Armored Core V
Reviewer: GTL Admin
Release Date: 2012-03-20
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Thu 22 Mar 12
As one of the oldest franchises dating back to 1997 Armored Core is well known in the mecha action genre for intense battles and its myriad of options for customization. Armored Core V continues in this school of thought while adding massive online multiplayer battles taking place around huge team-based skirmishes on an enormous scale. For those of you not familiar, Armored Cores are mechs that are highly customizable towards your style of play or strategy using countless unlockable parts. This time around Armored Core V relies more on tactics and effective use of the geography of the level than finger button mashing. In this particular case size DOES NOT matter – stealth and maneuverability does.
In Armored Core V you fight for a new resistance that is rising to fight against a powerful dictator that goes by the name as "Father". As the ravages of war and natural disasters have depleted the natural resources, mankind is in peril and the Dictatorship of the Delegate steps in to take advantage of the situation. Not so fast. Here comes the resistance featuring you in your awesome armored core, resisting the dictator’s onslaught, waging fierce battles for control of the territory and the brave fight for democracy. “Come heavy, or not at all” really does apply here.
There are over 500 customizable parts that can be attached to your armored core - anything from head, core, arms and legs, left and right armed weapons, even shoulder weapons such as missiles. Any part consisting of armor, can either protect from KE, CE or TE weapons, all of which having a different way of damaging your mecha. KE, or Kinetic Energy weapons, are weapons that fire rounds and at a distance produce lower damage but up close are devastating. CE weapons, or Chemical Energy weapons, cause damage through chemical reactions, although in this case range will not lower the damage of CE weapons because the chemicals do not decay. TE weapons, or Thermal Energy weapons, will cause damage from any range and are devastating but are powered through energy, which you don't have much of and, depending on your build, will take a while to regenerate, especially since you use energy for plenty of other things. The multiplayer combat is based around super speed combat where boosting is essential in most movements. Many players take to the sky and glide around the map attempting to hit you from above, which makes for an easy target - with the right weapons you can take them down yourself.
The Graphics of the game are just average everyday graphics that you see on most games these days; nothing really stands out about it. Though it is a unique game, and it is the only series that features mech units with this style of combat, the developers should have capitalized on that and create great visuals to tag along with its unique gameplay. One thing that does stand out are the semi-destructible environments which are a nice feature. The developers obviously took great pride in creating unique sounds for each of the weapons and after a while you’ll be able to tell what type and kind of weapon is being fired – perhaps even in your direction. The voice acting is also well done, although not perfect but at least the characters show emotion towards what is going on.
To me the multiplayer is the highpoint for this game. Separating the game into teams that are constantly battling for territory is really entertaining and the 5 v 5 battles are also quick to setup. The multiplayer battles are usually quite short. What sucks is dying early and having to sit and wait for the game to end. There should have been some type respawn, especially for the newer players who haven't had a chance to get used to the game or set up their armored core properly which will make it harder for them and for their team to win. It almost forces players to stick to playing single player and co-op before they can enter the big leagues of multiplayer skirmishes and territory invasions. Perhaps that’s a good thing anyway as a way to intimately bond with your mech. The storyline itself may only have moderate replay value but there are boss battles that you can engage in and contract missions to play that definitely up the replay value of the game. Some of the boss battles are so difficult it takes a long trial and error process in an attempt to figure out their weaknesses and how to kill them. In the end I found this game enjoyable and, for the hardcore Armored Core fans, it will definitely be easy for you to grasp and continuously play while it’s still capable of grabbing new members to the franchise and entertaining them.
Armored Core V is a game that the hardcore fans will definitely be able to follow and enjoy, but it also leaves room for newer players to enjoy. One of the problems about this game is that I feel that Namco Bandai tried to be so innovative and new about this game that they ended up over compensating. The menus were quite difficult to navigate. I needed some help to figure out the whole system in itself and how it operated which may cause confusion to most players since they are used to menus that present the menu as "single player", "multiplayer", and "co-op”. Instead you have to start the battles or co-op missions and then the other players have to manually rendezvous with the host and begin the battle. Another flaw in the system I found was that the map control was based on teams invading territories and fighting against the defending team to take it, but if there is no one present to battle then they will be filled with randomly fitted, randomly leveled NPCs that will fight for them and randomly layout the defenses, which is, most of the time, ineffective or easily defeated. In one hour, a non-present team can lose their entire territory easily due to the lack of players to defend against attacks. Armored Core V itself is entertaining, and with effort can be a great experience with a game that has a unique style. Other than its failing innovation this game can provide moderate entertainment value to new players and possibly high value to hardcore players. I still have to say that Armored Core V still has the kick the series is known for.
GameTestLab was provided with a copy of this game for review purposes