Armored Core For Answer

Gamestyle Archive intro: always partial to an Armoured Core experience, or is that Armored? This PS3 edition came as somewhat as a disappointment.

 

Writer: JJ

Published: 2008

Developer: From Software

Publisher: Ubisoft

Set a decade after the conclusion of Armored Core 4, the bizarrely named For Answer is the latest instalment in the burgeoning definitive Mecha series. Despite numerous attempts From Software’s efforts have given us more lows than heights, can this buck version the trend?

Unfortunately not is the straightforward answer, as From Software have stuck to the same formula and delivered a mission based game with the emphasis on building your own Mech. This is all fine and well but after countless instalments and more horsepower under your console hood, Gamestyle is frankly expecting much more nowadays.

Our love for Mecha experiences started with the original Psone Armored Core and Sega’s sublime Virtua On release. We even went to the trouble of Steel Battalion and somehow managed to overcome its emphasis on realism. Even with some dubious releases in the series such as Armored Core 2, we’ve stuck with it as on occasion it does produce something special like Armored Core 3: Silent Line.

The storyline in For Answer is very thin but essentially you are a mercenary for hire who can pick and chose sides. What missions you decide on will limit your options further in and result in one of three different endings, yet the plot is dispensable. From Software continuously refuse to integrate the player into the story and seem content with mission briefings. Gamestyle isn’t expecting another Zone of Enders or Front Mission but the potential is certainly there for more. The range of missions is a positive aspect that will throw various challenges and requirements your way before you can even consider seeing the an ending.

For Answer features a colossal amount of customisation options, in fact double what appeared in Armored Core 4. There is little here you cannot tinker with having spent your credits in the shop as you continuously try to create a fighting machine that matches your style of combat. As ever there is no right or wrong way and the mission structure as it is stands means that on numerous occasions you will have to amend your design to overcome a particular challenge. The core strength of the series remains the combat, which can be beautiful to watch, and wonderfully fluid to experience. There is little your Mech cannot achieve, whether its long range or close quarters combat and you always have the option to take to the skies.

Yet you’ll struggle to find any combatants online to really appreciate this ballet of mechanical violence. The servers are eerily quiet with no versus or co-operative play available and sadly it’s to be expected in such a niche title without seemingly the Japanese players being available for duty. This leaves you to hire wingmen on certain missions although we do query why this feature isn’t available for every job you take on; after all their services come out of your bonus. Apart from offline LAN play you can also try to rise up the ranks of top 30 in offline order matches. Now these are particularly enjoyable as the AI and opposition firepower gradually increases. Several times we raced through a few matches only to eventually hit a brick wall that sent us scurrying back to the garage to re-evaluate our design.

Visually Armored Core For Answer is pretty drab and futuristic with the emphasis on numerous enemies. The only positive aspects we can identify are the speed of combat and the impressive size of enemy combatants on the odd occasion. The Earth it seems has been scorched and little survives except these roaming mechanical beasts in drab and mundane environments. Given From Software’s visual fair previously seen in titles such as the Otogi series this is nothing short of very disappointing.

Armored Core For Answer is really only for fans of the series, which Gamestyle does count itself among. However even then our patience is starting to wear a little thin as From Software seem content to churn out these unremarkable editions without really building upon the strong combat and customisation features, making this title very hard to recommend.

Gamestyle Score: 6/10

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