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Brendan
26 Feb, 2009

Armored Core: For Answer Review

360 Review | Giant robots fighting. That has to be ratings!
Mech games have been around for years, though, for some reason, they don’t always seem to make it to PAL territories. It’s a bit odd really – giant robots shooting each other a lot seems like it would have universal appeal. Anyway, the Armored Core series has been around for over a decade now, with games appearing on the PlayStation, PS2, PS3 and Xbox 360, among others. The newest game to the series is the bizarrely titled For Answer, which builds on 2007’s Armored Core 4. However, to be honest, not much has changed – if you liked the last game, then you’re going to like this one. If you, for whatever reason, didn’t like AC4, this isn’t going to change your mind.

The fundamental concept of For Answer is to take control of a mech – buying new weapons and other upgrades when appropriate – then use it to blow up a whole bunch of stuff. However, there is a story in there amongst all the destruction. Set somewhere in the future, the surface of the Earth has become inhospitable. Instead, humans live in floating cities far above the city. On the surface below, various corporations and other factions are waging a war for what’s left of the Earth’s resources – and that’s where the player comes in. Taking up the role as a Lynx (aka a pilot), players jump into the seats of giant mechs – known in the game as NEXTs (aka AC – Armored Core) – and sell their services to the highest bidder (usually one of the corporations) in order to gain credits which can be used to stock up on the latest and greatest weaponry. The story isn’t terribly interesting – nor is it made terribly easy to follow – and is only used as an excuse for giant robots to shoot each other.

Unlike life, size is rarely a factor in For Answer.

Unlike life, size is rarely a factor in For Answer.
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At any given time, players will have a couple of different missions that they can attempt from several of the various different corporations in the game. Versus matches against other Lynx pilots – one-on-one battles to the junkyard – are also available, with the objective being to defeat the other 30 Lynx pilots in individual battles and take the number one ranking. Missions aren’t terribly varied – defeat this enemy, beat this oversized boss (those ones are fun), defend this convoy, etc – and usually always end up requiring players to blow up everything in sight. Of course, this is somewhat understandable given that it is, after all, what you would expect a giant mech to do. Still, some additional variety of some sort would have been appreciated.

Combat is quite fun. NEXTs can seem almost indestructible, especially early on in the game. NEXTs can have two active weapons at any time – one on each arm – along with a secondary weapon on each arm. This allows for some heavy artillery and destruction. The controls are solid and easy enough to come to grips with. One button to deploy each arm’s weapon, a button to change the active weapon on each arm, and various boost buttons used to manoeuvre the NEXT. The boost buttons are key, because without them, mechs are sitting ducks in some of the more challenging missions in the game. They allow the mechs to fly, dodge and even move at light speed for a short period of time. The speed at which the game plays can make the experience quite intense.

On the downside, there’s no button to allow the NEXT to complete a quick 180 degree turn, and, even worse, the sensitivity of the analog stick can’t be adjusted. Given that the auto-targeting is twitchy at best and that the camera leaves a lot to be desired, it can be incredibly easy to lose your target in the heat of battle, then spend the next few seconds waiting for your mech to turn around – all while your opposition mech reigns in missiles from a distance. This is one department where the series is seriously showing its age, and will need to see some significant improvement in the future.

More numbers than a maths book. Get used to it.

More numbers than a maths book. Get used to it.
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Likewise, the game’s visuals are nothing to write home about. The NEXTs themselves are well detailed and look quite impressive, but the environments are utterly bland and devoid of any sort of interesting landmarks. Obviously, the game is trying to be a barren wasteland, but some abandoned vehicles or something of interest would have been nice. In addition, enemies and buildings explode in a brief puff of smoke, leaving no wreckage behind. It all adds up to make the environments feel oh so empty. Some additional details here and there would have been really appreciated – it’s not like the game is pushing the Xbox 360/PS3 to the limit or anything. The sound is even worse. The effects are bland and distorted – ten missiles being delivered into a mech should sound epic, not boring.

Fans of the series will be delighted to know that mechs are just as customisable as they were in past games. Newbies will probably feel completely overwhelmed and rather intimidated at first, as they wonder exactly what a stabiliser is. However, with some experimentation here and there, it doesn’t take long to come to grips with the system. Players can adjust the components on their mech as they see fit, allowing them to create an endless number of different combinations – be it a slow, but massively armoured platform of destruction, or a more mobile fighter capable of launching a quick attack on the opposition before they know what hit them. There are countless variants in between, thanks to a seemingly endless armoury of weapons, mech blueprints and other parts essential to the construction of a NEXT. Fun times with weapons indeed.

