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ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
Weíve Arrived at the Target Area: Letís Play Armored Core


So what is Armored Core?
Armored Core is a mecha game from 1997 created by Japanese developer From Software for the Playstation. They existed a few years prior and were known for the Kings Field series on Playstation, but Armored Core would go on to be their longest running franchise, spanning three console generations. This game was notable for its in depth customization of the playerís titular Armored Core (AC for short), fast paced action, and its challenge and unforgiving design.

Itís Japanese and has robots. What kind of robots are we talking about here?
Real robots. Well, as real as the concept of a 10 meter tall humanoid looking robot with guns can be. The game may be fast, but itís not to the point of breaking the laws of physics or relying on a fictional particle of some kind in order to operate. For comparison, think Armored Trooper VOTOMS, but more advanced, designed to be modular, and of course taller (like three times as tall).

Aesthetically speaking, the designs of the AC parts come from none other than famed mecha designer Shoji Kawamori, best known for his work on the Macross series, as well as creating the look of several other Japanese robots. The genius behind this is that while each part is very distinct on its own, they create a robot that has a very unified look when combined. No part really feels out of place when used with another (and if it is, chances are itís something silly and wouldnít work, like lightweight legs trying to hold a core thatís really top heavy).

Is there anything in the way of story, characters, etc.?
Given that itís a From Software game, not really. The basic story is that an event known as the Great Destruction causes humanity to live underground and mega corporations become more powerful than the actual government. The player assumes the role of a Raven, a type of mercenary that pilots an AC, doing jobs for various clients. Any story or relevant info regarding the state of the world is given to you via emails by your informant ďRĒ. Heís basically the closest thing to a character that you consistently hear from throughout the game. You will receive messages from clients and other Ravens you come across, but heís the one whoíll keep you up to date on the general state of things. As things come up over the course of the game, Iíll elaborate on the nature of the Armored Core world and all the various factions in separate posts.

How do you plan to play through the game?
Pretty much the same way I always play it and that is 100% completion with a build that suits my play style. Given that this is a playthrough starting from scratch, Iím going to be building and upgrading my AC to suit my budget, until about a third to a half of a way through the game where Iíll have my optimal build and not bother much with further customization. So any comments will be mostly for discussion and not affect the way I play.

Well, actually, there is ONE moment in the game where I will allow audience participation if anyone is interested, as it will have an effect on the kinds of missions I receive at a certain point as well as the type of ending we get. Iíll let you know when the time comes for that.

Also, as part of getting the 100% completion rating, not only does that include completing every mission, but also finding every hidden AC part. Itís not too hard as there arenít many of them and weíll collect them as each mission comes along.

Table of Contents
Part 1: We areÖa Raven
Part 2: Incompetent Guards and Shady MegaCorps
Part 3: gently caress the Isaac City Guard
Part 4: Additional Fire Power + a Choice to Make
Part 4.5: A Choice is Made
Part 5: New Missions, New Parts, Slightly New Look
Part 6: More Missions, Some AC Fights, and a Better FCS
Part 7: Thank God for Maps
Part 8: poo poo Gets Real
Part 9: That One Mission
Part 10: Top of the Leaderboard
Part 11: Nearing the End
Part 12: 100% Completion

Extra Material
EX Part 1: Muscle Tracers and Armored Cores
EX Part 2: What Makes an Armored Core?
EX Part 3: The Major Factions So Far
EX Part 4: Human PLUS
EX Part FINAL: All the Other Things

Commencing AC DropÖ

ArclightBorealis fucked around with this message at 04:03 on Oct 20, 2014

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ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
Part 1: We AreÖ A Raven.
If youíre at all curious, here is the opening cinematic that plays upon booting up the game. Itís nothing particularly amazing, just something for people who feel like being reminded of how far CG pre rendered cutscenes have come since 1997.

Armored Core Opening

We now select new game on the main menu, and the game throws this at us right away.


Test Battle
Right from the get go, From Software shows us what tough bastards they are by throwing us into battle before we can begin our career as a Raven. If you somehow thought the Souls series was the start of their mean streak, you have no loving idea of the history behind this company.

Also, the description for this battle is inaccurate as you arenít fighting another AC, but two Muscle Tracers (MTs) called Storks. The lineage between MTs and ACs is a bit in depth, and Iíll cover that in another post.


Other than some of the late game missions, this test battle is actually one of the harder things for me to complete because of the controls. More specifically, the fact that the game doesnít give me a chance to reconfigure them into something I find tolerable. For the record, the thing that makes these controls difficult is that the ability to look up and down is mapped to L2 and R2 respectively. Itís the one thing that trips me up every single time.

As for what weíre equipped with at the moment, we have very cheap, low quality AC parts, a laser blade, a rifle, a back mounted missile launcher, and a radar dish. Near the end of this battle I get tired of using the rifle on the enemies and instead lock onto them with the missiles. While you need to keep the aim box locked onto them before firing the missile, itíll still track them down even when you lose track of them visually.


Anyway, we successfully defeat the two Storks, and the observer of our battle congratulates us.


Yay, a life of hard mercenary work in our (soon to be) kick rear end robot is upon us!


Gentlemen, welcome to the Ravensí Nest, our main hub that provides everything we will need as a Raven: access to the shop, email, AC customization, and of course missions from various clients.


Before doing anything, letís check our inbox.



In addition to relaying missions, we mainly provide AC repair services, supply ammo, sell new AC parts, etcÖ

We also occasionally use e-mail to relay information regarding the missions that you have accepted.

The Nest never interferes with the mission requesters or with the individual Ravens.

Even if you have trouble with the mission requesters, the Nest cannot get involved.
Be aware of this.

Oh, by the way, call me ďRĒ. I will be your contact at the Nest. Whether our association will be long or short depends entirely on your skill.

Iíll be in touch.


So yeah, the message is an overview of the services provided by the Ravensí Nest which we had already mentioned, along with the name of our primary informant ďRĒ. Heíll be in touch, if you couldnít tell.


So hereís the pathetic AC build we used in order to get ourselves into the Nest. Yeah, weíre stuck with this thing for a while due to lack of funds. We can sell parts for the exact same value as when you buy them, but thatís not happening (well, except for what weíre about to do) when weíre stuck with the cheapest parts possible for the ACís basic functionality.


Now, because we have no credits to buy any of these parts, we are expected to go right into a mission and start earning money. We are not going to do that yet. In fact, Iím going to do something that will serve as a good money saver throughout the game and is something everyone should do if itís their first time playing Armored Core.


First step: sell all arm and back weapons.


Second step: use that money to buy an energy weapon.

Now, because our generator and boosters are poo poo, the added energy drain from our new weapon is gonna make managing our meter a bit more difficult. But the pay off will be worth it, trust me.

Oh, lest I forget before starting our first mission, go to System.


Save, because other than one specific instance, I plan to have a nigh perfect mission success rate and all failures will cease to exist (the penalties for failing arenít really worth continuing anyway).
But, also I must reconfigure my controls to make controlling the AC easy for me. All it takes is remapping four buttons, itís quite simple.



Yep, instead of using L2 and R2 to look up or down, they will now move us forward and backwards, and the D-Pad handles all of the aiming. It may still seem really weird to have the controls be like that, but I feel it better adds to the immersion of piloting a huge, complex machine. Itís kinda strange describing it, but it just works.


All right, everything is now set; let's begin our first mission as a Raven.


We have a choice of two missions. While the first mission nets us a higher monetary reward, the latter has a hidden AC part, and because weíre going for 100% completion, we may as well get it done now. Selling it will actually get us more money overall than what we could get in the Eliminate Squatters mission. So weíll do Eliminate Strikers.


Workers in the Avalon Valley development area, demonstrating for better working conditions, have taken over the ďDoan Bridge.Ē

They have erected a barricade on the bridge and completely halted traffic. There is no sign of their giving in to the Guards. They persist in demanding to see the HQ.

We told them that we have no time to deal with such trifling matter, but they donít seem to understand.

Anyway, we canít leave this as is. In a drawn-out battle, collateral damage would become a problem, so forcibly eliminate them now.

Several Worker MTs are on the bridge, but this should be no problem at all for you Ravens. Our armored division is also deployed. Should be an easy job, so go to it.



Killing labor force thatíve become uncooperative with their employers? Sounds easy enough. Expect to see quite a few missions that have us coming in to clean up a mess the corporations or city guards canít handle.

Eliminate Strikers


We begin the mission, carrying only a semi powerful energy rifle and a new paint job, but first things first, we must find the hidden AC part. Where could it be? Behind us, actually.


Now on with the mission.



This is as simple as can be, because the mission area is just a straight bridge. Boost up into the air, aim down at the MTs behind the debris, and fire. There are only five enemies to deal with, three WR750R and two CW-283 MTs, so letís take Ďem out as efficiently as possible with our energy weapon. It drains our meter a bunch, but it only takes three shots per MT to destroy them.


Mission completed. Now letís get our reward.


So we get the reward as promised, however we got some deductions from our pay as we need to repair our AC.
If you noticed that there were no ammo deductions from our reward, this is what I was referring to when I got the energy weapon at the start. Even though they do have ammo and can run out, those weapons take energy from the ACís generator instead of using solid ammunition, which costs money. If you aren't careful on these early missions, you could waste enough ammo and take enough damage to end up losing money and going into the red.

These games are no loving joke.

Anyway, thatís it for now. First mission out of the way, along with our first hidden AC Part. Things will be picking up quite a bit from here on out, so check back soon.

