CosmicBreak

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Overview

CosmicBreak Overview

Like Exteel, CosmicBreak is a Third Person Shooter where players control mechs.  The game offers both competitive and cooperative game modes and allows players to customize their character using 50+ mech types and 300+ parts.  Fight large 30v30 battles in Union Wars and Epoch Battle mode.  Host rooms or join those started by others in the Arena.  For cooperative play, mission mode allows up to five players to work together as a team against NPC opponents.  CosmicBreak is a quirky, Japanese free-to-play MMO that mecha fans should check out!

CosmicBreak Screenshots

CosmicBreak Featured Video

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Full Review

CosmicBreak Review

Updated Review By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist

 

If there’s one thing that most fans of Japanese culture can’t seem to get enough of these days, it’s “Moe” brand anime. You know, the kind of anime usually filled with cute characters with cute personalities, attempting to live through life doing cute things … and whatnot. However, there’s one thing that fans of Japanese culture love more than moe anime: Mechas of all shapes and sizes. Occasionally, these two themes would get mashed together, allowing for adorable characters to run around in a world where robotic death and destruction is constantly occurring around them. CyberStep originally released their own Moe Mecha MOTPS in 2010 called “CosmicBreak”, which featured faction-based PvP, tons of unique robots with customizable parts to mix and match, and a handful of cooperative game modes to keep players busy. While it all sounds like an anime lover’s delight, CosmicBreak is a game that packs a lot of excitement into a small package, but with the current player-base at an all-time low, sharing that excitement with others may be the real challenge that CosmicBreak provides.

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First off: When new players begin their first venture into the world of Cosmic Break, they’ll have to choose between one of three unions: Baldine, Wizdom and Dostrex, with each union representing Courage, Wisdom and Power respectively. Unions allow players to take part in various faction battles where up to 30 vs. 30 players compete to earn weekly rewards. While a three-way system is usually a good way to keep competition balanced, the game offers no incentive for players to join weaker unions. At the time of this review, Baldine has the most active and “skilled” players around, so many new players will end up gravitating towards the biggest union simply because of their numbers. Strangely enough, participation of union battles are not mandatory and earning rewards from weekly faction battles are usually meager progress boosters, such as 30% EXP boosters or 30% UC (in-game currency) boosters, so even with all the fuss made over deciding which union to join, chances are that players will not feel any real sense of “faction pride” like in other online games that feature similar PvP-focused gameplay.

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Getting a hang of the controls may be tricky for newcomers. While CosmicBreak uses a familiar WASD control scheme, players must lock onto their enemies by keeping their crosshair as close to an enemy at all times before their attacks can cause damage. While it seems simple enough, throw in elements such as ground dashing, air weaving, power ups that can disorient movement controls and boost management, and you have a control scheme that’s easy to learn, but difficult to master.

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Battles in Cosmic Break are incredibly fast paced and frantic. Knowing your mech and cooperating with your teammates will constantly be an important factor to achieving victory. With three different mech sizes and four different mech types including Land, Air, Artillery and Support, there’s many different ways for teams to approach enemies, along with many different ways to take enemies down. There’s also a Rock-Paper-Scissors meta-game where Land beats Artillery, Artillery beats Air and Air beats Land. Of course, in the middle of a heated battle, even the most cleaver strategies can fall due the game’s incredibly fast pacing, but it creates a hectic, but fun sensation that not many F2P titles can achieve.

For those that aren’t into competition, the game also features a mission mode where players can team up with up to four other members to tackle missions against bots. These missions do a decent job of offering a challenge to players, especially at higher difficulty settings, but they pale in comparison to kind of action found in multiplayer competition, so this mode will be seen more as a training session for arena matches. There’s also a quest mode where players can venture out into the world and explore either solo or with friends, just like in mission mode. Players can find ancient treasures and special parts to customize their mechs with, but sadly, with some of the changes made to the game, playing through arena matches can yield the same rewards as venturing out in quest mode, so once again, it’s all just a lackluster alternative to PvP.

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Customization has always been a big part of CyberStep’s titles, and Cosmic Break is no exception. Player can customize their mechs in a ton of different ways, including different parts, passive abilities and more. You can also visually customize your mech using different color palette options and there’s even a small degree of model editing. No two mechs in this game will ever be the same. One important factor with customization is that each part equipped to your mech has capacity costs. In arena matches, the objective for winning is to exhaust your opponent’s battle points. Each time a mech is destroyed in battle, a deduction of battle points is determined by the each mech’s capacity costs, so mechs with high capacity costs will lose more points compared to mechs with low capacity. It’s a simplistic system, but one that gives players a tactical sense of risk vs. reward.

