== ARMORED CORE V ==
Armored Core V is a 3D mecha based video game that is available for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The game was developed by From Software and published by Namco Bandai. Previous games in the series I haven't been a massive fan but after hearing good things about the game from my cousin and realizing it was quite cheap on release day I thought I would give the game a chance. Armored Core V isn't a sequel to the previous games but it is the 5th in the current series and the 14th in the series overall. The game doesn't feature a story at all but does feature a total of 10 story missions with a different objective in each and there are almost 100 side missions as well as online play. This is by far one of the most exciting Armored Core games as well as the biggest. This Armored Core is more tactical based than all out action but the game still has tons of action.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
In the Armored Core V main menu there is numerous options available which include start mission if you want to quickly get into the main game or side missions that are available. Upon completing missions more and more become available. Doing mission objectives will result in an overall ranking and also cash is earned to spend how you see fit. Rendezvous is if you're in a team and someone is about to start a mission and you want to join them. It automatically puts you with them on the same mission so you can do it as a team. There are also mock battles in which you can set the rules and the map and you can then perform combat training against team members, which is a good way to get the hang of the game and the functions of it. Team news tells you all the latest news for the team such as level ups, new items in the shop and much more.
Mercenary Reg. is so you can join other teams for certain missions whilst still being in your own team and you can sometimes earn increased money this way as long as you are not destroyed in battle. Free battle is to battle against other players and is mainly for fun and excitement. Leaderboards gives you your rank, your teams rank and everyone else who play online. You can also visit the workshop by pressing a button in the main menu and at the workshop you can do numerous things. You can go and assembly your robot with new parts you have bought or new parts you have found from missions and more. Paint allows you to paint your mech to what colours you want and there are lots of patterns available too. You can paint every part of your mech differently and I can promise you that no two mechs are the same.
Along with doing all those you can also choose a name for your pilot and for your robot its entirely up to you. AC data allows you to save, load and edit your AC data. You can visit the shop in the workshop and buy new parts for your mech but there are only a certain few from the start until more become available from leveling up and doing other bits. There are hundreds upon hundreds of different parts available to buy and use. You can also install your parts straight away and go on AC test to see if they suit the style of play that you do and if not you can simply change them until its suited to the way you play. You can also edit parts and sell them over Xbox Live to make a lot of cash. Settings allow you to change all game settings to suit your needs.
By pressing another button in the main menu you can visit the team menu and alter things there too. Team data allows you to alter your team emblem and team colours but not team name because the leader has to pick that at the start and it cannot be changed at all. You can also change a lot of other bits as well. Member list tells you who is in your team. Trading room lets you trade items between team members. Personal data lists all your data and there are many other options available for you to browse or even change.
Just before starting a mission you are taken to the world map where there are a total of 8 sections to choose from. Each section has numerous missions and more become available as you complete them. Story missions cannot be missed because they are a different colour on the map and are much bigger. Order missions are your side missions and cannot be missed either because they are white and there are tons of them as well as being numbered. In a story mission you are given your objectives and its really easy to follow because you have a radar that is accessible from pressing a button and it guides you to your destination but the only problem being there could be tons of enemies on the way and you cannot attack whilst having the radar on so you must come out to battle.
Along with the radar your mech will have numerous weapon types and weapons equipped from shotguns, pistols, heavy machine guns, cannons, rocket launchers and hundreds more. Your mech will have one weapon in its right arm and one on its left plus one on each shoulder which can be changed between the two in its hand. It also has another shoulder type weapon which can be anything from different range missiles, rockets, auto lock on guns and more. There really are endless possibilities to the game. In order missions you can do basically all the same stuff but it usually involves battles against one or two AC's or against a horde of enemies. The online play is really good with team vs team battles for different territories or you can battle it out on your own against other players and you can also join other teams to help them out for a one time mission. Almost everything in missions can be destroyed from buildings to enemies and more its a fantastic game and one of the best so far this year.
