Review by dark kampfer
"A game for the hardcore"
The Armored Core series is a perfect example of simplicity and complexity, Armored Core 3 being no different. The game focuses more on the design of you AC(Mech) rather that its missions or its near nonexistent plot. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. As the complicated customization system is well known by vets. It si not very friendly to newcomers. It even excludes them all together. And the lack of a interesting story inhibit its appeal to those how haven't played an Armored Core game before.
If you don't pay attention to the games E-mail feature, you will probably miss the entire story. Thats because AC3's story is not the driving force of the game. The only real presentation of a story is at the beginning of the game. After that, its up to you to look for the story through E-mails and other bits of info during missions. This is a real problem for people looking for a deep game. But, the story is interesting enough to keep you wanting to see it through the end.
This is one of the most glaring problems this series has had. Its clunky controls really cut into the experience. The game makes no use of the right analog stick other that as an extra button. And the lack of a decent button customization feature also brings down the experience. However, if you can look past this problem, and bother to learn the controls, the movement of your AC will become second nature to you.
The fact is that AC3 is not a pretty game. But compared to its predecessors, its is a major improvement. While its backgrounds may be band and repetitive, other aspects of the game are great. Things like the contrails of missiles, the large explosions of heavy weaponry, the glow of hundreds of tracer rounds filling the air really help you overlook the games blandness. Not to mention that this game has virtually no slowdown, even when there are dozens of missiles filling the air.
This is one of AC3 shining points, its sound. The sound in this game is very well done, this like the loud bangs of heavy cannons being fired to bullets ripping through the air, even the sound of your AC stomping about sound amazing. Not only that, but AC3 supports Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound to further enhance the games beautiful sound.
Once your get past the game's clunky controls, this will be one of the funnest games you will play. The amount of detail From Software put into this games customization is amazing. There are enough parts in this game, over 200, so that no two persons AC is the same. And once you have built you perfect war machine, you can test its power in the games missions or in its arena mode, for 1 on 1 AC combat. If you feel the need to face a human opponent, AC3 supports I link, so that you don't have to share a TV with you friends when up to 4 AC are fighting each other.
This game is not for everyone, but if you are truly interested in it, check it out, you wont be disappointed if you really commit to it. Then you will see what a great game AC3 is. For the rest of you, who prefer in-depth stories and fast paced action, rent it first. So you can see if you will like it or not.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/25/04
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