70.000 years ago all the mythological cultures lived together with humans on one planet, but the humans were dying as too many of the mythological creatures were killing them. There was one immortal who saw that the humans would not survive and who decided to separate the worlds of the mythological creatures and humans into two, so humans could live without the mythological crceatures. The worlds were separated by The Veil. Some of the humans on earth were given magical powers with the job to maintain this Veil. They didn't do their job right though, as over the years some mythological creatures came through The Veil, which is why we know about them from our history. In the last 100 years the immortal who created The Veil becomes aware that humanity has messed up, with wars, pestilence and all of that. They are not united and need something to challenge them. He feels he made a huge mistake and is now undoing that mistake by destroying The Veil, causing a breach. This is why all around the world, but especially at major mythological sites The Veil is breaking and the mythological world is starting to be integrated with human earth again.
In the game there will be several cities in the world where you can go to. At those cities, like Tokyo, it partly looks like the Earth version of Tokyo and partly like a mythological forest. As a player you continuously move in this mixture of environments. Next to the terrain also the mythological monsters were brought in. In Japan you will be fighting Asian mythology creatures, like Foo Dogs, Bhutas and the Troll Oni. In Egypt you will be fighting against creatures like the avatar of Ra, Sobek and Bastet. In Eastern Europe (Kiev) you encounter creatures like the Kikimora and the Babyaga. The game will go all over the globe over time, but currently there are five levels available, from which the mentioned three are the only playable ones at this time, but also during alpha. During the Early Access period and also after the launch more will be added.
The development of Breach started some three years ago and is created using the Unreal engine. At its core Breach is a class based co-op game, with an open class system where you have access to a large variety of classes. They have allowed themselves to take inspiration from all kinds of different genres to create the classes. At the moment there are 18 classes defined, of which 10 will be playable in alpha, with more classes being added till the release of the game. The classes can be used as they are, but can also be used as a base class, which you can further customize during the game.
When you get access to a class you will have access to all five of the class abilities, but if you get another class that is in the same school of magic, you are able to swap abilities across those classes. At any given time you can however not have more than 5 abilities available to you.
The gameplay consists of a 15 minutes dungeon crawl. It can be played entirely solo (which is what I did). You can play it, get better at it and move to higher difficulty level, increasing the challenge of the various levels. The levels are different every time you play them. The terrain is the same, which is always six rooms leading up to the final room with the boss fight, but the enemies can be different every time, but also the special enemy called the Veil Demon will be different every time you play a level. The Veil Demon resembles a spirit entity and looks like a dark smoke creature. It can cast spells, drop traps and pull things in from the void at the other side of The Veil, which will change the way a room needs to be played to win that room.
There are multiple types of veil demons, with many different classes and a dedicated AI. The game also has a mode where a human can play the Veil Demon.
You can play the game with 1 to 5 players. Four in co-op and the fifth can play the Veil Demon. You can also play with two players, with one playing the Veil Demon. Any combination is possible, but if there are less than 5 players, the remaining characters or Veil Demon will be handled by the AI.
In a solo match you are presented with some choices based on the Veil Demon you are up against and what kind of enemies will appear. This is available to you before you start a new level. You can modify your AI team for example as you get to select the classes that end up in your team.
In a full co-op this option is not available as every player would decide based on their own class.
While going through the levels, a scoreboard is present. Every time a room is won a point on the scoreboard and experience is gained. When the Veil Demon wins a room that demon gets a point and also more experience. And on the conclusion of a room you get to pick a talent, which for example, could improve one of your abilities, like doing more damage.
My character, a mana warrior, was in the battleschool of magic and had a special ability, called an overhand smash and every time it was used, extra shield would be gained, based on the number of enemies hit. It also had abilities like Cleve and Taunt to start with, but as mentioned before it is possible to exchange the abilities you have with other abilities from the battleschool of magic, once you have access to that.
In the first room, the objective was to just kill as many creatures before a timer runs out. The Veil Demon was also floating around, but he could not be hurt as it was a ghost. It will drop traps though, you should pay attention to what it is doing. You move from room to room by following a series of successive circles with a distance counter in it.
If you get killed you respawn immediately, but on a very long cool down. If in that period you die again you don't get back up again. Your party members can revive you though, even when you play solo.
The second room had a few domination points. I would win the room by standing for a short time in the area of each domination point. In the rooms potion crates can be found. When opened, everyone in the team gets an extra health potion.
You advance from room to room and try to clear each one and finish the objective, until the room with the end boss is reached. The end boss is obviously harder to kill, especially when possessed by the Veil Demon. However, on the upside, when possessing the end boss the Veil Demon cannot drop any traps.
As the game was played on the lowest difficulty level, it wasn't too hard to win the rooms and the final battle. Winning usually meant combining a standard attack, with a special ability and dashing away in time, while running around from opponent to opponent. If a room is not won, you still advance to the next room. At this low difficulty level the tactics involved are limited, but seeing others play on a higher difficulty shows that much more attention needs to be given to strategically using your abilities together with your team. Then again, as I am not much of an action-RPG player, the lower levels might match my limited skill set better...
The game has a progression system that is based on the equipment you have. As you play and defeat the creatures, equipment is dropped, which might or might not apply to the class you are playing. Equipment you are wearing can modify the 'talent pick' options presented to you after a room is cleared. In my session I only had the generic 'talent pick' options, which are available to almost all of the classes. However with equipment specific to the class I am playing, the 'talent pick' options would have become more specific for that class as well and would have added bonuses to the class specific abilities.
Experience gained does not make the character more powerful, it only serves to give more options in modifying your classes. The progression in the game is not vertical but horizontal, by gaining more talents and abilities. You basically as strong in the beginning as you are in the end. Advancing your character is more about finding the right class for you to play and customizing that class exactly to what you like. This also means that, unlike in some other co-op games, it is not possible for a character to be at a higher level than you and be better at the game because of that. So you can decide not to play for some time and come back later and start playing again with your old team while still being a valuable member to that team. What the players who continued playing in your absence do have, is more items and talents.
The game supports various difficulty modes, where predominantly the AI becomes more aggressive. There will also be an increased amount of creatures at higher levels, but the more aggressive AI is the most important change.
The AI becomes more complex, with the creatures having more options available, but the creatures will also chase you around the room more without pausing, than they do at lower levels. The developers even have a version of the AI that only a few people in their office can actually defeat and is considered to be too difficult to add to the game, although it might be a candidate for a nightmare mode.
All of this does sound like it is hard to balance, with all the classes and options that are available. This is also one of the things they want to learn from the upcoming alpha, which will start in a month or so. It will run for a few months and is followed by a 'Founders' Early Access, which will have a paid entry in order to get the expert players in and further tune the game to make it ready for launch, where it will be free to play (in spring or perhaps summer 2019).
For the record, the game plays with mouse and keyboard or with controller. I chose to play with mouse and keyboard and it plays just fine with that.
You can check out the announcement trailer below.