It is a well-known fact (at least by my wife) that I dig giant robots. Armored Core has always been a series tailored for me, but as it should happen, I’ve only played the PlayStation (one) original before this latest version, released a year ago. I always meant to get the PS2 versions, but I never happened upon them. For Answer (yes, that is the game’s name) feels like a smoother, but essentially identical game. I don’t know if this is a bad thing.
For Answer is definitely not for everyone. I don’t mean that in an elitist stance. It’s just that it’s pretty hard to approach. The controls, while tuned more for humans from the original’s convoluted scheme, are needlessly hard to master. The robots themselves look mouth-watering kind of cool, but the environments and I’m sad to say, effects (smoke and explosions), are really… bad. Like previous console generation standards, and not too convincing even at that level. The 2004 PS2 Transformers does a better job with the visuals, all told. The world setting and the plot are gibberish. I don’t mind, really, but I can see it could be off-putting to some.
Armored Core is a mecha mercenary simulator. You’re given a basic frame and some components to work with and then off you go, trying to make more money out of a mission than you need for ammunition and repairs. Quite often you want to re-do missions to make more money. Between missions, you spend a lot of time changing parts and planning new load-outs depending on your success in the previous mission. The building is rather involved – you need to consider the number of hard points where you can install components, energy consumption, weight and balance, in addition to how good the various components are in what they do. There are a lot of options.
The missions are varied enough to keep you interested, but not very much fun on their own. Rather, you’re always thinking about your machine’s performance and how you should modify it. The combat always feels like a test-run for your new build, as rarely you’re happy with what you have.
So if tinkering with you own giant robot and taking it out for a spin appeals to you, this is your game. If you’re more interested in accessible mecha mayhem, I’m sure there are better games out there.