Giant Mechs good! Lyn Min Mei bad.
What do you get when you mix a solid Playstation title, armaments designed by Masaharu Kawamori (known for his work on Super Defense Fortress Macross), and the power of the Playstation 2 (don't forget to shake and add lime)? You get a 180 proof sequel to Armored Core, the 1996 MechWarrior killer on the Playstation.
That's right, a true sequel. Not another one of those watered down add-ons that you still need to pay full price for. You see the 2 in the title? That makes it official.
At this year's E3, Agetec had two big screen televisions and two Playstation 2s linked up using the Playstation Link Cable, allowing gamers to pick one of a few pre-configured AC mechs and duke it out. I couldn't resist.
The story in Armored Core 2 has changed from the original. A war was waged that required the surviving inhabitants of the planet to seek refuge underground, which is where all the battles from the previous Armored Core games took place. Now, it is decades later. The surface that was once uninhabitable is beginning to blossom again. The corporations, noticing that their underground resources were nearly spent, decide to form an alliance. Working together, they're are able to begin repopulating the surface.
Yet one corporation sees the planet Mars as the new frontier for human civilization, and begins terra-forming the planet. Over the next few decades, many other corporations stake their claim on Mars and follow suit. It doesn't take long for the fighting to begin again and Mars is the new battlefield.
Let me tell you up front: Armored Core has never looked better. The huge color pallette is impressive and the variety and detail in the textures is amazing. But it took witnessing the sheer number of moving parts on your AC mech that truly made me want to quit GR and enlist at my local Raven Recruiting Center (No quitting allowed, Shawn. Remember that flaming pen when you signed your contract? - Ed...). You can actually see the vents and metal flaps on your mech open and close. It's these kinds of bells and whistles that really show off Agetec's attention to detail.
As with previous Armored Core games, players will be able to configure an original AC mech using parts and paint options provided within the game. Only this time, the customization has reached staggering proportions. There will be 10 billion (!) combinations possible, including parts and color customizations. This is probably the most anxiously awaited new feature AC2 will bring to the PS2.
Another new and interesting feature is the radiator. The radiator acts just as it does in a real life automobile, serving as a cooling unit for your AC. This means you will now have to contend with overheating issues caused by excessive boosting, weather conditions and consecutive enemy attacks. Very cool.
What excites me the most about Armored Core 2 is that Agetec decided to keep the link cable option. If any of you GR-ites read my review for Armored Core: Master of Arena, you already know that I am a huge advocate of the Playstation Link Cable. Split screen just doesn't cut it for me. I need to see the action as big a possible.
Along with the link, AC2 will share the same play modes as its predecessors - Single Player Story mode and 2 Player Split-screen. Needless to say, this is the least ambitious aspect of the game. A multiplayer cooperative option would be a nice addition...
Fortunately, Agetec has announced that AC2 will be ready just before the PS2 ships stateside in October, so it should be a launch title. I, for one, will be crossing off the days.