Review by Dubble_G
"The Fourth Time Ain't a Charm"
I have never played any other Armored Core game, including the Armored core 4 Playstation 3 version, so none of this review is biased whatsoever. To the review!
The core action of this game is to build and pilot Mechs (huge robots) and use them as avatars to complete various missions. A good premise, and the mech building is extensive and the customization is good, but the missions and such don't go over as well. It first appears that this is going to be a lengthy game with 30+ scenarios, but it's not. The weird thing about the missions is that they only last on average two minutes! Yup, there's barely anything to them except take your mech, shoot a couple other robots, destroy a building in a couple shots, etc. Each mission is WAY TOO simple, and there is only one objective for each one. Very simplistic and boring, there is really no depth to anything. The biggest gripe in the game for me is the simplistic missions. You'll feel bored after the new factor wears off, and that will be quick. Then all the missions will feel stale, and you'll barely have motivation to play the game again. At least the total game isn't so bad, I mean, customizing a mech is pretty fun. You can give them paint jobs, and swap for new parts like heads, shoulders, legs, everything really. It's the only draw to the game, and at least they give you a number of base models to begin customization on. There is also a two player deathmatch feature, and it is quite fun if you and your opponent are of equal skill. But again, something had to pester a good feature, and this time it's the screen. On two players they shrink it noticeably! They split the screen in half, then half again! And the empty space is useless almost! Ah well, they tried.
Gameplay Score (4/10)
The game starts off with an amazing looking movie sequence to introduce the game, and man does it look spectacular. The truth is though, the real game isn't quite so amazing. If the graphics could've just been equal to the FMV! But they're not, and they are alright, but nothing too fancy. But graphics don't make a game right? Correct, but maybe they could have given a facelift to an average game. Trees look just like they did on playstation games, and the missiles and explosions aren't as convincing as other games make them appear. Mechs look good, and they probably have the most detail out of anything in the game. Landscapes are decent, and range from labs, to deserts, cities, and ruins. Graphics are nice to the eyes, and not cluttered, but it's no eye candy from what the Xbox 360 can handle. Overall a little disappointing after such a spectacular looking FMV.
Graphics Score (7/10)
Sound effects are what you would expect which is good, so every time you hear a noise you aren't bothered by an ill-fitting sound. Music tracks are limited, which I don't really like, but in the midst of battle in a two minute mission it doesn't affect anything much. The menu music has a catchy beat, but everything else is some weird Japanese orchestral score which sings in high pitched keys, and kind of grains on your ears. Voice acting is terrible, and your mission lady reads off your mission briefings in some stale old voice. Not that I expected good voice acting, but it almost makes you wish they had left it out of the game all together.
Audio Score (5/10)
The game doesn't really pull itself together and flow very well, and the story seems minced in many spots. It also doesn't help that menus are kind of cluttered, and the music isn't quite appropriate for the game.
Presentation Score (5/10)
Not much, but you can play missions over to get higher ranks, and to get cash to buy mech parts, and play two player matches. Still, not enough to get me back into it, although there are Mech-customization freaks out there.
Replay Value Score (5/10)
Good mech customization, lots of missions, decent graphics, fitting sound effects, two players.
Ill-fitting music, too short and simplistic missions, overall bad presentation.
I can't recommend the game much at all unless your are mad for Armored Core games, and believe me, even if you were this isn't a very good game. I haven't played any others in the series, so I'm not sure if I'm missing out or not, but you would miss your money if you spent it on this game. Whether it compares to other games of the series I'm not sure, but this one misses my radar, and I hope it misses your's as well.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 05/24/07, Updated 06/09/08
Game Release: Armored Core 4 (US, 03/20/07)
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