- Publisher: Namco Bandai
- Developer: From Software
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Third-Person-Shooter
- Pros: Nice presentation; co-op play; satisfying customization; fun gameplay; awesome menus
- Cons: Mostly bland missions; hit online level cap quickly; can be very overwhelming for new players
Features At the heart of Armored Core V is a persistent online war being waged by players across the globe. You can play the game solo, of course, but the real fun and satisfaction in ACV comes from forming a team with other players and working together to take over new locations on the world map. Order missions, which make up the vast majority of missions in ACV, are short fights (many Order missions are only a minute or so long) where you mostly just clear an area of enemies. The ten Story missions are much longer, and much more varied and complex (though the story itself is rather nonsensical). Order and Story missions can be played with a co-op partner, or you can hire a mercenary to help you. All of the missions contribute points to your team level, so every time any member of the team completes one of these missions the whole team's level goes up which lets you access and take on the third mission type - Conquest.
Conquest missions are where your team fights another team to try and take their territory. These missions can be played with teams of four where you have three attacking players and one player that acts as operator. The operator sees the battle on an overhead map and can direct the other players where to go and come up with interesting strategies. It is a very cool system that can be very rewarding and fun for players that actually want to play their given roles.
Playing online is definitely the way to go here. Offline you're playing with braindead A.I. and the missions all sort of blur together and get boring. Well, truth be told, the Order missions are kind of boring no matter what since they are so short. But when you play online with friends and have to use actual teamwork and tactics and fight a war with other players it all becomes very fun and satisfying. With that said, though, you can level up ridiculously fast online, and after only a few days it is entirely possible to hit the level cap and run out of new upgrade parts to unlock. You can still keep playing and fighting, of course, but a big part of the fun in Armored Core games is the continual building and tweaking and customization of your mech, so when that aspect is taken away it isn't so fun anymore.
One note on customization - it can be an incredibly overwhelming process if you are not already well versed in Armored Core construction. You'll enter the in-game store menu, or the building menu, and just be overwhelmed with a mountain of numbers that you have no clue what they mean. There are a ton of parts - arms, legs, bodies, generators, multiple types of weapons, and much more - and balancing your play style with the weight of the parts and what you need to do in a given mission is a daunting task at first. You do eventually figure it out, of course, and from there on building your dream mech (what, normal people don't dream about giant robots?) becomes much easier. Front Mission Evolved has simpler customization, but it isn't as satisfying.
The actual gameplay out on the battlefield is pretty much standard third-person-shooter fare. You can walk, boost, and jump/hover for a limited time, but it is fairly slow paced for the most part compared to Armored Core 4 or Armored Core: For Answer (and it is absolutely crawling along when you put it next to something like Mechassault 2). You have a big targeting circle, and moving and strafing with the left stick while keeping enemies targeted with the right stick is intuitive and easy. The game uses an auto-targeting system, which means you really just need to keep the reticle close and the guns track the enemy on their own. Some players don't like this - and it is optional so you can turn it off - but we figure it is a big fancy advanced robot and targeting assistance is probably a pretty realistic feature so we leave it on. Battles with enemy mechs are fast and frantic with players darting in and out of cover or even climbing buildings with a wall jump mechanic to get better position. When everything is clicking, Armored Core V is a blast.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is decent. Combat is sort of overpoweringly loud, which is perfect. Voice acting is okay. Music is okay, if not forgettable.