Armored Core V Has Reviewers Scratching Their Massive Metal Heads

I've been staring at this chart for hours, and I just can't make sense of it. Isn't Armored Core V about giant robots shooting at each other?

I don't know what ancient and mysterious review scale these other outlets are using; the review outlet in my head subscribes to the 'giant robots = base score of 80' school of game criticism. I thought it was universal. Apparently I was wrong.

Either that, or From Software has managed to transform the world's most winning formula and somehow broken it (I'll add an 'again' for those of you still reeling from the last game). We're not cooking a five-course meal here. This is gaming cereal: pour giant robots into the bowl, add milk.

Maybe they forgot the milk?

PlayStation Official Magazine UK It really takes some doing to make a game where you're a flying 25-foot-tall robot with rockets for feet and mini-guns for arms dull like sipping asparagus soup. So congrats to From Software, because it's churned out yet another snorefest of a mech-murdering sim with all the sleep-inducing properties of a premium horse tranquiliser. I don't know how it does it. Wait, of course I know. It's because every Armored Core since PS1 has been resolutely pap. And cue the big surprise: numero cinco is a load of mechanised cobblers, too. The root of this shooter's problems lie in a total lack of variety… plus the fact that guns are pitifully insubstantial… and every single city you rampage through feels like Noddy's Toytown.

Official Xbox Magazine UK It's easy to spend hours tinkering with all the options, painting your creations and testing out new toys. It's more compelling than you'd expect, but the menu systems don't do it any favours, a theme that sadly runs right throughout the game. There's no option to immediately equip parts you've just bought, so you'll need to sit through another two loading screens to get to the main component menu.

While sister-game Dark Souls is also wilfully obtuse, it has a charm that this can't match. Take away the simplicity of swords and shields, and you're left with the far less tangible world of sci-fi weapons. Built upon the most niche foundations, the game's world map feels equally daunting. Story Missions sounds like the best place to start, but a sharp spike in difficulty quickly beats you down.

Cheat Code Central Most of your time will undoubtedly be spent in the assembly room, pouring over screens full of statistics and tailoring your preferred craft, which is guaranteed to be unique from anyone else's thanks to the robust customisation. There are six weapon slots-two for each arm and one for the shoulders-as well as an ultimate weapon slot. But there are also two bay units, a head, a core, arms, legs, FCS (Fire Control System), a generator, a booster, and recon units to equip. So, as you can see, it is extensive, and each body part is varied itself. Weapons are categorized in groups such as pistols, rifles, shotguns, plasmas, etc., while the base of your Armored Core could be bipedal, quadrupedal, a tank, or more. Each equipment piece has different factors such as weight, energy (consumption, output, and recovery), and many other criterion, as well as a specific defence. Firepower is classified into three energy categories: Kinetic, Chemical, and Thermal, and understanding and utilising proper reconnaissance on the battlefield could be what tips the scale.

Game Informer The amount of prep time required is made worse by the missions. Missions are divided between story chapters and orders, both of which allow you to bring a friend along. The story missions, which are the longest missions in the game, are a confusing mess of disembodied dialogue and unexplained objectives. Difficulty also quickly becomes an issue, since even the most agile mechs can't dodge the unavoidable barrage of missiles, bullets, and plasma blasts you'll soon be facing. This leads to a frustrating game of trial and error, requiring you to restart from the last checkpoint, change up your loadouts, then fight your way back to the problem area. To make matters worse, you can't buy new parts during missions, so if you don't already own the right equipment to get you through a tough encounter, be ready to start the mission over from the beginning.

Order missions fall on the other side of the spectrum. Devoid of any story elements, order missions are all about making money and earning Team Points. They're also so short that you spend more time setting up your AC than on the battlefield. I engaged in numerous one-on-one AC battles that were over in less than a minute, while the longer search and destroy order missions took around five. The variety in order missions is far too limited, and I quickly grew tired of having to complete them for points and money.

GamesRadar AC5's main really cool yet poorly documented idea is its approach to online play. It does away with the usual separation between online and off, so if your console is plugged into the net, you'll always be online in AC5. You can take on the 10 story and 70+ side missions by yourself or with members of your online team, and either choice will earn experience points for the team. levelling up your team unlocks new parts in the store and lets you try to wrest areas of the world map away from other teams in Conquest mode, which you'll then add to your growing territory to defend from similar player-led incursions.

This Conquest mode is intriguing, a direct evolution of the territory capture in From's early yet warmly remembered 360 mecha game Chromehounds. It's just kind of unorthodox and strange, and without decent documentation you'll have to fake it till you make it before you understand everything. Truth be told, we're still unclear on some of Conquest mode's specifics.

