Armored Core 4 Preview (Xbox360)

The Armored Core 4 demo, recently released on both the Xbox 360 and PS3, has attempted to redefine the mech-playing genre. However, it is no mechwarrior. It is Gundam Wing without the anime and giant lightsabers.

That, though, comes as no surprise. To expect any game to be up to par with a title that is easily within the top 15 games of all time is ludicrous. Mechwarrior 2 set a gold standard high above what any mech game has ever been able to reach.

What is important to note is that the demo, which is actually a trial version with 3 full levels (as well as an eight-step tutorial), up to seven different mechs, and a very limited storyline expressing the need to earn money. Whether we are bounty hunters, freelance executioners or flower pickers is up for question.

The levels themselves are pretty, and little else. The desert mission is particularly robust, but other than that it is nothing stunning. Looking at the mech’s themselves is more glamorous.

Speaking of the mechs, it was very easy to pick for the first mission; there were only three choices. The most difficult, medium, and easiest to pilot. After the first mission though, choosing went downhill dramatically. Of course the most difficult was the best, because there really is no difficulty in piloting the mech’s unless they are simply too slow, which still doesn’t make it difficult, just annoying.

Yet speed is really all that is mentioned. No statistics are given about attack strength, maneuverability, armor/defense strength, or weapons. Yes, it was only a demo, but for a full three levels I wasn’t sure which mech to choose from because I knew nothing about them other than “difficult, medium or easy.” That didn’t get me very far.

This caused more problems because some of the missions don’t specify what is required, but certainly have requirements. One mission was a fight between one highly trained pilot and myself, and using the same mech as the previous mission led me to failure. Upon changing machines, I won in a matter of seconds. Literally, the battle lasted ten seconds, from the five minutes and a loss from before. Sure, I was glad to get the A grade, but I was left baffled.

After playing Armored Core 4, I am convinced that this is not really a mech game. Mech games have heavily armored machines with a large assortment of weapons, heavy armor, and a giant need for destruction. Armored Core offers too many mech’s, not enough options, and dancing in the sky with the jetpack. Though it looks nice and could possibly be fun, the controls do not encourage such gameplay.

And, of course, the differences between the PS3 and 360 version are slight. Graphically, it is almost impossible to tell the difference unless they are placed side by side. Controls are completely the same, as well as the gameplay. If there are any differences in the game, it is not apparent from the demo. Either version will do, if the game is worth your time.

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By ScythSoulces (SI Core) on Sep 15, 2008
This was a good game all the way to the first one that came out.