sprites… somewhere.

I was obsessed with re-renting a game I never owned called Metal Marines that operated on a grid of sorts. In reality it’s probably nothing like Into the Breach but my hazy memories of struggling to comprehend systems that are JUST out of my cognitive pay-grade are getting stronger here.


#28
System Requirements
OS: Windows Vista/7/8/10
Processor: 1.7+ GHz or better
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Intel HD 3000 or better
Storage: 300 MB available space

Intel HD 3000 is an integrated graphics processor from 2011. If your computer can load Waypoint articles, it can probably play this game.


#29

Metal Warriors is the best and most forward-thinking SNES game. don’t fight me please


#30

In my mind I did plenty of smart manoeuvering, flanking my opponents and then unleashing devastating attacks to destroy or capture enemy wanzers but maybe that’s more how it made me feel than me being actually tactically proficient or the AI being paticularly strong.

In any case, Front Mission has some of the most visceral/impactful looking combat I’ve ever experienced in a turn based tactical game. Getting in someone’s face and then unloading with my shotgun, causing all their health bars to instantly deplete is etched into my brain.

.

While I’m not getting as much pleasure out of it as it’s bringing you, I’m still enjoying ̷U̷n̷t̷o̷ Into the Breach quite a bit. It might do some things I really dislike in a tactical/war game (I really dislike it when they become puzzle games) but it’s just so well-made that it’s easily worth the price of admission.
In FTL I played until I beat the last boss once and then never played it again, I think I’ll complete quite a few runs of Into the Breach before I’m done with it.


#31

Truth!

The open level design, the ability to eject and explore small spaces, and the distinct controls of the different mechs was just brilliant. My friends and I really got into the little 2p-versus mode as well.


#32

This thread is making me incredibly psyched to play this. Once I finish Iconoclasts I’m definitely giving it a go.


#33

Oh man, I totally agree with the stuff people have already brought up. This game does a brilliant job of evoking desperation through the way the turn order plays out. The very fact the enemies always move first takes so much control out of your hands, but leaves you just enough room to respond and hopefully prevent their attacks, and that balance feels so unique.

Just like @ColdCoffee I was also struck by the way the power grid works as a health mechanic, but for me in particular it was how meaningless my own mechs became as a result.

I learned that lesson very quickly on one of my first missions, in which I carefully arranged my mechs outside the attack range of the enemies (in classic Fire Emblem/Advanced Wars fashion), only to watch as they completely ignored me and targeted the nearby civilians, forcing me to scramble to their defense. It was a striking realization of how little the Vek cared about me compared to any other target they could reach, cemented by the health of the mechs having no impact on the actual ‘health’ level to level. It encourages you to make those sacrificial moves where a pilot takes a hit for a building, even if it might cost them their life. Hell, the mechs don’t even need a living pilot to function. I love that mechanical sense of how expendable your pilots are in the larger effort to prevent the world’s destruction; the only purpose they serve is to sit in the seat, add their little flavor and skills, and then give up their life when they are called to. Except, of course, for the one who has to travel back and do it all again.

This Gamasutra interview with the devs is excellent and gets into how they built up those mechanics to create the tone. Their initial inspiration being wanting to do the opposite of the wanton destruction in superhero movies is such a cool place to start from, and I think it shows through in the game so well: https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/315058/Reimagining_failure_in_strategy_game_design_in_Into_the_Breach.php

Also I need to add to the chorus and say I’m really loving these readings of reviews, and the discussion afterward was such an excellent way to go more in-depth. Hoping you guys do more of these!


#34

So I heard Austin mention Into The Breach a while a go, and whilst I know absolutely nothing about mechs (mecha? I dont fuckin know) I was instantly intrigued.
I played FTL a little bit and I enjoyed it a lot but I liked the idea of it much more than actually playing it. So when I got my hands on ITB and seen that the gameplay is broken down and is absolutely transparent, I fell in love.

Ive played it every chance I could. I have 2 complete playthroughs under by belt so far (A 4 island and a 2 island victory). I had my first pilot death this morning because I didnt realise I knocked my Tank onto a Vek emergence hole and I was traumitised. I swore to get revenge in my next timeline and have started a camapign to simply kill all Vek, fuck power, fuck civilians, all I want is revenge.

I also learnt this morning I could rename pilots and mechs and even change their colour and my mind is blown. The game really is like chess, you can jump right in and do enough with the basic rules to be successful (thats me) but it allows you to go deeper if you choose and it opens up a whole new layer of challenge.

Question. im planning on doing all the challenges with the first squad before using any others, should I continue or mix things up and try a new squad?


#35

Honestly, im using a shitty old notebook from 2013 to play as my PC isn’t set up at the minute and it runs perfectly.


#36

Great article and great podcast episode about Into The Breach! I enjoyed both very much!


#37

Def mix it up! There’s honestly no reason not to. Plus time with different units will make your overall skill level and game comprehension go up, as their challenges will help you to think about various other mechanical interactions!


#38

Sometimes you will be having a good run then the vek spawn and pincer the grid to the top and bottom. Much like FTL that way.


#39

I don’t know if I’m just going along with the ride but I am getting really emotional with this game! I have sworn vengeance against Vex who destroyed objectives and I shocked myself when I realised I had accidentally sacrificed one of my mechs on the final island (How dare they not include those who did in the ending credits HOW DARE THEY!?!)

In terms of mechanics, Ice is probably my favourite. While it doesn’t cause any damage, it’s unique in that it can be used as both an offensive weapon or a defensive tech. There are so many cool ways it can be used and I strongly suspect that every status effect has more parts that I haven’t explored yet. I can’t wait to get back into the game.


#40

Yes I know it’s an oft-repeated sentence these days, but if this was released on the Switch I would buy it day one. Sounds so good but I have no access to Steam.