Armored Core

Graphics: 4
Sound: 4
Control: 3
Depth: 4.5
Overall: 4

Armored Core

By: From Software
Released: 1997

Giant robot games before Armored Core fell into one of two camps – either attempting plausibility, and at least a nod to physics, by portraying the machines as slow walking tanks; or eschewing realism altogether, essentially creating gigantic metallic ninjas with missile launchers. Armored Core successfully cherry-picks the best from both approaches.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future run by rival corporations, the action can get intense like a fevered anime episode. Yet the AC mechas need to play by certain rules – namely, your robot needs to actually support its own weight and have enough power to function. This concept really shines in the elaborate customization you can do to your AC Unit between missions.

With over 100 parts to choose from (assuming you have the credits), you quickly start to craft a robot that fits your play style, whether you favor a strong brute with tank treads, a fast and nimble fighter, or somewhere in-between in that spectrum.

Based on the missions alone, Armored Core is a solid sci-fi take on the third-person shooter, but the ability to tweak your AC when you earn the funds or when new parts become available, really adds a welcome level of strategy to the proceedings, and makes for a minor classic.

The fact that it took the developers seven sequels to discover dual analogue control, well... that’s a topic for another day.

-Ben Langberg