Luke Ross: Brightonian Staff
Armored Core is a series that has been a very long-running one, starting all the way back in 1997 and the latest game being released in 2013. Though I don’t think many have even heard about this franchise, and it was even created by “From Software” the creators behind dark souls and bloodborne. So to try and draw some light onto the franchise I will review one that many in the community of Armored Core consider being one of the best “Armored Core: Last Raven.”
To start off this review I should make it clear that this game was made for the Playstation 2 and graphically has not aged the best. But through the use of legal emulation, you can easily get Last Raven running smoothly on most computers. I would recommend this method since I doubt many people still own a PlayStation 2 and even if you did the physical copies of the game a pretty rare due to its age. PCSX2 is the best emulator in my personal opinion and you can find guides on its website on how to legally emulate games such as Last Raven.
Moving past the technical jargon this game is a real gem. Last Raven is a sequel to the previous game Armored Core: Nexus, but Last Raven gets you caught up with the story really quick. The basic premise is that after a large scale attack on three mega-corporations (that had control over the world) crippled said corporations they all came together to form The Alliance. Many did not wish to see the corporations rise to power again so they split off into a rival group called Vertex. Both these factions are at war with each other and you as the player get to decide who’s side you will take. The game features multiple different endings based on how the player chooses to approach situations in the game.
The gameplay comes down to taking missions assigned by clients (these usually being The Alliance or Vertex) and getting paid to do them. You as the player are a “Raven” which is a pilot who pilots mechs called armored cores. You get to go crazy with customization in this game and almost every part of your armored core can be personalized. But this isn’t just a dream mech creation simulator, it’s a pretty difficult game as well. The armored cores control fast but at the same time are clunky and the game requires you to get situated controlling your mech rather quickly. You usually fight basic enemies that are easy to dodge and take out. But sometimes you will go toe to toe with another pilot and that is where the true challenge starts. Other AC (Armored Cores) are fast, deadly, and most of all resilient. They can destroy you quicker than most units in the game and move faster to boot. I would recommend avoiding them during the beginning sections of the game due to this.
The game is about you adapting to using an AC and becoming a true piolet, so I don’t want to say too much and make you feel you already have a feel for what you are in for. Just find a way to play the game and good luck!