Note: Yes, there were some inconsistencies between the videos and images, especially the last one with the income and expense report. Didn't get the pipeline for this right the first time, but it will be more consistent in future posts.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
EX Part 1 Ė Muscle Tracers and Armored Cores
The Armored Core games have quite a bit of backstory and technical details behind them that arenít readily presented to the player. Youíll learn about them through emails sent to you, but there are some details that youíd never know unless you read the instruction manual or other outside sources. The origin of the Muscle Tracers is one of those details, and I will explain to you what they are.

So the Great Destruction resulted in the surface becoming inhospitable to humans and forcing them to live underground. With a massive shift in environment and living conditions, robot technology advanced to accommodate the needs of humans underground. This resulted in the creation of what are known as Muscle Tracers, MTs for short.

The MTs were first designed to assist in construction and other duties in the underground cities, but as to be expected shortly after the technology was adapted for combat purposes and used by the various corporations and private military contractors. The design of the MTs quickly expanded into various models beyond the simple heavy lifting duties used in construction. Eventually what would come out of this expansion of MT technology is the Armored Core itself.

Because of the various types of MTs and the purposes they are tailored to, one type of MT standardized several concepts that would be used in the Armored Core concept. Bipedal legs were used instead of the reverse joint legs used by earlier MT models, and various experimental energy weapons were utilized by these MTs. Shortly thereafter, the concept of the ďcoreĒ model was made, where every other part of the mecha would be designed around this central component. They were known as Cored MTs, and once the modular design of all the parts was fully standardized, they came to be known as Armored Cores.

The Armored Cores proved to be more effective than most combat MTs, especially in the hands of a very capable pilot. This is where the Ravens, the pilots of the ACs come in. Because each Raven has their own set of skills and preferences for battle, the modular design allows them to design equip their ACs in any way that suits them. At the current time of the game, Armored Cores are associated with the Ravens that pilot them, and very few are directly hired to work only for one group. MTs still follow the same framework used for years and are easy to mass produced, and this is why they are the most common enemies in the game. An encounter with another Armored Core is rare, but when it happens it is much more challenging.

Oh, and for an explanation of where the names of various MTs come from:
  • The WR750R and CW-283 names come from concept art on the Revolution Disc for Armored Core Nexus. For those who do not know, in 2004 From Software released AC Nexus as a two disc game. The second disc, which was titled Revolution, featured remakes of several missions and parts from the PS1 Armored Core games (even though Nexus and its game mechanics are from a whole other generation and timeline of ACs). There is concept art with these enemies and their names, but unfortunately I do not have access to the game and this artwork. Instead I have images of the MTs so you can see which is which.
  • As for the Storks, the MTs you fight in the very first battle in the game, Iím not entirely sure where the name comes from or if itís actually meant to be its name. There is a short page for it on the Armored Core Wiki that says this under trivia: ďName comes from a Japanese website and the translation is pending.Ē Kind of strange considering that most other MTs have their names revealed in the AC Nexus concept art.
  • Lastly, the name Muscle Tracer itself. While the name of Armored Core has been explained based on the concept of the ďcore,Ē no real explanation for what the name Muscle Tracer means has actually been given. If the name is being taken somewhat literally, it could probably refer to the control method of the machine. No one knows though.

CW-283


WR750

Crigit
Sep 6, 2011

I'll show you my naval if you show me yours.
Let's get naut'y.
Armored Core is one of those games where skilled play is really fun to watch, so here's hoping for a good show.

I imagine that the term 'muscle tracer' is sort of a vague reference to this stuff.

Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001

Have you ever tried mapping movement to the D-pad and looking to the face buttons? It feels pretty much just like a modern dual-stick config.

Anyway, this is a great game but it always annoyed me that the shoulder-mount cannons are worthless unless you're a tank or quad or human plus. Losing mobility is one thing, but they take so long to equip that by the time you're actually ready to fire your target's just run behind you (and can then just circle-strafe to permanently stay behind you).

And what do you mean by "the type of ending" you get? I thought there was only one.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!

Crigit posted:

Armored Core is one of those games where skilled play is really fun to watch, so here's hoping for a good show.

I imagine that the term 'muscle tracer' is sort of a vague reference to this stuff.
That could certainly be the case, and I could still see it being just as believable as the rest of the technology in the game.

Crazy Achmed posted:

Have you ever tried mapping movement to the D-pad and looking to the face buttons? It feels pretty much just like a modern dual-stick config.

Anyway, this is a great game but it always annoyed me that the shoulder-mount cannons are worthless unless you're a tank or quad or human plus. Losing mobility is one thing, but they take so long to equip that by the time you're actually ready to fire your target's just run behind you (and can then just circle-strafe to permanently stay behind you).

And what do you mean by "the type of ending" you get? I thought there was only one.
I tried that briefly back when I first played the game, it was certainly less awkward than the initial controls but I still wasn't as fond of it. Somehow the idea of making the movement like tank controls or pedals made more sense to me so I've stuck with it ever since.
Yeah, shoulder cannons aren't good to use in open areas where enemies can get behind you, because mobility is everything. Thankfully there are missions where there are tight corridors and using such weapons is definitely feasible, and I'll make use of some of them later on.

And by type of ending, I meant specifically you get one of two cutscenes for going down a particular mission path involving one of the megacorps, though it's not the ending that is immediately followed by the credits. Probably not the best use of the word, more of a psuedo ending, rather.

RSCNyx
Mar 6, 2013

It's okay, little guy. I would be scared too.
SYSTEM ENGAGED.

This game is pretty awesome. Fast-paced mech action with a ton of customization. There's not much in the way of plot, but who cares, there's robots and explosions! Everything you need!

Never thought of getting an energy weapon first, though. I always rushed a machine gun because man, running out of ammo is the worst. Pretty neat strategy!

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!

RSCNyx posted:

SYSTEM ENGAGED.

This game is pretty awesome. Fast-paced mech action with a ton of customization. There's not much in the way of plot, but who cares, there's robots and explosions! Everything you need!

Never thought of getting an energy weapon first, though. I always rushed a machine gun because man, running out of ammo is the worst. Pretty neat strategy!
Indeed. It's a very economic strategy. Thankfully I had more reason to use solid ammunition weapons once the arena was introduced in later games, since you don't get deducted for damage and ammo spent during the fights.

Anyway, putting together the next main part and bonus part of the LP, should have it all ready by tomorrow.

Crummelhorn
Nov 3, 2010
I've always wanted to see someone LP these games. I like customizable mechs in theory, but whenever I try to play this or Front Mission I always end up paralyzed with indecision.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!

Crummelhorn posted:

I've always wanted to see someone LP these games. I like customizable mechs in theory, but whenever I try to play this or Front Mission I always end up paralyzed with indecision.
It's definitely not the most complex mecha game out there, especially this one when compared to the PS2 games onward, but there's still a good bit of in depth stuff to take in. Still, it took me quite a while to really love this series as much as I do since I struggled a lot on my first playthrough about 3 years ago. Flashforward to today, and I've completed this, Project Phantasma, and Master of Arena three times total and know those games inside and out.

I gotta say though, I've never actually played Front Mission, though I'm familiar with the concept and am just as fascinated as I am intimidated by it. Those games seem way more punishing and complex than what Armored Core has. It being a strategy RPG doesn't make it any easier, either.

Ryas
Dec 28, 2012
I love the AC series to death, so I'm looking forward to your take on the game. I recently replayed it a while back and stomped all over everything with the experience from prior playthroughs; very satisfying, considering you'll probably be floundering around trying not to die the first time you play the game.

Most people sell off the basic rifle + missile to buy the machine gun or laser rifle, but I always liked the spread shot pistol. It's got good damage, cheap costs, and it can stunlock the hell out of everything.

IthilionTheBrave
Sep 5, 2013
I'm looking forward to further updates as well. I've always had an interest in the Armored Core series, but the controls have always turned me off. Guess I need to spend more time experimenting with setups until I find something I'm comfortable with.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
Part 2: Incompetent Guards and Shady MegaCorps
Now, continuing from where we left off, we completed our first mission and obtained the first hidden AC part in the game. First thing to do is check what the specific item is, and then sell it because it definitely does not fit with my all energy AC build.


The WR-L24 is a back mounted rocket launcher with some drat strong attack power and an insanely long range. However, rocket weapons do not lock onto enemies automatically like missiles do, and are incredibly hard to aim as a result. Never mind the fact that the cost per rocket is expensive, just firing it without a guaranteed hit isnít worth it to me. Sell it.

Now we have quite a bit of money from selling that part and what we earned in the mission. Is there anything we can buy? Why yes, if we can find a part to sell beforehand. AC Parts are sold and bought at the exact same value, and you can leave your AC disassembled for the purpose of selling a part in exchange for a different one. Which is what we are going to do right now.


First off, sell this generator, the GPS-VVA. If we want to keep using our energy weapon, we need something that doesnít drain as easily. Something likeÖ


Öthe GBG-10000, a generator with a high energy output, and more importantly an extremely low red zone. If you paid attention to the energy meter during missions, it recharges considerably slower when the energy is in the red. We donít want to be in that zone all the time, so reducing it from 7800 to 2980 is good.


And while weíre in the shop and have some money left over, letís get ourselves a better core. First, sell the old one.


And letís buy the heaviest of the three available cores, the XCH-01. This will give us a few hundred more points of armor for our AC, along with additional extension slots for future use.

With our new core and generator, performance in battle should improve, and you can expect to see much more fast paced action in the missions weíre about to undertake. Letís get to it!


