Armored Core for Answer Review (PS3)

So, here we go again with From Software's much-overlooked and often obtusely complex mech title. Last year's Armored Core 4 scored a healthy 6 on the StrategyInformer scale, but we were left to lambast the abnormally short missions and state that this was a genre “crying out for a dose of originality”. Armored Core For Answer certainly doesn't provide the solution to either of those problems, but neither is it particularly a step backwards – making another interesting diversion for western mech warriors to consider.

For those of you new to the series, this is a game firmly routed in the Japanese obsession with giant mechanised robots battling on a near-future sparsely populated Earth. What that essentially translates to is a third-person vehicular combat title, with your custom-created lithe and agile robot sliding and boosting around some particularly bland and arid scenery and cityscapes. Beautiful it most certainly isn't, but at least the sense of scale keeps everything in check when the action takes to the skies.

The main campaign is traditionally broken down into chapters and individual missions, most of which take little over a minute or two to complete. You'll be prompted by an instantly forgettable storyline to enter particular zones, clear out enemies and leave - that's about it for the most part. Fortunately the core gameplay is entertaining enough and smoothly implemented to make such short diversions worthwhile in their own right, but the real complexity – as ever – lies just beneath the surface.

Simply put, Armored Core is a tinkerers paradise, offering up an unprecedented array of mech parts, weaponry, bolt-ons and even a customisable paint editor to finish off your dream machine. For Answer expands slightly on the number of parts, but in all truth there was no need to do so in the first place. If you can't find exactly what you're looking for and build the balance between power and speed that you desire, you're just not looking hard enough.

As ever, different missions require tactical approaches in terms of weaponry and agility, with the more expensive and effective mech parts often requiring obscene amounts of currency to purchase. Whilst this ramps up the difficulty fairly quickly, patient players can always head back to earlier missions to boost the coffers in an over-powered rig – creating somewhat of an RPG-style grind during extensive play.

All of which sounds familiar, and indeed it is. For Answer offers little in the way of a forward stride for the series, with giant weaponised fort battles perhaps the only real innovation this time around. Fortunately, they turn out to be the highlight of the package, with each epic encounter offering a suitably lengthy challenge to cut through the bite-sized normal mission types. Whilst the game is still skewed towards quick-fire play sessions, it's nice to at least see an attempt at balancing things out.

Outside of this, For Answer also boasts co-op missions for the first time, but unfortunately due to the completely desolate PS3 servers we were unable to try it out. In theory though you'll be able to play through a whole host of levels with a partner in crime, with a few duels thrown into the mix for good measure. It's probably great, but who knows if you'll ever actually be able to use it.

For newcomers to the series, the flight controls have also been slightly streamlined - making a fairly easy game even easier to get into. Whether or not you decide to pick it up or not is a different matter, but in the fairly niche world of westernised mech games, it isn't as if competition is rife. For Answer isn't the best game in the world, but nevertheless it offers up a solid experience that can be enjoyed by casual players and hardcore builders alike. Just don't expect a system-seller.

Top game moment: Editing, tweaking, customising

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By lichlord (SI Core) on Oct 08, 2008
this looks interesting
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Oct 08, 2008
The 6 rating seems to be the average score on most games appearing of late. Doesn't inspire much confidence in the buying market, and not a good sign in these difficult financial times. Entertainment is the last to go in a Recession, but with lacklustre games being released, the Publishers might start to feel the pinch a lot sooner.
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Oct 09, 2008
True H. Many very expected games disappointed a lot of folks... Too bad.
By Stew (SI Member) on Oct 11, 2008
Sigh. I'd love for an Armored Core that doesn't suck.
By ScythSoulces (SI Core) on Oct 29, 2008
Now Armored Core is one of the good games to play. Very good in multiplayer.
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 06, 2008
Robots fighting each other with guns and rockets are not kinda boring. Armored Core is a good game, i've finished all of the A.C sequel and it's worth to be played!
By devel (SI Elite) on Dec 06, 2008
I'd like to see some Evangelion EVA's in some gamestyle as this, it would be very very good don't you think? It would have to be very well made or else people wouldn't even try them out.
By nobuargaoda (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 07, 2008
Yes, Devel. But Evangelion has a complicated story about their character. This also happened to Gundam. So AC is better than both of them. No characters, just pimp out your tinman, err... i mean robot and send them to the battle!