Broken Lines (PC) Preview

By Eric Ace 29.01.2020

Review for Broken Lines on PC

Occupying the relatively rare subgenre of strategy titles that involve gameplay occurring in chunks of pause-able real-time segments, Broken Lines has players trying to guide a small squad of soldiers through enemy lines. Featuring a story about a mysterious enemy and managing limited resources, players must carefully execute every move of battle. Billed as a story-driven experience, player's choices throughout this can potentially change the story. Here's a look at what's in store, in this short hands-on preview.

The preview for this game was based on a 0.1 version, therefore many of the elements present in a negative fashion might be gone when the full release comes out. With this caveat, Broken Lines shows some interesting potential based on the direction the title ultimately goes but has some flaws that need fixing in order to garner a recommendation.

Taking place in an alternative World War 2 universe, the player controls a small group of soldiers that were shot down over enemy lines. Taking a small squad, they must fight their way through levels, utilizing various abilities, tactics, stances and strategies to get to the end of each stage. Playing this and controlling the characters occurs in what could be called a 'segment based real-time fashion,' that sounds complicated, and on some level it is a little.

Essentially this takes place in about six-second increments, of which you cannot change the increment. Between these you set the characters' actions for the next six seconds. This is a kind of orchestrating that must be carefully done as it involves the whole squad and what is happening on the battlefield. For example, character A might be told to run to this rock and shoot, while character B is told to throw a grenade at a zone and hope the enemies walk into the area at the right time, and character C was planning on throwing a smoke grenade but now that enemy has walked away.

Screenshot for Broken Lines on PC

One of the major issues here in the game's present state is that combat feels very, very random. Excluding a few specific abilities, the characters fire on their own accord, making it very hard to strategically target or focus on areas of the fight. Furthermore, the cover and damage systems are very unforgiving, and a little hard to understand, as characters can be in cover and still take incredible damage whereas an enemy could be in the open and take more rounds that it seems. It needs some better targeting options, and a lot less variance in the damage, as far too often characters can take tons of shots, only to be killed in the next shot.

Given that Broken Lines tries to be on the more realistic side of things, a few other issues were the presence of female soldiers in the special ops unit in World War 2, as it comes off as unnecessarily political due to its obvious historical inaccuracy. It is unfortunate as well, as the two female characters were among the worst-written characters, with the 'cold/emotionless veteran' and the crazed/violent girl who is somehow also the medic. What adds to this is that, while some characters are not that deep at all, there are a few compelling cases like a technician that is realistically terrified of fighting. Combined, the writing seems inconsistent.

What will really make or break this game in addition to a few changes to the battle system is how much RPG elements are included in it at launch. Each character has a few slightly different moves, such as extra healing, attacking better on the move, taking less damage etc., but the way it is structured really allows Broken Lines to be very deep and involved in this avenue. With some good skill trees, weapon customizations and so on, this could be quite compelling.

Screenshot for Broken Lines on PC

Final Thoughts

Still early in development, Broken Lines shows some promise. If the RPG elements are expanded, and the combat is improved, it very easily could be a recommended game to strategy fans looking for a squad-based title. As of right now, there are still some problems present that halt a recommendation for it, but this is also in the early stages and could easily be fixed before a full release.

Developer

PortaPlay

Publisher

Super.com

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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