Break Arts II (PC) Review

By Wes Maulsby 19.05.2018

Review for Break Arts II on PC

Break Arts II is an independent Japanese combat-racing game developed by Mercury Studio. In the Break Arts world, you are an "artist" who constructs virtual robots for racing and combat. The goal is to create personal racing virtual racing-bots and take on the Break Arts Grand Prix until becoming the champion. Its predecessor may have been a mobile title, but this is no slap-dash port job. This is a fully-fledged combat racer that feels like an amalgamation of Armoured Core and F-Zero. It provides an unexpected amount of depth and detail, resulting in a complex and satisfying racing experience, even if it is a little lacking in the combat experience.

Right out of the gate, the most apparent strength of Break Arts II is its visual design; the design of the robots in particular can be quite stunning. The design of the parts and composition of the robots is very impressive. Even the most basic of pre-built machines has a very pleasing design, with sharp, angular pieces that evoke feelings and visions of the future. Pair the futuristic aesthetics with the glossy finish and it becomes easy to get lost designing the perfect robot.

Screenshot for Break Arts II on PC

The level of customisation of a racer can be staggering and a little intimidating early on. Armour, boosters, thrusters, system parts, and weaponry are all here and have been in similar games, but the availability of joint parts is what allows the design possibilities to skyrocket. There are more than two dozen different joint parts that can even be stacked on top of one another to create a seemingly limitless amount of combinations to tinker with for hours. Players are able to craft racing rigs that are designed for pure output and efficiency and are a hideous culmination of parts, or they can throw all that min-maxing out the window and make something that prioritises form over everything else. The races will be more difficult, but at least you will look good. The options open to the player are only limited by an unlock feature that requires the accumulation of Capital to ascend artist ranks that does require a fair bit of grinding.

Once you have been able to pull yourself out of the garage and into an actual race, the results of all your work will be put on full display. There is a visceral feeling when tearing through the tracks at high speeds and this where the game shifts from feeling like a mech builder to a fast-paced racer, such as F-Zero. The visual feedback from going as fast as possible is intoxicating at times and can keep players coming back for more of that stimulation. Unfortunately, that adrenaline rush will begin to wane as there are not enough tracks in the game. Even some variations that were purely visual would be much appreciated to break up the inevitable repetition.

Screenshot for Break Arts II on PC

The other area that cannot live up to building and racing is the combat. As a combat racer, the act of attacking your opponents and defending yourself is fairly significant, but the combat in Break Arts II lacks the level of visual feedback that the racing does. Firing a ranged weapon is accompanied by a simple audio cue and laser coming from your machine. There is a disappointing lack of heft or weight to each shot. There is no feeling like you have just launched a devastating attack upon the opponent, and are instead told that the hit connected. The lack of visual feedback makes the combat a bit of an afterthought, at times. Defending has a slightly different issue where there is plenty of feedback once hit, but not as much of an indication as to the source of the threat. Getting hit with an attack will begin to shatter your shield and even push you around the track, but it can get frustrating to try to figure out where the danger is coming from while navigating a track at full speed.

Screenshot for Break Arts II on PC

Onto a very crucial element to the game, then: there is a function that allows a racing bot to turn around and continue essentially in reverse while targeting a threat coming up from behind. This single feature may be where most of the depth comes from. A good player is going to be able to build a racer and compete well in races by taking on targets in front of them. The best are going to be able to take down not only the targets in front of them, but behind them, as well. Mastering the ability to navigate the tracks in reverse for short bursts, while attacking opponents coming from behind, is very difficult and gives this a higher skill gap than would be expected from a series that got its start as a mobile affair.

Screenshot for Break Arts II on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Break Arts II is a deceptively complex racing game that is sure to create a dedicated and hardcore fan-base. Complex construction mechanics allow for the creation of machines that can be wholly unique to their builder. A high skill ceiling serves as a fine complement for the construction, as all the time spent in the garage will pay off as that machine navigates the small sampling of challenging tracks. While the combat interactions can feel unsatisfying at times, mastering those elements with the others provides players with a worthy challenge.

Developer

MercuryStudio

Publisher

Playism

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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