Developer / Publisher – Triangle Factory
Price – US $29.99 / CAN 34.99 / EU €29.99 / UK £24.99
Release Date – April 13th, 2023
Input – 2 x Motion Controllers
Play Area – Seated, Standing
Store Links – Steam, Meta
Reviewed on – Quest 2 w/ link
As a massive fan of the Rainbow Six Vegas series back around 2008, I absolutely fell in love with the more team based strategic side of PVP shooters. Sure I played all the other famous shooters, but it wasn’t until Vegas that I found MY game. Rainbow Six Siege would follow and although I put countless hours into that as well, the very video-gamey locked classes was an issue that always kept it from resonating with me the way Vegas did. Enter Firewall Zero Hour on the original PSVR back in 2018 and my love of Vegas and VR came together in what would become my new VR obsession. Now Firewall wasn’t perfect by any means and there was a lot of room for improvement, but it nailed the strategic team based dynamic where friendships were born out of complete strangers in the lobbies of this simple shooter. Since then there have been many VR shooters, but none that have embraced that team based dynamic where you and your team talked and worked together or you lost.
Until Breachers, that is.
Even more Rainbow Six Vegas than Firewall Zero Hour, Breachers fully embraces its 5 v 5 strategic shooter roots, focusing for now on the classic attack and defend mode where one team must defend an objective from attack while the other works to penetrate their defenses and take the objective. Firewall took a very simple approach to this game mode, with hacking a laptop being the objective, offering defenders mobile jammers to place and defend as really their only line of defense outside of their weapons. Breachers, however, looks to go for something much more robust, borrowing heavily from Rainbow Six Siege and giving defenders more useful gadgets in order to fortify and defend two bombs set to explode. Defenders are given the option additional gadgets to purchase alongside their weapon loadout and consumables such as door blockers, trip mines, and proximity sensors. In return attackers get the option to purchase gadgets like breaching foam, a cloaking device and a remote drone that players can fly ahead to scout out enemy areas and player locations. I absolutely loved these additions and, when combined with the ability to grapple up and down walls, it definitely takes what Firewall Zero Hour did to the next level by offering a lot more gameplay depth and tactical options for both sides.
Now what I didn’t love, and this might vary on player preference, is how Breachers handles weapon loadouts. In a similar style as something like Pavlov, here players on both sides are each tasked with purchasing their chosen loadout along with any consumables and gadgets at the beginning of each round, and allowable funds are based on performance. Personally I really dislike this approach as I feel it creates a rich get richer and the poor get poorer situation as those who don’t die at the end of a round, not only get to keep their weapons and any unused gadgets and consumables, but can also pick up and keep any fallen players weapons in addition to a good payday. On the flip side, those who died during the round get little more than a meager sum of money and are often left grabbing a pistol and maybe one gadget. I found this could have the tendency to create unbalanced play sessions and also beat down the moral of a losing team. But maybe that’s just my preference.
I also really missed the inclusion of any progression system based around unlocking weapons, attachments, skins or any other gear, not to mention player attributes; as I am a sucker for carrot-on-a-stick unlocks to keep me saying, “just one more round”. Now admittedly, the choice Breachers has made eliminates any balancing issues with long time players having high end gear that new players simply can’t get, but admittedly, that’s the hook for me with the progression approach.
Now as for weaponry on offer, Breachers goes for a slightly futuristic unlicensed approach. Offering up a nice selection of pistols, SMG’s, rifles, and shotguns that certainly look to be based on real world weapons, but slightly less “gamified”, both in design and color scheme. This also includes consumables such as frag, incendiary, smoke and flash grenades. Weapons are also upgradeable and are done in the beginning buying phase of each round by simply buying a weapon and holding it up to purchase attachments. Attachments on offer are satisfactory, but are still limited at this time with no ability to add scopes, which is likely because of limitations of the Quest.
Gunplay wise, Breachers is a blast. Guns feel good and track excellent with very little occlusion when on the Quest 2 and Breachers seems to attempt to straddle the middle ground of sim and arcade, opting for manual reloads but without the need to charge the gun after. Additionally, time to kill is definitely not as quick as something like Rainbow six or Firewall as players do come standard with some decent body armor and can choose to buy health syringes. However, a well placed headshot is game over, so if you run ‘n gun solo, chances are you won’t get far regardless.
