Where am I? What’s happened here? Why can’t I remember who I am? These are some of the questions you’ll find yourself asking, as you begin playing Breakdown (Also known as Project Breakdown), the new and innovative first-person action game from Namco.
The first-person view is not a new concept for video games. You can find it in dozens of titles on every platform, but the way it’s been implemented in Breakdown takes immersion to a whole new level. You see the world, literally, through the eyes of the main character. Do an evasive roll, and your view of the world around you will spin with the roll. Get punched in the jaw by an enemy and the camera view will snap back, along with your head as you struggle to regain your balance and orientation. While an exciting and innovative concept, this truly first-person perspective can, at times, make for some frustrating gameplay.
In Breakdown you assume the role of Derrick Cole. As the game begins you wake up in a laboratory, unable to remember anything about yourself or your past. After a short, story-integrated tutorial on the basic controls, use of weapons and the fighting system, you’re almost immediately thrown into the heat of battle against waves of soldiers and a group of seemingly invincible warriors known as the T’Lan. As the story progresses you slowly learn more about yourself, your mysterious female companion, Alex Hendrickson, and some of your extraordinary abilities.
The immersive first-person view does work well at times, especially during the scripted, in-game cutscenes, which actually take place within the game rather than being movie clips viewed between levels. In fact there really is no distinction of levels in the traditional sense. The story, gameplay and cutscenes are seamlessly integrated into Derrick’s through-the-eyes view of the world. This is a nice touch, and really drives home the fully immersive quality of the gameplay.