Full First Person (before Mirror's Edge but not Trespasser)
Lets get this out of the way. The textures are not overly-complex. So what. The characters are extremely well animated and your own character "Derrick Cole" is also fully animated even though you are in first person. While this is not a first (think Trespasser), its certainly the best fully rendered first person perspective that I have ever played. The world of breakdown may not be colorful and cute but its certainly consistent and well thought out. The framerate is excellent which is a major benefit in my book. I don't remember a scene where I even thought the Xbox was not keeping up. To me framerate is a big issue because when the framerate really chugs (i.e. Deus Ex:IW) it really takes you out of the immersion. Breakdown never does that.
Story and Presentation
The backstory around Breakdown is certainly cliche. But, fortunately its presented in a cool fashion. Voice acting is decent but sometimes skips a beat or two. Nothing we haven't seen before. The nice part is that the story unfolds before you eyes and eventually you feel like you have a destiny. This is no easy feet but Breakdown somehow pulls it off. One thing that stands out, are a number of "cinematic moments" in the game. Theme moments happen in the game (not a cut scene) and are very immersive and give this game a quality that few games have.
Breakdown's difficulty is a all over the place which can make it frustrating at times. On the other hand, mastering the hand-to-hand combat is both rewarding and critical to completion of the game. So many games favor easy outs and allow you to finish without ever learning the game mechanics but Breakdown does not. It does require a bit of time to figure out the moves required to take down certain enemies and the proper timing. While this may frustrate some gamers, it will encourage and reward others. There is no doubt in my mind that progressing through the story is rewarding. The game world is presented in great fashion and the environments change enough to keep things interesting. The hand to hand combat was a difficult nut to crack and I would not discourage the quick browsing of the manual or even a FAQ guide to help you get through it. The thing is, once you do figure it out, its a lot of fun kicking the crap out of your enemies and that's what its all about.
There is good music and nice foley work throughout Breakdown. The sounds when you are fighting hand to hand (or foot to head) are very well done. There are a few musical themes that do get over-used but they're decent. The in-game sound effects are very well done. More music would have helped but what's there is high quality.
If you are a fan of the sci-fi genre, you are sure to enjoy the story and environments. If you are more of an action/adventure gamer you may be disappointed by the linearity or the lack of interactive elements. On the other hand, if you are a fan of typical FPS and want a decent story to justify your actions (like me), you will end up impressed with Breakdown. Personally, I was frustrated by some of the gameplay elements but the story and characters were good enough to make me want to keep playing.