While the visuals may technically be outdated, the low polygons count actual helps to give CosmicBreak a retro style, sort of like a late generation PlayStation 1 or an early generation Nintendo 64 game. It’s just too bad that CyberStep did not bother to update the game’s textures or increase the resolution size any higher than 800×600, so the visuals will not look pretty on high resolution monitors.

Recently, they’ve introduced (and re-introduced) humanoid characters, each with their own personalities and storylines. Along with that, they’ve included a new rest area called “Angel Academy” where you can send your characters and mechs off to a weird robo prep school. Now players can truly live out their moe mecha fantasies.

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However, since the new humanoid characters and mechs have much higher polygon counts than many of the original mechs available, they seem strangely out of place, and overall they throw off the whole retro charm the game has.

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The difference between the old and new mechs is like night and day…

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CosmicBreak also has this rolling world effect where mechs are walking in place while pushing the world underneath them. It’s a neat effect, but one that can also be disorienting at times, making it difficult to find your way around the environment.

The original soundtrack handled by CyberStep is also a key element to the game’s presentation, with drum & bass, techno and electronica tunes available to help keep the energy and excitement levels high during gameplay.

The current player-base for CosmicBreak is very low, so finding other players to participate in content other than arena shuffle matches will be difficult at times. While most of the active players only seem to be interested in arena mode, it’s not too surprising since most rewards that can be earned from every other game mode can be earned from arena mode as well.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to even get shuffle matches going which are comprised of various participants from each union, and when there are just enough players to start a match, it’s usually a small amount. Sadly, any newcomers will perhaps never be able to experience the game’s hectic 30 vs. 30 union wars, which is when the game truly shines.

The game also features friend lists and player rankings , but with barely anyone playing, finding friends can be a challenge and plowing your way to the top of the leaderboards will come with fleeted glory, and that’s only if those players can stand a chance against others that have undoubtedly obtained a handful of “Garapon” mechs to compete with. Speaking of which: Garapon (which is basically a fancy name for “Gachapon”, I.E: Virtual Vending Machines) contain special mechs and humanoid characters that can be eminently power when properly leveled up and tweaked.

The difference in strength between garapon mechs and regular mechs can be so overpowering at times, the Rock-Paper-Scissors meta-game would be completely thrown out the window. With such gameplay balance all caused by these mechs, many players have left the game in droves.

Verdict: Fair

CosmicBreak is an MOTPS that has a unique style like no other, enjoyable gameplay that anyone can pick up and play and cute humanoids for anime fans to gawk over, but with a low player-base and overpowered mechs, new players may not be willing to stick around for long.

Original Review:
By Erhan Altay

CosmicBreak is a casual-friendly third person shooter MMO developed by the Japanese studio CyberStep.  The North American service opened on June 10th, 2010 – just in time for the summer rush.  While the visuals in CosmicBreak don’t stand up to those of Exteel, another mech based brawler, the combination of singleplayer, cooperative, and competitive content make it well worth checking out.

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Union Battles

The graphics in CosmicBreak might not be technically advanced, but the quirky art style is distinctly Japanese and gives the game a unique atmosphere.  A browser plug-in and a small download (around 400 MB) are required before jumping in.  Each account can only create a single character, but the gameplay in CosmicBreak allows players to switch between various mechs, so this isn’t a major concern.  A short, mandatory tutorial starts with some dialogue between three NPC mechs.  Random bits of Japanese voice acting don’t serve much use on the American server, but somehow they sounded natural; it was almost as if I were watching a subbed anime.  The tutorial does a good job explaining the game’s basic controls.  W,A,S,D are used to move while the spacebar jumps and keeps mechs airborne when held.  Each mech has two attack modes, one controlled with the left mouse button and the other with the right.  After the first tutorial stage, players must choose between three warring unions: Wizdom (WIZ), Dostrex (DOS), and Bladine (BRD.)

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Heroes on a Mission

CosmicBreak tries to incorporate some sort of story into the otherwise mindless robo-bash, and the motions are appreciated.  Each player represents a new ‘hero’ and the three NPC Union leaders try and convince them to join their side.  Each union has its own base area which serves as a persistent world lobby.  It is from this lobby that players can join arena matches, either by speaking to an arena bot or hitting the keyboard shortcut.  Players have the option of playing through a short mission prior to entering the lobby, where they will face off against a series of NPC robots with an NPC ally.  At the end of the end of this mission, and all future missions there will be a boss to contend with.  These first few missions each reward an additional mech, which is placed in the player’s garage.  It is from the garage that players can assign mechs to their ‘commando.’  A Commando is a lineup of three mechs that players take into battle with them.  Each time a player dies, they can chose to respawn as one of their three mechs.  Mechs fall into three broad categories: Air, Land, and Artillery.  Each type has its strengths and weaknesses highlighted by their different distribution of five stats: STR, TEC, WLK, FLY, and TGH.  The AIR type are the most agile and can fly around the longest without having to land to recharge their ‘boost’ gauge.  Land mechs are designed for ground combat, but can fly when the need arises.  Artillery are the slowest and bulkiest but deal heavy damage and have long rage.

