Fitting it’s name Cosmic Break breaks the standards of MMO with some of its solutions.
Nobody said a MMO can’t have a level editor or self-drawn textures and even if someone did, Cosmic Break just proved them wrong.
Cosmis Break is an anime-style MMO shooter game. If I were to describe it in a few words I’d say: “Armored Core (or rather Exteel if you happen to know it) meets anime”.
At first, the graphics don’t look very good. It seems that the game was intended to have low requirements to reach a broader target group. The first impression quickly disappears though and after a while of playing, the simple and a bit plain look doesn’t disturb anymore. One more thing I gotta mention regarding graphics is that Cosmic Break has a very neat anime style, which is already a very good reason to win attention of an otaku. What’s more, the game is additionally advertised with anime story videos and online manga. Also, in Cosmic Break you can find japanese voice acting for messages like “Roger!”, “Attack” or “Need support” and there’s a number of voice sets for each player to choose from.
In Cosmic Break we can find really awesome customisation possibilities. At first, player has to choose one of three robots. That choice doesn’t matter much though, as we can quickly get the other two as well. In fact, I don’t think there’s even a limit of how many robots you can own. Each robot is made of it’s own unique parts, which can also be obtained separately. All along the game, player collects robot parts which he/she can use for customisation. Each part has some statistic bonuses and “cost”. Some parts may also have a special ability or include a weapon. There is really a huge variety of robots available, allowing constant tweaking and switching to fit your taste better.
There are many different types of robot parts: torso, legs, arms, head, head and face accessory, weapon, booster and wonderbit. Wonderbit is a part that works like a special ability. They are like automated drones that can be summoned after filling up a “wonder bit gauge”. They follow the owner while shooting, repairing, buffing, protecting etc. One more special type of parts are joints. They work like most other parts except they provide additional slot. For example: booster joint works like a booster but it allows you to attach another normal booster to it (not another booster joint). Also, some parts simply provide additional slots, for example legs part with a booster slot. With such mechanics player can build really cool robot setups. You could have a robot with a booster joint and a booster while also having legs with a booster slot and another booster joint with a booster, in result having 4 boosters. This may or may not be a good idea depending on what you need for your robot but it’s surely possible.
In terms of weapons we got huge variety: swords, spears, maces, hammers, throwing knives, whips, axes, shields, guns, machine guns, shotguns, rifles, lasers, energy beams, cannons, grenade launchers, bazookas, missiles and all kinds of crazy stuff, like yoyo, gravity gun, stun gun, chainsaw, fishing pole and many, many others. These weapons vary in many factors. Some work better and some worse but each might be usefull in some situation. Better weapons usually have high costs, low ammunition supply or some other downside.
One more thing I have to mention is parts tuning. Parts can have from 0 to 3 tuning slots. Each slot can be fitted with an upgrade that adds a bonus statistic increase (possibly also with a decrease of another) or some special effect. Tuning requires a fair amount of tuning materials which are found in game. Personally I recommend looking into tuning once you’ve got your robot all set and you’re pretty sure it’s gonna stay this way. Then, tuning is a good way to squeeze even more out of your setup.
To not make customisation too easy, there are some limits. Firstly, there are 4 types of robots: land, air, artillery and support. Parts have limitations for which of those they can be used. The first three robot types work according to rock-paper-scissors rule. Land beats artillery, artillery beats air and air beats land. Of course, there is also a reason behind the names. Land robots move fastest on the ground and thus do best with melee weapons. Air robots have best boosters (used for flight). Artilleries can use long range and homing weapons, which usually work best against air targets. The support type robots don’t have any special combat purpose. Their main role is repairing or buffing allies. It doesn’t mean that they can’t put up a fight though.
Robots are also divided into sizes. There’s three: S, M and L. Robot parts, however, are divided into five sizes: SS, S, M, L, LL. The idea is that a robot can use parts up to one size away, for example: S robot can use SS, S and M parts.
Last customisation limitation is “cost”. Every robot has a limited maximum “cost” it can have and all parts have their “cost” value.
Any robot a player owns has it’s level. After gaining enough expirience points we can level up the robot by choosing one from a set of available customisations. The basic common option is increasing the robot’s maximum cost limit and health. Other possible upgrades have effects like: increasing specific damage type resistance, booster effectiveness, adding custom ability, making robot invisible on radar or not alerting enemies that we are targetting them. These are just examples. There are many possible upgrades and those vary for every robot type.
A pretty cool thing in Cosmic Break is you can also customise colors of robots. You can either just set the three used colors for each part or you can paint our own texture. You heard it right there. This is a very unique feature for a MMO game – letting players paint their own characters in-game. A fun use of this are banners – a type of joint parts. Being able to texture those means we can carry around a banner with just any image we want. Texture painting isn’t all though. It is also possible to edit part’s vertex mesh.
