|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: From Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: From Software||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 4, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In addition to progressing the story, completing missions will also net you in-game currency, which you can use to upgrade your mecha. Though the upgrade system isn't as intuitive as you might find in other Armored Core games, if you are an old fan of the franchise, you'll be right at home swapping parts and keeping an eye on your mecha's overall specs. However, if you are not familiar with the Armored Core style, the game doesn't really give you much of a tutorial, and it can be frustrating at first to try and figure out how to swap parts and how things like overall weight can affect performance.
Once you have completed the story mode and created your ultimate mecha, you can play with your friends using the game's ad-hoc multiplayer mode. The game supports up to four players at a time, and it allows you to participate in very simple matches against local friends. I would have really liked to have seen an online mode for this title, especially as it would have helped give the game additional value for those who have already played the original version on the PlayStation 2.
The visuals in Armored Core: Last Raven Portable are a little hit and miss. While the cutscenes sport amazing detail and beautiful animation, the in-game visuals are not as good. Missions will see you visiting a number of environments, but each section is sparsely populated with only a few baddies and a structure or two punctuating the landscape. It really is quite a shame that the graphics take such a nosedive after the opening cutscene, as the opening scene for this title may be the best I have ever seen on the PSP. As far as the sound is concerned, Armored Core: Last Raven Portable does much better, featuring a good voiceover and some pleasant background music. Though nearly all of the sound has been reused from the original, it doesn't suffer for it.
If you were a fan of the original Armored Core: Last Raven, this port does not offer anything except frustration. The lack of a second analog stick really limits this title's appeal. If the development team had found a way to work around this shortcoming (like an active camera, for instance) then Last Raven Portable would have been exceptional. With plenty of missions and a great customization interface, this could have been a great title and a worthy portable reimagining of the original. However, as it is, Armored Core: Last Raven Portable is a clunky-feeling port of a game that used to be awesome.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor