Armored Core V Review

Armored Core V can field some fierce firefights, but the combat is encumbered by repetitious missions, simplistic objectives, and dull visual design.

When two meticulously tweaked mechs meet in combat, the results can be explosively fun. The battle for position might see one bouncing between buildings five stories in the air, while the other jets along the ground to acquire line of sight. They deploy reconnaissance aids and radar jammers to win the information war and then use long-barreled cannons and energy blasts to win the physical fight. Leaving your enemy a smoking ruin can be very satisfying, but in Armored Core V, this kind of satisfaction is all too rare.

To learn the tactics needed to succeed on the battlefield, you need to spend a lot of time running missions through the drab, somber environments. AC aficionados may have the tactics down, but to unlock the parts needed to build a worthy mech, you need to slog through a lot of mind-numbingly easy missions. When the challenge comes later on, or when you jump into competitive multiplayer, you can find the kind of combat that delivers on the promise of purpose-built battle bots dueling to the death. But even if you are well prepared for a fight, Armored Core V still spends too much time making you work toward the good stuff.

At least many of the missions are short. The prevalent Order missions often don't last longer than a minute. You load up the battlefield, wait for your systems to come online, and travel straight until you encounter the enemy. When the orange box appears indicating target lock, you pull your triggers and destroy your foes. Then you get paid (minus ammunition and repair costs) and are bumped back to the world map to select your next sortie.

While Order missions are little more than brief excursions to pad your wallet or test your loadout, Story missions are longer endeavors. Part of this is due to the cinematic scenes that tell a nigh incomprehensible tale of a conflict involving a domineering corporation, a desperate rebellion, and a despotic figure named "Father." Parsing out the particulars is a challenge with no discernable rewards; fortunately, Story missions also present a challenge when it comes to combat.

In addition to tiny tanks and puny helicopters, you face a variety of larger mechanized forces, including mobile sniping platforms, nimble aerial craft, heavy shield-bearing constructs, and missile-launching installations. When arrayed in force against you, these require a bit more maneuvering, but defeating them is still just a matter of waiting for the orange box to appear and pulling the triggers. It's not until you face the toughest foes that you have to start playing skillfully.

The biggest AI challenge is fielded by bosses and enemy mechs (ACs, in the parlance of the series). Bosses generally subscribe to the "bigger is better" philosophy, and their presence has a positive effect on the environmental design. Most of your missions send you through drab gray cities or dull brown industrial sites. Visual boredom sets in quickly, and only when you have to chase an armored train around an elevated track or peck at a towering, four-legged war machine do you get a glimpse of something more intriguing.

Enemy ACs can also look cool, but the only clear view of them you get is at the start of a duel. During actual combat, they dart around much more quickly than other AI foes, and you have to be smart about movement and weapon choice to take them down. This is when you get a taste of the quality combat that Armored Core V can deliver, combat in which tactics, adaptability, and execution matter. It's also when the game inspires you to start thinking critically about your mech loadout.

You will believe a tank-like mech can fly.

When you first enter the assembly to work on your mech, it can be daunting. There are a lot of numbers, abbreviations, and attributes to track, but once you spend some time tinkering, things start falling into place. You begin to diversify your weapons in order to effectively deal different types of damage. Changing your legs from bipedal to tetrapod gives you a lot more weight to work with, while choosing a booster with high acceleration makes your AC more nimble. Fire control systems, cores, and generators can all affect your battlefield presence, and you unlock numerous parts in each category as you complete missions. Slotting in new pieces and seeing the benefits in combat is a pleasing endeavor, and you can also enter the paint shop to further customize your bristling beauty.

It's best to have a few different loadouts ready to go, especially when playing with your team. All Armored Core V players are encouraged to enlist in an online team and join the persistent struggle for world map dominance. You can play Story or Order missions with one other player (a teammate or a hired mercenary), but Invasion missions let you team up with up to four other teammates, one of whom can play the recon role of the Operator (scanning the map, setting waypoints, marking targets, and the like). There are a scant four Invasion variants, most of which simply involve destroying enemy facilities while dealing with AI resistance. These are basically Order missions on a larger scale, and with some good mechs and a competent operator, even tougher sorties can be quickly completed.

