Despite AC2 AA's improvments, all of AC2's flaws remain.

User Rating: 7.7 | Armored Core 2: Another Age PS2
Armored Core 2 Another Age is the closest thing I’ve seen for an expansion pack on the PS2 so far. It was released as an expansion pack in Japan, but developer From Software must have decided to release it as a whole new game over here in the US. Armored Core 2 AA offers plenty of new parts to customize you AC and plenty of new missions, as well as some new multiplayer modes. However, there are a few things that were promised in this title, bust sadly, never appeared. Still, it’s a pretty good game on its own merits.

The story is as follows… Earth is still rebuilding from the great destruction that lasted 30 years. You arrive back on earth and the earth government now calls for your help. However, so do the corporations. There’s no real big enemy in this game and the sentence above pretty much sums it up. Nothing special here.

Graphics- 8/10
Even to this date, the visuals in this game are still impressive enough. The environments however, have a new feeling to them and look very lived in, unlike the environments in the previous installments. The models look great, the environments themselves fit the scene nicely, and the lighting and special effects look cool. The explosions look really nice, the laser weapons effects look good as well, and the weather effects look cool. The only real problem is that the environments feel too recycled at times and the bullets don’t look all that great. Finally, there is some framerate slowdown, but it dosen’t hurt the overall experience too much.

Sound- 8/10
The sound is pretty good as well. There’s not much dialogue in the game but the voice acting itself is decent enough on its own merits. The sounds of the mech moving about on the ground sound somewhat real too and give a good feeling to the gameplay. All the weapons and functions of your AC sound good too with the bullet type weapons being the only exception. They don’t sound very real. In fact, they sound very fake. Other than that, the sound is enjoyable mostly if you can look past the minor flaws.

Gameplay- 7/10
Despite the improvements the developers made, all of Armored Core 2’s problems remain. For example, your AC still turns around like the hour hand of a clock, and the customization balance can still take about an hour at the most. There’s also no arena option or online play either, and both of those things were promised before the game shipped. The aiming system is no better either, since you have to move and aim with the left analog stick. On the other hand, you can now use the analog stick to move around and not the D-pad, which makes the controls somewhat more fluid. The 100 missions can sure keep you busy for a while, and the new multiplayer modes make it even better. Furthermore, there are now more parts to choose from which make building your AC more flexible and you can import a save game data from Armored Core 2 over to here. Overall, the gameplay is better than the lat installment but still needs work.

In the end, if you like the series pick this one up. Otherwise, rent it first.