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Armored Core V Preview

by Diogo Miguel March 19, 2012

Japan’s infatuation with giant mechanical creatures knows no bounds. This love is only matched to their obsession with the likes of Godzilla and dancing school girls dressed up as maids It’s not uncommon to see new mech video-games in Japan come out on regular basis.

Namco Bandai’s long standing Armored Core has survived for so long due to the level of detail, put into the design for each mech. But is there still room for improvement after four sequels in a series that is based on such a niche genre?

Anyone new to this genre is forgiven for feeling overwhelmed when looking at the main menu. Developer From Software designed it so that it is possible to integrate an advanced online system. The main menu itself is a map that acts as a centre of operations for all player activities. It’s quite disorientating at first to know what to do, but there’s a lot of on-screen prompts that guide players.

The main section of Armored Core V consists of missions that range from simple tasks to more complex objectives. It’s surprising that some of the areas for these missions seem like barren wastelands. Obviously it’s meant to portray a futuristic apocalyptic world, but it felt like exploring a giant empty area with little to see.

Hopefully it’s the case that further missions will be set in more interesting locations. The mission objectives are rather complex which makes sense from the perspective of someone with very limited experience playing this genre.

On the flip-side there are also story related missions which are far more accessible to new players. A structured level design does wonders for the story since it’s much easier to know what’s going on.

Even the level itself comes to life with plenty of enemies to destroy and props such as a rainstorm. Fans of the genre and beginners should both enjoy these missions and the engaging story they provide.

Before each battle it’s possible to customise the combat mech with various equipment. Customization is one of the highlights in Armored Core V. There’s various options to choose from for each section of the mech.

Experts are going to enjoy the process because it’s possible to mix and match different types of equipment. It’s the perfect set up to ensure that a player can customise a mech tailored for each mission.

Some of the weapons have such a devastating power that it’s not uncommon to stare at the screen for a couple of seconds. Fortunately it’s not the case that these weapons turn the battlefield into a fireworks display. Weapon ammo is limited and so the use of each weapon is limited.

It just means that players should think carefully before each attack. This is a strategic video-game at heart and it’s all about trying to get the upper hand on enemies. Which is ironic in a way due to the fact that most people think of relentless explosions when it comes to mechs.

The online side of Armored Core V is like a whole new experience compared to the main campaign. There certainly isn’t a lack of modes to keep players busy. Versus mode for example pits players against each other in a war to see who is the sole survivor. It didn’t feel too exciting with just two players, but there is potential for when it’s played with a bigger group.

Armored Core V is a refined experience that will only make sense to those used to this sort of video-game or are willing to learn. It’s not easy to get used to it but it’s satisfying for those that manage such a task.

Armored Core V will not appeal to everyone but it’s shaping up to be an interesting new entry in the genre.

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