Armored Core 4 - first look

The future, as anyone with a brain will attest, will be a bombed-out wasteland in which never-ending wars are fought not only with conventional tanks and planes, but also with mechs. Apparently, victory can only be achieved by piloting titanic mechanized humanoids that can both walk and swordfight, despite the obvious lack of any tactical advantage those capabilities might provide when facing enemies armed with hell-hot lasers that could cut through a planet and radar-guided missiles stuffed with nuclear warheads.

This is self-fulfilling future history, guaranteed to happen simply because the collective mindshare of humankind expects it will - so you can't question it. All you can do is prepare for it. And for PlayStation 3 and 360 owners, the best way to prepare might just be to pick up a copy of publisher Sega's robo-blaster Armored Core 4 when it ships this spring.

For those unfamiliar with this long-running series (the title may say "4", but it's actually at least the eleventh Armored Core game - they usually don't use numbers), it's pretty easy to explain. Imagine you're playing a detailed driving sim like Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, only instead of tweaking the engine and gear ratios of your car, you're mounting a blast cannon and missile guidance system on your giant mech. And instead of driving around a track, you're blowing other mechs into shrapnel, along with a fair amount of your surroundings. It's pretty much like that.