Hey, Kaushik here, back this week for another installment of Mecha Monday. This week I’m here to talk about the Armored Core series, particularly Armored Core: For Answer. Released in 2008 as the sequel to Armored Core 4, this PS3/360 game is just one episode in a long line of Armored Core games created by FROM Software (who also created the popular Souls series). While this may be a little embarrassing, I have never played an Armored Core game so getting into this one is my first foray into the series. I’ve heard a ton about them though, so as a mecha fan I was really excited to sink my teeth into this one.
The reason I’ve started the series on what is apparently the thirteenth installment of the series is primarily because I have some friends who persuaded me to get the game and play online with them, but also because I’ve been assured that this is one of the better, recent, Armored Core games. So with that in mind, I jumped into the series, with exactly 0 expectations. What greeted me was a complex array of systems, very distressing framerate issues, and some ridiculously bland environments.
But somehow, I’m still loving the game.
So the premise behind this game is that the Earth has become some sort of wasteland. The world is ruled by corporations, but there are rebel groups fighting against these apparently corrupt corporations. Honestly, the way the plot’s explained within the game is fairly minimal and not very interesting besides, so it’s a little bit hard to follow. Still, you’d think that with a series of games with this many installments, some characters and settings have to have been established. Of course this flies all over the head of a new player like myself.
The main draw to this game, for me, is the constant mecha on mecha action. And boy, does this game deliver that in spades. Mech operation is fairly simple, and mech on mech combat is fast-paced and exciting. There’s a lot of nuances to piloting that you’ll pick up as you play, and so many minor things have a huge effect on how you pilot your machine. There’s a plethora of unique weapons to deck your machine out in, and so many stats your head might be spinning a bit.
Let’s get into the customization aspect in this game. There are a ton of parts to apply to the construction of your mech. You have the head, core, arms, and legs. Each of these are unique parts that confer some attributes to your mech. For example, you can pick arms with high load tolerance in order to handle recoil better, or find reverse-jointed legs that will get you into the air faster. Beyond your mech’s frame, there are parts like the operating system, boosters, weapons, and stabilizers to consider.
So as you can see, this game is pretty much a mecha fan’s customizing dream (or nightmare). There’s so many things to take into account, and a whole lot of stats to consider when building your machine. It’s a boatload of fun if you’re into a lot of numerical optimizations like me, but if you’re not it can be a little tedious and definitely confusing to go through.
As far as the actual story missions are concerned, they’re kind of bland. I’m playing on the PS3 version, which suffers a lot of segments of horrible frame rates, which is somewhat disappointing. At one point fighting a giant Arms Fort machine, I manged to count 4 frames per second going through my screen, which was majorly disappointing. Unfortunately the single player is somewhat boring and I’m forcing myself through it just to get money and parts to create the mech of my dreams. There are a few missions sprinkled here and there that are fun, but by and large it’s not that exciting.
Where it shines for me personally is the netplay, which is a ton of fun. Unfortunately the netplay commmunity is mostly dead at this point, but if you have some friends to play with it’s all good. The fast-paced action of mech on mech on mech combat with everyone running their own unique build is simply too fun to pass up!
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