Although it might seem like some sort of Gundam imitator, Break Arts II is actually a racing game. Uniquely, the auto-accelerating feature and deep customization sets this gotta-go-fast racer apart but ultimately loses its boost power by the second lap.
Instead of a giant mech shooter, this sequel has more in common with high speeder racers such as F-Zero or the Wipeout series. Right from the start, each mech/vehicle is on auto accelerate which is probably a carry-over from its mobile origins. Players are responsible for controlling steering, juke attacks, and activating boost energy. It all sounds good on paper but none of this is particularly implemented well.
Break Art II is a great example of something that is over designed. There are so many customization options, many of them being cosmetic, that players can easily get lost, distracted, or simply not care about experimenting with settings, which is actually the main focus of the game. In fact, many of the game’s Trophies are linked to the amount of time logged in the customization menu. No, I will not be spending 99 hours of my life adjusting sliders while listening to bad menu music, thanks though.
The presentation also is plagued with oddly over-designed choices. At every moment, the screen is filled with floating polygons for no reason other than to make everything look futuristic, I suppose. But with so much floating crap in the way, it actually hinders the view of the race, making it difficult to distinguish turns, where to go, and opponents. The loading screens, and boy there are a lot of them, also contain this little anime box bot that is annoying too. However, the most maddening aspect is actually the announcer. As if Fi and Navi were combined with a female Urkle, the player is constantly subjected to reminders of the low energy amounts and the same stupid opening announcement before each race.
The design doc for Break Arts II sounds great: customize anime mechs and race them on futuristic tracks with a boost gameplay mechanic. Unfortunately, nothing is as fun as it seems and winds up being a lesson in boredom, frustration, and disappointment. Oh yeah, and there were zero human players each time I tried to find an online match which is also a bit of a bummer. I’ll just wait for F-Zero X to be placed on the Nintendo Switch Online service in 2022.
Also available on PC.
Not As Good As: F-Zero X (N64) or the DD expansion with track building option
Also Try: F-Zero: Climax (GBA) with the English patch
Wait For It: F-Zero games on the NSO service