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First Impressions: Breakaway (Updated)

By: Mithrandiel

Amazon Game Studios hosted a large event on Day 0 of TwitchCon celebrating the upcoming release of three exciting titles: Crucible, New World and Breakaway. While we got some fleeting glimpses at the first two, Breakaway was the star of the night. A frantic game built on 4v4 matches, Breakaway features a roster of heroes and legends battling to secure a sacred Relic. The battlegrounds are as recognizable as the heroes: your fight may take you to the hallowed ground of El Dorado, a large boat crossing the infernal river Styx or the underwater city of Atlantis. In your attempts to secure the relic you can utilize unique character skills or “buildables” – offensive or defensive obstacles that can be placed on the map to help defend or retrieve the relic.

VP of Amazon Game Studios, Mike Frazzini, shared that when Amazon purchased Twitch they began to consider the reverse scenario – what would it mean if Twitch had bought Amazon? More specifically, what would it mean to design games that were centered around the Twitch experience? Games that were meant to be broadcasted, watched, and interacted with on multiple levels. This is where their inspiration came from, and when watching Breakaway, it’s plain to see they really took it seriously.

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Exhibition match

Following the announcement and a thrilling exhibition match between 8 professional gamers and streamers, the event opened Breakaway up for additional play to the general public. There were dozens of computers set up in the lobby as people lined up to get a better feel for the game.

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I sat down with 7 strangers armed only with the confidence that we were all starting from the same place of knowledge. I picked Rawlins – a gunslinger that focused on damage dealing. Like most MOBAs there are the other standard archetypes including tanks, ranged support, etc. The only map available was El Dorado, and we were off!

rawlins

It’s high noo- oh wait. Sorry. Wrong character.

I used an Xbox controllers scheme and was pleased with the intuitive controls. It only took me a few seconds to get a feel for my character and dive into the fray. The relic is located in the middle of the screen and, of course, that’s where the action is going to start. When your character picks up the relic they can no longer attack, so you really have to coordinate with your team to designate a runner while the others defend to the best of their ability. If the person holding the relic is hit, the relic falls and is able to be snatched up by someone else. The relic-holder may also voluntarily throw or pass the relic in an attempt to move it down the field and into the goal.

Our game went very quickly, and that’s a common theme with Breakaway – the action is always very fast paced. You don’t have drawn out encounters typically, as characters seek cover or retreat to heal, but even if there’s a temporary setback, the action picks up again within 10-15 seconds. After playing a couple rounds I watched a few others playing and all I could think about was how fun it will be to watch once the full game lands. As a third person perspective, spectators get a great look at the whole field. Unlike Overwatch, which features a similar energy in terms of the speed of combat, having a more complete look at the battlefield means more engagement and excitement for the spectator.

Overall, I was very impressed with Breakaway and am looking forward to its arrival at some point in the next year. If you’re interested in signing up for the alpha, you can do so here. If you’d like to see what the game looks like for yourself, Amazon Game Studios hosted a number of matches on the “Play Breakaway” Twitch channel throughout the weekend. Take a look!

UPDATE –

I  had the opportunity to get live reactions from some of the matches as winners on the main stage came down to collect their limited edition shirts over the course of the weekend. Take a listen below to hear some of their thoughts on Breakaway! 

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