Time Enforcer Anubis here with another review!
Staying faithful to long-time fans while still delivering new, fresh gameplay is a balancing act, and one side will always win out in some capacity, for better or worse.
Released in 2012, Armored Core V is a customizable mech combat game developed by From Software and published by Bandai Namco. It’s story focuses on a resistance movement fighting in a post-apocalyptic world against a dictator known as “Father,” and the megacorporation working for him. The player assumes the role of a mercenary, fighting with the resistance.
The story might seem very “been there, done that,” and I’d agree, but the story really isn’t the focus on Armored Core V. In many ways, Armored Core V can be seen as a spiritual successor to ChromeHounds, a game that was released earlier in the Xbox 360’s life cycle. Most of the action in Armored Core V takes place online. Even completing single-player missions (Most of these missions also allow another online player to join) contributes to the multiplayer in a small way.
Immediately after completing the first mission, the player is prompted to join or create a team. Teams represent player-created factions and are pivotal to Armored Core V’s persistent online multiplayer. There are a finite number of territories in the world, and teams are in constant conflict for dominance over them. Undermanned teams can hire mercenaries, both players and NPCs, to pad out teams for missions, invasions, or defenses.
Armored Core’s famous customization returns, giving a plethora of combinations to build, with more parts becoming available as a player’s team levels up. In addition to basic parts like legs, arms, heads, and generators, players can equip a variety of weapons, as well as equipment such as recon UAVs, anti-missile systems, and jammer pods. The variety allows the player to tailor their Armored Core directly to their own playstyle and role in combat.
Combat in Armored Core V is intense and fast-paced. ACV’s mecha are quite small, compared to most other mech games. As many of the game’s environments are urban, hilly, or otherwise varied in elevation, the diminutive size of the mecha allows for a very three-dimensional style of combat in very detailed environments. Rival ACs kick off of skyscrapers, fight in and out of tunnels, and skim across water in various environments. Fights are 5-on-5 at most, with a sixth player on each team playing as a mission controller (Called an “Operator” in mecha lingo). Coordination is important in ACV’s team combat. Players have no radar, and must rely on visuals, recon, and their Operator to spot enemies.
While the customization, gameplay, and concept are all soundly-executed, I actually fear for this game’s sustainability. The meat of the game is 100% online and there is no local multiplayer or even system link. Like ChromeHounds before it (ChromeHounds’ online servers ended up shutting down four years after its release), Armored Core V is very fun online, but has no real content otherwise.
If Armored Core V sounds like your kind of game, I’d say go get it right now and play it as much as you can. While the game is solid and has a wonderful concept and franchise behind it, remembering how ChromeHounds fared with a similar multiplayer-focused concept makes me dubious as to how long this game’s playerbase will stick around.
‘Till next time!
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This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.