The Eliminate Squatters mission is still available along two new ones added to the list. Letís go with Eliminate Squatters.


You are to eliminate a group of illegal squatters at an abandoned factory on the east side of the City. They profess to be radicals opposed to area redevelopment.

However, the planners have already reached an agreement with the citizens in question, so these are merely outlaws who want an excuse to run amuck.

But they are still citizens, so from the standpoint of the Guard, we cannot use force. If they are left as is, there is a risk of affecting the progress of the plan.

There is no need for restraint. We want you to firmly teach them the rules of society.



Basically if some punks are disrupting society and norms prevent you from resolving the issue with force, hire someone who doesnít care about said norms and deny any involvement.

This mission has six enemies total: 1 CW-283, 3 WR750Rs, and 2 Bishops. Bishop are tall reverse jointed MTs produced by Chrome and this model is the closest to what the MTs were originally designed as, tall reverse jointed walking tanks. The name, just like the two previously mentioned MTs, comes from concept art on the Revolution disc of AC Nexus. With that little primer done, on with the mission!

Eliminate Squatters


Now, this area is much more open than the Doan Bridge, and without radar the enemies wonít be easily seen. Doesnít stop me from going on the offensive and blasting every MT I come across.


Thanks to our new generator, we can shoot our laser rifle more often and make much more liberal use of our boosters to get around faster.


Although I do come dangerously close near the end to depleting my entire meter and having to sit through a recharging phase.


Mission complete! Letís see how we did.


Nice, only 565 needed to repair the AC. Once again, investment in energy weapons is very helpful in the early game.

With more money in hand, letís make another trip to the shop and try getting some new parts. Weíll try switching out heads for now.


The HD-2002 has a built in radar function which is handy to have and eliminates the need to attach a dish to our back at all. Itís not the best one we can get in the game, but itís what the money will allow for at the moment.


Now letís get back to mission select. Itís a slightly lower pay, but weíll go with Destroy Unknown MTs.


We just now discovered several unidentified MTs in the sewers. The MTs overwhelmed the Guards going to investigate and fled. I donít think they are ordinary citizens.

Our reputation will be ruined if we let them go. Weíll begin our search of the sewers at once, and drive them to you like cattle. You wait there and pound them.



You know, with the Zam City Guard I could understand their predicament and the need to hire a Raven to deal with the squatters. This scenario, however, screams of incompetence. Given that Chrome is established in Isaac City and has a lot of influence there, youíd think theyíd have put some of their budget towards making the guards more efficient and competent at their jobs. Oh well.

Only eight enemies to deal with in this mission and all of them are Bishops. Itís also a very straightforward mission similar to Eliminate Strikers. Letís go.

Destroy Unknown MTs.



Just run straight ahead, while strafing from side to side to avoid fire, and destroy every Bishop in sight. Itís not a straight road like the Doan Bridge, but itís still a straight corridor none the less. No need to worry about enemies attacking your blind spots. And the goddamn city guard had trouble with these things?



Now letís get our pay and head home.


Hmm, 773 in expenses. Not too bad.

We return to the shop, and immediately sell the head we just bought prior to the previous mission. The reason is after selling it we have enough money for the next best head part with built in radar.


The HD-REDEYE. Not only is the radar enhanced, but should we need to look at a map of the area, this head part will provide us a detailed recreation of the area. There is another head that does all this but better and includes the noise canceller and bio sensor functions, but those arenít necessary at the moment.


Next mission on the list, letís take a look at Reclaim Oil Facility.


We want you to attack the terrorist group ďStruggleĒ that is occupying the oil extraction facility ďTideĒ.

Although this facility is now completely abandoned, we were at the point of initiating a retrofit plan.

Their purpose can be none other than to sabotage our company. We cannot let this delay construction, that would only play into their hands.

The Tide facility may have some old tanks that still contain oil. They might explode if hit, so be very careful in your operations.



So Chrome wants us to deal with a terrorist group who are occupying an oil rig. This is the first time we are given a name on any group of enemies we face in a mission, and weíll just say that Struggle isnít the only terrorist group causing trouble in the Armored Core world.

Seven enemies to deal with, all of which are flying. This wonít be a problem.

Reclaim Oil Facility


Gentlemen, meet the Tiger Moths and Tankette Type-Ms. There are two of the former and five of the latter. Unfortunately, the origin of their names comes from this supposed Japanese only site where a full translation is pending, but these will do for now. Both of these MTs are unmanned, so the members of Struggle are most likely keeping the oil rig captive while remaining off site. Of the two MTs, the Type-M fires missile. The M in the name stands for missile, if you couldnít guess.


While it doesnít happen to me here, if the battle goes on for a certain amount of time, a transmission from a Chrome operator will tell you that they will engage in support fire and launch missiles at the MTs. This happened to me in the past when I did not upgrade my generator sooner, as I found myself running out of energy frequently and having to run from enemy fire.


Another mission completed. Letís see how we did.


Only 1019 in expenses. Also another thing that can happen in the mission but didnít for me, Chrome are serious when they say be careful of hitting the tanks. Having a couple get blown up is fine (itís inevitable if enemy fire comes up) but if all the tanks are destroyed, 5000 credits will be deducted from your pay.


Weíre back at the Nest, and we got new mail! Havenít received any messages in quite a while, have we?

We got two messages this time: One of them is from Chrome, thanking us for our work at the oil right, and the other is from ďRĒ, filling us in on details about the terrorist group Struggle.


Youíre pretty handy with an AC, but that alone is not enough for you to survive. Not skill alone.

Remember this well.


Yeah, messages from Chrome tend to be rather terse and sound like a bunch of hard asses. Itís a huge corporate entity though with more powerful than the actual government, what would you expect?
Letís see what ďRĒ has to say.


-well-armed, exceeding even ďImminent Storm.Ē

In other words, they must have some powerful backing behind them. The only corporation that has the power to resist Chrome is none other than Murakumo Millennium.

Murakumo must be giving some sort of organizational support to Struggle in order to whittle away at the power of Chrome: a very likely situation as you must see.

Iíll be in touch.


So far we had only taken missions from Chrome or the various city guards, but none from any of the rival corporations like Murakumo. Now that we are made aware of the existence of Chromeís only major corporate rival, weíll be seeing more of them, as well as the conflict between the two continuing to escalate. The details about the two megacorps will be made in a separate post later on.

Now I head to the shop to look for some new arms and legs for the AC. This is where I do a whole lot of selling and buying of the same parts to get the right amount of money so I wonít show you the process I went through.


We had been stuck with the same arms and legs since the beginning, but now we have equipped ourselves with the AN-101 and LN-1001B. Our AP has increased quite a bit more, almost up to 9000.


Letís take a look at the next mission at hand, Stop Security MTs.


The city security system that we monitor has been destroyed and security MTs from various areas are running amuck. The true perpetrator is as yet unknown.

All of the Guards are trying to control the situation, but the scope of damage is too wide, so we cannot completely handle it.

We are asking the Ravens for help. Destroy all of the security MTs in the business district of the city. We have already evacuated the citizens. No need for restraint.



I can appreciate a client that says no need for restraint. Shows they donít have much concern for the collateral damage and political backlash that would follow a giant loving robot blowing poo poo up in your city. You can only wonder what went on through these peoplesí heads before they had to contact a Raven for help.

Thereís quite a lot of MTs in the mission, but all of them are the same model. Letís begin.

Stop Security MTs


These MTs are referred to as Dawns (again, origin of the name isn't clear). They are only equipped with dual missile and dual rocket launchers. We've dealt with enemies that shoot missiles in the last mission, but this one is a good opportunity to practice a skill any AC pilot should utilize.


In Armored Core, there are various types of missiles, both in size and more importantly firing trajectory. For the player itís important to use a missile that fires in a way that it wonít collide with the environment easily (a vertically firing missile is better suited for open areas, for instance). For the AC on the receiving end of a missile, they need to be able to properly avoid it. Missiles in general will home in on you when fired. However, the initial trajectory is always different (some shoot in an arc, others fire vertically, etc), and dodging at the last second possible wonít give the missile enough time to redirect itself and most likely crash into the environment.


Since the enemies are just on this straight road, this is good practice to try and weave between and around missiles. I donít pull it off 100% of the time, but I do it more often than not that I feel pretty good about it.


Anyway, we finish that mission with good results, I feel.


I always feel satisfied when I donít have to pay more than a grand for AC repairs.


Now, with the last few missions, Iíve followed them up with visits to the shop to see if I can get some new AC parts. Weíre not gonna do that right now, because of the next mission, Remove Gun Emplacement.


We want you to destroy a Chrome gun emplacement. The gun emplacement construction site is located in an ocean buffer zone just barely outside Murakuo territory.

Our repeated warnings to halt construction have been completely ignored.

Chrome offers only transparent excuses about maintaining security but their intentions are clearly a pre-emptive military attack.

We now have no choice but to use force. This time we have prepared an AC part as your pay. It is a prototype of the highest quality. We are counting on the Ravens.



First mission from Murakumo, and instead of money as reward itís a new AC part. It probably goes without saying, but anytime a megacorp mentions another megacorp it is never in a way that sounds pleasant. These two very much donít like each other.

Also, this is the first mission we get where destroying every enemy isnít a requirement. Only the four guns need to be taken out, and since we arenít getting any money out of it to cover expenses, we want to be in and out of there as quickly as possible. This is why I didnít waste any money in the shop so I wonít go into the red. With that said, letís begin the mission.

