Getting experimental with Armored Core 5: Verdict Day

Daniel Woodhouse

If there’s one genre of gaming I haven’t treaded on, it’s mech action games. Even though this mech action series has 14 titles to its name, I’ve only ever met one **Armored Core** fan.

From what I gather from the story mission cutscenes, the gamer plays as a mercenary mech pilot named Fatman. Fatman works for one of three factions battling for control of the remaining natural resources of a devastated future Earth. That’s literally all I figured out as far as story is concerned, since the game presents very little background about the characters and the world. It doesn’t help that I have no prior knowledge of the lore of this series, but I discovered on Wikipedia that nearly every game of the series lacks an overarching storyline. These games do all take place in the future and involve giant robots blasting each other, but there are no other commonalities.

In Armored Core 5: Verdict Day, the gamer plays as mech pilot  Fatman on devastated future Earth.  Photo courtesy Facebook
In Armored Core 5: Verdict Day, the gamer plays as mech pilot Fatman on devastated future Earth.
Photo courtesy Facebook
The single-player gameplay mainly involves story and challenge missions in which the player is dropped into the combat zone with a very brief intro about what’s going on. The main strategy against enemy mechs is to simply circle strafe around them, popping them off when they group up, much like classic first-person shooters like **Doom** and **Serious Sam.** Circle strafing worked in those games because of wide open environments and smooth controls, but **Verdict Day** has neither.

The first story mission and the four challenge missions I did had small environments and fairly easy gameplay. Then all of a sudden the second story mission ramps up the difficulty by 200 percent. It takes place in an environment with even less space to move around in. Even worse, the controls are awful and there isn’t a layout in the main menu to tell you which buttons do what.

One time I was fighting a group of pesky tin cans and my mech got into a narrow street, causing the camera to zoom in on the sky and completely obscure my view of my mech. Since giant mechs and tight indestructible urban areas don’t mix well, I was killed soon after. I don’t know why my camera was so fixated on the heavens — or whatever one would call the hideous graphics that made up what could laughably be called a “sky.”

Did I mention the graphics are bad? Well I’ll say it again: they’re terrible. Besides the fact that the concept artist’s favorite color seemed to be gray, the game looks like it could have been made five or six years ago. The irony is that some old games still look better than **Verdict Day** because the game looks cheap and rushed. There’s not really any positive things that I can say about **Armored Core V;** I realized I wasn’t have fun and stopped playing after the second mission.

I’m disappointed in developer FromSoftware for letting this series slip so low. What really surprises me is that this is the same developer that created one of my favorite games of all time **Dark Souls.** Honestly, considering FromSoftware has been making this series since 1997, it’s about time they move on.

1 out 5 stars