X360, PS3 Monday, February 19, 2007 | 3:48 PM

Images of Armored Core 4

Images of Armored Core 4

Sega and Armored Core 4's new Europe publisher 505 Games today announced that the game will be released in Europe on the 27th of April, at least on Playstation 3. The Xbox 360 version wasn't mentioned, and with the PS3 icons we can assume that the images are from the Playstation 3 version.

All comments

Commented on 2007-02-19 16:24:56
ohh that main menu pic is delicious.
Commented on 2007-02-19 17:41:45
Well I hope it plays good. I originally bought a PS2 just to play Armored Core 2, so i have hope for this title.
Commented on 2007-02-19 18:49:35
Nothing says "we saved texture memory by filling the game with 8-bit greyscale textures" like AC4 screens...
Commented on 2007-02-19 20:08:03
That Gameplay screenshot looks terrible.
Commented on 2007-02-19 21:46:57
There was a level on a glacier and many smaller glaciers with water everywhere. I think that map looked real nice.
Commented on 2007-02-19 23:15:25
those graphics look like poo man , so much for cell and nvidia.
Commented on 2007-02-19 23:46:12
last pic reminds me of chromehounds. near enought same creation tools
Commented on 2007-02-20 01:06:31
Mehfest. Seriously, From Software fails to impress me still.
Commented on 2007-02-20 02:53:24
The in-game shot actually looks quite decent :-)
Commented on 2007-02-20 03:59:16
I thought I'd post my most lasting impressions of this game. I got the Japanese game for Christmas, and recently sold it. Note that this is the Japanese PLAYSTATION 3 version I'm referring to. I realize that Armored Core fans are going to purchase this game no matter what anyone says, but my target audience is those who watched the flashy trailers and might be misled into thinking this game will be an orgasm of mech combat fanatic-pleasing action.

This title feels like it could have used another month to polish graphically, another month more to polish control-wise, and perhaps two more from a mission design perspective. It can also feel often times quite like Chromehounds, From Software's previous mech outing, despite its divergent presentation.

The first thing one notices when booting up the game is the slick presentation. From the simple cutscenes which are a leap above Chromehounds to the mission briefing UI, fans of Japanese-style mechanical military atmosphere will feel right at home with the visuals here.
They'll also wonder why the game does not have an option to install on to the hard drive when they grab a soda during load times. Load times abound aplenty in Armored Core 4. Not only to some missions take longer to load than to play (no exaggeration here), but even the briefing menus' presentation is mired by load times.

Back to missions, From Software delivers a mixed bag. Combat against other mechs can be violent and exciting, but stomping over generic tanks, mini-bipeds, helos, and other conventional war machines is a chore. Sadly, it is the latter category that emerges the more often. The mission objectives are varied but, like last year's Chromehounds, usually without soul, which feels at odds with the cutscenes, which hint at deeper waters.
However, do not mistaken this game's mission designs for Chromehounds, as you will not after the first hour of play. The game does manage to pick up steam despite a bevy of unimaginative mission sequences thanks to its fluid control scheme and more immediate action. More on this to follow.
The game is also not particularly long, due in no small part to its short missions, chipping away at the idea that the events in the game took particularly much effort, lives, and drama to pass.

Graphically the game can be quite nice, running at a consistent and smooth framerate. However, most models are simple, and most units (with the exception of enemy mechs) have very basic (and often slow or non-existent) movement patterns. Where the game begs for more development time is in the effects. Sparks are simply yellow lines that appear and then disappear--they don't move or technically even animate; simply, they flicker in and out. Explosions, smoke trails, and so on are standard fares.
On the brighter side, the game benefits greatly from strong artistic vision, and a dreamy haze effect that washes over the entire palette of the in-game action. It does not go overboard and end up drowning out the player's clarity of vision.
The sound in the game is quite spartan, and quite sparse. Again, it reminded me of Chromehounds, despite the faster and more rapid action to be found in Armored Core 4. This likely has to do with the similarly short mission design, which cuts the action up into briefing scenes, silent loads, and the a burst of generic action bites.
Some of the music, however, stands out, adding to the presentation particularly out of the missions themselves during cutscenes.

The controls are introduced through a basic tutorial, and are adequate towards familiarizing the player to a respectable degree. The player actually has a wide variety of options in the customization department--this is, after all, where the series gets its pedigree--but mapping controls does not fall off the grid, as the basics of flight, weapon selection, and firing are not difficult to memorize.
Flight. This game would be dead without it, and is saved by it. It is not the easiest beast to tame, but it opens up the game, allowing quick procession between point A and point B, and a vertical segment to the game. The first point stands out more, especially compared to other mech games. The vertical segment is felt less because with a few exceptions, most enemies will not match the player's aptitude for flight--the enemy AI, when it's not still or moving blindly, is liable to acts of retardation, sometimes jumping straight up and down, sometimes performing the mech equivalent of donuts, and so forth. As a result, when the player is bursting through the air, the joy is desensitized because the opponents will not usually follow suit.
Online play is basic and lacks the novelty of Chromehounds's persistent war format. There is not much else to say about this aspect of the game.

Gamers who watched the trailers and were dazzled by the ZOE-like flight speeds and cannot wait to dump ammo payloads at anime rates will receive that in Armored Core 4. For me, those features were impressive only for the first ten minutes. Combat against non-mechs was similar to Chromehounds, but much graciously much faster with the benefit of the mechs' quick movement rates. The mechs' alacrity and superficial impression of throwing hundreds of rounds and missiles into the air is offset as always by cooldown, and suffers from Chromehounds' pattern of firing a weapon, switching to the next, firing it, and so on. Rinse and repeat.
From a "thirty-seconds of fun" perspective, Armored Core 4 gets about ten to fifteen seconds of it down, without the hundred seconds of slow trudging through terrain that plagued From Software's previous title.

Rent this game if you are interested. XBox Live is not going to save this game's online offerings unless new modes are introduced in the process. The XBox 360 version will at best offer what all XBox 360 versions of multiplatform games are going to offer--rumble, achievements, and that XBox Live functionality edge over the PLAYSTATION 3's still-fledging service.

Hollow, it falls short of its presentation and potential across the board. Yet I would not dismiss any appeal the next Armored Core might garner.
Commented on 2007-02-20 10:40:22
blah Ill pass on this one...
Commented on 2007-02-20 10:41:19
Yeah that in-game shot looks absolutely horrible. Why would anyone release THAT to the public? These can't be official screens.

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