Like I said earlier, Breachers is a game about teamwork and communication, and for me the reason I love this style of game so much. That being said I know it’s not for everyone as a main complaint back with Firewall was players who died quickly, feeling like they were always waiting around for the next round, as this classic attack defend mode is a one death elimination and no respawns. Again, I like this as the stakes are high, strategy is needed and the games pacing very intentional. However to keep the pace up from other games, Breachers does do away with mid-match lobbies, giving a brief buy period for loadouts in which players can immediately move into place. In addition, the placement of attack objectives are immediately given to the attacking team. This, when combined with timed rounds, makes matches move quicker than in other examples of this style of game I’ve played previously. Though I would have liked to have seen the objectives being highlighted as the result of a pricey purchased gadget for the attacking team, as in something like Rainbow Six Siege, the discovery of these objectives could be half the challenge. But, like I said, Breachers’ approach to this keeps things rolling for those with TikTok-eque attention spans. Additionally, while attack and defend is certainly the focus of breachers, it should be noted that there is also a straight up team deathmatch mode for those looking for something more straight forward. This was also a ton of fun and gives players unlimited funds to buy weapons, but at the time of this review there is only one map and deathmatch certainly isn’t the focus of Breachers at this time.
Speaking of maps, this is one area where Breachers both excels at and also where it needs the most post-launch attention. At the time of review Breachers only has three maps to rotate through for the attack and defend mode. Which certainly brings up the question of when is a game essentially still in early access mode? Breachers desperately needs more maps in order to keep its lobbies full, and while the game plays extremely polished, having only three maps is brutal. Thankfully though the three maps are great, offering three very different flavors. All three maps are also pretty large and include perimeters outside the primary building for attackers to circle around and choose their entrance points. This often includes basement and rooftop access points which can be breached in a multitude of ways.
Did I mention how much I love that you can repel up and down buildings?
Objectives move after each round which keeps things fresh, and maps are filled with tons of interesting choke points and places to hide, making for not just fun defensive rounds but also opens up great opportunities for attackers to coordinate breaches, fake out attacks and run flank maneuvers. Something the cloaking gadget also helps with. Anyway, these three maps are fantastic and, even after maybe 10 hours of play, I’m only barely getting them down, but Breachers really does need some more maps ASAP, and maybe one more team based mode to help keep the game fresh and players coming back for more.
Visually, Breachers is a very polished title and looks very sharp in the headset. Obviously made with the Quest 2 in mind, the PCVR version looks almost identical, reflections and all. It is a testament to the design team when it comes to the Quest version, offering a visual style that is certainly simpler, though I wouldn’t say it’s cartoony either. This is a game that has obviously been highly optimized and it adds lighting flourishes and texture detail where it can while keeping the game running silky smooth no matter how hectic the gunplay gets. Breachers will never be confused for a premium PC title visually, but it has chosen an overall art style that often opts for stylized rather than compromised and it felt great to run around inside whether on Quest or PC.
Sound wise Breachers brings its A game as well, offering some of the better positional audio we have heard in a VR shooter for quite some time both in gun fire and footsteps. In a tactical shooter such as this, knowing from where your enemies are sneaking up on you is absolutely crucial. While playing Breachers I could almost always tell where players were coming from, how fast they were moving and what floor they were on. Hell, at one point I knew there were players silently crawling on the other side of the wall I was on, just by the whisper-quiet rustle of their clothing. Now, there is no proximity chat here, so I was able to yell out their position to my teammates and reposition accordingly for the inevitable rush on our objective. Moments like this happened each and every round, mostly due to the on point positional audio. Gun sounds are good and have a nice level of detail to them, though I wouldn’t say they are among the best I’ve experienced as they could be a little punchier for my taste. The sound mix here is rounded out by a simple thriller action soundtrack (which I actually enjoyed) and it gave the matches a cinematic feel. Fortunately it sat far enough back in the mix and ebbed and flowed enough so as not to get in the way of hearing anything crucial.
This brings me to my final thoughts and review score. As a huge fan of the Rainbow Six franchise and later Firewall Zero Hour over on the PSVR, Breachers caught my attention immediately as this is my type of shooter. I love slower paced tactical team-based shooters and Breachers absolutely delivers, bringing even more Rainbow Six ideas into VR than Firewall did, and doing it in a polished, fun and absolutely addicting way. This may not be for players looking for non stop action though, as Breachers is definitely for those gamers who like to work as a team and prefer strategy over respawns. My only concern really here is content, as Breachers is almost early access in its offering of four maps, only three of which are playable in the game’s main mode. That being said, Breachers certainly doesn’t play like an early access title and is polished, addicting fun that likely has enough going for it to keep players going until new maps drop. For fans of Rainbow Six or Firewall Zero Hour this is a must buy.
Triangle Factory provided The VR Grid with a press code for this title and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!