Wow...where do I start with this one!? First of all let me just say that I am in no way a "graphics ho" when it comes to games. I have been a gamer for decades and I have played my fair share of amazing looking pieces of rubbish! While at the same time playing horrible looking gems. Perfect example? I could pick-up Final Fantasy VII right now and have a great ol' time playing despite the PS1 graphics. Now am I justifying myself as not being a graphics ho? Well because I don't want to be accused of being one because I am choosing to place AC:FA's graphics at the top of the list of reasons NOT to play this game! Even though it's on a 7-gen console and being pumped out on a HDTV there was nothing that remotely even looked good on this game. It looks like a PS2 game with PS3/360 lighting effects. Next up the controls. How would you like to man the controls to a giant brick? How would you like to play a 7-gen video game that has the controls of a tank game from an Atari 2600 in 1982? The movements of your mech are the worst of ANY Armored Core game ever made! They're unresponsive, they don't feel like you're connected at all, the controls do nothing to make you feel like you're controlling the most advanced vehicle and tool-of-war ever created by man. And therein lies the problem...the makers of AC:FA did absolutely nothing to make this game feel like it was something special. I had been dying to see what an Armored Core title would look & play like at this stage of the current generations of consoles. Not only have they made zero ground, they actually went back a few hundred steps with this title. Make it compelling! Make it feel like I'm driving a giant bipedal armored battle tank! Give me a goal at the end of a mission that makes me feel like I accomplished something. And last but definitely not least...try to make it look sharp. You see even if they only managed to hit a couple of those requests this would have been a decent game. But they did none.
The potential behind this mech warrior game is grand. A future society in which humanity lives in clustered platforms in the sky and the scorched earth below is chaos and corporate struggle over scarce resources. The plot is excellent, well devised and thoughtful. I thoroughly enjoyed the cut scenes and the voice acting and sound effects are not too shabby. Beyond this superficial aesthetic and interface there is little depth and many areas are suffering. Graphically this title does not live up to PS3 standards. The landscapes are choppy like 1995 PC style and the mechs are substandard in color, appeal and style. The gameplay is a struggle between flying, jet propulsion and targeting and destroying. There is little variance between the missions other than being a merc for this corporation or the others. Options are limited in terms of leveling up and purchasing new weaponry. The final straw was the complex assessment screen which looks like binary code. Ultimately the UI is shabby and poorly designed. Definitely worth the Game Fly investment to save the $25 bucks on this zero.
If you are a fan of Armor Core 2 or 3 for the PS2, then you will find the controls rather annoying. They aren't clunky, but there lacks accurate turning, aiming and boosting. I also wasn't a fan of the HUD, I couldn't keep track of what bar meant what (which could have been because I didn't have a manual). Over all, the game is really nice to look at, but if you were a top shooter in the past games, you better pass or be ready to overhaul your play style.