Armored Core For Answer PS3 Review

Give a video game
franchise enough time and eventually it stops being about attracting new fans
and the focus switches to catering to the hardcore fanbase. It happened to the
Dynasty Warriors series, it happened to pretty much any EA Sports series, and it
happened to Armored Core. So with the release of Armored Core For Answer, the
thirteenth game in the series, it’s no surprise that even with Ubisoft taking
over as publishers, developers From Software have stuck with the two basic
elements of an Armored Core game. Fast and crazy action and a ton of
customization. As a result, it pretty much means that if you’re a fan, you’ll
still like this game even if you did buy Armored Core 4 sometime over the
course of the last twelve months. However, if you don’t like the franchise,
then For Answer probably won’t change your mind.

When you first
start the single player campaign, you’ll be asked who you want to align
yourself with. There are three corporations you can sign with as well as the
option to act as a mercenary. Depending on what you select, you’ll be given a
basic AC design and weapons that fits with that particular corporation’s
philosophy and expertise. International Union for example dabbles in energy efficient,
high powered lasers while GA America is all about over the top, blow you to
bits munitions. It might seem like very basic options right away, but after you
complete a few missions and earn some cash, you’ll find that there are quite a
number of parts to unlock and purchase.

This is actually
where I found myself having the most fun since there’s almost no end to what
you can create. Think of it as like a spectrum where on one end you have a very
light and quick moving AC designed for precision strikes and on the other end
is the ultra armed and armoured AC who can demolish a city in minutes. Just
about everything between these two you can create and it’s a lot of fun
experimenting with different formulas to find what works best for you. Along
with buying and changing parts and weapons, you have a ton of ways to paint
your AC and can add several different logos and decals to really personalize
it. In this respect, the game almost feels like a sim-style mech game. But for
me, this is where most of the fun ends.

After your AC is
up and running, it’s time to choose your missions. Usually you have a minimum
of three missions available to choose from. Their objectives are pretty typical
ranging from destroying a specific target, to doing as much damage as you can
to an enemy fleet with an allotted amount of time, to safely escorting a
friendly convoy across a map. The problem here is that no matter who you chose
to align with at the beginning of the story, you can pretty much work for any
faction who has a mission posted. If I destroy a bunch of convoy trucks
belonging to GA America in one mission, I can turn around and do a job for GA
the very next. There’s no consequence for successfully doing mission for
opposing factions which is so odd given what we’ve seen in games past like
Grand Theft Auto II or Mercenaries. It’s especially weird considering there’s
obvious animosity between certain organizations that’s depicted in the briefing

The briefings
themselves are a nice bonus regarding the story of For Answer. They’re nicely
stylized and feature a cool looking tactical display of the mission area, you,
your allies, and your enemies. Again they fit right in with the feel and theme
of each company. The GA speaker for example is commanding and authoritative
like you would expect a major military based corporation to have. International
Union on the other hand, features a more sophisticated and intelligent voice.
Overall they’re very well done. Unfortunately this is pretty much the biggest
glimpse of a story you get. The intro video has a short explanation as to the events
up and including Armored Core 4. It’s all pretty typical stuff. The Earth’s
surface is uninhabitable and people live in fortresses hovering in the sky.
Okay maybe that’s not so typical, but the whole post-war apocalyptic thing…well
it’s been done. Bottom line, you don’t feel like you’re working towards an
important climactic event. Most of the time it’s like you’re just moving from
mission to mission just for the sake of earning more money.

The missions are a
little uninspired as well. The specific objectives are varied, but basically
everything boils down to go here and destroy the enemy. It’s really repetitive
and gets boring pretty quickly. The only times when things get interesting are
when you have to face an enemy of the same class as you, or when you need to
take down a fortress. When you start the game, your AC is classified as a NEXT.
Facing other NEXTs are a challenge because every other enemy in the game is
pretty much a pushover. Facing a NEXT pretty much puts things on even terms.
The problem is every NEXT tends to do a lot of crazy boosts and fly all across
the mission area and it makes it very difficult to get a lock on them. Normally
I would welcome the challenge, but a majority of the battles have you spinning
in circles just trying to get the enemy NEXTs in your sights, never mind a lock

Taking on a
fortress or Arms Fort is an entirely different beast. These things are massive
and they range from tank-like structures to naval warship to flying cruisers.
The scale of these battles are very impressive. Some of the smaller ones will
be accompanied by a fleet of battleships so you’ll have to cut through the
enemy lines in order to reach your target. But the other, bigger Arms Forts
sometimes encompass the entire level. There’s a good scope to everything.
Unfortunately the graphical detailing and environments tend to reduce a lot of
the fun you might have.

Visually For
Answer is very underwhelming. It feels like you don’t see enough detail in your
AC which can be especially disappointing since you’ll probably spend a lot of
time working on customizing your mech. If I’m going to spend half an hour
really individualizing my AC, I want to be able to see that in the game. The
environments also suffer, but this is more due to a lack of spice. They’re too
bland. Everywhere you fight is a desert or a barren wasteland or the middle of
an ocean. Outside of some of the Arms Forts missions, all the environments are
empty. It almost feels like you’re fighting in a giant room. It would have been
much better to see some trees or bombed out ruins. Just something that gives
the environments some personality. Some areas feature mountains or cliffs, but
these are designed to be like walls. Usually they form a path that you have to
follow so they don’t feel natural. Also on the visual side, there tends to be
some slowdown. The framerate can drop when there is a lot of smoke and
explosions happening all at once, especially if it’s right in your face.

Outside of the
single player, a cool new set of additions are the multiplayer modes. Just
about every mission has Partnerships which is basically online cooperative
play. There were a few one-on-one specific missions but a high percentage of
the missions allowed for co-op. When playing two player missions all rewards
are split down the middle. There is also the more standard online competitive
multiplayer which returns. Here you’ll find usual game modes like free-for-all
and team deathmatch.

The hardest thing about
judging a game like Armored Core is whether or not you’re a fan of the series.
I know this might sound like a ridiculously obvious statement, but there are
some games that change so little from sequel to sequel that if you weren’t a
fan before, you probably won’t change your mind and that’s pretty much the case
here. The good new of course is that if you are a fan, what you’d expect to
find is here and it’s here in spades. There’s a ton of customizable parts and
plenty of fast paced, crazy action. Unfortunately, the missions are often too
similar and the look and detail of the mission environments are really


Overall Score:

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