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Broken Lines

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

Let me just say, I love the base mechanics of this game that pull a twist on the turn based format. I am a turn based game junkie but sometimes traditional turn taking can get stale. I very much appreciate the system in Broken Lines where you set up what your troops will do for the next eight seconds, then hit play! The great part of this is that your enemy is going to be reacting, moving, and shooting during those next eight seconds too, leading to some unexpected results. I also like the inclusion of elements like friendly fire, different cover types, stress levels, and height advantage.
My only real gripe with this one is some of the style and writing choices. I'm completely cool with the alternate history take. That's groovy. But NONE of these characters talk like WW2 British squaddies. Not only are there some terribly anachronistic modern terms and military phrases that stick out like a sore thumb in the 1940s but the dialogue was clearly written by someone with no idea how people from the British isles speak. It really robs the game of a lot of the classic behind enemy lines spirit it's trying to instill. The same oddness goes for a lot of the graphical design choices which feel clunky or the choice of level music which feels incredibly out of place for the setting. A lot of the general sound effects and voices are also a bit suspect.
So is it a superb game? No, but it's pretty good and it's something fresh. I really think this game has potential as something to build on and would love to see a more fully developed sequel or remake using the plan and go mechanics. Especially if they get better writers and voice acting to flesh it out. As it is, this is a lovely if flawed little diversion to try out if you need a break from X-Com and its peers. Get it on sale.

Review from Steam

OK. This is a qualified recommendation. If you are into turn based games, and don't mind micro-managing everything. This can be a fun game. Here are a few highlight items:
It makes you learn how to use cover, mutual fire support, skills, traits, and more.
It has a good story to it. Not believable, my son described it as "very dramatic." But, it is well written. Although the ending was not as satisfying as I would have liked.
It is re-playable, at least a few times, because there are multiple decision tree story branches.
Each decision has an achievement. So, if you are an achievement hunter, this will take you several play throughs.
It has multiple difficulty levels.
The game has you use the same 8 characters every time.
And, each campaign is about 10-12 hours of game play. I only played one campaign. So, working through all the decision trees should take maybe 40 hours? Haven't done that (yet), so I'm not sure.
IF you are used to keyboard game play, this shouldn't be too much of a problem for you. I almost exclusively use controllers and I found the controller to be incredibly clunky.
I also crashed at least once per session, or about 4-5 times during my play through.
All in all, a good game. But, buy it on sale if you can. It isn't worth the full game price, in my opinion.

Review from Steam

9/10 - Fantastic TBT indie for all fans of the genre
+ Fantastic gameplay full of novel ideas and challenges
+ Engaging difficulty curve that ramps up mostly to the end
+ Great use of time to provide a sense of urgency to achieve gold
+ Game could have been pause based but instead runs in 10 second intervals with pause separating each one
+ Great deal of weapon/utilities to mix up strategies
+ Phenomenal art direction both in engine and artwork with inspiring setting
+ Dark mature story & dialog fleshes out the world
+ Great fireplace chats and banter between characters
+ Variety of enemies provide require different approaches for the majority of levels
+ Very focused game with branching paths allowing for a different replay experience
+ Mistakes are severely punished but game provides plenty opportunities for recovery
+ Lack of manual saves provides a tense thrilling 'iron-man' ride
+ Small indie team of a few dozen created such a gorgeous, polished experience - many kudos
~ Most of character optional interactions are negative and cause loss (not entire sure if random)
~ Shotguns weak; endgame weapons tear through enemies like butter - re-balancing could improve experience
- Enemy AI a bit dumb and exploitable through lures and hugging level edges
- Walk/Run/Crawl mechanics poorly explained - couldn't figure out how to use them
Wonderful experience highly recommended