Sunday, October 11, 2015
Armored Core Nexus thoughts
First time i wrote full blown opinion of this series which i should've done a long time already being a big fan of the series. I've had plan back then to play Armored Core Nexus ever since i finished Last Raven on my Vita (and i have beaten final pulverizer too) years ago, but my laptop at that time was too weak to run the game. As of now i have finished my first playthrough and i kinda see how Nexus attract many haters due to some flaws. As for me i find the game to be still decent but kinda lack of punch, the one that makes AC3, Silent Line and Last Raven more memorable. Also in this post i will share some of my opinion about what makes this series so appealing.
Like other Armored Core series(save for Formula Front) you play as Raven, a mercenary piloting Armored Core delivering hell upon your Client's enemy. The gameplay is still the same where it is a mecha simulator game where you customize your AC to complete your mission and get more money to upgrade it. Compared to the previous 3rd Gen AC games, there are slightly changes in the gameplay mechanic. For instance the heating mechanic are more significant and you need to boost more efficiently since energy are easier depleted now, then some nerfs here and there and finally lack of HUMAN-PLUS from here on which renders most of back weapons are practically unusable.
Plenty of AC builds that were viable back in AC 3 and Silent Line were now unusable due to these mechanics and as for me on Nexus and Last Raven i never rely on Energy weapons due to how bad the weapons are nerfed especially Karasawa and relies fully on Ballistic weapons instead. On the brighter side the ammo cost are lower in Nexus and Last Raven, thus you can go nuts with missiles and rockets without worrying to bleed your wallet dry. On Nexus and Last Raven i use more Machine Gun and Shotgun as my primary weapons as my AC design tend to be light frame humanoid build since gruelling trials from Last Raven allows me able to use the build properly at very least.
Considering Nexus is direct prequel of Last Raven, you will meet significant amount of Ravens from LR in Nexus even though some may look different. Though none of them will have significant role in this game even the likes of Evangel and Jack-O didnt get down to action a lot
There are couple of things that makes me believe Armored Core to be the undisputable best mecha simulator out there. From Software got a knack of telling the stories cryptically which are undeniable whether it is Souls Series or Armored Core. Even though Armored Core doesn't have any of the characters appear physically, you will have some attachment with them. I find From Soft is really good at building world with dystopian setting with Gray morality yet there is a glimmer of hope in them. From all the Armored Core i have played, most of the Raven's clients are evil corporations acting out of greed and even sometimes trying to double cross you. From time to time you will have to fight fellow ravens with a whole range of motives to fight you and unknowingly creates a bond with them. While Nexus aren't good example since they are really weak in this department for a 3rd Gen, Genobee one of the top Ravens in this game is the case, while you only get to meet few times there are plenty of things expressed through this encounter. Or for Last Raven case it is Evangel, while most of the time he is a backstabbing prick in one moment you will find he is not a total douche. This is what i can think of so far that makes the series got some really good world-building
From my experience Armored Core is the only other game that gives me the same vibe with Monster Hunter so far. I started the series with Last Raven back in PS2 and that was the worst decision ever since LR is the worst choice for gateway to the series since it was the closing chapter of 3rd Gen AC and thus the hardest AC games out there. But anyway i started the series again from AC3 till LR on PSP and got my ass kicked though slightly better this time and it takes me 2nd complete run of the all PSP game that makes me able to overcome the Hurdle and beat Last Raven completely without resorting to cheese. The point is AC is one of those series that doesn't babysit you and got rather steep learning curve. However once you overcome the curve, the experience is really rewarding as you get to have your revenge on those ravens that curbstomped you back then. Your skill in the game represent your ability as Raven and even if you got well-built ACs, without the skill you will still get kicked by the inferior ACs
The numbers of the mission in Nexus are quite a lot and probably it will take around 40 missions till you reach the final missions. However the missions feel rather monotonic compared to other 3rd Gens for some reason as you don't get the same feeling in Nexus with the likes of fighting Giant MTs on AC3 or Fighting an AC while trying to avoid Satelite Barrage in Silent Line. I suppose Nexus kinda lacks the tensions though by no means Nexus are pushover either since it got its share of difficult missions as well even though not much. As for the final boss in Nexus, the prototype Pulverizer are kinda pushover which makes the battle rather anticlimatic. But everything is redeemed in Last Raven since you won't find Pulverizers there are pushover.
A good game doesn't necessarily need to be mainstream AAA games and From Software AC games are testament to that. While the game is quite punishing, there is a hefty reward in the end. Armored Core begins from Playstation and now got up to Fifth generation to PS3, personally i find the series mature on the PS2 in particular on the 3rd Generation where it puts all the achievements of the previous games into use and refined it into great gameplay mechanics. The 3rd Gen also has goodcontinuity of story throughout its generation. For Instance despite Nexus Raven killed in the end by the suicide drones, his effort are not in vain since the Last Raven continue his path and put an end to the disaster. With Nexus Finished i should have played most of the 3rd Gen Armored Core save for Ninebreaker which i well get into eventually. Anyway i hope From Software doesn't abandon AC series even if the Souls series are now printing money from them and hope they will get back to them eventually. I also wish 4th Gen made it to Portables somehow but ACxSouls crossover works too.