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Game Info:

Break Arts II
Developed By: Mercury Studio
Published By: AGM PLAYISM
Released: February 9, 2018
Available On: Windows
Genre: Racing, Mecha
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: 1-6 players online
Price: $14.99

The mecha genre is a troubled one. A genre known all throughout the world but one that mostly the Japanese dabble with. It has a very passionate community of enthusiasts that simply love seeing robots beat the tar out of each other but doesn’t get a whole lot of love when it comes to video games. Indie Japanese studio, Mercury Studio, who previously created Break Arts: Cyber Battle Racing for the mobile operating systems try their hand at developing yet another game, and this time they released it on Steam for PC users.

The main draw of Break Arts II is its customization and frankly it's a pretty great system. When one first enters the garage, an in-depth tutorial is shown to you, explaining the various parts and what they do. Every single thing that belongs to the mecha can be changed, from the mecha itself to even the various weapons it can wield. At first only a few parts are there to wield but as one increases their grade, which can be done by winning or placing high in races, more parts are unlocked. The whole thing may seem overwhelming, but the game introduces you to a few premade sets that one can use to jump right into the action until they get a feel for the system. The main objective of the race is to get in first, while optionally taking out the other racers with your weapons. One has various tools to their disposable, such as a boost, a type of side boosters to help take turns better, a reverse system that lets you retaliate against attacking enemies while also giving a rear view to stay on track and an overdrive system that lets your mecha reach the absolute limit and blaze through. The game does a pretty decent job at giving the player a sense of speed.

The custom system for an indie game is even better than some AAA games that I have played and is comparable to games in its genre such as Gundam Breaker or Armored Core. There are so many parts to swap in and out it's incredible. There are even joint parts to add to increase the spots for parts. The customization isn’t just for show either; it also factors in many things such as acceleration, boost speed, turning and control, and even how much damage one can take. The more damage one can withstand, the heavier and slower the mecha is on the course. The lighter they are, the faster they move around but also cannot take much punishment. This also factors into the gun design as depending on the parts, it affects its damage, impact, shot velocity, and even recharge period. There are a variety of weapons such as laser carbines, machine guns, traps, and rocket launchers. This, accompanied by smooth jazz playing in the background, and around 300 save slots for machines, hours can and will easily pass by. The developers really put a lot of time, thought and effort into this system and deserves much needed praise.

Break Arts II
Highlights:

Strong Points: Very detailed and in-depth customization; the mecha themselves look very nice
Weak Points: Grand Prix is repetitive with fluctuating AI; long loading times in some areas; numerous bugs
Moral Warnings: Half the game is trying to shoot down your opponent with various weapons

The problems with this game sadly start to arise when one actually starts to play the game. The big draw of these user-created games and such is to show off your creations to other players but one major thing that a person will notice is when racing. All the mecha except for your own are represented by these low-rez diamond polygons and it doesn’t seem that one can share their creations online either. The environment also stands out in a slightly negative fashion from being pretty simple compared to the detail of your creation. The weapons are mostly on a lock on system that is represented by a circle that covers the enemy diamonds when one gets close enough. This makes the weapons feel passive in nature, and I would have preferred a more active aiming system.

As stated previously, the main way of increasing grade is to complete the Grand Prix, but the AI is very odd, sometimes even unfair in some cases. Even on the higher Grand Prix it seems to be the flip of the coin as to how they act and races can easily be determined in the first 10 seconds of a race, whether it's the other 5 racers completely ganging up on you, or that they all attack each other and leave you with zero resistance, or one diamond just happens to be the fastest player of all the land with seemingly infinite boost capabilities. There are only a dozen or so courses in the game so offline races can be pretty repetitive and feel quite grindy due to the unlocking method of obtaining more parts.

Break Arts II
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 58%
Gameplay - 11/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 2/5
Controls - 2/5

Morality Score - 94%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The game's controller settings are kinda odd and do take some time getting used too while the keyboard controls just plain stink and no option to keybind is always a bad sign. I've experienced quite a few crashes and bugs trying out the game. There is one annoying bug where if one changes too quickly through the menus in the garage, the game can be stuck on a loading screen. Even loading times in some instances are very long where one time it took me 2 whole minutes to load one race.

In terms of morality, the only thing that sticks out is the fact that destroying your opponents is a main component in the game, but the violence is on a pure fantasy level as it's robots shooting other robots with lasers and explosions.

In the end, Break Arts II is a hard game to recommend. The game's customization is downright amazing and holds a load of surprises and depth to it, the mecha themselves look sleek and well designed and the game is generally safe for both kids and adults to enjoy, but there are loads of inconsistencies with the engine that make the game pretty unstable. The devs are very responsive to feedback and already pushed out many updates that are slowly fixing the game. For mecha fans, the customization and a cheap price may be all the incentive for them to put down the money. For racing fans, the game leaves a lot to be desired in the racing department but does show promise. I just hope the game will last long enough for the devs to implement the untapped potential.

-Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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