If you want to win territory and put your team's name on the map, you need to step up to a Conquest mission. To embark on one of these, you need a certain number of team points, which you earn every time any member of the team completes a mission. Rolling with team members on Invasion missions nets you more team points, so it's possible to assemble a squad and get into a good rhythm of building up points, attacking territories, and defending territories you've already claimed.

When you're above the helicopters, they don't stand a chance.

Conquering territory for your team can be satisfying, but the repetitious missions, bland environments, and team point requirements combine to create the sense that you are grinding out progress, rather than joyfully claiming victory on the field of battle. Further combat variety is offered by big boss fights (unlocked when your team reaches a high level) and competitive multiplayer, but these areas are problematic as well. The boss fights are hampered by unclear objectives, while the standard eight-player deathmatch and five-on-five team deathmatch modes reward only the winners, making them fruitless endeavors for most players.

These competitive contests can offer some tough combat, however, and putting your finely tuned AC to the test and winning is undeniably gratifying. Unfortunately, the bulk of Armored Core V is not as entertaining. For every challenging sortie you enjoy, you must undertake many more dull, simplistic missions. The focus on connected combat could have made Armored Core V an engaging entry in this long-running series. Instead, the franchise fails to put its best foot forward.

The Good
Well-matched fights are hectic fun
Designing a garage full of battle-ready mechs is absorbing
The Bad
Disappointing lack of mission variety
Too many simplistic sorties
Bland artistic design
Limited multiplayer options
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Armored Core V

About the Author

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.

Discussion

57 comments
killzonex118
killzonex118

Anther Awesome Difficult Game From The Best Hard Games Company FROM SOFTWARE man this game is awesome Ignore The Review Score by the way this Game Very Difficult Just like Demon's Souls and Dark Souls :D

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

@dutchgamer83 actually gamers of today are far too obsessed with stupid item grinds.  Gamers of the past from games like Quake, Unreal, Counterstrike, Mechwarrior expect everything to be laid on the table from the start, you pick your stuff and you work the gear you need into your play style.  No spending countless hours grinding through useless gear for the sake of doing just that.  The Gear grind for most non RPG games is a relatively new phenomena.

ps727
ps727

they should have just made chromehounds 2... anyone agree? greatest mech game (multiplayer online, at least) of all time. RIP, chromehounds

ticklemonster1
ticklemonster1

got it. trying it. not happy with the graphics.prolly gonna return it.

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

I haven't been playing this version of Armored core yet, but euhm....How is the multiplayer limited? Cause in other reviews on all kinds of sites they say the multiplayer is just great and the main subject of the game to begin with. "Armored Core V still spends too much time making you work toward the good stuff" And that is a bad thing how? Gamers of today are way to spoiled with getting the uber awesome stuff from almost the start. You don't dig this kind of games fine, not everyone wanna invest time in getting the good stuff. But stay away from a mech simulator and rather go play faster action shooters if that is what you are looking for. Getting a bit tired of today's gamers complaining and whining, to many games are insanely easy on the hardest difficulty.

GunEye
GunEye

You are talking about a game brought to you by the creators of Dark Souls and Demon Souls. Do you really expect that to be easy and understanding? or should you instead be satisfied that the game is this complex and difficult. As for the reviewer comments on the multiplay: "rewarding only the winners...." this is a bit ridiculous. True competition will reward only those who wins, prompting you to work hard to improve. Anyway I would love to hear more about the multiplayer, is it more Coop style players vs bots or more competitive? or both?

iPostMaReviews
iPostMaReviews

Been playing this game for 2 days. I'm already blasting around in the air with full confidence, pwning AI and players alike. This review is bs, I'm playing AC for the first time and it was not even that hard to learn. It's worth 8.5 imo Did I mention the multiplayer is BADASS?