Remove Gun Emplacement




Here we start the mission with a cutscene of a dropship deploying our AC. These aircraft are referred to as Barracuda, and while you donít see it in the video, the sound of something exploding is actually the Barracuda getting destroyed LITERALLY seconds after dropping us. This is a very clear reason NOT to drop your troops right on top of a battle zone, at least do it when youíre out of their firing range.



Anyway, the mission has begun, and we boost our way towards the gun turrets while ignoring the Firebrands swarming around us. There are seven of them, but you donít get any monetary bonuses for killing them. The job is only to destroy the guns and thatís it.


Because of how long we were taking fire, we have to pay 1148 in AC repairs. It was smart to have that 16+ grand set aside.


Anyway, new mail in our inbox, letís go check it.


Chromeís tyrannical conduct is becoming more and more violent every day.

We would never stoop to the kind of wrongful use of force that they embrace, but we have no choice but to fight.

I hope we can count on you the next time the need arises.


Now, compared to the tone of Chromeís message from a while back, Murakumoís seems much more thankful for our services. But I dunno, Iím not so quick to take sides with any large corporate entity that holds enough power to exert influence over the human race. Chromeís a bunch of hard asses, but at least they donít try to paint their image to look like theyíre in the right, which is what Murakumoís message kinda sounds like to me.

This is why I always liked the concept of Ravens and the Ravensí Nest. Total neutrality.

Anyway, that does it for this part. Expect more missions along with gradually upgrading our AC, as well as more background information about the Armored Core world.

Iíll be in touch.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
EX Part 2: What Makes an Armored Core?
Another entry in the letís play means another bonus post, elaborating more on the technical details of Armored Core. As you could tell in Part 2 a good bit of time was spent in the shop getting new parts for our AC. If youíve been wondering what all the numbers and stats on these parts meant and what they do, I have you covered.


To summarize briefly, an Armored Core is comprised of seven key components for basic functionality. These are the head, core (the torso of the mech), arms, legs, generator, fire control system (FCS), and boosters. The three remaining types of components used by the AC are arm weapons, back weapons, and optional parts. Weíll start by explaining the components that are required for an AC to work.

Head Ė The headís most important role for the AC is providing a visual of the surroundings to the pilot. While contributing to the Armored Coreís overall AP, one aspect to balance between choices of heads is additional armor points at the expense of radar functions. This can also include how detailed the ACís auto map of the mission area is, or a bio sensor function when dealing with non mechanical targets. Some parts even have a missile sensor that will display incoming missiles on the ACís radar, allowing for the pilot to respond to the attack much sooner.

Core Ė A very crucial component that make up most of the Armored Coreís AP. The core is the torso of the AC, and is where the pilot is situated, as well as the generator, FCS, and boosters. Compared to other AC parts, there are very few cores, and the ones available lend themselves to specific styles of ACs, factors including weight class and number of optional part slots. Two of the three cores in the game contain an anti missile defense system in the form of a single barrel on the front of the core.

Arms Ė There are two types of arms for an Armored Core. The first are normal arms that are designed to hold a variety of weapons, and determines the ACís aiming ability and precision with a blade weapon. The second are weapon arms, which are exactly as the name describes. They have less AP and are lighter in weight, but are extremely powerful in combat. Both arms draw from the same ammo pool though, and having no ammo left can leave the AC unable to continue combat.

Legs Ė Arguably the most important part of the AC aside from the core itself, as they come in four types, make up a large part of the mechís AP, and is what ACs are commonly classified by.
  • Bipedal legs are very humanoid in appearance and come in a wide variety of weightclasses. There is a restriction put on these legs where they are needed to stay in place in order to fire a shoulder cannon weapon of some kind.
  • Reverse Joint legs are similar to Bipedal legs, but much lighter and are bird like in appearance. While they canít carry as much weight, they can jump much higher and have better use of the booster while airborne. However, they include the same restriction as Bipedal legs and cannot use shoulder cannon weapons while moving.
  • Quad legs are four legged parts that glide around the ground and are fairly fast. Unlike Bipedal and Reverse Joint legs, they can use shoulder cannon weapons without having to stay in place. However, these legs use up a lot of energy and cannot support heavy weight parts, as well as having less armor than most bipedals.
  • Tank treads are exactly what you think they are. Theyíre very heavy, move slowly, and can use shoulder cannon weapons much like the Quad legs. They donít have the ability to jump on their own, and have their own built in boosters that disregard for the need for core mounted boosters.
Generator Ė This is what gives the AC power, and allows it to use the boosters and other energy based weapons. Things to keep in mind are how much energy the generator can hold (the capacity is how much energy can be drawn to the other parts of the mech before it canít go any further) and the rate it recharges. Standing still doing nothing will let the generator recharge as quickly as possible, and only slightly slower while moving. When the energy meter enters the generatorís red zone, it takes much longer for the energy to return, and if it goes past the redzone all energy dependent functions like boosters and weapons are shut off until it recharges.

FCS Ė The Fire Control System is what allows the AC to lock on to targets as well as the shape of the aim window. In the original Armored Core, the categories for FCS are Standard, Wide & Shallow, Tall, and Narrow & Deep. The shapes of the aim boxes for these different FCS types are different, as well as determine the range at which targets can be locked on. The FCS also determines how many targets can be locked on at a time, which is useful for AC builds utilizing missile launchers.

Boosters Ė The component that allows an AC to be as fast and mobile as it is. These obviously draw a lot of power from the ACís generator. Obviously the more powerful the thrust from the booster, the larger the energy drain is. While not described in the details describing them, each booster has a different exhaust length and color to the flame. These and Generators often go in hand as a high power booster goes well with a high energy capacity generator.

Now those are the required components. Hereís all the extra stuff you can throw onto your AC if you have the energy and weight capacity to spare.

Arm Weapons Ė With the exception of laser blades, all arm weapons are equipped on the ACís right arm. There are various types including rifles, machine guns, hand guns, sniper rifles, bazookas, energy weapons, and a flamethrower (not available in the shop). These weapons have their own ammunition, reload rate, as well as Weapon Lock type, which is best used with a similar FCS. For example, the rifle that you start the game with, WG-RF35, has a Wide & Shallow weapon lock, so it would be used with an FCS of a similar lock type. And as demonstrated already in the LP, energy weapons do not count toward ammunition costs in the income and expense report at the end of missions. The laser blades are equipped on the left arm only and are used as an offhand melee weapon.

Back Weapons Ė Back weapons can be equipped on either the left or right shoulders of the AC. In fact, if you have the money for it, you can buy two of the same weapon and put them on both. The back weapon types include missile launchers, rocket launchers, bomb dispensers, shoulder cannons, and radars. The shoulder cannon weapons include items like chain guns, grenade launchers, laser cannons and so on. These are the weapons that Bipedal and Reverse Jointed ACs have to stand still for in order to fire due to the recoil. Radars obviously give the AC radar function if the head part doesnít have one built in. There are also three dual back units that take up both shoulder slots on the AC, but these are only missile weapons.

Optional Parts Ė These parts are very much optional, as they are modules that are plugged into slots on the ACís core, enhancing particular qualities or aspects of the machine. There are some modules that take up one slot like reducing shell damage or energy damage, while some modules take up multiple slots, like expanding the ACís generator charge. Not every part can be equipped so only use the ones that best suit the AC. These are the lowest priority items to worry about when customizing an AC.

So those are all the parts. How do they all come together? Well, Iíll tell you, by using my current AC build as an example.


When building an Armored Core, there are three parameters to keep in mind: Energy, Core Weight, and Leg Weight. The first one is easy to explain as it is determined by the generatorís energy output. The reason having enough energy output is important is because every part needs some amount of energy in order to function. Things like arm and leg movements, boosters, radar functions, you name it. Every part in the store has the amount of energy drain listed so you can see how much it requires. And as you can see, the selected item in the garage lists how much energy is uses (EP), as well as its weight (WP) which we will cover next

Now, for core weight and leg weight. To describe both simply, core weight is the coreís ability to hand the capacity of the arms, head, generator, FCS, boosters, and any back weapons and arm weapons. The leg weight is the legís ability to carry all the above mentioned parts. This is another reason why the legs can be considered the most important part of the AC, and that is the weight capacity. Choosing a leg will affect the legís weight capacity, but every part will affect how much the core and legs can both handle.

As you can probably tell by where my AC is now in the LP, Energy drain is not a major issue as our capacity is very close to 10000 and anything else we equip wonít come anywhere close to that. We already have a heavy weight core supporting some light to middleweight arms and being supported by middleweight legs, so we canít really put any more weight on top of the AC without getting better legs. For now, the legs will stay the same until I have acquired enough money and the right parts that I will need specific legs to support those parts.

If this sounds complex, well, it is. But the good news is that this is the least complex Armored Core customization in the entire series. Just wait until you get to AC2, with extensions and radiators and inside parts and overboost and other nonsense. It only gets more in depth from there.

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010
Of course you need better legs, you have only two :colbert:

I need to grab the discs and check if I still have my custom emblems. Time to play along :getin:

Also, buy the Karasawa laser rifle ASAP. If it's in this game, the shoulder "blow-dryer" laser cannon as well (you know which one).

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!

Pierzak posted:

Of course you need better legs, you have only two :colbert:

I need to grab the discs and check if I still have my custom emblems. Time to play along :getin:

Also, buy the Karasawa laser rifle ASAP. If it's in this game, the shoulder "blow-dryer" laser cannon as well (you know which one).
Nah, quads aren't my style.

I will be getting the KARASAWA soon enough, but it's a hidden part so I have to get to the mission that it's in to get it, so expect it two parts from now. That attack power is so good.

