Review by atmabahamut

Reviewed: 11/23/04

Another good game in an already exceptional series.

Introduction:

After decades of living underground due to a war known as the 'Great Destruction' mankind has finally ventured back onto the surface of the Earth. With the massive battles of the corporations behind them, the peoples seek to eke out a new life and rebuild their world. All is not well, however, for the corporations are back to their old tricks and a terrorist group known as 'Indies' has appeared on the scene.

You are a 'Raven', a mercenary for hire. Your task is to take missions and follow orders. During the course of the game you'll cross the line of good guy and bad guy on more than one occasion, sometimes even working against your former employer! You'll make friends and earn enemies as you struggle to survive in this new age.

Gameplay: 9/10

If you've played the original Armored Core games for the Playstation One, or Armored Core 2 for the Playstation Two, you'll feel right at home starting this game. It's the basic Armored Core formula with a few twists.

New Mission select mode - Now your missions are laid out on a map screen. As you progress more areas will be unlocked, and thus more missions. As you clear areas, sometimes you will be rewarded with special parts, although your performance can alter this. Hardcore fans of the first games might resent this new mission select method due to lack of being able to bypass certain missions.

No Mail System - Agetec removed the 'mail' feature in which you could receive e-mails from the other characters in the game. It had been the main way the story was told to the player in the previous games, ex getting rumors about certain companies from people. It didn't do a lot in the other games, but it had been a nice touch. Fans of the series probably won't be pleased about this.

Limiter released - Not so much of a game feature as it was a nice option to have. You could press three buttons on the controller and 'overload' your engine. For about a minute you would have infinite energy, although you'd have to pay for it by not having any energy after that for the same amount of time. This was a option in Armored Core 2 that was removed for this game.

Improved Multiplayer Options - I can't go into detail here since I've never used the options, but the game seems to have more Multiplayer options than any Armored Core game before it. I think the game even has a multiplayer mission mode.

Arena Mode - The previous three Armored Core games had an arena mode in which you could fight computer controlled ACs for parts and money. It added a nice amount of challenge and playtime to the games. Unfortunately this feature was removed in Armored Core 2: Another Age . I'm not sure why this was cut out, unless Agetec wanted to make this game more similar to the first Armored Core.

Story - 5/10

One of the weak points in the series has always been that it lacks a strong storyline. This game is no exception to the rule. During previous games you could rely on the Mailbox for little tidbits of information, but since that feature was removed, this game is somewhat lacking. If anything, the mission briefings are more detailed to make up for this.

Graphics - 9/10

From the Disorder units, to the ACs themselves, everything in this game has a massive amount of detail. Every weapon fired leaves a shot, although many of the explosions look generic. Many of the levels suffer the same flaw, large areas, but generic design. A few city areas are the exceptions to this.

Sound - 8/10

Good music, but probably nothing you'll remember once the PS2 is shut down. The Disorder unit theme might be the exception. Sound effects are above average and at times you'll be able to hear the enemy before you can see them.

Replayability - 8/10

Once you've beaten the game there is little else to do unless you want to go for the hidden items and a perfect score. There is a hard mode feature that makes the enemies of the game a bit more aggressive and better armed for those who want the challenge. The big bonus comes from being able to make one of millions of possible AC combos, which leads to being able to play the game through with different strategies. The downside is you'll need to use a certain type of AC through some missions if you want to have any reasonable hope of success.

Rent or Buy:

Armored Core 2: Another Age is a game with several flaws. Despite the flaws, it has many redeeming features. It offers great gameplay, good graphics, and a nice bit of challenge for those bored with other Mech games. It's a must have for fans of the series, and a recommended buy for those who like Mech games. Definitely buy, but consider getting AC2 first if you aren't familiar with the series.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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