Uh... A bigger gun may be required.

Uh... A bigger gun may be required.
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Because of the number of customisations at the player’s disposal, there’s an opportunity for a bit of replay value for those who get into the game. However, chances are they won’t be able to battle/team-up with anybody online as, while the game has network functionality, it is an abandoned and unconsidered feature due to the small player base. We weren’t able to find many people online in the numerous times we tried – a bit of a shame really. As a result, players are forced to play the single player campaign, and it just really isn’t long or varied enough to justify actually buying the game.

Armored Core: For Answer has its moments – controlling a nimble NEXT as it lays waste to scores of little weaker robots is a great feeling. Defeating other powerful Lynx pilots can also be incredibly satisfying. The number of customisation possibilities for the mechs are mind-boggling. However, there are plenty of negatives – the game is lacking in new features, has an outdated camera, unappealing visuals and, thanks to its lack of popularity, it doesn’t have a whole lot of replay potential. And with that in mind, it’s hard to recommend Armored Core: For Answer to anybody but existing fans of the series.
The Score
Definitely enjoyable in its own way, but a camera that can't keep pace with the action and dated visuals means that this is one for fans of the series only. 5
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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9 Comments
5 years ago
i think they called it that specifically because they knew it was so bad that it will end up in the exchange forums or trade bait for Jason icon_wink.gif
5 years ago
Im a MASSIVE fan of the series, and this is, to me, is just a cut and paste of 4, as has been said in that article. I bought it only to add to my collection, but playability is totally lacking. I completely agree with the article, well written!

I think the game would be much, much better if the camera was updated. I can live with the outdated graphics and 'barren' wasteland, but that camera just plain SUCKS!!!!!

Such a shame too, imo the game has so much potential. Its a real shame that the PAL region has suffered so much with this series! icon_sad.gif
5 years ago
"On the downside, there’s no button to allow the NEXT to complete a quick 180 degree turn, and, even worse, the sensitivity of the analog stick can’t be adjusted."

There actually is.
Quick boost while turning = 180 degree turn.

Also the lack of a sensitivity function is because turning speed is an important gameplay mechanic that helps balance different leg types and weight classes.

"We weren’t able to find many people online in the numerous times we tried – a bit of a shame really."

Admittedly I haven't tried online for a fair while (no LIVE credit) but I never had any trouble finding people to play.
The fanbase is small in Australia/US etc, but in Asia there is a decent following.

"Given that the auto-targeting is twitchy at best and that the camera leaves a lot to be desired, it can be incredibly easy to lose your target in the heat of battle, then spend the next few seconds waiting for your mech to turn around – all while your opposition mech reigns in missiles from a distance."

I'm not sure how the auto targeting is twitchy.
If you have 2 weapons with different melee ability stats it won't help out the size of your lock or the accuracy, the same goes with the weapons recoil stat, the arms stability, your parallel processing stat, your camera functionality stat and firing stability stat.

Again you can do a quick 180 turn via the QB.

Last thing, what's wrong with the camera?
Never personally had a problem with it and I generally pilot light AC's.

It's pretty obvious that I am a fan of the series, but I admit there are a lot of things that could be greatly improved. But I see just about none of them in the review.
Still generally fair besides a one or two things =]
5 years ago
Wow, the boss battles look pretty epic. I hope they incorporate more of this epicness later on in the series.
5 years ago
Gizmocreative wrote
i think they called it that specifically because they knew it was so bad that it will end up in the exchange forums or trade bait for Jason icon_wink.gif
I'll pay that comment, I actually saw it at one of the places I normally buy my cheap games from but passed on it @ $40 as I didn't think it was worth it icon_wink.gif icon_lol.gif
5 years ago
Yeah it's solely a multiplayer game.
If you are looking for a thrilling single player experience don't touch it.

Great multiplayer though, the old ones were better but hopefully they'll go back to the old style sooner or later.

Edit: It's just kind of sad that there is incorrect info in the review.
5 years ago
This series has everything to be a success: Big guns, robots and giant bosses but they don't invest in graphics, sound and a decent story...
Also, environment destructability and increasing the level size would b nice...
if that were the case, id be willing to pay about 100$ on a copy...
5 years ago
im so tempted by this game... the screenshots look freakin wicked...
5 years ago
Looks like the robots from Code Geiss, although they are cool and wouldn't of got a five ... poor form guise
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  27/11/2008 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $109.95 AU
Publisher:
  UBI Soft
Genre:
  Simulation
Year Made:
  2008

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