Mr_Unko
Mr_Unko

I don't know about the rest of you, but I played the original armored core series on the playstation and all i can say is that it will never be the same -_-'

RAGEofSTUNTS
RAGEofSTUNTS

The single-player is a bit bad, but the multiplayer is amazing and what you will spend 90% of your time on.

iluvOP
iluvOP

I cant wait to get this game, Ive been waiting on it like a kid waits for christmas. Too bad I dont have the money for it now.

crimsonrose05
crimsonrose05

Ah you can always rely on a japanese company to do games right. If the game really has gone back to its AC 2 roots which in this case its looks like it has. Then hallelujah thank you to all/most japanese game developers who stick to and believe in the vision and worlds they create and who do not strip or alter core game mechanics/ features to flatter the mindless masses ( Dragon Age 2.. Killzone 3) in a world where games are tailored and butched to feed the spoilt and ultra cynical masses its good to see a game with difficulty, depth and structure. All hail japanese gaming the last bastion of decent and meaningful gaming! i will gladly blow up and die 1000 times in order to master this game.

rezabehbin
rezabehbin

the vga is good gameplay is not bad sounds good i think this game good to play but once

Master_Vexov
Master_Vexov

Its a nice jump in a direction that players want. I haven't got a lot of end stuff figured out yet. IMO: Story line is crap, might as well skip it and assume you are doing the greater goods work. Plenty of parts; you have 3 different types of energy damage and 1 if not 2 might be very ineffective, so you can go around with just 1 type of weapons. The combats are indeed very quick if not frutration in story; not being able to have the range to attack the giant mechs, this is a massive problem cause there doesn't seem to be any flight... you jump and float. Figuring out how to get a friend to join in a game seems like a total task itself. You can't have a party premade and do stuff... you must make a game then either search and hire a friend or if in the same guild you could simply make a game then have them join, this is all after needless text msgs.

keyb0red
keyb0red

the 5th in the series and the levels are still as bland and boring as the first one.

Slimm457
Slimm457

AC series needs an image overhaul

Slimm457
Slimm457

AC series needs an image overhaul

mdchapel9
mdchapel9

@K-A_L-A_D-U_R lol Probably because he's not getting paid for it.

noodlzethegreat
noodlzethegreat

because game companies are pulling a sean payton and saying here is some money give it a shat review and dont worry about it.. and on top of all this i garuntee you wont see another game hit a 9.5 review until jesus christ comes walks off ur tv and says i approve.. so artarded.. im over this whole whining about reviews and DLC nonesense BOY cot the mother effers then u stupid arses.. you have a voice.. you have rights.. frickin use em

K-A_L-A_D-U_R
K-A_L-A_D-U_R

Disappointing lack of mission variety Too many simplistic sorties Bland artistic design Limited multiplayer options. But this is part of the "Art" of this game...why are you criticising their vision for this game?!?!?!

dxBIGBOSSxb
dxBIGBOSSxb

@Payasoplas OHHHHH... that crap. I still love the DBZ fighting games, and they're pretty good, but of course they get shat all over in terms of reviews, but the user ratings are still quite high, yet it's the complete opposite with the Naruto Games. High reveiws, but s*** user rating. I used to be into Naruto... but then I grew up and realized it was the CoD of anime. Constantly selling out, and getting really annoying really fast. Heck, say anything you want about the current season of Pokemon, it's still FAR less annoying than Naruto. I'm still into Bleach though... kind of consider it DBZ's spiritual successor in a way. DBZ: Cheesy as hell, but lovable all the same! :3 To me, it's the Star trek of anime.

Payasoplas
Payasoplas

@dxBIGBOSSxb No, it's not Z.O.E.. Z.O.E. may have female robots with penis but don't worry, except for that i have nothing against it. I was talking about Naruto and it's latest game...

dxBIGBOSSxb
dxBIGBOSSxb

@Payasoplas Huh? What anime? I'm actually pretty curious. I hope it's not Z.O.E.

shadow580
shadow580

I want a Metal Gear mech game. The mech scene in MGS4 was amazing, and it isn't even a mech game!

vihazur
vihazur

There are so very few mech games these days, why can't there at least be one or two that are actually good..

