Welcome, Mercenary. You will pilot and outfit your very own Amored Core (referred to as an AC); a large mechanized fighting vehicle. You will be sent on various missions varying in difficulty. Diligent soldiers will be paid well, so the more you work the more money you have to upgrade your AC. Now go find some like-minded soldiers, join a team and good luck.
You can play Armored Core V by yourself, but you can tell that developer From Software had team work and social interaction in mind when they made their latest entry in the Armored Core series. You start by entering your pilot data and going through a brief tutorial so you can grasp the controls. Then, before getting into heavy combat, you finalize the process by either forming your own team or joining one. After this short bit of an introduction comes the overwelming part, menus.
Armored Core V’s menu system serves its purpose. You have a map tab to start missions, a tab for the workshop to customize your mech, and a team tab to see team happenings. It feels a little clunky and I feel they could have been much more streamlined so that you aren’t switching tabs on a constant basis (and going to the wrong one). That said, it does work.
Customizing your AC probably consumed 1/3 of my playtime. This is probably the most overwhelming part about the game, especially to newcomers who aren’t familiar with the series. There are SO many options (over 500 to be exact) that your first hour with the game will probably be spent just sorting through them. Do you want a lightweight AC with rapid fire weapons? You can do it. Are you thinking about a mech with tank-treads instead of legs? You can do it. How about a reverse-jointed juggernaut with shoulder missiles, a battle rifle in one hand, and a standard rifle in the other? Yeah, that was mine.
The part that can consume you is the volume of choices you have. There are three weapon types and, while you have a variety of weapons (each doing their own damage type), the options you have for body parts is staggering. It gets difficult in later stages to clear the missions with a “generic” AC, which is what I did. Most body parts (head, body and arms) have choices between the three types, so you can mix things up to cover weaknesses in other areas, or just be strong against one type of damage.
If you decide to play the game “lone wolf”-style, that’s fine. But having friends makes everything better, right? In Armored Core V’s case, it does. I did not get much play time with the competitive modes, but you can duel another player or compete in a free-for-all type match. I spent a few nights looking for an open game, and no one was playing (on PS3, mind you). That’s not to say people are not playing the game on other platforms, though I can’t verify that.
Before starting a mission (Story or “order” mission), you can squad up with a friend or several people depending on the mission. You can also tackle those more-difficult missions with strangers, aka mercenaries. If you want to help someone else out, you can sit in a lobby as a registered mercenary and wait until you are hand-picked for a mission. Unlike the competitive side of things, plenty of people were available to pick from and everytime I registered as a mercenary, I was picked within 30 seconds.
Another interesting multiplayer component is Conquest. Not to be confused with the popular Battlefield mode, in Armored Core V you fight for territory. My experience with this was depressing, but that’s not to say it isn’t a compelling mode. My team simply never gained any territory and every battle I entered with them to gain some was a failure. In short, you go into battle and have a certain amount of time to destroy your objective.
I had a problem with losing my player data. I received the game the Thursday before release, put a lot of time into it and when I went to play online for the first time, my data couldn’t be found on the server. I’m almost positive this was a one-time instance that no one else will have happen to them, but it was infuriating having to start over when I had already completed nearly 30 order missions.
Armored Core V’s fast-paced action and multiplayer foundation create a great package for fans of the series. While it’s advertised as a more “tactical” approach to the series, I simply found it to be a fun shooter where you needed to hide behind buildings on occasion. If this is your first Armored Core game, be careful not to get buried in the sea of options.
Note: This game was reviewed on the Playstation 3 platform with material received from Namco. It is also available on the X360 platform.
- lots of action
- the co-op offers team-play through both side missions and story missions, so you can always have a wingman
- customizing your AC to fit your play style
- can be too much for beginners
- no one was playing competitive modes
- customizing your AC is very overwhelming