So what do we actually do once we finish setting up all those robots? There are a number of activities.
Firstly, we can do missions. These usually consist of a few levels where we have to get past a horde of AI enemies and bosses. There is also a story to each mission, which is a nice way to get a better feel and understanding of game’s world. Missions can be played solo or with friends.
Next thing to do in Cosmic Break is questing. Questing means going through dozens of maps filled with randomly walking enemy AI robots. There are also some traps set up and treasure chests. Your objective is to find the treasure, get an exit key from the mobs and move on through a teleport to the next map. Questing is a nice way to get parts or tuning materials dropped from the enemies. After a few maps the scenery changes to not make questing boring. Again, we can take friends along or go alone.
Cosmic Break also has some really intense PvP action. This comes in a few forms but the basic objective is the same: fight the enemy team. Battles are in pretty large scale as you can fight even a 15 vs 15. It is an awesome expirience to test out your own, customised to fit your play style robot in a big battle against others. In PvP you can also find items from destructible “NPC objects”. These items can do some crazy power shifts in battle by, e.g. blowing up enemy robots and setting them on fire, throwing them away or placing a hidden trap (in the middle of enemy base).
There is an interesting PvP solution implemented for balancing the matches. Remember the “cost” of a robot? That name is not without purpose as that is actually the cost your team pays when your robot is destroyed. PvP matches last until one of the teams run out of their points. Players who use better robots will have higher “costs” and their defeat will be a bigger blow to their team, while killing a weak newbie is a smaller gain.
I must say that skilled PvP play puts great importance on tactics. These large scale battles may seem chaotic but team organisation is very important and usually it’s more or less provided by expirienced players aware of this fact. Full scale assault, sneak attack from the rear or side, luring or splitting enemy force, reinforcing allies, successfull retreat, healing team at the back are all important tools for victory and utilising them adds great strategic feel to the PvP that isn’t very noticeable at first. Despite the scale though actions of individual players may make all the difference in the matches outcome. With good robot preparations and skilled, wise tactical decisions anyone can have a chance to feel like the hero of their team. There is a number of roles a player can take up to help his/her allies and each can be necessary for victory which often isn’t only up to the strongest players. Good execution of teamwork in all roles has very noticeable impact. For example, being able to reinforce and provide cover for retreat of low-health allies to heal them at the back spares the very valueable “cost” points of the team. That requires coordination of various types of robots though. In Cosmic Break well played PvP match can be very satisfying.
One more thing I have to mention about Cosmic Break is the map editor. Yes. Being a MMO Cosmic Break actually lets you create your own PvP maps and try them out with all the other players. It is quite tough to get as many as 30 players to test your map with you but there’s always at least a few people who will gladly try it out. Occasionally there are also map contests organised and the winners get their submitted maps used in the next set selected for PvP.
4. The price
There is usually some catch to MMO’s. Usually these games are free but at the same time they have to make money. So how does it work in Cosmic Break? Well, unfortunately, cash item users have a fair edge here. With real money you can buy better robots, better parts, better weapons and join lottery for best stuff. It’s not uncommon to see a player with cash robot unstoppably whooping half of your team. Let’s face it. This often can’t be helped. It is better to play a good game in disadvantage, than not play it at all because it goes “bankrupt”.
Fortunately, Cosmic Break designers didn’t leave the non-payers to cruel fate. Even without spending anything, any player can get CB’s cash items and there is even a number of ways. Firstly, you sometimes get some RT (cash points) as you level up. Secondly, it can be bought with game’s currency – UC (and it also goes the way around: UC for RT), though as you can guess that comes out pretty expensive. Once in a while there is a bazaar organised where anyone can sell their stuff. Lastly, you can sometimes get pretty neat items from lucky cubes. Those can be obtained daily just for logging in.
In the end I don’t think Cosmic Break can be any more fair while planning to stay alive. Cash users got their advantage and reasons to brag but free-riders aren’t left helpless at all. They just gotta put in more effort.
I must say I hesitated a little before giving Cosmic Break a spot in “Gamer’s Treasure”. That’s because it’s not exactly left underappreciated. Fortunately, Cosmic Break got a large community with a few hundred players online all the time. That’s great and I think it deserves it. Of course, it wouldn’t be as enjoyable without lots of people to play with and large scale PvP battles. I know I intended to write about the games that need more spotlight than this but on the other hand, Cosmic Break also isn’t really any “mainstream title”. What’s more important this game is really unique. Gameplay is advanced, well designed, addicting and terribly fun with huge customisation possibilities. Not to mention that this is a “must-play” title for anime mecha fan. Also, fitting it’s name Cosmic Break breaks the standards of MMO with some of its solutions. Nobody said a MMO can’t have a level editor or self-drawn textures and even if someone did, Cosmic Break just proved them wrong.