Polaron
Oct 13, 2010

The Oncoming Storm
Oh man, this game. This and Colony Wars were the two games I played to death back in the PSX era. One fun detail that I don't think you've pointed out is that different heads have different computer voices and lines. The more advanced, techy heads have more human-sounding voices with longer lines.

Also, I assume you're going to show off the ranking board at some point?

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!

Polaron posted:

Oh man, this game. This and Colony Wars were the two games I played to death back in the PSX era. One fun detail that I don't think you've pointed out is that different heads have different computer voices and lines. The more advanced, techy heads have more human-sounding voices with longer lines.

Also, I assume you're going to show off the ranking board at some point?
Ah yes, that's right. Didn't occur to me to mention the different voices, especially since they get demonstrated at least once in the mission videos.
As for the ranking, I've already got my material up through part 4, but I made a slight screw up that relates to me showing the ranking screen. My original plan was to show it after completing the Attack Urban Center mission, where you fight an AC who is number two on the ranking. However, it went away after I did all the other missions before hand.

Part 5 I'll show it off for real, though. Just not with the lead in I was hoping for.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
Part 3: gently caress the Isaac City Guard
Continuing from where we left off, we just received a new AC part as compensation for destroying a Chrome gun emplacement because Murakumo hates those assholes.


The part in question is a pair of legs, this one in particular having the fastest movement speed of all the legs (at least bipedal ones). Itís nice, but not enough weight capacity to hold our top load, so weíll sell it for forty-four grand.


And now that we have a good chunk of money, weíll sell our current boosters which are still a holdover from the starting build, and get ourselves a new one. The B-VR-33 will do.


With that upgrade done, letís go to the next mission, Worker Robot Removal.


A problem occurred in the No. 7 power plant of Isaac City. Due to security system trouble, the worker robots are out of control.

Most of the robots have already been captured or destroyed, but some of them have entered the grounds of the power plant.

Luckily, no major accident has occurred so far, but we cannot leave the situation as is. Because of the location, ordinary measures are useless.

This is where we need your help. We want you to destroy all of the robots within the power plant, but do not damage the generators or you risk causing a major explosion.

If you destroy a generator, we will deduct compensation for the damages from your pay. The worker robots have no attack capability at all, but you must move cautiously.



If you go into this mission with the right tools, either energy weapons like we have or a blade equipped, this mission can be easily completed while getting the full reward with no expenses. Though I am curious as to what these ďordinary measuresĒ are that prevent Murakumo from gathering these last few robots but are okay for us. I almost would think the Isaac City Guard are up to the task, but thatís probably giving them too much credit.

Also a minor note, this is the first mission where a client actually gives us part of the pay in advance. While I donít really do it, when selecting a mission you have the option of immediately starting it or not. Youíre locked into the mission once youíve accepted it, but you can do some last minute customization on your AC if you need to.

Worker Robot Removal



These little things are called Techbots (name coming from the Revolution disc from AC Nexus), and we have to destroy all of them without hitting the generators. Sometimes however theyíll be positioned too close to a generator and missing a shot slightly would be devastating. However, if you run up in front of them they will proceed to back up and away in the direction youíre facing them. Use this to corral them away from the generators if you need room to be sure you wonít gently caress up. Not a whole lot of exciting stuff in this mission, but what can you do?


See, what I tell you? Easy money.


Back to the mission select screen, that title looks familiar. Didnít we already deal with some squatters?


Remnants of the squatters who occupied the abandoned factory on the east side of the City have reappeared.

They have brought together 12 MTs from somewhere, and have again amassed inside the factory.

Clamoring for us to bring out the guys who hurt them before, they are on a rampage. Our guard weaponry is useless. Any Raven will do, just do something.



Oh, Iíll do something alright.

Eliminate Squatters (2)


So right off the bat, the enemies in this level are double from before, and are much more aggressive. There are two WR750Rs and ten Bishops on this level, and none of them last long against my energy weapon.



Hope you learned your lesson this time, shitheads.


Hmm, took a lot more damage there than in previous missions. Things are indeed becoming more challenging.

We receive some new email messages, one from the client, and the other from you know who.


We are troubled to find that the squattersí weapons were likely supplied through the involvement of the terrorist group ďImminent StormĒ.

We really should perform a full-scale investigation, but they hold some pretty bad company, if you get my drift.

Unless we have direct evidence of wrongdoing, we cannot get involved.
Well, we have our reasons.

Even though we are called the ďGuardĒ, we are really mere cogs in the clockwork of business.

We donít want to do anything to wring our own necks. Unfortunately, that seems to be all we can do.

We are looking forward to working with you in the future.


You know, I can kinda respect the Zam City Guard for being so forth coming with how lovely their predicament is. They know the higher ups are the real ones with authority and control. Letís see what our other message is about.


Although Chrome had held authority over this area, in recent years Murakumo has turned the tables so that most of the redevelopment projects have been led by Murakumo.

It is not hard to imagine that these circumstances are involved in the recent events.

Iíll be in touch.


Basically, even if the group involved isnít a megacorp, itíll still have some sort of backing or support from someone. Chrome and Murakumo are very much involved in every conflict going on right now.


Alright, next task on the list, Stop Terrorist Threat.


We have managed to obtain vital information on the terrorist group ďImminent StormĒ. The scum plan to hide inside the city sewers and build their headquarters there.

ďImminent StormĒ has perpetrated many terrorist acts on Isaac City in the past, and the Guard has suffered bitter defeats. We will never let them build their headquarters.

Yet we hesitate to act with only our weaponry. This is why we have asked the Ravens for help. Already several Guards have gone ahead but it is too dangerous for them alone.

Your operation has two objectives: protect the Guard detachment and destroy the terrorist leader. We will deduct 1000 C from your pay for each Guard killed.

Raven, we are counting on you.



I can only hope to god these assholes donít get in the way.

Just so you know which color MTs are which, the tan bishops are the enemies weíve been fighting for a while, the blue Guard Walkers are used by the City Guard, and the red bishop is the leader of the enemy group. At least the difference in color is simple enough.

Stop Terrorist Threat


Now, because of this gameís age, the AI for the friendly units is pretty poor to be expected. Letís just hope I get there before anything hap-


oh, FOR FUCKS SAKE!


DIE!!
Well, there goes a thousand credits from my pay. Thanks for screwing it up, rear end in a top hat.


So yeah, this mission area is pretty big, and while it isnít required to destroy all the mooks, you get a 500 credit bonus for each one killed, which I guess is a nice way to make up for your allies incompetence and getting themselves killed. There are 18 regular bishops to kill, and that gives a total of 9000 additional credits for this mission.



So this is our target here. I take quite a few hits from this guy, but I dish out way more of my own right at him.


Luckily enough, we actually made more money that the initial reward thanks to eliminating all 18 bishops prior to the leader. That said though, gently caress the Isaac City Guard.


OK, next mission, Rescue Survey Team.


We want you to break into an old military facility remaining above ground to the southwest of Isaac City.

This facility has been completely abandoned, but we have reason to believe it had been used as a testing ground for prototype weapons prior to the Great Destruction.

If any of the Companies get wind of this, a fight for this facility is inevitable. We immediately sent a survey team to find out the truth but they ran into trouble.

A gate within the facility suddenly closed and scrapped security MTs began operating. After barely making it back to the 1st floor, the team is stranded behind the locked gate.

The security MTs have been repulsed for now, but we donít know how long this will last. We want you to rescue the team ASAP.



We now have a new client, and itís a simple rescue operation. The facility is pretty expansive, but itís not that hard to get around.

Rescue Survey Team


Now, this mission has a gently caress ton of MTs, about 76 in total. These Crusaders as theyíre called have high energy defenses, so our energy weapon isnít as effective. With 76 of these little buggers crawling about, what are we gonna do? Itís simple.


Just run. Thatís it, really. Trying to kill these things with what we got isnít worth it.



Jump and dodge everything that comes your way until you reach the panel controlling the door that has trapped the survey team. Destroy it and the mission is over.


So we only came out of that mission with a little over 20k, but weíre pretty much swimming in credits at this point in the game, so itís all good.

After rescuing the survey team, we got some new mail in our inbox. Two messages this time.


Professing the goal of reclaiming the above-ground environment, the committee has some of the most prominent scientists in the world as its members.

However, there are many questions in regard to its true nature. There are rumors that it is actually an organization with some other purpose.

Iíll be in touch.


I honestly wonder if there are any corporations or factions in the Armored Core universe that are exactly as they seem and donít have some ulterior motive. Rís messages certainly arenít doing them any favors. Letís look at the next mail we got.


- LN-3001
Heavily armored humanoid legs with a high load capacity. Poor speed. 52200 C

- LN-D-8000R
Humanoid legs with special anti-energy weapon armor. High load capacity. 49000 C

- LFH-X5X
Four legged type with the maximum AP and load carrying capacity. 82000 C

- LC-MOS-4545
A dreadfully durable monster machine. 59000 C


That second the item, the LN-D-8000R is what I was waiting for. Time to do some shoppingÖnext time.

Thatíll be it for now. There are four missions planned for the next update, along with a certain choice that the audience will get to make that determines the missions we will be taking for the latter part of the game.

Iíll be in touch.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
EX Part 3: The Major Factions So Far
At this point, we have taken several missions from a variety of clients such as megacorps and the city guards. There have been terrorist groups involved, and weíve just now been introduced to the Earth Environment Reclamation Committee. As our good friend ďRĒ has shown with his vague messages, the many factions in Armored Core are more than they seem on the surface, and they are more than likely backing each other in their goals. This post will serve as a summary of all the groups weíve encountered so far, both clients and enemies, hopefully more in depth than what ďRĒ has divulged to us this far.

