#92, October 21st, 2020
Availible On: PS Vita | PS3 | PS1 | PSP
Before the Souls games, FromSoftwares longest running series was Armored Core. Spread across 23 games and 7 devices it all began with Armored Core on PlayStation 1.
Mech’s (known as Armored Cores) are highly customizable, leading to a variety of playstyles. Do you want to control an agile Core that can dash through the skies? Or maybe you prefer a more grounded mech with the body of a tank? By letting you change out individual components, each Core can be tailored to your liking.
Being designed for the PS1, around the joystick controllers initial release, the game is built around using the d-pad and shoulder buttons. Directional movement is utilized on the d-pad while finer movement left or right can be controlled with the L1/R1 shoulder buttons. To look up or down with the third person camera you must use the L2/R2 buttons.
This sounds clunky to someone starting the series for the first time in 2020, but after the initial hour into the game I no longer felt the controls were a barrier to complete levels. This is mainly due to the fact that a majority of the game is built around flat surfaces. By the time you have reached the last few levels that do require you to land jumps on moving platforms, you already have 7-8 hours of muscle memory practicing it.
After amassing a few credits during the initial levels, Armored Cores difficulty drops off quickly. Purchasing items from the shop turns your Core into a wrecking machine. While knowing what to buy is confusing at first, purchases are low stakes as you can sell back each item for their full value at any time.
The game’s soundtrack is minimal but provides some nice background music. During levels the sounds of unloading the barrel of your assault rifle or explosions from your missiles are serviceable. The voice acting is also minimal and is not a highlight in Armored Core.
Earth is destroyed and its survivors now live underground. Two corporations, Chrome and Murakumo Millennium, control a majority of the power and are not shy at flashing money to further their gains.
In the pursuit of total dominance, corporations hire mercenaries known as Ravens, through the Ravens Nest. The Nest is an independent organization that takes missions with no questions asked. You, an up and coming Raven, can take a mission to protect a facility only to take another mission shortly after to destroy its inhabitants inside.
The majority of the story is told through these mission details and any additional information you receive from these corporations afterwards in the form of an email. It provides some context of what you are doing, but is never a main focal point for Armored Core. Towards the end of the game, a few cutscenes have you begin to question these missions and lead to an interesting finale.
To finish the game, you need to finish 35 of the game’s 50 missions. There is no retry option for failure, but luckily after completing the main game you can go back to take another stab at them with better gear. Besides that, the game offers limited replay value unless you enjoy the combat and want to try to beat a mission again decked out with different gear.
Time To Completion 8 Hours