=== GRAPHICS ===
Armored Core V does have some very good graphical features especially in the customization of your robot. There are hundreds upon hundreds of different outcomes with numerous parts available for changing and each one looks phenomenal. Most of the levels are designed okay but nothing too fancy and a lot of levels do tend to look similar in certain ways but this isn't a bad thing overall because on some levels there are tons of different enemies on screen at once and with fantastic looking levels the game would more than likely slow down a lot. The graphics in my opinion are pretty much perfect with very few glitches and only a few slight disappointments.
=== SOUND EFFECTS ===
Sound effects are equally as impressive as the graphics for the game. The music gives the feel to an arcade style game and it works really well at times. I love how the music fits in well and changes when it needs to. Also the sound effects your robot makes will differ depending on what parts you have installed and what equipment you are using but they all sound really well designed with a lot of variety. The action sound effects are fantastic and are certainly what brings the game to life. You can be in a battle against numerous enemies and all you can hear is the excellent sound effects the game has on offer. Overall the sound effects are great and they are also really impressive in online play too.
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
Now the difficulty for the game is very interesting because the game is certainly one of the hardest out there to date and also one of the hardest to get the hang of with everything that goes on in the game. Most of the side missions are quite easy but there are a few that may cause some gamers a few troubles. Also the main story missions can be the same in terms of difficulty. It basically depends on you and how you use your mech with the customization options as well because different enemies have strengths and weaknesses as does your mech. Overall I feel you have to have a few amount of patience to play this game because it can be confusing at times and fairly difficult, especially to new players of the series.
The game is reasonably good in terms of longevity and should last most hardcore gamers a good 30 or 40 hours. There are 10 story missions and if you do them and nothing else then you've clearly purchased the wrong game because the side missions are a lot of fun and the online play is equally as impressive. Story missions will lost roughly around 8 hours in total but the side missions will lost more than 20 hours. With online play the game is definitely worth owning and is definitely lengthy for most. If you don't play on live then the game is still reasonably lengthy with tons of options available.
=== ACHIEVEMENTS ===
Armored Core V has a total of 50 achievements so far to date but there could become more available with downloadable content in the future. The 50 that are achievable are actually pretty good for online gamers as there are quite a few that requires you to do things online. There are also your usual achievements for finishing each story mission and there are a couple of mixed ones for side missions too. The game does have some achievements that might take you a while to get because they are very challenging and very time consuming but overall I do like the mix of achievements the game has.
=== PROS ===
*Tons of different customization options available so no two mechs will look the same.
*An action packed tactical game which is quite rare to find.
*10 story missions and around 85 order missions with a decent amount of variety.
*The online play is really good with team battles or battles on your own against online gamers.
*Some good bosses and enemy AC's and the game is a lot of fun.
*Good graphical features on the mechs and the sound effects are very impressive as well.
=== CONS ===
*Some of the parts in the shop are ridiculously pricey and there are a lot of parts the same but don't do much difference.
*The game is one of the hardest out there to date especially if you're new to these type of games.
*If you join someones game and help them you don't earn money you lose it!
*10 story missions does seem short if you only play for that alone.
*The servers seem to mess up quite a bit especially on a certain day at a certain time.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
Armored Core V is a fun game to play but probably not worth owning if you have no patience at all because it can become very annoying and it can also make you waste a lot of time. I was a beginner to these games until just recently and after playing a good 4 or 5 hours I started to get the hang of it and all the options because at first its quite mind baffling with the amount of stuff you can do on it. Its definitely a game that's different and there aren't any like it at all.
I would recommend the game to people who like this sort of thing with mechs, all out action and that can stand a difficult game in the long run. However if you like to master a game straight off then this is more than likely best avoided. The difficult alone might well put a lot of gamers off. If you would like something new and exciting then I think this is the game for you because its very different and offers a lot.
The game has an age rating of 12+ which seems about right and the game manual itself is quite good as well. I bought the game from Amazon for £30 which is great value for money. I pre-ordered the game and it came on release day so was very chuffed with it. The game is still hanging around the £30 mark on places such as amazon and eBay.
Overall its a fun, addictive and challenging game and I would give it a very strong 8/10!
Review also posted on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!