For starters, letís take a look at the two biggest players in the conflict-ridden world of Armored Core: Chrome and Murakumo Millennium.

Chrome is one of the largest corporate entities in the world and has no issues demonstrating their power and monopoly over the cities they have control over. As mentioned a few times already in this LP, Chrome is based in Isaac City. They also have a partnership with a chemical manufacturing firm known as Chemical-Dyne Co, who will be given a proper introduction in the next update.

Chrome for the longest time was pretty much uncontested as the biggest corporate super power. Until Murakumo came along, that is.

Murakumo Millennium is the other large mega corporation in the game, and unlike most others, they actively resist Chromeís monopoly and influence on society. These two butt heads constantly, and a lot of their skirmishes happen in or around Isaac City, where Chromeís HQ is established. Murakumoís specialty is in industry and manufacturing AC parts. If you remember the Remove Gun Emplacement mission from before, the leg part we received as a reward was an experimental part manufactured by Murakumo. They have a vested interest in the development of AC technology.

These two are huge corporate entities who have public images to maintain (well, Chrome probably cares less about how people perceive them). Who do they get to handle their tasks that would be too dirty for them to get involved in? Terrorists, of course.

The first terrorist group we were introduced to was Struggle, a group dedicated to resisting Chromeís rule through terrorist acts. Put two and two together, and itís not hard to see Murakumo jumping at the chance to support a group that shares a common enemy.

So where does the other group, Imminent Storm, fit in? Well, Chrome probably doesnít get directly involved with them as much as they do give them tips. At the end of Eliminate Squatters Part 2, the Zam City Guard informed us that the squatters had MTs and weapons supplied by Imminent Storm. Shortly after, ďRĒ told us that Murakumo had taken over many of the cityís redevelopment projects, including the one that was being obstructed by the squatters. While there was no concrete proof that either IS or Chrome was involved, the fact that it was a project involving Murakumo, it is hard not to see the other side wanting something done about it.

And of course there are the City Guards themselves. Incompetence of the Isaac City Guard aside, the guards are more or less just pawns to be used and thrown away by the corporations that preside over them. Zam City is the only one that was very up front with their situation, explaining how they canít investigate in Imminent Stormís involvement with the squatters and the potential link to a megacorpís involvement. They can only just stand around as figureheads to give citizens the assumption that they are being protected while the real conflict happens in the background.

There was one group we were just introduced to in the last mission that appears to be entirely independent from everyone involved in this conflict, and that is the Earth Environment Reclamation Committee. As the name would suggest, they have an interest in unearthing technology and relics left behind when the Great Destruction forced humanity to move to underground cities. Any missions involving them will always take place at old, abandoned military facilities with lost technology. Now with such a noble goal of unearthing the past and eventually reclaiming the surface, why would there be any doubt to their motives?

Well, the Great Destruction was the result of multiple weapons of mass destruction and powerful technology being used against everyone by everyone, and that technology being lost in the wake of such a cataclysm would be better off for humanity. But, everyone in the Armored Core universe hates someone enough to fight back with force, so unearthing ancient tools of destruction would be lucrative for someone who wants to start a war or continue one.

Obviously the last group in this game, the one weíre a part of, is the Ravenís Nest. There really isnít much else to say about them because we know the stuff we need to know about them, and that the Nest is completely neutral to the main conflict going on between the megacorps and the factions under it. For us, it just comes down to how much the pay is. While thereís not much to say about the nest, there is quite a bit to say about the Ravens themselves. But I will save that for another time, probably after we faced one or two of them ourselves.

ArclightBorealis fucked around with this message at 01:21 on Jun 2, 2014

SavageMessiah
Jan 28, 2009

Emotionally drained and spookified

Toilet Rascal
Damnit, because of this LP I pulled out AC2 this weekend and 100%ed it from a new save, and then got the last couple of percent on my farthest along Another Age save, and then started playing Nexus again - only stopping because going from the old controls to dual stick confused the heck out of my hands.

What have you done?!

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!

SavageMessiah posted:

Damnit, because of this LP I pulled out AC2 this weekend and 100%ed it from a new save, and then got the last couple of percent on my farthest along Another Age save, and then started playing Nexus again - only stopping because going from the old controls to dual stick confused the heck out of my hands.

What have you done?!
Whatever it is I've done, I'm not been complaining. It's been cool to see people who are fans of the games read and comment on this LP, so mission accomplished so far.

SavageMessiah
Jan 28, 2009

Emotionally drained and spookified

Toilet Rascal

ArclightBorealis posted:

Whatever it is I've done, I'm not been complaining. It's been cool to see people who are fans of the games read and comment on this LP, so mission accomplished so far.

All you did was reignite my AC obsession :P. It's good to see someone LPing these games (and quite well too, I never really noticed all the corporate intrigue before, I just played the missions and shot the robots), there's really not nearly as much talk about them as there should be.

Are you planning on doing Phantasma and MoA? I have both but I don't think I've ever finished them. Hmm, I should see if I still have a PS1 memory card around.

SavageMessiah fucked around with this message at 19:53 on Jun 2, 2014

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!

SavageMessiah posted:

All you did was reignite my AC obsession :P. It's good to see someone LPing these games (and quite well too, I never really noticed all the corporate intrigue before, I just played the missions and shot the robots), there's really not nearly as much talk about them as there should be.

Are you planning on doing Phantasma and MoA? I have both but I don't think I've ever finished them. Hmm, I should see if I still have a PS1 memory card around.
I'll most likely do Project Phantasma and Master of Arena after this LP. Upon finishing an AC 1 playthrough I almost always go straight into the next games because of importing save data. It's fun to go into MoA with a poo poo ton of credits from PP's arena and all the parts in the garage.

Though a more ambitious goal for me would be to do the AC series up through Last Raven, but that would require me getting the remaining games I don't have (AC 2, 3, Nexus, Ninebreaker, and Last Raven) as well as a capture card for getting footage off my PS2. It's a nice thought to have though, as I love these games so drat much.

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013





ArclightBorealis posted:

I'll most likely do Project Phantasma and Master of Arena after this LP. Upon finishing an AC 1 playthrough I almost always go straight into the next games because of importing save data. It's fun to go into MoA with a poo poo ton of credits from PP's arena and all the parts in the garage.

Though a more ambitious goal for me would be to do the AC series up through Last Raven, but that would require me getting the remaining games I don't have (AC 2, 3, Nexus, Ninebreaker, and Last Raven) as well as a capture card for getting footage off my PS2. It's a nice thought to have though, as I love these games so drat much.

It's funny you mention that because I was planning on doing a full-series LP of Armored Core myself, but I'm glad someone else got to it first. Especially someone who knows and loves the series as well as I do.

...Although my "LP" of Nine Breaker was going to be a brief filibuster on why no one in thier right mid should play Nine Breaker over super sped up footage of a Nine Breaker run capped off by the only thing of value in the game: the fight with Nine Ball at the end of the game. Because Nine Breaker is goddamm :effort: trash.

That said, thank you so much for LPing the game that inspired my username in a roundabout way. Looking forward to how things develop going forward.

Kaboom Dragoon
May 7, 2010

The greatest of feasts

I like the AC games, but I inevitably wind up hitting an impassable brick wall at some point, no matter what game I play. It's like the game decides 'nope, you've had your fun, time for dying is now' and I can never get any further.

loving White Glint in AC4A :argh:

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013





Kaboom Dragoon posted:

I like the AC games, but I inevitably wind up hitting an impassable brick wall at some point, no matter what game I play. It's like the game decides 'nope, you've had your fun, time for dying is now' and I can never get any further.

loving White Glint in AC4A :argh:

That's when you replay the easiest missions a few dozen times, accumulate a million credits and buy the biggest, strongest, most explodiest guns you can and demolish the fucker. :getin:

Enjoy your hot plasma death me from the previous game!

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!

nine-gear crow posted:

It's funny you mention that because I was planning on doing a full-series LP of Armored Core myself, but I'm glad someone else got to it first. Especially someone who knows and loves the series as well as I do.

...Although my "LP" of Nine Breaker was going to be a brief filibuster on why no one in thier right mid should play Nine Breaker over super sped up footage of a Nine Breaker run capped off by the only thing of value in the game: the fight with Nine Ball at the end of the game. Because Nine Breaker is goddamm :effort: trash.

That said, thank you so much for LPing the game that inspired my username in a roundabout way. Looking forward to how things develop going forward.
Funny thing about Ninebreaker is that a game being one big training mode sounds ridiculous and like a big time waster. On the other hand, I almost applaud From Soft for having the balls to put out a game like that and I want to play it just because of that. Well, because I'm an insane completionist is the more accurate reason, but curiosity is a big part of it.

Kaboom Dragoon posted:

I like the AC games, but I inevitably wind up hitting an impassable brick wall at some point, no matter what game I play. It's like the game decides 'nope, you've had your fun, time for dying is now' and I can never get any further.

loving White Glint in AC4A :argh:
Ah, White Glint, the one thing from the AC4 games that I can still truly appreciate (it being designed by Shoji Kawamori is a major plus of course). Even so, Nineball (in every incarnation possible) will still be the most memorable bastard AC in the series. The music adds to the impact, as well.

