Armored with great graphics
March 30, 2007
Last summer SEGA came out with the hit mech (robot) game Chromehounds. It was a popular Click Chick story, commented on by readers for months after I wrote it.
As a sort of follow-up to that, a new mech game hit the shelves last week. Also by SEGA, Armored Core 4 is the newest addition to the mech-based franchise of the game developer FromSoftware.
In my opinion, Armored Core 4 is a huge improvement from the previous Armored Core titles, especially the graphics. It’s the 10th anniversary of this acclaimed franchise and Armored Core 4 reinvigo-rates the brand by giving you an all-new storyline, different environments, and online capabilities that feature multiple play modes.
With more than 35 missions, it enables you to fully customize and bring into battle the next generation of mechs. You can fly through canyons and cities using the new Quick Boost and Over Boost features. Additionally, the Primal Armor, an all-new defense shield, adjusts its strength according to specific battle conditions, giving you a defensive advantage against your enemies.
The storyline follows an explosion in population growth with chronic food and energy shortages, bringing the world closer to terminal condition. Cities were reduced to bombed-out husks by unchecked terrorism. In response, a handful of mechanized arms manufacturers, complete with private armies, expanded in scale and rose to power. This began the Dismantlement War. The world’s nations were eventually unable to withstand the onslaught of the Companies’ advanced weaponry, and a new breed of Armored Core (AC) mechs was born. The global economy was destroyed and the new Pax Economica emerged from the Companies. Five years into the Pax Economica, the military power was consolidated, and the public’s apathy still managed to go through chaos until you, as the lone Raven, decided to take matters into your own hands.
Going through this journey, other than the much-improved graphics, one of my favorite key features of the game is the fact that you can customize your mech. The simple, but deep AC assembly allows you to assemble your mech step-by-step with an easy assembly process. This new schematic design system offers you no-hassle management of AC settings so you can express yourself with the freedom to customize. Other key features include the Overed Boost (yield higher speeds), Unparalleled Power And Quick Response (immediate button response and partial automation control), Engagement In Realistic And Diverse World, Variety of Challenging Enemies, Realistic And Compelling Battlefields, The Power of Kojima Technology (Kojima particles released from a special emitter shaped into Primal Armor), Quick Boost (emergency evasion, lunging at attacks, sharp turns) and a New, Streamlined Design System (tuning and saved schematics that can be traded between players).
As mentioned above, the Primal Armor is an all-new defense shield with which all ACs come equipped. What I like about it is that it’s a force field, and you can see it working when things are shooting at you. I think it works rather well. It becomes a little complicated when you’re dealing with the Primal
Armor piercing weapons, but you’ll have these choices in your weapons loadout to shoot other mechs. Customizing your mech is very user-friendly, especially helpful if you’re a newcomer. You won’t be overwhelmed by the seemingly millions of things you can add to your mech. I remember on the previous Armored Core titles, I would spend sometimes literally hours just sitting there and building my mech because I wanted it to be perfect. It was such a waste of time, but with Armored Core 4, I have more time for actual gameplay.
Overall, the combat seems to be faster-paced than previous Armored Cores. The missions are very short, which could be considered good or bad. I personally like the shorter missions because I can play a little, walk away and do something else, and then come back to it. However, this will probably disappoint diehard fans because of its lack of complexity.
Armored Core 4 is rated T for Teen (ages 13+) and you can find it at your nearest CompUSA (www.compusa.com), GameStop (www.gamestop.com) or Best Buy (www.bestbuy.com). Thankfully for you Xbox 360 fans, it’s not one of those exclusive games for Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3). It’s available for both the PS3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 for $59.99. The game is playable as a stand alone for one to two players or up to eight players online.
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