Armored Core: Nine Breaker: Is It Worth It?

Picture of an Armored Core walking tank in the middle of a battlefield shooting its arm cannon

Armored Core: Nine Breaker: Is It Worth It?

 Armored Core: Nine Breaker by FromSoftware is a catch-22 kind of game. New players to the series then are going to be left out in the dark, as there is nothing but the most basic of online assistance. For those who already know how to play the game, this one has already been played. Since it’s not altogether different from Armored Core: Nexus. Also forget about any online mode, which could have been the game’s biggest sales point.

A Bevy of Options

At its heart, Armored Core is like a combination of Battle Bots and Mech Assault. Customize any vehicular killing machine and pit it against over a hundred AI-controlled creations. Ranging from tanks to jets to mechs. There are more than 400 parts that players can use to customize your Armored Core but keep in mind that this is entering sim territory. It isn’t helpful to add anything and everything to the core, which is why a comprehensive tutorial would have been so helpful. At least the game could present some tips when it senses that the player is having trouble in a specific area, but unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Many players will know FromSoftware is the originator of the souls-like genre, but whereas games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne benefit from letting the player learn through failure, Armored Core: Nine Breaker’s sheer amount of customization makes this a much less appealing prospect.

A Deep Combat System

 It’s important to take into consideration the weapon system you will use and the weight of various accessories. Weapons can be ranged or melee. Automatic lock-on targeting systems, lasers, bombs, grappling arms, jump jets, energy drains, movement, and even the paint job are just a few of the options available to be customized. As a player’s first experience with the game, it’s likely they will go through a lot of trial and error to see what does and doesn’t work. It would be a mistake to think that anyone could start playing this game immediately. There is a steep learning curve that could have been virtually flattened out if there was something to aid beginners.

That Old Familiar Feeling

Experienced players will find nothing new in Armored Core: Nine Breaker. It’s the same old game. There are some new parts, enemies, and arenas, but there’s not really enough new content to create an expansion pack, never mind a sequel. The split-screen mode is old news and certainly won’t appease those who were expecting online modes.

Screenshot of Armored Core: Nine Breaker, featuring an Armored Core mech targeting an enemy from a third person perspective
The lock-system can take a while to use.

Battling the Bots

There’s a certain coldness to the gameplay that was hinted at in Nexus but seems to have come to fruition in Nine Breaker. The battles seem less organic and more mechanical. That’s due to AI programming that seems more calculated, showing fewer human characteristics. There seem to be fewer mistakes and randomness on the part of the AI, at the expense of moving and attacking in somewhat predictable patterns.

 The graphics, sound effects, and gameplay mechanics are all seemingly identical to Nexus. It is hard to tell what if any, upgrades have been made to the graphics since Nexus, although the developers, FromSoftware, have stated that there is an improvement.

Cover art for Armored Core: Nine Breaker, featuring an Armored Core mech holding a gun.

The End of an Era?

The next game in the series will determine if what we’re witnessing is actually the death of Armored Core or a pivotal shift in direction. Hopefully, the next game isn’t just a vehicle to add the online modes fans have been waiting for while giving them the same gameplay three times in a row.

To top