VampireLord123
VampireLord123

I think now days if you dont have the moneyto make a game like skyrim, mw3, and big budget proyects, all the other gams, according to reviewers are not worth playing, it is sad.

OGKNav
OGKNav

This day and age, considering all the ADHD CoD fanatics, that translates to a 7 for normal open-minded people.

townsforever
townsforever

remember guys a six means its fun just not anything special. This review states things that can also be said about mw3 so I'm thinking this game is worth getting.

LordPhatD
LordPhatD

"defeating them is still just a matter of waiting for the orange box to appear and pulling the triggers" Change orange box to red cross-hair and you just described call of duty but that get's top marks. Never mind if it's recycled garbage year after year... @psuedospike Thanks for your opinion, I agree completely. I'll be buying this game despite of GameSpot's review.

Juno54
Juno54

At first when I started playing AC5 it took me a bit to get the controls down and the setup on how each interface works. But once you figure it out, the game gets very customizable. They went from the frantic pace of Armored Core 4 and For Answer to somewhat how the orignal pacing was for the older Armored Core games. Everyone will have their preference on how the series should go, but so far I like how they tried new stuff with this installment. The only thing I haven't tried yet is the PVP mode.

cameio
cameio

I bought Armored Core V, Ninja Gaiden 3 and Resident Evil RC and tried them, they all deserve at least 7 but not more than 8 Gamespot and IGN score are stupid so don't let it stop you from getting it i liked Ninja Gaiden 3 so much so is the others and i'll buy Yakuza too to hell with the nonsense reviwes.

ticklemonster1
ticklemonster1

but how does it look? i need my giant robot fighting action hi-def and break-neck, whether sniping a mile away or up close crushing a minivan!

koorkoor
koorkoor

Kevin will be mad at Chris because ha gave a FROM Software game less than 9.0

bojox3m
bojox3m

Don't worry FROMSOFTWARE, I will still buy AC:V even if it gets 3.0 from the review. Because I know, You will not dissappoint a Hard Core AC fan.

psuedospike
psuedospike

I bought Armored Core V and love it. It can be daunting at first because it doesn't hold your hand in the menus and boring in the beginning, like any deep customization heavy game can be. But, once you get through most of the early story and missions and have money and start tweaking your designs and creating custom logos and emblems and competing in multiplayer contested zones and hiring yourself out as a Merc and organizing and overseeing big 'You are the omnipresent Commander' maps while jumping into the views of each of your teammates and enemy AI viewpoints this games gets GREAT! I think Chris needed to spend a LOT more time with this game to understand its nuances. I bet he spent less than 20 hours playing this judging by the review. I don't really care about numbered review scores, but he didn't even mention a lot of what makes this game awesome! For any fan of Mech combat games this is a must have. If you are anyone else you might want to steer clear.

DredWulf
DredWulf

I expected AC 5 to get low scores every AC gets a low score it's a niche title...and me I am proudly in that niche of pouring over technical data to gain the best mech possible...and the persistent online world I think is a great feature. But alas it like every other AC won't sell because of how simplified the gaming culture as a whole has become "If it's not COD, I am not buying it" mentality. I love this game...and I am gonna keep playing it.

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

how long all this reviewer gonna continue with this, Conspiracy.........

genjuroT
genjuroT

6/10 isn't terrible, it even says it's a fair game. I haven't played it myself yet, but I highly doubt it could've gotten a high score, there only so much you can put onto a disc that a 360 can access, let alone process(since the console hasn't changed since the 4th one came out 6 years ago). I say upgrade to blue ray to have more content instead of taking stuff off the game disc to put new stuff on the sequel. Also upgrade the consoles so they can process more things ingame, instead of only fighting 2 enemies at the same time because thats the only amount the 360 can handle. I actually stopped playing the last AC because my console had massive framerate issues to the point of being unplayable. I remember it was a desert spider like boss i think...never got passed it because the game would freeze up. I borrowed my friend's copy and it did the same thing.

