"Armored Core" series has been around for a long time
now, and it doesn't seem like the genre will stop
anytime soon. And fortunately, Agetec's latest installment,
"Armored Core 2: Another Age", proves to be the best
of the bunch!
Core 2: Another Age"doesn't stray far from its predecessor,
Armored Core 2. Earth and Mars are battling it out
together, and both are trying to rebuild from a war.
As a freelance Raven (a giant robot), you take jobs
from either Earth or Mars (or both) to kick corporation
and terrorist ass for the highest price. Of course
you don't want to tell either one you just invaded
their base on a previous mission, when taking a job
from them. You need money to buy better parts and
weapons of mass destruction. And there are A LOT of
missions. In fact there are 100 new ones! That ought
to keep you busy for awhile, so don't expect to breeze
by this game quickly, like some other titles you may
have gone through. Each mission has its own goals
and story, and is usually very well done. The variety
of missions is a plus, from invading the base, assassinating
the other Raven, protecting something, exterminating
giant insects, etc. My favorite part of the game is
making your own robot. Whether it be a heavily armored
and weapon equipped one, or a light, swift deadly
one. Heavy rocketlaunchers, powerful beam swords,
energy weapons and shields…this game has it all! There
is enough customization in this title to make sure
you can have your very own unique robot fit exactly
to your tastes for you to love and destroy with.
Core 2: Another Age" has proven to be the best
in the AC series."
Core 2: Another Age" has improved in the graphics
department compared to its predecessor. Mechs are
smoother and sharper looking. The reflections and
lighting are top notch here too. (Just see the booster
lights!) The backgrounds are splendid, whether it
be inside an old factory or out in the desert sands.
The frame-rate has also been fixed up a lot, and it
transitions very smoothly. I've only seen it drop
few times, for example when there is a lot going on,with
tons of enemies on screen, but even then it isn't
a problem. And for such nice graphics, the loading
times are very fast.
AC2:AA is merely ok. The beginning intro music has
a really awesome technobeat, but throughout the game
it just blends in and doesn't shout out to you. When
fighting, you'll hear the sounds of your guns firing
and swords slashing. But I really don't care for the
sword sound. It sounds like a school fire alarm going
off. Otherwise the in-game sound effects are done
well. On the brighter side, the voice acting is pretty
good, even when it can be a little pretentious.
of the small gripes that has plagued the Armored Core
series for "Ages", (puni ntended), is control. While
not as bad as the titles before this, it still feels
a little clunky and stiff at times. You can use the
analog stick, which does help a great deal, but even
then you may be doing too much at once, constantly
shooting, running, or aiming. When aiming, you may
find yourself struggling, because sometimes the enemies
move around so much you can't get a decent lock on
them. Armored Core 2:Another Age should've copied
a thing or two from "Zone of the Enders" and developed
a smoother and tighter control system. What I really
would've liked to have seen in this game would be
better swordplay, instead of a simple and obnoxiously
loud slash. But this title still pulls through ok
with control in the end.
AC2:AA has many missions, there are some flaws. If
you are new to the series, this may not be your cup
of tea. The game is challenging, but you can always
beat something, though not as easily as in the previous
titles. There will be instances where this game will
test your skills to the max, like when you must fight
one Raven after another (or two at one time!!), but
you can always beat them somehow, and when you do,
you just have that feeling of "I am wicked awesome".
that said, let's look at the themulti-player system.
There is online support for this game in Japan, but
since the PS2 hard drive that would enable you use
it is not out in the USA yet, I couldn't test it.
However there are now 2-player cooperative missions
available. These are really fun when you've got a
friend over, and should ideally keep you busy. But
you won't be busy for long, sadly, because there are
only a scant eight missions you both can do, and they
are too quick and easy, though still somewhat fun.
And one thing that puzzles me is that you can gain
money as a team or individually from these missions,
yet you cannot save this progress, buy parts in this
mode, or even carry this cash to your single player
missions, when the whole concept of the game is to
get money and buy parts! So playing cooperatively
can seem almost a waste of time! But at least Agetec
included this cooperative mission feature, instead
of none at all. It's just that it could have been
so greatly improved upon! Then there is the standard
1on 1 two-player combat, and that is so-so. It's not
really deep, but it can provide you with some fun
when you've got company in your house.
are also a few advantages to buying this game. If
you own the original AC2 for the PS2, then you can
import your data from that and bring it into this
game,with your mech and all your hard-earned money.
Then you can really kick some robotic booty!
literally millions of parts and combinations available
to make your own Raven robot machine, more missions
than you can shake a leg at, and some multi-player
options, "Armored Core 2: Another Age" has proven
to be the best in the AC series! If you're a newbie
to the series, you may want to rent the game first,
to see if it fits your style. If you are a fan of
this series, or want to run around in a mass machine
of doom, then "boost" over to your local game store
and pick it up.