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Armored Core 4 Review (X360)

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Armored Core 4 Review (X360)
Sega
Mech fans, you are in for a treat when Armored Core 4 finds its way into your Xbox 360. It tweaks the formula of the long running mech series so that it is more accessible for newcomers, but it still has everything that has attracted the hardcore fans of the series over the years. Combat is fast paced and fun, the graphics and sound are very nice, and the customization options will keep you tweaking and tuning for months. Armored Core 4 is a solid game that is worth checking out.
Quick Hits

  • Title: Armored Core 4
  • Platform:Xbox 360
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: From Software
  • ESRB Rating: “T” For Teen
  • Genre: Third-person robot combat
  • Pros: Nice graphics and sound; fast paced and fun gameplay; good; easier customization than previous games
  • Cons: Missions are extremely short; multiplayer could use more features

Features and Modes

The story mode is made up of 37 missions with objectives such as one-on-one fights with a skilled enemy pilot, destroy all enemies, destroy a secret weapon, and other things of that nature. The only drawback is that the missions are all surprisingly short. Many of them take less than a minute and even the longest ones are only in the 5+ minute range.

Of course, combat is only part of the fun. A majority of your time is actually spent customizing your mech. Unlike previous games where you were basically left to your own imagination as to how to build your Core, AC4 gives you a set of schematics to start you off that you can then tweak and tune to your liking. This makes the process much easier and streamlined than previous games in the series, which might upset series vets but it makes for a much more fun experience for the rest of us.

In addition to the story mode, you can also take your customized Core through data packs which are battles against very powerful Cores. When you win, you earn their schematic and other bonuses. There is also, of course, online multiplayer to test your skills and your Core against your friends. Playing online is fun, but there aren’t many levels or game types so it is pretty short lived.

Gameplay

Sega
The gameplay in Armored Core 4 is very fast and surprisingly accessible. You now have a nearly limitless supply of boost, which allows you to very quickly move in any direction to avoid enemy fire or to simply get from point A to point B faster. You can also use a limited quick boost that eats up a bit of energy in exchange for an extremely fast burst of speed. You can also boost vertically which lets perch on top of a building or take the fight directly to airborne enemies. Your weapon loadout can include whatever you have customized your mech with, which includes weapons on both hands and shoulders. Swapping weapons is very fast and easy so, for example, switching from your sword to a shoulder mounted rocket launcher only takes a quick press of a shoulder button and you are ready to go. The combat is mostly just point and shoot and a lock on takes care of most of it, but you still have to get in the optimal position and keep the enemy in your sights. All of this creates a very fast paced and easy to learn mech combat experience that is very enjoyable. It also has to be noted that, for comparisons sake, Armored Core 4 is basically the opposite of Sega and From Software’s 2006 title, Chromehounds. Chromehounds was slow and strategic and more of a simulation. Armored Core 4 is fast paced and more arcade-like. Both are good games, though, and it is nice to have both types of games available on the same system.

Graphics and Sound

Graphically, Armored Core 4 is a very nice looking game. The Cores all look very shiny and detailed and very good, but the environments you fight in are a bit bland. It is also sort of disappointing that defeated enemies just disappear. It would have been cool to leave the battlefield littered with smoking hulks. Special effects and lighting are the real stars of the graphics, though, and they tie everything together and make it all look nice.

The sound is also very good. The sounds of combat fit perfectly, and the soundtrack is surprisingly good. The voice acting is also notable because all of the actors did a good job, but it is also interesting how your main radio contact transitions from strict and professional at first to emotionally attached to you by the end. It is all very impressive.

Bottom Line

Sega
Overall, Armored Core 4 is a solid, full-featured game that is just what fans of mech combat have been waiting for. It is a bit of a change from previous entries in the Armored Core series, but the changes are most certainly for the better because they open the series up to a much wider audience. The customization has been streamlined, but it is still very deep and very satisfying. Upgrading your Core has a noticeable impact, and it feels like a fresh new game every time you bolt a new part on. The combat is much faster paced than ever before, and almost has a Zone of the Enders speed and feel now compared to previous games. All of these changes make Armored Core 4 the best entry in the series yet, and I highly recommend it.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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