Review of Broken Lines: Behind Enemy Lines

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March 23, 2020
5 minutes

By Jonny Gamer

By Year

Unusual tactical strategy about the Second World War in the style of XCOM.

Winter in the game calendar is the best window for the release of the project, which, if there were competitors from the big league, would simply be lost. Developers from the Danish studio PortaPlay are well aware that there is nothing to play now. In such circumstances, the modest Broken Lines – a hybrid of RPG and tactical strategy with an unusual combat system – looks like a good opportunity to brighten up leisure time. We took advantage of it, and now we are ready to tell you whether it is worth doing this to you.

Broken Lines is a tactical strategy in setting an alternative to World War II. The player will lead a group of soldiers who survived the crash of an airplane and ended up behind enemy lines. Without goals, objectives, and commanders, the fighters are divided into groups – some simply want to return home, while others at all costs are eager to crack down on the enemy in his own territory. The decisions made by the gamer and his tactical skill will determine the ending. In the case of Broken Lines, I don’t even want to lead the reader into the jungle of colorful metaphors and confuse other literary fluoridates. This is a very simple game, but studious, like a workhorse.

The last attempt before Broken Lines to conquer PC gamers was Tales of the Void – a tactical strategy about a submarine lost in the depths of the sea during the First World War. Conceptually, the developers remained true to themselves: Broken Lines also talks about a group of soldiers who were unlucky to be at the devil’s horns. But over the four years since Tales of the Void, developers have gained skill. Their new project for the better differs from the previous one – both graphically and gameplay.

The picture in Broken Lines is not the most important element, but here we will use the right to meet by clothes. She looks as nice as she needs, albeit not amazing. Designers noticeably try – some locations have a unique style that is conveyed by the play of light and effects. For example, the caustic fog that the soldiers complain about is of a nasty green color, and the war itself most often plays with all shades of red-orange spectra. All in order to tell a simple truth: fighting is bad and scary, okay? Simply put, Broken Lines has its own visual style. Yes, the small budget of the game and the limited capabilities of the developers is felt – as well as the fact that the soul and effort are put into labor.

The gameplay of Broken Lines, it’s the mind by which we will escort the game and make a verdict for it, includes two components – management and combat sorties. After a short prologue, in which soldiers who survived the crash gather in a group, they set up their cozy camp. It is important to monitor the psychological state of the soldiers (it is expressed in the parameter “self-control”) and supplies, as well as equip the soldiers and teach new abilities. The higher the composure of the fighters, the longer they will last in battle under the bullets of opponents and do not panic, starting to rush headlong through the forest.

Strengthen morale or break the psyche of warriors is possible with the help of “random events” that occur after completing missions. These are small text adventures, the outcome of which is determined by the choice of the player. For example, you can arrange sabotage in the enemy’s camp or quietly steal supplies under cover of night. Such events not only affect the self-control of fighters but also allow you to replenish supplies, as well as make friends of the squad members. Yes, some of them openly hate each other and get nervous if they go on a mission with an antagonist.

In the same camp, further actions of the fighters are determined. The player can always choose what to do next – take revenge on the villains and go to open conflict, or try to collect more provisions for his soldiers. You can also determine the duration of the task: for example, go under the cover of night or speak during the day in the hope of collecting as much valuable information as possible. All these decisions affect events not only here and now, but also in the future. Broken Lines has five endings. In other words, there is room for replay ability.

But most of the time the gamer will spend on the battlefield. This is a small semi-open type location – there is a start and endpoint, but how to get from point A to point B is up to the player. There are a lot of ways to get around various sites; shelters are constantly found on the way. You can minimize the armed conflict or try to clear the entire territory from local steampunk adversaries. Squad management is based on pause-play-pause mechanics. Those who played, for example, in Frozen Synapse 2, are well acquainted with her. First, the character’s actions are determined: a route is built, abilities are activated, the need to hide without shooting or to engage in a shootout is indicated. After the actions for all members of the detachment are selected, the pause is turned off and the soldiers flee to fulfill what is said. The warriors shoot on their own, so you only have to pray to all the gods in whom you believe that the virus will pass by, when they start to smear from the shotgun, being face to face with the enemy. Some characteristics of soldiers can be improved in the camp with the help of active or passive abilities. For example, to get a bonus for sheltering or to become fearless and learn how to shoot better under enemy pressure.


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