After a few stagnant releases, the Armored Core series seemed to be on the track to irrelevancy. With Armored Core: For Answer, however, developer From Software has managed to bring forth an entertaining mech-filled romp for the PlayStation 3.
With gigantic robots at your fingertips, expect some well qualified action. It must be said that if you are an Armored Core veteran, you won’t likely notice too many differences in the gameplay from Armored Core 4 and For Answer. Essentially a sequel to Armored Core 4, For Answer is reminiscent of previous iterations -– a plus for hardcore fans of the series to say the least. After all, fast-paced mechs and arcade-esque gameplay is what Armored Core: For Answer boils down to.
In terms of the single-player campaign, players will encounter short missions that are essentially a hit and miss affair. On one front, you have some disappointingly slim battles that only last for a few minutes and are over before you know it. On the flip side, the battles that do generate a lot of excitement are those where you must take down armed forts that are heavily fortified and put up a decent challenge against you. Destroying these forts are rewarding and players can expect to use cover and other tactics to overcome the odds. If these armed forts don’t entice you, then be prepared for a decidedly generic assortment of missions, ranging from destroying all enemies, knocking out generators and safely escorting others.
So what else does For Answer offer? For starters, the destructible environments are impressive. Locations can transform from absolutely pristine to a devastated battlefield with a few errant projectiles. Having debris and objects tossed around after hundreds of missiles miss your opposition is a visceral pleasantry that needs to be experienced. Despite this, it’s unfortunate that the developers didn’t provide more detailed locations to run through, as textures are noticeably lacking in many places.
Tearing cities apart is only the beginning of the fun, as players also have the chance to customize their mechs to their hearts content. As always, Armored Core: For Answer delivers wonderful customization options that have become a staple for the series over the years. While For Answer isn’t the deepest of the franchise in this respect, players can still expect to switch out their weapons, armor, and much more for their mechs. Even better is the improved interface and navigation of the previously-complex menus. Newcomers shouldn’t be deterred from giving this game a shot, as it’s far more user-friendly than Armored Core 4.
Another great attribute of For Answer is the ability to play through the game online cooperatively with a friend. Including online co-op for the first time is a welcome addition, adding an ample amount of replay value to the title. Disappointingly, From Software chose not to include the ability to play with a friend over local play, an aspect that needs to be addressed for the future. Currently, finding players online proves quite a task.
As mentioned earlier, the game is a mixed bag when it comes the overall visual quality. The chaos can be enthralling at times, but it isn’t the prettiest game on the market. Like Armored Core 4, For Answer experiences framerate slowdown when there is too much going on in the game. The audio department fairs a little better, thankfully, featuring quality voice-actors and terrific sound effects.
Armored Core: For Answer is a lot better than many anticipated. Though issues like the flimsy camera frustrate, the gameplay as a whole is fairly strong. Having said that, the visuals leave a lot to be desired, and the game could have benefited from the addition of offline cooperative play. While these flaws prevent the game from walking into must-have territory, fans in particular are likely to look past the game’s hiccups and enjoy it nonetheless.