Games of the Year

Broken Lines

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Broken Lines is a story-driven tactical RPG set in an alternate-history version of World War II. It’s a game about a group of eight soldiers who crash-land behind enemy lines. It’s up to you to lead them home while fending off the enemy and helping them deal with the horrors of war. Your squad has crash-landed behind enemy lines, in the heart of an alternate history Eastern Europe. With no intel or leadership to support them, these soldiers must fight their way back home before the horrors of war break them. Teamwork and strategy are paramount… Each soldier has their own personality and ideas on what needs to happen next. Some want to investigate what caused the crash that left them in hostile territory, while others want to lay low and wait for rescue. There are even whispers of desertion. You are the “unseen hand” that guides this ragtag group of soldiers to safety and possible rescue. Whether it’s as simple a choice as to which way to go next, or something as serious as how to engage their mysterious foes, every decision you make is serious and significant.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

WHAT TO EXPECT: Strategy game. Story-driven. Alternate WWII setting. 12/21 mission campaign. Branched missions choices. Multiple endings. Turn-based planning. Real-time hands-off, auto-combat. COYA Random encounters. Elements of roleplaying. 3D isometric battlefields. Cover, elevation and L-O-S mechanics. Squad management. Lite-RP passive and active abilities. Mostly historic weapons and equipment. Limited strategic resources and equipment purchases. Static maps and enemy spawns. Mixed AI pathing. Partial & full perma-death. Designed to be replayed several times. Generates a British army ambience. Single-player only.
STEAM SUPPORT: Achievements, Partial controller support, Cloud saves
ACHIEVEMENTS: Mostly mission and tactical based. Designed for multiple playthroughs
STATUS: Released with additional free DLC content
FOR WHOM Fans of tactical planning, automated combat and permadeath
WHEN TO BUY: Worth it at full price. Been on sale @ 70%
More info below....
For complete info see the Full Review
On a certain level BL proved reminiscent of Commandos but with an obvious stronger tactical element. As a big fan of all things WW2, its theme was a strong source of appeal, especially the British army aesthetic that was ably presented. Its visuals promised a polished looking product which it lived up to. Gameplay was certainly better than I had envisaged but there were a few problems that may put off some players. If unlike me they cannot work with them or look past them.
The small number of well-made tutorials were easy to follow, as they were easy to complete. Imparting enough information to start playing the core game. While the initiation of additional help info for new features as they appeared will not overload the player with too much information. The use of tool-tips worked well but the need to click on a portion of the screen rather than hover was not appreciated.
The game looks quite beautiful. Graphics are impressive if overly re-used, to deliver battlefields that are not only well rendered but also have a fair amount of tactical constructs. The WW2 theme comes across in everything that you see on screen. While the small amount of voice-over does a wonderful job of imparting an interesting narrative. This is only added to by the well-written narration presented in campsite dialogue and random events.
The core gameplay loop worked in an engaging way, proving straightforward and engaging to play. However it never reaching the levels of engrossing tactical play that was hoped for. The strategic phase had just enough activities to make management interesting if somewhat shallow. Perhaps a fault of the standard difficulty chosen. Some of the tactical abilities given to soldiers just did not prove as useful as others.
Overall there are a number of mechanics that allow for a fair number of tactical options. However there are only limited choices in terms of choosing a strategy. These revolve around the selection of soldiers with certain weapons, abilities and equipment. There could have been more aspects to open up the game's solid base of military tactical options. A few off-screen strategic elements such as a mortar team or snipers/lookouts added an extra dimension to gameplay.
BL was rather easy to play on standard difficulty. The few situations that were challenging came from set pieces (ambushes) created by map layouts and the positioning of secondary enemies that only become visible once the soldiers moved in range. The use of tactical abilities equalise any challenging aspects but did not need to be used that sparingly across the entirety of the map. On harder difficulties this may prove to be truer.
It has been designed for at least two playthroughs, if all the achievements are to be gained. Branched mission selections stop the game being completely linear and allow for subsequent playthroughs to alter content. There does not seem to be any dynamic elements in actual missions. With spawns and enemy numbers appearing to be fixed when replaying the same mission. Perhaps more enemies will present themselves on harder difficulties.

