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Facebook Files: Armored Core – Dusty Relic Or Gaming Nirvana?



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Armored Core isn’t a series I’m personally familiar with, but it seems to have a rather large following among Siliconerites. While that’s perfectly normal for us, it doesn’t have a very large audience outside of the small niche that really enjoys it. Mattias decided to start up a topic to discuss the series’ design achievements and failings.


Mattias wrote:

The Armored Core-series might be the series of games that I like the most right now. From Software’s always had great visual design, soundtracks (Kota Hoshino!!!) and gameplay and Armored Core is definitely their flagship series.


However, it seems like the rest of the world (i.e. everyone not Japanese or me) doesn’t care about Armored Core. What is it that puts people off? I personally think the control scheme is one of the better ways to control a mech, it IS a bit hard to turn and handle it in general but isn’t that the way it should be when you’re piloting an enormous killing machine? The mission based gameplay is framed by a deliciously messy storyline (with GOOD voiceovers), the multiplayer is frantic but fantastic and mech customization can eat your free time for months. Am I the only one who really likes these games? It seems like it when you see the scores for Armored Core: for Answer (imo the best game in the series yet):


Metacritic – 64
Game Rankings – 65.74%


I was amazed when I saw this and no review I read seemed to have anything other to say than "we’ve seen this before". Since when does a game have to be groundbreaking to be good? There ARE new features and new content but the important thing is that the actual gameplay is still fantastic.


One common argument was that the newer Armored Core games just aren’t as interesting as the old ones on the original Playstation.


Adam wrote:

As a huge fan of the series I will ask for your opinion. I loved the hell out of this series on the original Playstation and played those AC’s. I never touched the game again after, yet I’ve always wanted to go back. I tried the AC4 Demo on the 360 for about 5 minutes but didn’t feel the same about the game. Would you recommend this as a agood game to jump into the series again or should I just go pick up the classics–what ARE the classics?


Jacek wrote:

Hm, I really liked the idea behind the first Armored Core when I was in elementary school. Me and my friends were huge mecha fans back then, so the demo we played over and over seemed like a perfect game for us.


Few years later, when I got my hands on the PS2 I’ve found AC2 in the discount bin so I bought it… And I was pretty disappointed. Not a game for me anymore I guess. I may try a PSP version in some time, but hell, I don’t expect much.


Bill wrote:

I bought AC 2 when the PS2 launched in the states back in the day. My friends and I were actually pretty obsessed with it. We all made mechs, brought memory cards over to each other’s houses, and went crazy. I have tons of fond memories about the game, I’ve just never been able to convince myself to pick a new version for some reason.


I think people don’t like it because you kind of have to learn how to play it. But the game is really what you make it.


A fair number of posters shared Adam, Bill and Jacek’s views. Either the series had lost them during the PS2 days or they’d moved over to Another Century’s Episode, another mech series developed by From Software, which became part of the design debate.


Antonio wrote:

Well, from my perspective, From Software could have done better with it’s last two Armored Core games. What’s odd is that for all of it’s customization and noteworthy challenges, it fails to impress me, especially when I compare the Another Centuries Episode series (only in Japan as far as I know) to AC4 when I know the same company made both! AC4 came out sometime before ACE 3, but I have more fun with ACE 3. Odd, right?


Of course, there were also devoted fans that felt Armored Core was fine the way it is, and that an attempt to make it mainstream would come at the cost of its present audience.


Spencer wrote:

I believe Armored Core is a niche game in Japan too, not that there’s anything wrong with that.


From Software designed the series for mecha fans, which limits its general appeal. I”m confident From Software could simplify Armored Core and increase its mass appeal, but then it wouldn’t be held in such high regard from the group that loves it now.


Andrew wrote:

I played Armored Core on PS1. It looked horrible, but it hooked me, just like every AC game I played. I always get hooked really badly until I reach a really hard mission, and god knows Armored Core has tons of hard missions. This time it’s Armored Core 3 Portable for PSP. I played the heck out of it.


The best thing about Armored Core is that upgrades you have to grind through several missions to afford actually make a noticeable difference and encourage you to keep upgrading.


I think Armored Core only started to get stylistically pleasing with 4. And I never played 4, I just watched my friend play it, and I must say, the absence of the aiming reticule made me dance with joy. And it looks beautiful. Simply beautiful. And that’s why I got a PS3 :D


What’s the verdict on the site? Armored Core is another of those games I always meant to try out "eventually" but never got down to doing it. Part of it is that I grew up with Virtual On and probably devoted more hours of my life to that than I can remember, but I understand they’re completely different games beyond the initial "mech" appeal. Armored Core fans can check out the full AC vs A.C.E debate here.

Ishaan Sahdev
About The Author
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.