Currently Playing: Armored Core 4 (PS3)

This is one game I really wanted to like because I missed Mech Warrior and this is the closest game I can think of that is similar. I couldn’t even wait to try all the mechas and try out the different weapons and body armor setups, which does seem so endless. What got me excited was mechas bursting into speed without too much limitations. If you’ve played Mech Warrior, speed is never there, but if you’re used to playing Armored Core, speed is very important.

I watched the introduction movie and looked amazed by it, I was hoping some similar atmospheric look when I start the game. As I started, I kept on waiting to see what’s in store for me, at the end, the only visually amazing screen was when I was looking at the editing the robot screen. Looking at Armored Core 4 doesn’t really give you an impression that it’s from a next generation console, unless you do have a HDTV to supply the tons of pixels needed for the upgraded visuals. Most levels look bland and dry, I know the setting should be post-apocalyptic but for me, this is a bit too much. Though there are a lot of special effect that do make up for the dry wasteland like really nice explosions and depth of field, it still doesn’t make up for so much plain atmosphere. Even cities with tall skyscrapers look bland and uninteresting. On the good side of things, the mechas look amazing, highly detailed. Although the default setup is bland in color, you can change the color to any thing you like. Then your mecha stands out from the bland and plain backgrounds.

The setup is very similar to Namco’s Ace Combat where you are given mission objectives and you just go at it, but what’s important here is that setting up your mecha is the key to winning each mission. You can’t just play around with options and just start playing. You will consider the mission objectives and test it first. Expect to die frequently in the game, don’t worry though, it’s pretty normal. The missions are hard but bearable to some point. What I don’t like is how to setup the mecha. Although it does seem straightforward and seems like a breeze, you’d be surprised to see at the end of it a bill of large amounts of credits shows up, and you don’t even know what items costs what. If you can get past these problems with customization, this feature is outstanding, maybe the only reason for me try out my mechas.

The controls are not as easy as I thought it would be. I wanted some kind of control similar to first person shooters, since that’s what I’m used to. Controlling this game seems to be more of a chore than it should be. Although the auto target is a good idea, it’s just that the auto target, can look at so many things at the same time when I want to target something else. It does take time but you can get used to it.

The idea of a combat area is not so bad, but this is ridiculously small than what I expected. Each time I get to the edge of the combat area, the game keeps warning me to go back which is a bit irritating. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to playing Grand Theft Auto with free ways to move around and games like Resistance: Fall of Man where a barrier seems normal or part of the scenery.

I suppose the best part of this game is playing online with a bunch of people, with several options of how to play. The multiplayer option gives players an opportunity to trade and combat different mech setups. It would be interesting how your own mech will stand a chance with other custom made robots. This is the only feature that can really make playing this game worth your cash, if you can get online.

I really had high hopes for Armored Core 4, it’s just that there are so many things that are done wrong than right. Fans of the game might really want to get this title, although new players should really rent it first before actually getting a copy of your own. With a uninspired single player game and a fairly good multiplayer, this game is really hard to recommend.

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