Armored Core 4 PS3 Review

One of the most appealing aspects of the Armored Core series to many has always been the opportunity to craft your own metallic monster (AKA robot), and when I say “your own” I truly mean that, as options are wonderfully vast and really allow your creative juices to get flowing. An Armored Core game without these options would be like Sonic without speed, Mario without a moustache, Gran Turismo without cars, Solid Snake without stealth, and, well, you get the picture.

Armored Core 4 certainly doesn’t break tradition, therefore it’s usually loyal fan base won’t be violently waving pitchforks and flaming torches outside the development studio, which can only be a good thing. Yes, options are staggering, almost as vast as the ocean, and tweaking things to your satisfaction can even be quite addictive as you swap a pair of not very sexy metallic legs for a set of wheels, a bazooka arm for a sword and on and on it goes. You can also colour the whole robot or individual parts of it. I opted for cool blue body and death dealing black weapons, as I decided that I didn’t want to create a rainbow coloured oversized mech that looked like a Power Rangers toy.

Believe it or not there’s a game in here also, and it’s a rather good one too. Obviously with the subject matter you’d certainly expect plenty of bangs, fiery explosions, and, well…very little else really. With that said, Armored Core 4 obviously isn’t a game of tranquillity, instead it has all the qualities that I mentioned, which is good as I like explosions very much.

It’s just a shame that the explosions are a little disappointing when it comes to the brunt of things. Any kind of explosion is satisfying, although here they don’t look quite as good as I had hoped they would. There are a few exceptions, but these massive and beautiful explosions only really happen at certain points in the game. If you are expecting me to continue complaining about the visuals then I urge you to think differently right now, as Armored Core 4 is actually a frequently gorgeous game. The mechs look amazing and as inelegant in movement as you‘d expect from such heavy machines, whilst the lighting is stunning, sandstorms are scary, and water looks like it would rust your robot (it doesn’t!).

The missions are relatively short, whilst the action is plentiful as you do such obvious things as blowing targets up and protecting important allies. Highlights include missions that involve you operating in the dark with cannons or flares showing you your way, protecting a slow moving sea vessel from submarine attacks, and weaving in and out of corridors to stop your metallic enemies from breaching a wall. The bite-sized missions frequently take place in industrial and urban environments, although exceptions include artic-like waters (complete with breaking ice as your clumsy robot lands on top of it), barren desert land and mountain trails.

It’s a game that wants you to show-off your creations to the world, and whilst this is possible with the available online mode, finding someone to play against is like attempting to draw blood from a stone. I’ll just have to settle for the split-screen mode then.

Armored Core 4 is explosive robot action that has been truly brought into the next generation. The graphics bring your lumbering tin can to life, the customisation options are almost as limitless as a bottomless black hole, and the game, whilst causing frustration on occasion, has everything included that fans of explosions and series devotees get really excited about.