BL provided more enjoyment than I initially expected. It does have a fair amount of tactical options but the depth to try different strategies is just not there. The aspects of gameplay outside missions and combat were surprisingly substantive and framed the whole experience in a way as to enhance the aesthetic.
Very much looking the part BL is not only visually and audibly impressive, its gameplay revealed no issues with bugs or stability. The framework of gameplay, especially the strategic aspects of story-telling and squad management where very good. However the mainstay of the game - combat; was a mixed affair. With the planning being very well designed and implemented. Several reported issues from at least year ago did not materialise but could still be lurking.
At the current full price it looks more or less the right price but given that it goes on sale a fair amount around the 70% mark, it more than pays for the amount of content it has. Especially given that the minimum play time for the core game and free content update lasts about 10 hours. Longer if you are painfully slow like me.
Broken Lines proved to be better than envisaged in some respects and unexpectedly disappointing in others. Its strategic components did a good job of fleshing out an otherwise fun tactical aspect that failed to reach the potential I had hoped for.
Story telling and squad management were a great addition to a decent combat system that fell flat at times with frustrating behavioural AI. A replayable campaign structure was a boon but limited dynamic elements in missions and a better inventory system were needed.
Overall Broken Lines looks WORTHWHILE.
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Review from Steam

Broken Lines, what is it about in short (well not that short but rather without spoiling too much)?
Broken Lines plays its story in a World War 2 setting, where you, The Player are in charge of a squad of allied soldiers.
These soldiers have several traits and skills that can be used throughout the entirety of the game.
One thing you will need to focus upon is the fact that most of those traits and skills have limited uses or even cooldowns.
Careful planning is especially critical when you're playing on harder settings, so i recommend anyone to start on easy or normal first in order to get the hang of all the engaging mechanics this game has to offer.
Luckily the game offers a tutorial which is quite nice and easy to follow, and provides enough knowledge to start with.
In the beginning of the game you're sent on a mission, but suddenly your plane gets shot down and your team is scattered.
You'll need to find your way through the many villages, etc. in search for your missing comrades.
During your search you'll encounter masked soldiers, which look like "ss" but something's totally off on closer inspection.
Without warning they engage you and the few survivors from the crash, and thus the story begins..
What the true story holds is for you to find out, but as with all such things, there's always more to it than it seems.
I've only just started playing Broken Lines, but in all honesty this game is to my liking since i've played similar turn based games in the past. Is it as good or better as most of those, i'd have to say no. However it is good fun to play for sure, as long as you don't encounter a game breaking save bugs or something similar, which have been reported by several people already.
Hopefully, The Devs are aware about this and have fixed it by now. The only real concern that i have with this bug is the fact that there are no individual save files to go back to, because the game only offers an autosave feature.
So for those offset by that, keep it in mind before purchasing. Other than that, this game is actually pretty solid!
Edit: One quick tip for you guys, be careful with the positioning of your troops. Friendly fire is often more deadly than whatever the enemy has in store for you.. I should know! :'(
Therefore i'm recommending Broken Lines with a personal score of 7.5/10

