|System: PSP (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: FromSoftware||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: FromSoftware||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 4, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Armored Core fans may not necessarily be shouting with joy with the release of the latest title in the series. In fact, some may just be rendered speechless, engaged in mute silence. Armored Core: Silent Line Portable includes some new features and characters, but it's little more than an expansion pack for Armored Core 3 Portable, a game that didn't live up to my expectations in the first place. Overall it's not bad, but it's not great either. In the following review I will cross the line, speak out, and defy the legion of blind, loyal fanatics in an attempt to tell the truth about the latest AC game.
Arguably the biggest disappointment with the PSP version of Armored Core 3 is the control scheme; it's simply inferior to the PS2 version. And while there is a glut of gamers that have only experienced the PSP version, those of us that were weaned on the PS2 can't help but have preconceived notions of how the game should operate. Yes, I can play the game on the PSP, but I don't like it. Even though the control scheme can be configured to your playing style, it's not only awkward, but there are times when it's actually faulty. I'll discuss some of the details later in the review. Suffice it to say that if you're new to the PSP version of this series, you will do well to approach this as an entirely different beast.
I'm a mech lover. I would still rather play a bad mech game than a good hockey or baseball game any day. So, I want this game to be good; it's just not. Not only is the control scheme a problem, but the graphics make it difficult to discern the allies from the enemies, and the missions get seriously difficult quickly. You don't get enough of a chance to build up points, which you need for repairs and upgrades, before you're smashed to smithereens. Not only will you be battling the unintentional, additional challenges proposed by the controls and blocky graphics, but much of the gameplay is trial and error where no amount of intelligence or attention to detail will be of much use. The greatest challenge in Silent Line Portable is overcoming frustration.
After a nuclear holocaust, inhabitants of the Earth must take to the underground where they are looked after by a form of artificial intelligence. This A.I., while taking care of the humans' basic needs, is actually cramping their style. Eventually several factions are formed with the intent of expanding their territory. This is accomplished by piloting giant mechs that have the ability to move about on the surface of the planet. Battles are imminent as these factions attempt to capture new territory and defend what they've captured.
Customization is the key component to Silent Line Portable, but it's a feature that is flawed. There are hundreds of bot parts available including engines, weapons, armor, ammo, and power-ups, mostly in the form of boosts. The configurations are limitless, with a variety of weapons including machine guns, sniper rifles, rockets, flamethrowers, and specialty weapons such as Orbit guns and cannons that actually orbit around the Core. Some of these upgrades will definitely help you get through some of the toughest levels, but the problem is that much of the points that you earn must be used for repairs and restocking ammo. The points are automatically deducted from your total at the end of each mission. That means you've got to really do well in these missions, and I've mentioned that's not always possible. You can't replay levels to build your points.