the highlights of this game is the in dept customization of mechs and combat AI tactics as well as the traditional manual control. of all the AC games i've played i think this one is the most user friendly for first time players of the series. because of the AI auto control feature, you can see how the computer plays (and see him win) against other bots. Armored core has always been a game where the learning curve was very high but because of AI selection you can learn faster or just rely on programming the mech. also this version, because of the limited psp buttons, has no manual vertical aim options; meaning the vertical aim is AUTO. this drawback actually makes playing in manual easier because you won't have to manage the vertical aiming.
the only let down of this game is the lack of online play standard.
also there are different versions of this game: Japanese version, US version and international version.
it's pretty confusing which one to buy; i got the US version (extreme battle)
for $40 isn't not a bad game.