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Broken Lines looks like XCOM mixed with Darkest Dungeons in an alt-history WW2

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Every now and then I run across a game that immediately intrigues me, even though I don't know much about it. Broken Lines is one such game: It's a "narrative-driven tactics game" that looks like a cross between X-COM and Darkest Dungeon that tells a Cross of Iron-style story set in an alt-history Second World War.

Broken Lines follows a group of soldiers trapped behind enemy lines, who must fight their way back to friendly territory in "pause and play" tactical combat. Orders are executed simultaneously, in real time, with automatic pausing enabling players to react to new threats on the battlefield. But threats will arise between battles, too: Each soldier has a unique personality, attributes, and relationship with other members of the squad, and will be impacted by the horrors of war.

"We believe traditional turn-based strategy gamers will tremendously enjoy Broken Lines, and there’s plenty to love for those that crave a rich story-driven experience and a look at the impact that war has on the human psyche," PortaPlay creative diredctor Hans von Knut Skovfoged said.

The squad could be lifted straight out of a classic war movie—there's the hot-headed Scot, the young, idealistic medic, the military traditionalist, the cynical old man who's seen it all, and so forth—but the cartoonish images and bios are belied by some of the decisions you'll have to make. When was the last time a tactical RPG made you choose between leaving a captured soldier behind and risking that he'll reveal your position, or executing him in cold blood to ensure that he doesn't?

Broken Lines is expected to be out in early 2020, and will be available on Steam and GOG. More information about the game and the soldiers who will fall under your command is up at brokenlinesgame.com.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.