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The Commons

The gameplay portion of CosmicBreak comes in two flavors, PvP and PvE.  The PvP portion is accessed from the arena and comes in two modes.  Union Wars pits members of the player’s selected union against one of the other two.  Up to thirty players can take part in these matches.  A list of games is displayed and players can join which ever they desire.  Games start automatically when they fill up, but players are free to run around the area, chat, or just go afk until the battle begins.  New players should stick to larger battles -this way they will have more targets to shoot at and more teammates to fall back on.  In many ways, gameplay in CosmicBreak is very similar to Custom Robo, a console game for the Nintendo GameCube.  It is possible to dodge enemy attacks in real-time by strafing, or taking to the air.  Melee-range attacks such as sword swipes or thrusts deal heavy damage but are risky since they require the assailant to approach the target.  Tapping ‘w’ causes mechs to dash forward, and there are plenty of other small tricks players will pick up with experience.  The most remarkable part of CosmicBreak is how fluid it controls despite the blocky graphics.  Combat mechanics are simple to pick up, the controls function, but like Rumble Fighter, Splash Fighters, or GetAmped 2 the game is difficult to master.  More often than not, the better player will end up with a higher score than the one whose mech lineup has a higher point value.

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Mecha Progress

The other major PvP mode is Team Fighter, which gives players more control over how they want to play.  Like in most lobby games, players must create Team Fighter rooms and can chose how many players are to participate and what map to play on.  There are no free-for-all modes in CosmicBreak – this is a purely team-oriented game.  This may seem limited at first, but with 5v5 being the smallest possible game size, free-for-alls would be way too chaotic.  Those looking for some PvE action must leave their Union’s area and head towards the shared Central Area.  A teleporter located in each union zone will take players to the shared area where players of all three unions can mingle and take part in cooperative missions.  Missions are hosted the same way Team Matches are.  There are several types of missions including story, assault, and mini missions.  Each come in five difficulty settings, ranging from “easy” to “extreme”.  Co-op missions are generally not as popular as competitive games, but this is probably because they can be played solo.  Playing missions solo is a great way to earn currency and experience.

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Competing Currencies

The primary in game currency in Cosmic Break is UC.  Players start with around 5,000 and earn more by playing matches or completing missions.  New mechs, items, parts, weapons, and other items can be purchased from the shop using UC.  The single, universal shop is accessible from any lobby area while players are not in a game.  During the open beta, all items in the shop can be acquired with UC, including temporary bonuses such as double experience.  A lot of the items grant in-game advantages such as additional moves.  Whether these will cost Rt (the game’s premium currency) once it leaves beta is any one’s guess.   Besides purchasing items, players can also use a slot machine called ‘Garapon’ for a chance to win prizes such as new mechs or parts.  It costs 2,000 UC for a single spin, so play responsibly.  Players can apply custom paint jobs to their mechs, and the options available are quite impressive.  A whole palette of colors is available, and there’s even a more advanced editor for those who want to get real fancy with custom patterns.  CyberStep is the same studio behind the GetAmped fighting series, and CosmicBreak can be thought of as a Sci-Fi offshoot of that franchise.  While it supports much larger battles, the graphic style, and basic gameplay mechanics are very similar to its brawler predecessor.

Final Verdict: Good

CosmicBreak offers solid gameplay, but dated visuals and a cumbersome interface prevent it from earning a higher score. The ability to customize mechs, and the single-player and cooperative missions add value, but the best parts of CosmicBreak are the massive PvP battles.

Videos

CosmicBreak Videos

CosmicBreak Official Gameplay Trailer

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CosmicBreak Tutorial Video

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CosmicBreak Gameplay – First Look HD

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Links

CosmicBreak Links

CosmicBreak Official Site

System Requirements

CosmicBreak System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:
OS: Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 1.6GHz or higher
RAM:  512 MB
HDD: 1.2 GB Free
Graphics Card: VRAM 64MB or more, NVIDIA GeForce4 or higher, ATI RADEON 8500 or higher

Recommended Specification:
OS: Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7
CPU: Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo 6300 or higher, Intel Core i7 920 or higher
RAM: 1 GB or more
HDD: 1.2 GB Free
Graphics Card: VRAM 512MB or more, NVIDIA GeForce 9600 or higher, ATI Radeon HD 2900 or higher

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