TGS 2003Breakdown Impressions

Namco's Breakdown takes place from the first-person perspective, but it isn't really a first-person shooter.

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In recent history, the first-person perspective is usually only used in games that feature a gun or some other projectile weapon at the bottom of your first-person view. Namco's upcoming Xbox game, Breakdown, uses the first-person perspective from start to finish, and the game isn't all about popping a clip in your MP5 and spraying down the enemies--though from the looks of the portions of the game on display here at the Tokyo Game Show, you'll be doing a fair amount of that, as well.

Breakdown opens with you, as a man named Derek, locked up in a cell inside a research lab. From the get-go, you're placed in the first-person viewpoint. The only things in the room that you can interact with are a can of soda and a hamburger. As luck would have it, the hamburger is poisoned. To make matters worse, eating the hamburger triggers a cutscene. As the woozy effects of the hamburger take hold, the research lab comes under attack. A crew of soldiers bursts into your room and prepares to finish you when you're rescued by a friend that you can't remember. She helps you out--and keep in mind, all of this takes place from the first-person perspective--by leading you over to the toilet and ramming her fingers down your throat, forcing you to vomit in the toilet. With the evil poison hamburger clearing out of your system, you begin to come around, pick up an MP5, and start on your way to get out of the facility intact.

There's a bit of a learning curve to playing Breakdown. While an on-screen indicator will let you know when there's an item you can interact with nearby, you'll still have to look around and try to pick out those items. For example, running up to a nearby soda machine and using it will net you a life-restoring beverage. Searching dead guards may turn up another magazine of ammo or even a candy bar.

Firing your weapon is generally pretty easy, as you will automatically lock-on to nearby targets, making dispatching guards with your gun as easy as pulling the trigger. You can also execute punch and kick combos when you aren't armed, which looks pretty cool because the impact of your blows causes a neat-looking ripple effect.

Our time with Breakdown may have been short, but it was certainly convincing. Breakdown definitely has a lot of potential, so keep an eye out for more on this interesting action game. The game is currently scheduled to be released in the US early next year.

See more of GameSpot's coverage of the 2003 Tokyo Game Show.

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