Singh Long
Oct 9, 2012

ArclightBorealis posted:

Ah, White Glint, the one thing from the AC4 games that I can still truly appreciate (it being designed by Shoji Kawamori is a major plus of course). Even so, Nineball (in every incarnation possible) will still be the most memorable bastard AC in the series. The music adds to the impact, as well.

IMO, Nineball doesn't become awesome until MoA due to spoilers, getting a kickass theme song, and being voiced by Roger L. Jackson in that game.

Singh Long fucked around with this message at 21:24 on Jun 2, 2014

SavageMessiah
Jan 28, 2009

Emotionally drained and spookified

Toilet Rascal

ArclightBorealis posted:

I'll most likely do Project Phantasma and Master of Arena after this LP. Upon finishing an AC 1 playthrough I almost always go straight into the next games because of importing save data. It's fun to go into MoA with a poo poo ton of credits from PP's arena and all the parts in the garage.

Though a more ambitious goal for me would be to do the AC series up through Last Raven, but that would require me getting the remaining games I don't have (AC 2, 3, Nexus, Ninebreaker, and Last Raven) as well as a capture card for getting footage off my PS2. It's a nice thought to have though, as I love these games so drat much.

:monocle: Ambitious indeed, 6 games! I would watch/read the heck out of that! I'm not particularly great at the games (though I got all S ranks in Silent Line at some point) but there's kind of a dearth of good videos to watch to get better.

BattleCattle
May 11, 2014

I played every other main game in the series and I love the heck out of 'em, but I never had a PS1. I'm glad you're doin' this. Thanks a bunch for the LP, guy, it's interesting to see where it all started.

I also just powered through AC4 last night. Ya know tbe rapid-fire rifle with the banana mag? Two of those, and two hanger laser blades just in case I ran out of ammo, and everything got wrecked. The only one that stood a chance was Anjou, because of the tight quarters and her ECM. My guns wound up being useless, so I ditched 'em and ended up having a sword duel with the queen of melee combat. That was the most fun I've had in a while.

BattleCattle fucked around with this message at 21:51 on Jun 2, 2014

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
Part 4: Additional Fire Power + a Choice to Make
Continuing from where we left off, we were just informed by the Ravensí Nest that new parts have been added to the shop, and we have nearly a hundred thousand credits on hand. Time to spend it on some upgrades.


First things first, sell the LN-1001B.


And buy the newly stocked LN-D-8000R. As you can see, the increase in weight capacity isnít that large, as is the increase in armor points, but every little bit counts, and the difference in speed is negligible. Plus I think the look of them goes well with our core.


And while Iím at it, weíll sell our current arms.


And buy the AN-D-7001. These arms and the legs we just bought have quite a uniform look to them.


And finally, we will upgrade our head to the best radar installed head we can get, the HD-ONE. This has pretty much everything the REDEYE had in addition to the noise canceller and bio sensor.


And with that, our Armored Coreís AP has been boosted up to 9090.


With that shopping trip all done, letís start the next mission, Terrorist Pursuit.


Just now, several MTs, thought to be terrorists, appeared in an urban district. Indiscriminately, they attacked the surrounding buildings and fled.

Guards rushing to the scene cornered one terrorist in a nearby parking garage, but the garage has only one large entrance, so it is not easy to get him.

The rest of the gang is still fleeting and we cannot spare any more men. Go to the scene ASAP and cooperate in destroying the terrorist.

Several civilian vehicles remain in the garage. Damage to the vehicles will be deducted from your pay. Sorry, but weíve got budget problems too. Good luck.



I always hate that last line in the briefing. Isaac City Guard is the loving worst.

Terrorist Pursuit


This mission has only one enemy to deal with, the Nowaki. Itís a very fast quadruped MT, and the only thing worse than trying to aim and shoot at it is avoiding damage to all the cars in this parking garage, whether or not it was inflicted by the MT or you.


We need to keep it from getting to the bottom floor, so head to the ramp that connects this floor and the one below to block it off. When it comes into range, fire away. Make do with whatever camera shenanigans come up. Itís kinda bad in very close quarters.


Even though we did not touch any of the cars, we still got a deduction for damage that we clearly did not cause. Like I said before, gently caress the Isaac City Guard.


Alright, letís head on to the next mission, Destroy Fuel Depot. I can guarantee you thisíll be better than the last one.


We want to perform a secret survey of a Chemical-Dyne Co. research lab located in the East region.

We have heard many troubling rumors about a certain companyís research. From the information that weíve gathered so far, this seems to be Chromeís doing.

Your mission is a diversionary action in support of the survey team entering the lab. Attack the fuel depot adjacent to the lab and blow up all of the fuel tanks inside.

The survey team plans to enter the lab during the commotion. You must escape from the depot after blowing up all the tanks. If discovered by the guards, youíll have trouble.

There is probably a large number of tanks in the fuel depot. Be careful to avoid damage from the explosions.



Whereas we had to minimize environmental damage in the last mission, we are now given free rein to blow poo poo up. But more importantly, there is a hidden part in this mission that is CRUCIAL to get. Any AC fan will easily recognize it when we see it.

Destroy Fuel Depot


In this mission, there are eight gun emplacements on the ceilings of this depot, as well as three Tankette-Es. Similar to the Tankette-M, these specialize in electronic jamming than they do in combat. Because our HD-ONE head part has a noise canceler, we are immune to its frequency and our lock on ability is not disabled.


The second room at the end of the depot has some tanks semi hidden. Search every corner thoroughly.


At the end are long rows of tanks that explode one after the other if you shoot just one. After which we will receive a message telling us to leave now and that our work is done. ButÖ


We cannot leave without this thing.


Now we make a mad dash for the exit, killing a Guard Walker on the way while weíre at it.


Weíre continuing to pay slightly more for AC damages, but thatís not important right now. We got ourselves a bigger reward than the money.

However, we much quickly check our mail, as a very close friend has some information about a one Chemical-Dyne Co.


Although it has achieved a solid position as a biochemical manufacturer, the rumors of dangerous experiments and chemicals refuse to be quelled.

In addition, it is a known fact that Chrome has been a major factor in their development through joint venture relationships.

Iíll be in touch.


Yep, another company is in bed with a big megacorp. Huge surprise, I know. Anyway, the prize I was talking about from the last mission. Here it is:



Gentlemen, I present to you the WG-1-KARASAWA laser rifle, the best mother loving energy weapon in the game. Hell, the best weapon period. This humongous rifle only holds fifty rounds, but for many lesser MTs this thing will kill them in one hit. Luckily for us with our current build we have just less than a hundred Leg Weight Points to spare, though we may end up swapping some parts when we get even more armaments down the line. For now, this AC will more than suffice, as it has good movement speed and packs 1550 points in attack power. Very impressive.


Now that we have our new weapon, letís sell the old one and use our money to buy a new FCS. Weíll go with the GX-9009. Itís got the longest range of the other fire control systems, which fits well with our KARASAWAís range of 10000.


Now letís try out our new weapon in a mission. Weíll go with Prototype MT Test.


Come participate in a combat test against a new weapon currently under development. Anyone is OK, as long as they can fight. We want combat data for the current prototype.

Your opponent, ďCHAOSĒ is a completely automated robot, and the location is inside our lab. No need to be timid. Give it all youíve got.

However, you get paid only if you win. No slacking off. This may not be much of a challenge to you Ravens, but you can make a fast buck. Think of it as an easy job.



You know, Iím sure this is just because of how much of a pleasant mood Iím in right now, but this mission is very much a win-win for both sides involved. I get to try out my new weapon, and they get some combat data for their new MT. Itís all good.

Prototype MT Test



I pretty much hang back for a lot of this fight and take shots at the MT with my rifle. Doesnít take very long for it to go down.



Funny thing, in the past I always get hit a couple times by the MT but I got through it this time unscathed. Second mission cleared with no expenses paid.

We check our inbox to see a message from our good friend ďR.Ē Letís see what he has to say.


The Human Plus technology developed by Murakumo is an advanced technology whereby the organs of the body (mainly the nervous system, bones, and muscle tissue) are replaced with artificial replacements which give the subject abilities vastly superior to those of an ordinary man.

People who have undergone this operation are called the ďPlusĒ, the ranks of which include soldiers and bodyguards for VIPs.

Rumor has it that several of the top ranking Ravens are also ďPlusĒ.

However, the reason why Murakumo, supposedly an industrial manufacturer, originally developed this technology is still a mystery even now.

Iíll be in touch.


I gotta say, this message felt way more detailed than the usual material ďRĒ has been sending us for a while now. Even so, thereís still plenty more for us to elaborate on about Human Plus, which will be saved for an EX Part.


Alright, letís head to the next mission, Guard Freight Train. This is a good one.


We have an emergency!
We have been informed of a plan to attack our long-haul freight train, ďBoulderĒ.

We are unsure of the enemyís exact target, but it is likely that they are after the confidential cargo in the lead car.

The trainís next stop, Heavensrockís supply depot, has very little cover. We feel that this would be an opportune location for the enemy to attack.

Go ahead of the train ASAP and head for the supply depot. Give highest priority to ensuring the safety of at least the lead car.

The cars further back are not particularly important at this time, but we will up your pay by 10000 C if all the cars are safe.
Weíre counting on you, Raven.



This mission I would say is the first truly memorable one, in all the times Iíve played this game. It is also one of the more challenging missions, as there are multiple parts to it and getting everything right, including the 10000 C bonus as well as a hidden AC part in the area, is quite challenging. This is the first mission in this LP where I actually had to redo it a couple times before getting it down.

