Armored Core V is the fifth main installment of From Software’s Armored Core mech game series. Despite the Roman numeral, Armored Core V is apparently not a sequel to Armored Core 4 (2007) or Armored Core: For Answer (2008). The game starts off with a whole new storyline, making knowledge of the narrative details of previous installments unnecessary. The plot is not exactly easy to make sense of, however. You’re playing on the side of the Resistance, up against some sort of shadowy, militaristic corporation. Basically it seems to amount to good robots versus bad robots. If there’s significantly more nuance to it than that, it was simply lost on me.
The game is focused on tactics and skilled planning rather than simply attacking an enemy with brute force. Armored Core V is a highly intensive game that’s really not for the casual player. It requires a lot of dedication to gain skills, learn tactics, and build a team. The game can get frustrating for anyone who just wants to sit down and dive into gameplay without much prior experience. This game takes commitment and patience in order to get the most out of it. I’ll be upfront and admit that I have not played the previous Armored Core games, so if you’re interested in a comparison to those, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re interested in what a newbie might experience when jumping into Armored Core V completely cold, this might be more helpful. As a newbie, I would have liked an intensive tutorial mode option.
There is not really one ongoing storyline to the game. The ten-mission story mode is worth working your way through if you haven’t played these games before. I found it highly difficult, as each of the base missions has multiple order missions within. The overall setting is an uninhabitable world where machines fight over territory. The game is very customizable. Players can design a giant robot to control, choosing from a wide array of emblems, names, and colors. Weaponry and hardware can be customized as well, but it takes some experience to determine what you will need. The game can be played individually, but can be more fun when played with others while online. Either way, players work with a team to defeat the enemy. Figuring out what to do can be pretty confusing at first. After configuring a machine, players are presented with a map of different missions. The choice seems arbitrary at first, because there is a lot to learn about game play.
Players will have to spend a fair amount of time learning about the weapons and how they work. The controls are not especially intuitive. It can be easy to forget the brief instructions given at the beginning of each mission. The controls can be pretty complex as far as movement, defense, and weaponry are concerned. It takes a lot of practice to perfect and remember everything that needs to be done on a mission. On the other hand, I found that button mashing can yield some positive results in easier missions, especially those which are untimed.
Players are not alone. There are checkpoints and communications with other team members from time to time. At the beginning of the first couple of missions I attempted, I felt as though I was running around aimlessly. I was able to destroy opponents, and I completed my first mission fairly easily. Repeated playing is the key to succeeding on these missions. The timed missions proved very challenging for me. The scanning mode lays out a beam of blue light, allowing the player to guide his robot along the proper route to complete the mission. Blasting opponents into oblivion has a very satisfying feel, even if I felt extraordinarily disoriented while playing the game.
Customization becomes more expansive the more the game is played. Mech configuration becomes much more fun as more gadgets are unlocked. Changing mech configuration also changes game play, which adds variety to the game. Things such as laser cannons, shields, boosters, missles, and targeting computers can all be unlocked to enhanced game play. The problem, depending on your commitment level and prior experience, might be making even that much progress. There is so much to learn, with so much repetition involved in the learning, only the most dedicated players will be able to appreciate all the game has to offer.
Amored Core V is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Language and Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360.