PlayStation Gamer REVIEW


From Software
3D Action
Reviewed by:
Version tested:
Date posted:

Armored Core - screenshot

Armored Core is a mech action game set in a (surprise, surprise) post- nuclear war Earth. The world is ruled by corporations (another scifi plot cliché) and the player takes part in a mercenary organization named Ravens' Hive. As most games of this type, the action is mission- based. The player can choose his/her missions as offers come along. From succesful missions, you get a set salary, from or to which special additions or deductions are taken/placed depending on if civilians are killed/certain enemies are destroyed etc. Some missions offer AC (the mechs of the game are dubbed ACs - Armored Cores) parts as a prize.

Armored Core - screenshot After you survive the entrance test to Ravens' Hive, you are presented with your base, which has several options, including the shop, the garage and mission selection. The shop is obviously for buying and selling parts for your AC - the parts are divided into units like the core (torso), the generator, the head, the arms, the legs, the weapons, the targeting systems and others. Gradually, as the game progresses, more parts become available. When you're done shopping, the garage is where you fit the parts together - the two things that have to be taken into consideration are the maximum load of weight the leg can carry and the energy amount that the generator must produce. You can also name your AC and even draw a special emblem for it - of course, drawing on the pad is quite awkward, and if you wish, there are preset emblems for your use.

Armored Core - screenshot The mission structure has been fairly well made - the creators have managed to avoid the "oh no, another kill 'em all"-mission feel. Even though most missions require you to cause havoc and destruction, there are many that, for example require you to do it carefully, or to protect a given target from being destroyed.

The coolest are the missions which have these little surprises in 'em. Like, suddenly another member of the Ravens' Hive appears, hired by the other side of the battle. And since he's a ranking (there is a Hive score rank in the base) hotshot, you panic and he blows you away (well, he'd do that even if you didn't panic - it takes practice to defeat the best).

One good thing about the missions is also that the environments are constantly changing. In one mission you're deep in an underground base, the other you're in the sea (well, on the surface), protecting an oil platform, and in the next you're fighting in a laboratory, against an experimental robot. After the mission, you get your pay with the deductions/additions.

Armored Core - screenshot The graphics are neat, save for some pixellation and weird stuff in nearby textures, and some slowdown when there are a lot of effects on the screen. But nothing serious. The animation is fluid and mostly there's an "I'm really in there"-feeling.

The sound is somewhat lacking in magnitude - if a giant robot jumps down from a multi-floor building, wouldn't you expect it to make a little more noise than a muffled 'thump'? Also, when you stomp on civilian cars (heheh ;) they make this extremely dinky sound when they explode. Also, on the audio side, I did expect it to be techno but I really hoped it'd be a good orchestral score instead of the usual. Oh well, it's techno. Not bad techno, but still, techno.

I've enjoyed this game immensely. The missions aren't too lacking, the fiddling around with the AC's equipment is fun, and just imagine: You're patrolling on a business district of an underground city, when your scanners pick up four ACs in front of you. They notice you too, and start advancing. You hit the jets, soaring towards them, jump over them, turn around and start blasting them before they even have time to turn around. To top everything, the game sports a 2-player mode, in both split-screen and multi-player cable. Man, I love mechs.

(BTW, I haven't played the PSX version of MechWarrior 2 but I strongly suggest trying it on the PC, especially in a multiplayer IPX game. MW2 is cool in a sense that you may actually call it a simulator, whereas AC is more of an action game)

GRAPHICS: 9.0 - mostly neat and fast
SOUND: 7.0 - does it's job
MUSIC: 6.0 - you won't lose anything by turning it off
GAMEPLAY: 9.0 - boom! bang!
OVERALL SCORE: 9.0 - great stuff, glad i bought it. you should, too.

Reviewed by KarriN,

(c) From Software

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