Armored Core 4 - first look

Run! That giant robot has a railgun... and guided missiles, and a sniper rifle, and a laser sword...

For Armored Core vets, most of the series' strengths and weaknesses seem likely to make the move to next gen. There's still a jaw-dropping opening movie clip, and a random story about war. There are still a nearly infinite number of jigger-able mechs - you can choose from tons of different weapons or body parts, or just occupy yourself giving each limb a different custom paint job. And it's still annoying to constantly have to worry about your mech being too weighed down to maneuver or getting overheated because you strapped on a fourth giga-caliber boom cannon instead of updgrading your boring old radiator.

Also, while this certainly looks nice, just as its PS2 predecessors didn't bury the needle on the sexy-looks-ometer, AC4 won't be mistaken for the gorgeous gore of Gears of War anytime soon. But that's not to say we didn't notice some very nice touches in our taste of the game's 37 total missions - a frozen ocean mission features some chillingly recreated ice floes, and in a one-on-one boss battle in the desert, we noticed heat ripples, impact craters where our missiles hit, and trails left in the sand by the mechs' feet.

It's not all the same-old, though. Things do seem faster, both in pacing and during actual gameplay. While the objectives showed the expected variety - blow up this base full of enemies (parts of the levels are destructible as well, though not all), win this one-on-one fight, escort this vehicle through this hostile area - most of the half-dozen missions we saw could be completed in two minutes or less, making this feel like a more briskly-paced game.


I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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