Review from Steam

Broken lines is a.... Have you ever played 7.62 high caliber? Its a really underground russian made indie game with an unique gameplay, where the game is an RTS that pauses every time one of the character completes an action, which takes X amount of seconds or hundredths of a second to complete, like changing stance, running, reloading, and so on.
This game isn't QUITE like that (which was dubbed smart pause system) but its similar. The game is actually a turn based game in which turns are 8 second sections, although if you suddenly come into contact with an enemy the previous turn and actions stops and you get the chance to cancel the previous orders and make new ones to not sprint into an ambush.
The only complain i have with this system is really that maybe you wanna execute a new order after telling, say, a medic to heal the entire squad, and while that takes 2 seconds, you still have to wait 6 more before you can issue new orders.
Other than that, the game is, from a gameplay perspective, fun, interesting, and well executed.
The issues i've got with the game, however, are technical and balance-wise.
The game runs like shit. Now, i've got a 3400G APU with 16gb of DDR4 3200mhz, not exactly a supercomputer, but god damn it, between max settings and all minimum the game runs exactly the same. Sometimes i SWEAR the FPS is capped at 16 while other times the game runs up to 60 just fine. The game also needs a full loading cycle when getting INTO a mission or tutorial and ANOTHER ONE to return to the main menu. Getting through the short tutorials was almost a chore in this regard.
One of the game mechanics is a darkest-dungeon-like morale meter for the squad. The more you restart a mission or return to a checkpoint the more drain the composure/morale will happen. Which would be fine if not because i've had the game glitch out and freeze the 3d image in a certain spot while the HUD elements moved freely, and reloading the checkpoints did nothing, forcing me to restart the mission... twice, all the while my save file taking the penalty from doing so.
I cant tell if my UI and orders issue happened BECAUSE of my reduced framerate or independantly from it, but they both happened, so be aware that the game can be quite finicky about where you click and sometimes fails to register clicks.
The game also tries to make you feel guilty about killing civilians, except that it does so terribly so. I've had a between-mission speech event between soldiers discussing the guilt of killing civilians and how many they had taken... Except that the map clearly says "0 civilians killed". The only time i killed civilians was 2 near the end of the game, and that's because their AI is incredibly dumb and will both walk into the fire and stand still while the enemies uses them as meat shields in true palestinian tactics.
The game has a vendor that works as a resupply and store shop between missions, where he sells a few very interesting upgrade weapons and items, except that no matter what you buy, you cant sell whatever you previously had? Even if you delete it, you wont get anything for it, you wont get extra salvage (currency) for it or anything, all you can do is buy items. Very strange gameplay choice, considering you are unlikely to stick to any starter weapons.
In the average difficulty you will have a few "what is this shit?" moments where your shotgunner will take over 5 shots at point blank range to kill an enemy that is panicking and unable to fight back, although compared to other strategy games, this is nowhere near the amount of bullshittery x-com (new or old) or xenonauts players are used to. Thankfuly the AI shoots by themselves, and while not very accurate, put them in a firing line and even if they dont hit, they will suppress the enemies very accurately.
The story sadly is not only... I dont want to say pretentious, but i want to say ominous while at the same time leading to absolutely jack fucking shit, but its also quite short. There are just a few missions, fun, of course, but the game can be completed in one afternoon if you know what you are doing. And while you get multiple endings, some requiring you to have done things rather early on in the campaign, they are just different ending screens to the end of the final mision, all of them bittersweet or just bad endings.
Then there's the dead and the drunk, which is an expansion that adds a new campaign (which, i have not completed, but didn't seem very fun) and a... Minor new mechanic that could have been added into the main game and would have probably worked better universally. Other than that there's nothing. No workshop support, no mod support that i know of (but maybe the game playerbase is too small for that), no multiplayer, skirmish, extra challenges or mission editor. You play both campaigns and that's it.
Im recommending this game more in a way to help support the devs which seem to be very friendly and into the community and they obviously have some neat ideas, but the game doesn't seem to be getting much more support now and its still borderline a technical mess. You dont even get to use all 8 characters at the same time. Honestly if you want something similar but maybe more refined you should play Partisans 1941.

Review from Steam

Bought on sale and was pleasantly surprised. Excellent tactical combat with a cast of characters that really sell the setting and story. Played through multiple times for multiple endings. The zombie expansion didn't do it for me but the main game is enjoyable for peeps who like tactical combat. Once you get the basic and a few hours under your belt you really feel like a badass blowing the Faceless away with your squad. Give us a sequel, please!

Review from Steam

I enjoyed the base game a lot.
- inovative game system is very enjoiable where you plan you tactics then execute them;
- simple perk system mixed with some weapon choices that define if you soldier goes all in or need to stay back and be protected.
- the lack of resources that you need to decide either to feed your squad to prevent them from leaving or buying new itens to make you stronger;
- despite being small, the campaign has a high replay value and it will take you 3 playthroughs to experience all levels and even more playthroughs to experience all endings.
Now, the DLC "The dead and the drunk" is really, really, really bad. But it's free so i can't complain alot. It's small, linear so it has 0 replay value (other than increasing the difficulty) and basicaly you got to drink from a keg and fight undead and the regular enemies at the same time.

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