Gaming Age Overall, Armored Core V is definitely a game worth checking out, especially if you have any love for mech themed video games. Again, it's remarkably more similar to Chromehounds than the last couple Armored Core games on consoles, but there's enough of an Armored Core element here that it won't completely turn away loyal fans of the series. Even if you're not at all familiar with the franchise I think it's worth a look, provided you have the patience to put up with learning the ins and outs of mech building.

We've reached maximum mech density!


Comments

    Nothing unexpected, Armored Core has always been rejected by reviews. The average gamer will pick it up then drop it in frustration and say "it sucks".
    Frankly this is one of the best AC games this generation and anyone passionate about mechs and customisation should give it a go as long as they're willing to expect it's not a bombastic game with an epic plot. It's all about keeping your eye on the ball and mastering the finesse of the mech.

      It's a fine art isn't it - much like the building and tuning process.

      Nothing more staisfying than assembling and tuning your own mech, then taking it into battle and metling face with it.

      on a real tip, this armored core is lame, this game has been stripped of what made it armored core, what happen to ap points stabilizers , this game also has a like of cores generators legs arms. this AC is i flop. i own. got my dlcs and its just a poor AC even mobility is water down to a noob. going from in and out of scan mode just for my generator to recharge fast enough is stupid. the wall kick does not work at times laging servers. i love robots, this is bull shit. after so long all you offer is something less then what we had. pleas, armored core for answer is as good as it gets right now. and thats the truth. baby sized robots lol. pleas flop

    Oh wow, this is not a good week for new releases from Japan.

      Sine Mora comes out this week right?

        THATS IT! I'VE HAD IT! I'm finally going to look up wtf Sine Mora is!

        HOLY SHIT IT'S A SHMUP!! A NEW 2.5D SHMUP!

          and apparently it has a surprisingly well made and mature story

    Oh man, I was pumped to get RE, then I saw the reviews and thought i'd get ACV.. And now I see this?

    I just want a new game!

      And don't forget Ninja Gaiden 3 which is apparently balls as well :(

        I went and bought AC:V on my lunch break anyway, looking forward to it.

          Imo they have always been good games even though critics have not liked them. AC:V is likely to be the same. Have fun with it :)

    Reviewers always can Armored Core. It remains one of my favorite IPs of all time.
    It is a niche market though, so it's to be expected. I'm insanely excited for this, but am not insanely excited by the fact PlayAsia have not even shipped my copy yet, and it's already on the shelves here.

    Anyone interested in this game should ignore reviews and check it for themselves.

    The AC series has always been niche so these reviews do not surprise me, they always end up getting reviews around the 70% mark.

    I'll be picking up this game sometime, but the focus on multiplayer sounds interesting and might convince me to pick it up sooner :).

      A niche market makes multiplayer even harder. It's why I can never find another Australian in Space Marine (also because they left out the "Local Only" search option).

        Oh don't get me started on that.
        Relic could have had me buying quite a lot of Space Marine DLC if they had only implemented that bloody local search option.

          I finished Spesh Maureen on hard and it sold it the next day because multiplayer matchmaking was so terrible. =( Such a shame too, because the whole two games I did manage to find were a lot of fun.

          Well, their Horde mode was free, so you can level up with 3 other Australians. Not only that, but this week (almost) all DLC for Space Marine is half off. So you can get that Dreadnaught gametype if you're willing to search and get together a group of Aussies.

          But yeah, I keep saying it nearly every week. Local Only should be a basic function for all online multiplayer games (especially multiplayer focused games).
          Even when I bought Blur after the community died, it has a Local Only search option and allowed me to match up against other Aussies. I was still playing with Aussies in War for Cybertron when there were only 200 players total online because of the Local Only search option.

    Armored CORE has always been hardCORE. I remember playing on the PS2 and finding that if i hadn't built the right mech, I couldn't even complete the mission. I think the reviewers have been on a steady diet of easy games leaving them unprepared for AC.

    Whats with all the crazy reviews lately?This and some others have been wildly varied, I mean a 75 score is good but a 40 is a real stinker.If this was my type of game I wouldnt know weither to buy ot not.
    Racoon city and some other recent releases had similar scores.

      Usually games with such fluctuating or varied scores interest me even more, because there must be something there. It's just a matter of whether it's for me or not.

      If anything, consistent reviews make me suspicious.

    So i just picked up ACV and i have never played an AC game before, so i chuck it into the PS3 to give it a quick go before i have to head off to work...my head still hurts from all the numbers and possible parts you can use for your mech, its just astounding and im looking forward to all those hours im going to spend with this game! This is definitely a niche game!

      According to a few reviews, you'll most likely spend more time designing your mech then fighting it :P

        You do spend more time in the garage than on the battlefield, but tinkering can be fun and it's all the more satisfying when you see how those decisions turn the tide of battle..

    Game seems like it would be fun... if the servers were up to give us the majority of the content.

    fuk u namco i want my dlc :(

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