Armored Core 4
|Armored Core 4|
PAL cover art
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3:
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
|Distribution||Blu-ray Disc, DVD|
Armored Core 4 (アーマード・コア Āmādo Koa Fō) is a mech combat game, published by Sega for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. It is the 12th installment of From Software's Armored Core series and a reboot of the series after Armored Core 3. The game is set in the future where a great war has left the nations of Earth devastated and their respective governments taken over by corporations.
The game features a system for personalized customization of the player's mech and an online mode where players can battle each other over Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network.
The world experienced a period of rapid population growth, which put a strain on global food and energy supplies. As populations increased, so did the gap between the wealthy and the poor, and so did the unrest within the population at large. Eventually, violence began to erupt and the governments quickly lost control of their populations as their cities were consumed by terrorism and anarchy. People began turning to corporations, complete with private armies, to keep them safe from the chaos.
In the midst of the meltdown, the world's six most powerful corporate conglomerates decided to do away with national governments and install their own brand of rule and law. They launched a full scale war on the nations of the world, which came to be known as the National Dismantlement War.
Using advanced Armored Core technology, the corporations decimated the forces of the nations and declared victory in less than a month. With the old nations of the world effectively toppled, the corporations set out to work on a new system of government.
The corporations dubbed their new order as the "Pax Economica" ("Economic [or Corporate] Peace", Latin), a system where loyalty and service to the corporations guaranteed food and survival. Under the Pax, however, people were forced into corporate-run colonies and essentially became slaves serving wealthy corporate masters.
Around five years after the National Dismantlement War, long-standing tensions between the Pax Economica members erupted, and a new war began.
The story details the adventures of Anatolia's Mercenary, to prevent the colony from collapsing to the will of the Corporations serves as a freelancer, began taking assignments from the six major powers and becoming a rising legend among the NEXT pilots and the corporations.
However when the corporations finally felt that Pax Economica can no longer be maintained quickly turned on one another, the Anatolian pilot fights to stop the perpetrators of the Lynx Conflict which included the Bernard Felix Foundation and Rayleonard. Both of them fell before the Mercenary when Omer Science decides to attack Anatolia with Joshua O'Brian and Celo, thwarting their attack and protecting the colony one last time both Fiona and the Mercenary leaves the colony. They will find the colony of Line Ark, a place where people once oppressed can live free from corporate oppression.
However, the scars of war can still be felt by the world as the Kojima particles plagued the earth and the only means of escape sealed away, such events would pave way for another answer.
Gameplay in Armored Core 4 is divided among several modes, where the player can build an Armored Core unit for combat and test its abilities in various areas, such as an assembly mode for customizing the machine, a simulation mode for testing out the machine, and various recording features for saving mecha configurations.
Introduction of new features
Armored Core 4 includes more new features than previous games in the series featured, although some of those found in previous AC games were removed. The lock box from the first AC game up to Last Raven was enlarged to nearly the size of the entire screen and its borders were made invisible. As a weapon's lock approaches the edge of the lock box, its tracking ability decreases (most clearly seen when using sniper weapons). ACs will now automatically lock on to enemies when in FCS range instead of waiting for the weapon to be in range. Lock box tracking is now second to melee ability in importance. Melee ability determines how fast a weapon's lock on reticule can track an opposing AC. A heavy weapon with low melee is likely to lose a lock on if a fast AC QBs to the side, while a high melee weapon will maintain its lock on.
The controls for the game have been reworked from the ground up to provide easier and more efficient play. Also, the environment is now affected by AC battles. For example, an AC moving on sand or on the ground will leave footprints, boosting leaves a trail. Some buildings and landmarks can be destroyed. Weapons also possess the ability to alter the playing environment. For example, shooting a plasmatic energy bolt at a building causes a small chunk to be removed. Continuous machine gun or assault rifle fire causes bullet holes to appear. Battlefields are now considerably larger, but relatively barren of details unlike previous AC games. The player can now fight on water, unlike past AC games where the player would fall straight to the bottom if contact was made (that is, the player was not given a chance to try to recover).
