As one of FromSoftware’s original series, Armored Core has a rich history, but is it worth experiencing it today?
Right now, interest in the Armored Core series is at an all-time high. This robotic combat series has exploded again at The Game Award 2022, revealed to be the next project from Dark Souls and Elden Ring developer FromSoftware. While that list of titles alone created a lot of anticipation behind Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, many others were also confused by the arrival of the game. The Armored Core series is only fancied in North America and has been absent for nearly a decade. It’s not unreasonable for someone to have never heard of Armored Core before AC6’s announcement.
Either way, a new Armored Core title is in the works and many new eyes have been on the series. FromSoftware is now a powerhouse in the gaming industry, with the Elden Ring taking home numerous accolades. Even if a mecha game won’t garner the same interest and sales as a new soulslike game, people will still want to get their hands on it regardless of the game. With this line of thought, it’s not hard to imagine that people looking to buy games would want to be prepared to replay older AC games. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done and there are a lot of factors to consider if gamers want to play old AC titles in modern times.
Cost to replay old Armored Core titles right now
Discussing the value of previous Armored Core games would not have been possible without first accounting for the cost of purchasing the game. Almost every AC title doesn’t have a lot of discs produced, so prices were high before Armored Core 6 was announced. Now after AC6’s announcement, potential fans will have a hard time finding these games selling for less than $100. Some prices can even exceed $200, not worth paying when gamers just want to check if the series is for them. Having an old game console suitable for a certain game version is also a prerequisite. The only viable game here is Armored Core: Verdict Day, which can be purchased on Xbox 360 for around $20 if gamers just want to play the original game.
There are no re-releases of any of the old Armored Core titles on modern platforms, this situation will remain for the foreseeable future. Hopefully the excitement behind Armored Core 6 can spur some remasters or ports of older titles. In the meantime, gamers can rest assured that almost every AC game is released on older PlayStation devices, and all have PC emulators. If gamers do not attach too much importance to having to play genuine games, it is completely possible to download emulators with a cost to try all games for free. The experience may not always be as perfect as on consoles, but every game other than AC 5 and Verdict Day will be able to emulate stably on gaming PCs. Netplay is in development for several emulators, so players interested in PvP in Armored Core can also experience them in certain parts of the game.
Which Armored Core game is the most worth playing?
If gamers are willing to invest in Armored Core, then of course should invest their time wisely. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to recommend niche games that make good starting points for gamers. Gamers who are ready to go back to the PS1 era with slower gameplay with difficult controls can try the PS1’s early AC. This is the title that immediately shows most of the highlights of the series and will quickly prove why there is no other robot fighting game on the market quite like AC. Every major AC title also makes for a solid starting point, with season 5 being the only exception. Gamers looking for some of the best that classic Armored Core titles have to offer can try Armored Core 3 and Silent Line: Armored Core, with the latter being able to import the former’s save data. .
The first game to switch from the original classic controls to the modern two-analog controls was Armored Core: Last Raven, which was appreciated by many fans. This is also the first project with the participation of director Hidetaka Miyazaki at FromSoftware, with his debut work after he became a director, Armored Core 4 and For Answer. Last Raven is the hardest part in the series, so new players shouldn’t rush to try it until they really enjoy the plot and understand the tight balance of the game. Gamers looking for other AC play styles can try AC4, For Answer or Verdict Day. While Verdict Day may not have some of the virtues of the fourth installment, it does have massive boss encounters, a compelling feature that could return in Armored Core 6.
Are past Armored Core games related to AC6?
The most recently released games may be worth a try, as Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon can take most of the gameplay elements out of them. The Primal Armor force field introduced in AC 4 was seen in the Armored Core 6 trailer, and its Steam page also mentions high 3D maneuverability reminiscent of the mostly airborne fourth generation. However, the skill required for gamers to play Armored Core 4 and For Answer is even higher than regular AC titles, and FromSoftware may not want that during the series reboot. AC5 and Verdict Day are known for exaggerating the series’ frills, so a game from the PS2-era Armored Core might represent AC6 at its best.
That’s not to say gamers need to experience the old Armored Core titles to get into the upcoming game. Thanks to its release on most modern platforms, this will be the most accessible Armored Core title ever. Being more familiar with legacy systems and design trends is always helpful for a FromSoftware game, but like Elden Ring, AC6 will strive to teach gamers how to play through experience. The title is said to have no story connection to previous games, and the gameplay style could change dramatically once again. Ultimately, how much gamers want to invest in old Armored Core games before Armored Core 6 comes out is up to gamers’ preferences.
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