Warface: Breakout tries to be a breakout star in the competitive shooter market.
If you aren’t familiar with Warface, it’s a free to play first-person shooter with various player vs player modes, as well as co-operative options. Developer My.Games are looking to move away from the free to play model and focus solely on 5v5 modern military combat with Warface: Breakout. It’s something of a bold move seeing as that area is very much dominated by the likes of Counter-Strike and Call of Duty, and it would need to do something to make it stand out from the crowd. And it doesn’t. Warface: Breakout is a stripped-down version of Counter-Strike: GO with a significantly higher price tag.
Warface: Breakout pits teams of five against each other with the objective of either planting and detonating a bomb, or defending and defusing one over the course of a number of rounds. You can buy weapons — split into pistols, SMGs, shotguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles — armour and grenades at the start of each round using the money you earned through successful play. At half-time the teams swap sides, with the team who succeeds in the most rounds being declared the winner.
If this sounds like a single-game mode from Counter-Strike, then that’s because it is. What I’ve described above is the entirety of Warface: Breakout, and during my time playing this with our own Alex, we couldn’t quite understand what would make this stand out. If you wanted to play this one game type then Counter-Strike: GO is free to play on PC and runs on a potato. If you wanted to play this on a console, then you can get a game that plays similarly with a lot more content via the Call of Duty series. If you wanted to play a game in the Warface universe, then Warface itself is free to play and has more content too. It’s hard to see what niche this game is filling.
With that said, this is a solid FPS tactical shooter. Everything functions well and the minute-to-minute gameplay is enjoyable. It feels like a midpoint between Counter-Strikes slower-paced play and longer time to kill, and Call of Duty’s more arcadey gameplay and, thanks to tight controls — which have a huge amount of sensitivity options, but strangely cannot be redefined and are lacking some features in vanilla Warface like sliding — and well-constructed maps, plays very nicely. There’s a good variety of weapons in each category, which are each well animated, with the shotguns being something of a standout here. There’s a great array of really detailed skins for the weapons too, along with a number of customisation options to unlock for the character models. Sadly, these are unlocked through loot boxes that you can buy with real money. Yes, you can acquire these through gameplay, but I’m never a fan of real money purchasable randomised loot boxes in games with a price tag.
The maps themselves — of which there are only five at the time of writing — are varied and well constructed. Whilst there are the usual spots you would expect campers to frequent, there are plenty of ways to bypass them. From the time I’ve spent with them, I’ve yet to feel as though there is a genuinely unfair vantage point that I’ve been a victim of or exploited. They’ve done a good job with what’s here, but I do wish there were more of them. There is a section on the menu that mentions a forthcoming ‘Season 1’, but there aren’t many details of what’s included in that.
Getting a match hasn’t been a problem so far. There seems to be enough of a community at this stage to ensure there are enough players to fill up games without much of a wait. This goes for both Casual and Hardcore mode — Casual mode turns off the friendly fire and provides free armour. This is positive at this point, as there isn’t a single-player component to fall back on if the player count drops. Whilst I don’t see Warface: Breakout becoming a towering titan of tactical shooters, I get the feeling there will be a small but dedicated audience for it.
There are concerns with the optimization here. There are frame drops that occur at odd moments in spite of the visuals not being utterly mind-blowing, even on Xbox One X. Even if you toggle the high-performance mode offered, it doesn’t seem to improve much. This doesn’t happen all the time, rather at seemingly random moments and might suggest some net code issues on Xbox One.
Warface: Breakout is an interesting experiment for My.Games. Bringing a console only competitor to Counter-Strike’s PC dominance is brave when there are so many other multiplayer first-person shooter options available is quite a brave move. Whilst it’s not a bad game by any stretch, it seems to lack an identity of its own. It’s odd that this has the Warface name attached to it, considering that its predecessor is a free to play game with a heap of content, whilst this is incredibly stripped down and has a price tag. It almost feels backwards to charge for the more limited game but offer the more content-rich one for free. Warface: Breakout is a fun game, but with a near £20 price tag when there are so many other options out there, there may not be a place for it in your gaming library.