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- Oct 18, 2006
The RPG Codex has reviewed Broken Lines:
More information.RPG Codex Review: Broken Lines
[Review by Strange Fellow]
Any RPG Codex reader worth his salt knows that the term RPG is simply a short-hand for combat simulators that aren't good enough to ascend to the hallowed halls of the squad tactics genre. This is a genre which hasn't done too badly in recent years in terms of number of releases, with games such as Battle Brothers, Mordheim: City of the Damned and of course the rebooted X-Com series having been reasonably well received around these parts.
Now there's another one, from a Danish studio called PortaPlay. Its credentials amount to - you guessed it - a bunch of mobile games, in addition to some weird-looking real time strategy game with a mixed review score on Steam. For their sophomore effort on PC, they've tried their hand at phase-based World War II tactics with Broken Lines. Sounds promising, doesn't it?
Broken Lines is a game with few serious flaws, but a lot of compromises. It's short, it's a bit ugly, it's a bit too easy, a bit too contrived and gamey here and there, its soldiers are deaf and dumb, and there's not a lot of customisation or weapon variety to be found. In short, it's a bit too small in every way, mostly by design. As a result, there's just a whiff of flavour-of-the-month about it, like all those XCOM-lookalikes that no one remembers even though they came out two weeks ago. Even though I did three back-to-back playthroughs, I've seen most of what there is to see and enjoyed most of it, now that I'm done, the questions that linger aren't so positive. Who will remember this game? Where is the wow factor? Many CRPG fans love to dote upon borderline broken, overambitious projects, and I'm often with them - hell, I love X-COM Apocalypse, and everyone agrees that that game is a mess. Here we have exactly the opposite. Broken Lines won't frustrate you as you're playing it, but it might frustrate you when you're done. It's well prepared tactics finger food; good enough that I can recommend it, but it probably won't fill you up.
In the end, if nothing else, you should play it to experience one of the few rare cases of well executed phase-based tactical combat, which I really hope to see more of in the future. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to see if Frozen Synapse can scratch this newfound itch more thoroughly.