Armored Core: Verdict Day review
Armored Core: Verdict Day is part of From Software’s long running mech franchise, Armored Core, which started in 1997 with the game Armored Core for the PlayStation. To this day From Software has released fifteen games, including this game, Armored Core: Verdict Day. I would like to note that I haven’t played an Armored Core game since Armored Core 4.
I’ve got to say I was really looking forward to playing this game, as I love mech in nearly all forms of media, primarily mech anime and to an extent in video games too. With that said after a few hours of playing Armored Core: Verdict Day I was left somewhat disappointed. The mech you pilot in the game feels like a chore with it feeling sluggish and at time unresponsive. It feels worse when you add in the fact the camera goes crazy when you are in a tight space, which makes it difficult to spot or even fire on enemies.
Armored Core: Verdict Day takes places in a future ravaged by war and stripping of natural resources. When you enter the game, natural resources have become scarce with three main factions fighting for domination over the remaining resources. In the game’s story you are a mercenary who have teamed up with a former mercenary called Maggie and a pilot who goes by the name Fatman. Your task in the game is to where there is money. I didn’t get too far into the story before putting it down due to the frustrating poor controls, but from what I saw the story is explained only during brief cutscenes with some battle chatter.
I think if you picked up Verdict Day for the story, you might have picked up the wrong Armored Core game because the majority of the game is about fighting and controlling territory for one of three main factions via a world map. I guess if you are a fan of playing online multiplayer games you will enjoy it. With that said on the PlayStation 3 version of the game I found it next to impossible to join an online game since it couldn’t find any active matches.
On some positive news, the mech or AC (Armored Core) as they are referred to in game has a large number of customisation options with assembly, which is something that this franchise does extremely well. In assembly you can change the look, weapons and power of your mech. Do you want a slow powerful mech or more agile but defensively weaker mech, the choice is up to you. When assembling the mech there are two bars you have to keep an eye on, the load and energy bars. If either of these bars goes into the red that means the mech wont function and you remove equipment or put in a more powerful generator or increase its load capacity. Putting a mech together isn’t the only customisation on offer. You can also paint, and add decals and emblems. This extra option allows for your mech looking as unique as possible in multiplayer.
To give an example of the assembly, here is the mech is built. Weapons: shotgun, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, rifle and Gatling gun. To make all these weapons work I went for light weight, but durable parts and strong heavyweight bipedal legs to hold the weight of all the weapons. To make it look as unique as possible I painted it purple and green think of Eva-01 from the Evangelion anime. In assembly I could have made something vastly different for example I could have replaced the bipedal legs with a tank. Doing this would have allowed me to attach heaver weapons such as sentry guns and cannons.
In short the ability to make a mech that suits your style is a great incentive for mech fans and for long time fans of the franchise. Speaking of long term fans, those who own Armored Core 5 can transfer the mech they built in that game to Verdict Day.
At the top of this review I mentioned that the camera wasn’t that great especially when fighting in tight spaces. Nearly everything that feels bad about the controls comes from the camera, which seems to mess up when enemies get up close, especially with flying enemies where you might as well be waving your arms about as it incredibly frustrating to hit them. You might think you can just boost away, turn around and fight, but while boosting is good your mech turns incredibly slowly and by the time you have turned around the enemies are swarming over you again like a bunch of angry bees. In open areas these issues still do exist, but not as a great extent as you have the extra space to move around.
When playing the game I felt maybe this is how the mech are supposed to be controlled and that games such as Hawken had raised my expectations on mech combat too high, but as I look back at AC4 I don’t really recall the controls and camera being that bad, but with that said I haven’t played AC4 in a while.
Before finishing I would like to bring up the colour in the game. The settings you visit for the most part have a bland brown and grey palette which I suppose is a way of showing off a bleak war torn future. However you can offset these bland colours by having a brightly coloured mech. I found it mildly amusing that in the story I was fighting bland grey looking units in a brightly coloured purple and green mech.
Armored Core: Verdict Day is a game for fans of the franchise, especially for those who enjoy the AC assembly system. While the game caters to its fans it does put off potential new players with its focus on online multiplayer over story and poor controls.
*This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3*
Armored Core: Verdict Day Information