Never played any of the Armored Core games before; picked this one up on a whim.... did a "Buy 2 Used Get 1 Free" deal and was looking for a game my younger nephew and I would enjoy.... The basic gist of this game is that you have your own Cool Giant Fighting Robot and you work as a mercenary making money and spending it on customizing everything on that sucker from weapons in either hand and shoulder mounts to legs strong enough to support the weight and tweaks like shock absorbers on every limb to help with the shock and recoil.
There are a handful of things you MUST know before deciding if this game is right for you. I gave this game a 9 (9.3 if they would let me use fractional scores) with the full understanding that there are some people out there that will absolutely LOVE this game and others that will either give up due to the SHARP learning curve or find this game WAAAAAY too complicated. There is a tutorial and I'm not sure if the game REQUIRES you to do it but I would strongly, strongly recommend that you do so. Every button on the 360 controller has an important function and you need to be able to use them all fluidly. I even went as far as to custom set up every single key in a way that made sense and allowed me to remember what button has what function. You'll also want to check out all the gameplay settings and play with them over your first couple of missions..... something little like the "Auto-boost while over water" setting can be the difference between having fun and being VERY frustrated. Add this to the fact that this game can be VERY difficult and I can see a decent % of people that just won't want to put the effort into this game. With games that pretty much let you turn it on and start blasting zombies/aliens/enemy nations with little/no effort I could perhaps understand this mindset. If you are the type of person that is willing to put in a little work to get a large reward I'd encourage you to push through the first hour or so (at about the 2.5 hour mark I really felt like I knew pretty much what I was doing with the first 45 min-1 hour being a difficult trial-by-fire.).
The other thing that could offer some frustration is the level of customization of your Mech. I love having micromanagement in my games, I love having LOTS and LOTS of options, customizations, items and toys to play with, weapons.... Armored Core will overwhelm you with equipment, slots to put said equipment in, some terminology that you won't understand.... once you start figuring out what is what (and I STRONGLY recommend just messing around with the different weapons and slowly figuring out the rest of the Mech customizing.) it is amazingly rewarding to be able to tune your mech EXACTLY how you would want it. Make sure your copy comes with the instructions so you can reference them early on.
Ok, that's pretty much the part of the review where you either know if this game sounds REALLY interesting or more like an assignment from school. If you are still interested....
The gameplay is FAST and action-packed. The in-game graphics are pretty good and the HUGE bases you attack look amazing in scale. The intro movie is almost worth the whole price of admission alone in my opinion.... The sound is very good and the menu music is some of the best I've heard in a game with some mellow piano stuff that doesn't get old quick. Being able to try a Gatling gun/laser rifle combo on a quick mech setup one mission and a slow, plodding mech with dual homing rockets and handguns the next is neat..... there are so many cool toys to play with and they keep getting unlocked constantly after the first couple of missions are done. The game world seems VERY well thought out (there are a lot of AC games so I'd assume they've developed the world over time) but the actual plot of the game (and keep in mind i haven't beaten the game yet) seems to be somewhat loose with the mech customizing and fast combat taking center stage.
I'm not a huge fan of multiplayer so I don't have much input about this game's multiplayer system but I read you can trade custom mech designs online in addition to using your custom mech to try to blow up someone else's custom mech..... see whose design is superior so to speak. I believe there may be a campaign coop but you should double check on that one. The multiplayer seems to be pretty decent but I'd find someone who is way into that sort of thing for any deep multiplayer info.
Overall I love this game. It's kind of a robot-nerd's dream come true in terms of building your own robot but the action is as fast and furious as anything I've played in a while. You'll either love or hate this game and hopefully the beginning of my review helps sort out those two groups.
yes: I recommend this product