Guard Freight Train (you should watch this one for sure)



The Barracuda makes a return with a new paint job and not getting blown out of the sky this time, although it still gets shot at before our AC is fully deployed.


First things first, go to the right and get up to high ground. There are four Welkins that like to circle around the AC taking shots at you, and being on a near level field will make aiming easier. One shot is all it takes to take down these aircraft, and trust me we want them out of the way as soon as possible.


As I take down the last one, the train informs us that itís on its way to the depot. Since thereís no one else around to disrupt the mission, we can just hang back andÖ


Huh?




Oh poo pooÖ


Unless you went for the Attack Urban Center mission, which we decided to forego, this would be the playerís first real battle with another AC. While he is not given a name in the original Armored Core, on the Revolution disc for AC Nexus this AC is given the name Wildcat. Here are the specs for his AC that can be determined just from looking at him.
  • Head: HD-01-SRVT
  • Core: XCA-00
  • Arms: AN-101
  • Legs: LN-1001
  • Generator: Unknown
  • FCS: Unknown
  • Boosters: Unknown
  • Back Weapon L: WM-S40/1
  • Back Weapon R: WC-CN35
  • Arm Weapon L: LS-99-MOONLIGHT
  • Arm Weapon R: WG-RF35
So yeah, a small missile launcher, chain gun, the starting rifle, and the best energy blade which we donít have access to yet. Heís got quite the variety of weaponry. Heís also bat poo poo insane.


Several shots from our KARASAWA, and the Wildcat goes down. And none of the cars on the train got destroyed. On top of Wildcat causing trouble, if one of those Welkins were still active, theyíd have destroyed the train for sure. Thatís why it can be a difficult mission if you donít know EXACTLY what to do.


Before the train has refueled and left the depot, be sure to find the hidden AC part for this mission. Itís in one of the crates farthest away from the train. Grab it and wait for the train to leave to end the mission.



We got the special addition, and only a little over 5000 in expenses. Job well done, I say.

We got a message from Murakumo containing information about the AC that attacked us at the depot.


Then, one time he failed to complete a mission and was never heard from again.
The AC reappeared several years ago.

Since then, every time that he appeared on a battlefield he would act like a mad dog, indiscriminately attacking anyone, over and over.

There are some who say that he was just looking for a place to die. Now, no one will know the real reason for his actions.


This is info thatís gonna be in the EX Part, but Iíll say right now that this AC and Murakumo are connected in a way that the latter has carefully chosen not to explain. Youíll see why.


Anyway, before we choose our next mission, Iím just going to show you the briefings for both of them. See if you can figure out what they have in common. First up is Secret Factory Recon.


Our intelligence has determined that Chrome has an underground factory in the snowy region of Whiteland. We plan to send our Special Forces to destroy the factory.

We are looking for someone to scout out the entrance to the factory in advance of the attack. Your mission is to find the point of entry and destroy the door lock system.

There is no particular need to engage the enemy, but we will pay an 800 C bonus per enemy MT destroyed.

The main force will attack 6 minutes after you start, so your executing the mission within this time limit is absolutely necessary for the surprise attack to succeed.
Due to its nature, this mission will be a night maneuver.



So thatís the set up for that mission. Letís see what Guard Factory Entrance is about.


We have uncovered a plan to destroy our underground factory in the Whiteland area. We think that Murakumo is behind it.

We are not sure of the specific details, but since the factory is underground, they canít do anything unless they get inside.

So we want someone to guard the entrance of the factory. The gate cannot be opened from outside as long as the lock system is not destroyed.

We will need several days to put up a full-scale security system. Of course we will pay you during that period whether or not there is an attack.

Not a bad job, huh?
Do it well.



So we have missions from competing megacorps, taking place in the same location, and whose objectives are in obvious conflict with each other.

At the start of the LP I said I would allow one moment for audience participation in determining what missions I take for the rest of the game. This is that deciding moment. Depending on who we help in this scenario, we will be receiving more missions from the megacorp we help, and ultimately take down the rival group by the end. I gave you more information about both of these groups backgrounds, But Iíll give you reasons for gameplay purposes why you might want to see a particular path over the other.

Both of these missions have secret parts; Secret Factory Recon (Murakumo) has a missile launcher while Guard Factory Entrance (Chrome) has a new booster. The former mission is easier because we arenít defending poo poo, but the booster could be potentially more useful than the missiles.

As for the missions after that, going down the Chrome path will lead us to a hidden AC part that is on the same level as the KARASAWA in terms of excellence and strength. Meanwhile, the Murakumo path leads us to a final mission that is particularly memorable with a one of a kind enemy. Itís also a mission that got a remake in AC Nexus on the Revolution disc, if that narrows it down for you.

So, Iíll leave it up to a vote for about two days time. If youíve been following the LP and enjoying it, say Chrome or Murakumo to vote on which mission I go for. If nothing comes up, Iíll default to Murakumo because Iíll be honest, that one level I was talking about is pretty neat.

Iíll be in touch.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!
EX Part 4: Human PLUS
So ďRĒ just recently gave us some info about the Human PLUS project. Not only is this another piece of back story in the AC universe, but it also factors into gameplay.

For start, the player can actually become a PLUS if a certain condition is met. Get 50000 C into debt, and youíll be treated to a cutscene where (from the playerís POV) the Raven is about to be put through the Human PLUS procedure. The game starts over from the beginning, and the player has an enhanced ability. This can be repeated up to eight times, and while some of the effects are very hard to notice, some of them have a major change on the gameplay. The upgrades you can get as a PLUS are:
  • Enhanced radar function, which eliminates the need for any radar part to be equipped to the AC as it is given to the player from the start.
  • Missile and elevation indicators added to the radar.
  • Increase in AC turning speed
  • Increase in AC movement speed
  • Energy capacity is increased
  • Energy drain from boosters is reduced.
  • Shoulder cannon weapons can be fired while moving or airborne
  • Fire energy wave when using an energy blade.
As you can probably expect, Human PLUS in terms of gameplay would be considered cheatingÖunless itís youíre first time through and youíre having a difficult time in combat, especially against another AC. But with enough practice the game can be completed without the need for PLUS upgrades, and in my opinion, the major additions like the energy wave from blades and moving while using shoulder cannons donít really make the game THAT much easier. Thereís skill needed in order to aim and hit enemies reliably.

That said though, the part where ďRĒ says thereís a rumor of high ranking Ravens having undergone Human PLUS is actually a fact. In later games where battles with other Ravens becomes more common, the more challenging opponents will have Human PLUS capabilities. And because the computer knows how to better handle an AC than the average player, they can be some tough sons of bitches.

Human PLUS would exist as a concept all the way up through Armored Core 2: Another Age, as AC2 and its sequel share the same timeline as the first game. AC3 would reboot the timeline and introduce a more balanced version of Human PLUS via the optional part OP-INTENSIFY. It can only be obtained after completing the main game, and its individual abilities are further unlocked when meeting optional goals. From Nexus onward, this part would be removed entirely, although by the time Last Raven comes around, many of the opponent ACs use OP-INTENSIFY.

So thatís Human PLUS in terms of gameplay. What about in terms of story?

Contrary to what ďRĒ said about Murakumo being the creators of the Human PLUS project, the technology was actually created prior to the Great Destruction. Although the ACs did not exist prior to the Great Destruction, so itís actual application to the Ravenís can still be attributed to Murakumo. The pilots are linked so to speak with their ACs, and this allows for a performance increase in the machine, no doubt taking signals from the nervous system to send commands faster than it would be with regular controls. However, the PLUS procedure has numerous side effects that are psychological and often lead to subjects going insane. One example of that is Wildcat, the AC we fought at the fuel depot.

Yeah, a little detail Murakumo chose not to divulge was that Wildcat underwent the PLUS procedure and went insane from the modifications. Heís very much a danger to himself and everyone around him, so putting him out of his misery was a good thing. Funny enough though, even though heís PLUS, he doesnít demonstrate any of the benefits that a PLUS Raven has, such as the use of shoulder cannon weapons while moving. He still kneels down in order to use his chain gun.

Outside of the game, a manga was released in 2007 called Armored Core: Tower City Blade. Although itís set in the AC3 timeline where the PLUS program shouldnít technically exist, it focuses on an AC Pilot named Catarina who underwent the procedure, and the result was that it stunted her growth, giving her the appearance of a 12 year old despite being 21 (the concept sounds gross in a way only Japan would know, but it's Armored Core and isn't about that poo poo). Over time, the implants from the program stiffened her muscles to the point that she can barely show expressions or speak, and would eventually cause her heart to stop functioning. While itís not related to the original timeline, it does show off how dangerous and risky the Human PLUS procedure can be. Hell, getting the process reversed is too expensive, even for an accomplished Raven.

So yeah, for gameplay purposes Human PLUS makes you a dirty cheater, and for story reasons the treatment makes you go insane. Too risky and not worth it.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
Voting for siding with Chrome.

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013





Chrome got the better spin-off game.

Singh Long
Oct 9, 2012
While a part of me wants to side with Chrome due to where some of the latter missions take place, I want to go with Murakumo first, simply because the last mission for that path introduces another AC series staple.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Murakumo sounds more fun. A memorable final boss sounds like fun!

BattleCattle
May 11, 2014

Murakumo, because they have a better PR team.

Also, their name is Gathering Clouds. It's foreboding! I love it!

FnxMKII
Sep 15, 2007
Gonna throw in for Chrome because I always slapped their logo on my AC when I played this game.

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Crummelhorn
Nov 3, 2010
Murakumo all the way. I wanna see the better mission, not the more broken weapon.

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