Sorry - we're not done, we just paused for breath. The mission areas are tiny - we once got kicked out for flying too high. The game penny-pinches your mission payments. You have to choose your gear before you get the mission briefing, so you have to quit the mission if you want to trade your sniper cannon for a shotgun after learning what your actual assignment is. We're still not done, but you get the idea, right? We hate to suggest it, but this thing needs to be focus-tested.
Yes, there is a multiplayer component, and it's clearly meant to be the focus here, just as it was in the slower-paced 360 mech battler Chromehounds, from this same publisher and developer. Two can go head to head on one system, and up to eight can mech things up online or system linked, either co-op or versus. Our favorites are the four-on-four or eight-person battle royale matches, which we thought were the best part of the whole game. Without it, we would have scored this at least two points lower.
Multiplayer adds life, and we guess it's cool that Armored Core 4 is nearly identical on both PS3 and 360 (though the 360 has voice chat) so nobody gets a vastly inferior version. But ultimately, this series is going to have to evolve into a more accessible, playable, solo-friendly experience if it ever wants to be known as anything other than a niche curiosity.