Armored Core 4
Score: 9.0 / 10
With the current releases of games for the Playstation 3, there are few original titles to be had and so there is going to be some competition on how like titles run on competing consoles. My current fixation is squarely being driven by a giant mech that is wholly capable of delivering a cargo container of pain on any enemy. Unfortunately, enemies tend to know that they can be easily squashed and tend to group together. To succeed, you are going to have outfight, outthink, and especially evade your enemies. Armored Core 4 delivers a balance of tactics and visceral destruction that can drive your mind to distraction much like the last piece of cake in a community refrigerator.
play as an available mercenary – you and your trusty Armored Core are
available for all sorts of counter-insurgency, defense, or infiltration
missions; the variety will only whet your appetite.
Missions are offered en masse, you can pick and choose which of them to complete and one will advance the main story. Early missions will build a confidence in your piloting ability only to annihilate it soon after. The difficulty curve for the game is a steep one, Chapter 1 and 2 missions are rather
straightforward and without too many hang ups, then Chapter 3 has some soul crushing ones (I still cry thinking about the submarine, air interdiction, and enemy warship missions), and Chapters 4, 5, and 6 were a bit uneven in comparison – some are pretty cut and dry, others are nigh-impossible. The average mission will be completed after 2 to 3 passes assuming that
can figure out the positions of the most important objects on the map; the more
difficult ones will push this number into the double digits.
prepared to spend a lot of time in a heap, this may not be a good game for those
with “Thrown Controller Syndrome”. Don’t even get me started on hard
mode… I couldn’t get past Chapter 3 on hard mode…
The battles themselves quickly switch from artillery style barrages into quick penetration/slashing style fighting. If you are standing still, you are about to take a hit. As evasion becomes a way of life instead of a skill, controller response quickly becomes a vital commodity – I found the game a tad unresponsive in some aspects, especially when I was trying to use the flight systems (Just what the AI needed in this game, additional handicapping). After all said and done, I’d estimate that the game will provide about 15-20 hours of gameplay to a typical gamer.
prepare for your wide-variety of missions, your personal ride is highly
customizable, and if you intend on coming back alive, you’d better spend the
time to outfit it properly. Weapons range from typical ballistic weapons, to
energy-based, missiles, and even energy based swords (nothing says high-tech
like a glowing weapon with an effective range of right in front of you). Kitting
you robot with all the right gear is half as important as the right upgrades for
the body. Interchangeable limbs, power supplies, and armor are going to dictate
what you can field and how fast you are going to be able to field it. Speed
becomes ridiculously important, as evasion becomes the only reliable defense
against numerous attackers. The main limiter on the constant upgrading is the
cost, you can only afford the best upgrades if you can maximize your profits on
the missions – blowing the budget with ballistic weapons may prevent you from
affording the best kit for a later sortie. A vicious cycle of cost effectiveness
such a high-tempo game, one would assume the graphics would suffer. Not so. The
definition on the equipment and the devastated environments makes for a very
hypnotizing visual experience. Armored
Core 4 is drool-worthy on my roommates’ Toshiba projector and even
enviable on my 20” Apex (which no technophile would ever accuse of being a
status symbol). The sound is pretty much what you’d expect from a war with
giant machines and the voice acting is competent if not dialed in to their
performances. The manual is well… included in the purchase of the game? It was
pretty luck-lustre… I don’t appreciate having to hunt and peck or solve by
trial and error, especially with the highly complicated upgrading and tuning
process for the Armored Cores.
to the version released on the Xbox 360 you ask? Looks better on the PS3,
responds better on the Xbox. Not a huge win for either console in my opinion, as
both wins were marginal at best. All in all, Armored Core 4 was one of the first games in a long time that
actually had me sitting around trying to think of a way to beat the mission
while not playing. If you are thinking about the content of the game while you
are working, it’s an addictive game and definitely recommended to those who
have enjoyed the franchise up to this point.
(June 22, 2007)
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