Other changes made from past AC games include increased weapon damage, the replacement of the heat and overheating game mechanics with Kojima Particles and Primal Armor shielding, the removal of Exceed Orbit cores, greatly increased AP, defense and load capacities, the removal of cannon restrictions on non tank legs, the extension of Hangars and Overboost to all core types, the separation of boosters into categories of main, side, back, and overboost, and ground boosting (and sometimes in the air) no longer consuming energy, but merely causing the energy bar to regenerate more slowly (Generator output no longer stops when boosting, so total drain is a function of output added to boost and weapon drain).
A quick boost (QB) function was also added which causes an instantaneous burst of speed. QB is the main method of movement in AC4, and has many analogies to boost movements in older games, such as the QB hop vs boost hop. New techniques include "second staging" and "chaining". Second Stage (or SS) QB can only be used when QB is mapped to a pressure-sensitive button, like the triggers on the 360 and PS3 controllers. Pulling the trigger at the correct and steady rate results in a more powerful QB that increases speed and acceleration for negligible drain penalties. Chaining is a move that overcomes the latency time between QBs, but this only works for the side QBs. If a player QBs to the left, the right side QB is activated. To cancel the latency time of the right side QB, the player must then QB to a direction that is not the opposite of the first one, for example after the said QB to the left the player must QB forward or backward. Overboost is relatively weak, and drains Kojima Particles (KP) when activated. This means that frequent use of OB may leave one's defenses greatly reduced. This led to OB being less popular than in previous games, such as Silent Line.
Armored Core 4 received generally mixed reviews. Numerous critics (such as GameSpot and Eurogamer) scored the game significantly higher than the previous two Armored Core titles that were released for the PlayStation 2. The game received a 7.7 (out of 10) from GameSpot, 5.9 (out of 10) from IGN, 7.3 (out of 10) from Game Trailers, 4 (out of 10) from 1UP.com, 6.5 (out of 10)(with a second opinion of 6) from Game Informer, 6 (out of 10) from GameDaily, 8 (out of 10) from Eurogamer, and 6 (out of 10) from GamesRadar. It has average scores of 67.72% (PS3) and 65.53% (360) from GameRankings and 65% (for both versions) from Metacritic.
Tom Magrino of GameSpot praised the faster gameplay and commented that mech customization felt streamlined compared to previous entries, while still offering a considerable amount of depth for those who decided to dig deeper. Magrino also generally praised the new graphics, although he had reservations about the blandness of certain environments and clipping issues with mechs on hilly terrain. GameSpot concluded that the various changes and improvements made Armored Core 4 more accessible to new players while still being an excellent game for returning players to the series.
Bryan Vore of Game Informer opened his review by stating the "biggest surprises" found in Armored Core 4 are the multiplatform status of the title and the "next-gen graphical makeover". However, he felt that mech customization was still as inaccessible as it had been previously ("do we really need to worry about four separate booster classes?"), and that the online gameplay was disappointing. In his second opinion, Ben Reeves stated "I don't hate this game because it's really a collection of complicated, unintuitive menus, or that it has sparse next-gen graphics, or that the learning curve is steeper than the PS3's price...actually, it's all of these things." Both reviewers stated that they felt the game was more appropriate to be played by dedicated fans of the series.
Robert Workman of GameDaily felt that the faster pace of gameplay in missions was disappointing, commenting that battles that took "thirty to forty-five minutes in a previous Armored Core" now takes "just five to ten minutes". He also considered the multiplayer to be disappointing, with the maps being "too simple in design". His overall feeling was that it was "too user-friendly" and would be a turn-off to longtime fans.
- Willzay (2007-06-08). "http://img.game.co.uk/ml/3/3/0/9/330905ps.gif". GamingExtreme - Home Of The Extreme!. meltingpx - Home. Retrieved 2007-06-22. "http://img.game.co.uk/ml/3/3/0/9/330905ps.gif Armored Core 4 - Europe 22nd June … Platforms-Xbox 360"
- March 20, 2007. Magrino, Tom. "Armored Core 4 Review for PlayStation 3". Gamespot.com. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
- Vore, Bryan and Ben Reeves. Armored Core 4 Review - "Core Mech Values". Game Informer, April 2007 Issue.
- March 26, 2007. Workman, Robert. "Armored Core 4 on PlayStation 3 Reviews". Gamedaily.com. Retrieved April 17, 2010.
- (English) XPLAY G4 TV Video Game Network website