On the horizon of the GTA Online debut, From Software the creators of Demon souls and Dark Souls which are widely known by the gaming community for their difficulty and mercilessness, have let loose their behemoth of a franchises’ latest sequel, Armored core 5 Verdict Day, and may I add that even after the GTA Online release I’m able to pry myself away from GTA to try and help my current faction and earn experience for my team.
Armored Core 5 Verdict Day is an action – mech game where you take the role of a lone mercenary who pilots an Armored Core and earns his dues through completing contracts proposed by any contractor. You are able to fully customise the AC that you pilot with over 500 parts, the weapons that you will be using can be upgraded on purchase to fulfil specific roles so for example a rifle can be long ranged slow firing powerhouse, or a close combat faster firing version but will feature less firepower. Due to the range of parts that you can customise your AC to become a slow moving but rather healthy tank, or become a giant mech-killing assailant who zips between streets to gain the edge. Armored Core 5 Verdict Day has introduced a new global world domination map and UNAC’s (Unmanned Armored Cores) which you can create to support your tactics or become a solo killing machine. UNAC’s are upgradeable through using battle reports from your latest matches, enabling your UNAC to become more efficient with their weapons and tactics. The feared weapons of Armored Core 5 have also made a comeback, but they have been rebalanced.
The story and lore of Armored Core 5 Verdict day is an odd one as I’m not entirely sure if it has anything to do with 5 but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with any of the other games in the franchise. On saying that it has nothing to do with Armored Core 4 answer though is something I’m not sure as Armored Core 4 Answer was set in an apocalyptic world where the world was practically uninhabitable, but after playing certain missions in AC5V there are either cameos or hints at the AC’s and Arms Forts being recovered from the AC4A time period… or AC5V is a prelude to AC4A, but it’s probably best to believe that they’re just disjointed but the development really liked the ideas that went into AC4A, either way that you interpret it I can guarantee that fans of the series will appreciate the subtleties that are tied in to AC5V.
AC5V starts explaining that unknown towers were found scattered around the globe and these towers quickly became the hub for the three factions’ military bases. The three Factions Sirius Corporation, Venide and the Evergreen Family are warring for complete control of the globe and as you start the game up in online mode you will have to align yourself with one of the factions, when I started the Evergreen Family were lacking in numbers so I figured that I’d join them to get more cross faction battles, and where I did get a good number of sorties against other players, nothing can fill the hole that was bored into my skull by the background music of the Evergreen Family. I was very thankful when the first season ended so I could change my faction and I must say that the Sirius Corporations taste in music is exquisite.
The operator mode from Armored Core 5 has returned and been upgraded to allow for real time rally points to be set by the operator, and although I still feel like a pre-requisite of operator mode is that all the players should be talking to each other by headset it still provides a tactical interface in which the operator can see what’s going on in the battlefield, and aim to help his comrades. UNAC’s are able to be deployed even if the only human player assumes the operator role, though this puts a real time strategy twist on the game, it still feels like you’re in command of your team, especially if your team consists of highly obedient but a bit dim-witted players. Operator mode has enabled the use of viewing the battlefield from any of your own teams’ AC’s this in theory would help the operator to get a feel for the current battle, though this falls short as the screen you get to view your team’s perspective from, is minute at best, and with the signal delay that happens between switching views taking so long means that the operator can quickly lose track of the battlefield.
Armored Core 5 Verdict Day features the same combat that was in Armored Core 5 and the same type of maps which allow players to make use of the streets for cover and flanking the enemy. Though the combat does remain aesthetically the same there have been minor changes to the old parts of the game to make them more balanced, the biggest and most obvious of these go straight to the ultimate weapons, which is understandable due to the overwhelming killing power that these weapons possess, especially that of the Giga cannon. If you are unaware of what the Giga cannon is then imagine slinging a cannon under-arm that has the power of a death-star, the Giga cannon can hit a target from across the map and instantly kill/vaporise it, and with the right generator the Giga cannon is able to shoot twice leaving quite the dent in your enemy’s forces if you have a good shot. Though overwhelming powerful the Giga cannon like all ultimate weapons in AC5V now have incredibly crippling drawbacks after use, these drawbacks come in the shape of having 0 energy for roughly 30 seconds, in short you will be a sitting duck, and unless your manual aiming is exceptional you will not be scoring any hits.
Un-Manned Armored Cores are a new feature that has been included in AC5V that allow the player to have customisable AI fight alongside them in most combat situations, although it does take a while to fully upgrade the UNAC’s they can be equipped with any weapon and body part, allowing them to fill any role in your team. I attempted to make my UNAC into a stationary sniper that uses a long range sniper cannon, and even though the UNAC operation system is easy to use, it takes a while to understand and even longer to make a coherent and advanced operation. I thoroughly enjoy using the UNAC’s (especially seeing as mine is named Jeremiah) and I don’t think they could have simplified it anymore, but the system itself is hard to take advantage of except for just using UNAC’s as meat-shields rather than teammates in which to formulate tactics. One of the biggest disappointments with UNAC’s is in the first minutes of any battle as you will find that the UNAC’s on your team will swarm you rather than spread out and get to tactically advantageous area, so for example I’d like my sniper to get to the nearest highest building and stay put, after seeing an enemy he should immediately started making Swiss cheese out of the enemy, to my dismay Jeremiah insisted on trying to hug me, and however appreciative I would be in a normal situation, on the battlefield with 4 really miffed enemies hurtling towards you, isn’t exactly the optimal hugging location.
The multiplayer in AC5V differs greatly to that in AC5 and has been upgraded to allow UNAC’s to fight alongside you, allowing anyone whose faction is limited to just one person to fight in a full game and still have a chance at winning, and I must say that the tactics that arise in 4 vs. 4 games is incredible, though the UNAC’s don’t think for themselves until they see an enemy, and then they will execute there customised commands.
The world map has been changed to be that of our Globe which made me feel like I had more of a sense of interactivity with the overall multiplayer. The three factions start off with 8 military bases located around the base of one the seven towers, though this does mean that one faction has an advantage from the very start, and I still haven’t seen any territories fall to another faction.
Upon starting the game in online mode you will be assigned a home region according to your faction, within this home region you can customise your defences to help repel enemy attacks. If you don’t fancy yourself as an entrepreneur of home defence systems then you can always buy pre-set formations form the shop to stick into your conquered territories.
As a returning Armored Core player I’m happy to see a more friendly multiplayer system (including the replacing of team points for giving the player the ability to special sortie after 6 Player vs. Player games) and the integration of AI for solo players. However the AI isn’t the best but whether that’s just me not being able to customise it correctly or the AI being like that for balancing issues I’m afraid I don’t have the answer.
Armored Core 5 Verdict Day is what Armored Core 4 Answer was to 4, merely an expansion of customisable AC’s(with the return of Weapon Arms as well) and the 60 single-player missions are all like the missions you would have seen in Armored Core 5. The multiplayer and UNAC system is what separates Verdict Day from Armored Core 5 and I must say I’m impressed with the changes but people who didn’t enjoy Armored Core 5 will likely not enjoy Verdict Day. The story is still beyond me, but I have thoroughly enjoyed contributing towards my faction’s victory.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.