STAFF REVIEW of Breakers Collection (Xbox One)

Thursday, February 16, 2023.
by Adam Dileva

Breakers Collection Box art In the early 90’s no one could deny that Capcom was on top of the world when they released Street Fighter II and with subsequent improved editions in the following years, but they cemented themselves as the king of the fighting games, save for maybe Mortal Kombat, depending on your style, preferences, and if your parents would let you play it. I’m glad to have grown up during this era of amazing games, as fighting games were some of the best memories I have playing until the wee hours of the night with some friends on the weekend.

While Street Fighter II may have taken the world by storm, the Neo Geo was the latest console from SNK, and while it may not have been as popular out here with Western audiences, it certainly garnered a fan base in other parts of the world. SNK needed their own fighting game to rival Capcom’s behemoth, and in 1996 developers Visco released a very similar 2D fighting game, Breakers. Being popular given the small audience, sadly Breakers never made its way outside of Japan, so I don’t feel bad for never hearing of it before, or its 'sequel', Breakers Revenge. It seemingly has a cult following, so I’m glad to have been exposed to it for my own knowledge.

Thanks to QUByte Interactive, they’ve managed to bring the duo of games not only to a Western audience for the first time, but on the latest consoles. Even more impressive is that this is easily the definitive version, as they’ve also included a bunch of improvements and extras as well, so rather than a simply port via emulation, they’ve gone above and beyond.

While there are some slight story elements here, let’s be honest, it’s a fighting game, so you’re playing it to fight other characters regardless of their own motivations. Breakers Collection does include two different games, but that said, there’s little reason to play the original Breakers when the included Breakers Revenge is an improved version. Just like Street Fighter II, why would you play the core game when you have Turbo or even Championship Edition at hand? Same idea here, so I’ll mostly be focusing on Breakers Revenge as it had two extra playable characters as well as a bunch of improvements.

While the roster is small, it’s a surprisingly tight fighting game given that I’ve never heard of it before, though when you’re trying to emulate others successes almost one-for-one it’s kind of hard not to. Even with only ten characters to choose from, they are all varied and you’re sure to find a favorite quickly on, even quicker if you know which character is basically a copy of their Street Fighter II counterpart.

If you needed a few examples, my go-to was Tia, essentially a clone of Chun-Li who was also my fighter of choice, complete with quick leg kicks. Rila is a knockoff of Blanka, Alsion III is Dhalsim and even the final boss, Bai-Hu is Bison almost exactly. I’m all for games that pay homage to others, but it’s quite apparent that the majority of the characters were essentially reskins of their Street Fighter inspirations. What I did find interesting is that when you’re playing a shadow match, both players playing the same character, the second player will be named differently even though they are simply just a palette swap, complete with a backstory and everything. It’s an interesting and unique touch.

So while Breakers Collection will be new to most unless you lived abroad or imported games, this duo pack adds a handful of improvements, more so than I actually expected. You can expect crossplay between consoles and PC, rollback netcode (a must these days), a training mode, unlockable galleries, leaderboards, ranked online battles, online replays, lobbies, a Team Battle mode and more. It’s an impressive list of extra additions that went into this collection and it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Like other fighting games from that era, you have a light and heavy punches and kicks. You’re able to combo light and heavy attacks together quite easily and with enough skills, then adding specials into the combo finisher. You can have up to three levels in your Super bar, filled by dashing, blocking, attacking, blocking, taunting, etc. There are more advanced techniques like being able to cancel your regular moves into specials or a special into a super.

There’s a decent amount of combos and attacks, each character having their own style and movesets. When you perform a decent juggle it’s quite satisfying. Given that not only are the characters visually emulated from their Capcom counterparts, if you remember any of their movesets like how to do a Hadoken or Shoryuken motion, you’ll feel right at home. You can even choose to have the moves for the characters currently playing on the side of the screen, much like how the cabinets in the arcade used to have.

Adding rollback netcode for the online multiplayer is a fantastic addition, basically a necessity these days if you want a competitive game. That and crossplay included is what got me excited to play online with others, but even with my crossplay enabled, I’ve yet been able to find any other single player online for a match. You can even choose the server and the population, and every time I’ve checked they were at 0, so unfortunately I was unable to try the online multiplayer for myself. At least I was able to download and watch sone online replays of matches, great for those that want to improve their skills.

For a game that released mid 90’s on the NeoGeo, it still visually holds up. The sprites are done quite well, the background are colorful and the characters are look distinct from one another, even if they are heavily borrow from another game. Animations are smooth and the elemental effects are quite decent. The audio is perfectly serviceable, but the soundtrack is nowhere near as memorable as others in the genre.

I’m glad when I get to discover new games, even if they are decades old, and while I’ve played the classics from Neo Geo, Breakers sadly was never one of them until now. While I question its originality, as it more than heavily borrowed from one of the greatest of all time, that said, Breakers Collection is worth checking out if the fighting genre is your thing, even if it’s advertised as two unique games.

**Breakers Collection was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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