grove12345
grove12345

Well im still interested in this game AC4 was like a mech game on crack and every speed known to man.But i think it went to overboard with the speed and anime style. Most PC gamers have no idea how AC plays.Fast and about 100x more customization than any other mech game. Front Mission was the best mech series IMO until it went 3rd person shooter. WTF Mechwarrior game doesnt have me interested. I grew up with the old school games like MW or BT or earth Siege, but the new MW online gameplay doesnt offer much in variety. Im sure not as much customization as AC, and you move what seems like 5mph instead of 50(AC5) or 500 (AC4). No room for dodging or manuevers. Basically saying gameplay for MW online looks outdated like Doom. Im going to see what AC fans say.

Payasoplas
Payasoplas

How is it possible that a game based on the most stupid anime ever gets a good rating and the fifth part of a long running series of games gets this low rating?

Okamiiiii
Okamiiiii

@KillerJuan77 Its either that, or maybe the reviewers expect more from the games since there's a lot of sequels coming out for the past 2 weeks lol.

KillerJuan77
KillerJuan77

@Okamiiiii I guess reviewers are pissed off this week.

Okamiiiii
Okamiiiii

So many bad reviews this week. Sheesh...

KillerJuan77
KillerJuan77

"Bland artistic design" Seriously? It's a mech game, the best looking stuff should be the mechs and based on the demo... it delivers, fairly well (Even though the PS3 version suffers major framerate issues). What's up with gaming reviewers nowadays?

spiritwave
spiritwave

I loved the last Armored Cores, and I love this one too. Haven't had a second thought about buying this over SF x Tekken...and I main fighting games. Yea, there are quite a few missions that feel like you're just grinding points. But...ummm...it's a mech simulation! This isn't a gundam game. Of course there are going to be extremely mindless missions. That shows the reality factor...not everyone can have a giant mech. As for the story, well, I like having to pay attention to actually comprehend it. Armored Core does a good job of not spoon feeding the player. Picking up details through transmissions was the only way to get a story out of the AC4 universe. At least this has some cutscenes lol. This game is heavily focused on incorporating online, and growing a community for the game. Instead of fighting for an AI corporation like last gen, clans feel like corporations. Compared to previous games, I feel the multiplayer in this is flawless. Front Mission only lasted me about 2 weeks. I know this game will last me until Virtua Fight 5 FS comes to psn. As for artistic design, if we're talking levels in general, they are also a major improvement over he last few "desert with a few broken buildings" designs. Firm, but fair review though. The game may not be everyone's taste.

BSEE10
BSEE10

Armored Core was great once when it was on the PS.

edgewalker16
edgewalker16

This game will become obsolete once Mechwarrior: Onine is released.

Iridescent406
Iridescent406

I'm actually still really looking forward to picking this up. From the OTHER REVIEWS that I've also read, it seems like this would still be something that I'd enjoy. @wezkilla IV and this one are two entirely different beasts. If you're into more fast paced combat, then it's worth a look at it's dirt-cheap price. I'd probably recommend this one still, seeing as how From Software has gotten a little better about making legitimately good games.

ps727
ps727

also, does it bug anyone else that japanese game companies can't seem to hire decent translators? metal gear:revengeance, armored core for answer, how hard is it, really, to have a title that doesn't make you scratch your head

ps727
ps727

 @townsforever good point. i think too many people look at the scores reviewers give instead of reading the review itself to look for features that they like or dislike. i'm not endorsing or knocking this game, just agreeing with your statement

Armored Core V More Info

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  • First Released
    • PS3
    • Xbox 360
    Armored Core V is the newest entry in the Armored Core series featuring team-based online modes.
    7.2
    Average User RatingOut of 152 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Armored Core V
    Developed by:
    From Software
    Published by:
    From Software, Namco Bandai Games, Bandai Namco Games, Namco Bandai Games America
    Genres:
    Simulation
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Mild Language, Violence