Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«5 »
  • Locked thread
ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Nuisances with Too Much Power: Let's Play Armored Core Project Phantasma and Master of Arena


What are these two games?
Project Phantasma and Master of Arena are the two followups to the Playstation 1 game Armored Core, developed by From Software. Both running on the same engine, these games introduce new missions, parts, and other features that expand on the original Armored Core. Project Phantasma was released in 1997, the same year as the first game, and then later that was followed up on by Master of Arena two years later.

Wait, so are these actually sequels or just expansions?
A bit of both. The way the Armored Core series works is that each numbered entry signifies a major leap in generation in terms of systems and mechanics, kind of like the color naming schemes for each generation of Pokemon games. Project Phantasma and Master of Arena have their own stories and do follow up on the original game's setting, so they do count as sequels. However because players can transfer their AC 1 saves into these games and not start from scratch, these also end up feeling like expansions on the original game. Owning the first game isn't required, but having a save there and carrying it over across multiple games adds to the experience.

So how do these games compare to the original Armored Core
Unfortunately, Project Phantasma is not as good. It introduced some very significant concepts that would be carried over to many future games in the series, but their implementation leaves a little bit to be desired. There's a much bigger emphasis on story in the game's campaign, showing actual characters that are important to progress, but the mission length and quality is lacking. Project Phantasma also introduces the concept of the AC Arena, but it's implementation along with AI allows for it to be broken wide open and mess with the pacing of the game somewhat. It's still fun and plays like you would expect if you enjoyed the first Armored Core, but its first attempts at new things aren't successful.

Master of Arena on the other hand successfully makes good on a lot of the concepts brought by Project Phantasma and surpasses that and Armored Core 1 in quality and quantity. The mission count is roughly the same as Project Phantasma, but the design is much more engaging and memorable. The implementation of the Arena was reworked to integrate with the main campaign of the game, providing a more natural progression along with a poo poo ton of post game content with the game's second disc filled with custom Arena rankings. Last but not least, Master of Arena solidified the legacy of Nine-Ball, the final boss of Armored Core 1, as one of if not the most terrifying opponents in the series, thanks to the campaign's focus on defeating him and the nightmarish challenge he poses to the player at every step.

It's one of the best games in the entire series, neck and neck with Silent Line on the PS2, and is my personal favorite out of the series. It's that good.

How are these games gonna be played?
For anybody who remembers, I did a let's play for the original Armored Core that I finished several months ago at 100% completion. My plan is to import that save and use it within Project Phantasma, and then carry that over to Master of Arena. Also like in the original Armored Core I plan to complete these games with 100%. Well, at the very least all of Disc 1 for Master of Arena. Some of that post content can be balls hard and even I haven't completed everything on that second disc. Regardless, both of these games will be 100% completed in some form.

Also there are secret parts in the original Armored Core that you can't get in Project Phantasma without importing a save, which is another small flaw this particular game has. Plus I don't know how to play this game or Master of Arena any other way.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Enter Amber Crown
Part 2: Exposition Dump (Arena Ranks #49 - 40)
Part 3: Disruption (Arena Ranks #39 - 30)
Part 4: VIP (Arena Ranks #29 - 20)
Part 5: Destruction (Arena Ranks #19 -10)
Part 6: Stinger Returns (Arena Ranks #9 - 5)
Part 7: Find Phantasma (Arena Ranks #4 - 1)
Part FINAL: The End of Phantasma


Part 1: Setting Off for Revenge
Part 2: Further Modifications
Part 3: (Sub) Arena Registration
Part 4: This Game has a Second Disc || EX Part 1: Humanoid Legs
Part 5: A Stern Warning || EX Part 2: Reverse Joint Legs
Part 6: We in the Big Leagues Now
Part 7: We hosed Up... || EX Part 3: Four Legs
Part 8: Life Without Nest Support || EX Part 4: Caterpillar
Part 9: The Plot Deepens
Part 10: Destroy...
Part 10.5: ...Nine-Ball
Part FINAL: The Other Missions || EX Part FINAL: The Other Bonuses

----------

Systems Engaged

ArclightBorealis fucked around with this message at Jan 20, 2016 around 07:15

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Part 1: Enter Amber Crown

Before starting, feel free to take a look at the demo reel and intro video for the game. Neither is that remarkable, the opening especially by the series' standards but it's there for those who're curious.


Also, when selecting new game we're brought to this screen which provides a brief explanation of the context behind the game. The nice thing about this is that we're not thrown into a mission at the start that determines whether or not we get to play the game. You even start out with 100000 credits to spend however you want once you begin.


However, we're not starting this game from scratch. We've moved over our save file from the first Armored Core right into Project Phantasma, parts, credits and all. Our win loss ratio is also reset, and this time failing a mission for 100% completion will not be required.

Still, with that much money on hand, and with the new parts added to the shop, some extra tuning to the AC is in order.




These right here are three of the twenty two AC parts only available in Project Phantasma. Not every single one of them are in the store right from the start, but these are good ones to get when transferring over. As to what these all are, the first is a new torso that has the least AP (Armor Points) out of all the available ones but also the most extension slots. The second is the newest optional part which reduces energy weapon consumption by 50% (as an energy weapon user, this is especially helpful), and the third item is a laser rifle not unlike the legendary KARASAWA with double the ammo at the expense of fire power. But it's a trade off I'm willing to make for missions, it's not like my build in the first game wasn't OP as hell to begin with.


Throughout most of Armored Core 1 I stuck to the XCH-01 because of it having a ton of defense, but compared to other cores it was limited in extension slots, which allow the AC to equip optional parts to modify certain aspects of the build. The XXA-S0 swaps those defense and extension slot values around, giving us significantly less AP but also just enough open slots to equip the optional part we just bought at the shop. It all works out splendidly.



Here again, you can see the list of all the parts we have equipped on our AC in the garage. No real change to how their built, still the same components you see here. The AC Performance screen is also the same, providing detailed stats and providing a grade to the design that doesn't really matter at all.

Other than those changes, this build is essentially the same as what I used throughout most of the original Armored Core. It's legs provide enough mobility to not feel completely slow without boosters, there's little weight put on its shoulders save for the WC-01QL plasma laser cannon (the weapon type is renamed here for whatever reason), and not a single solid rounds weapon is anywhere on this machine. Why do I go with all energy weapons? Because in Armored Core after you get paid for missions you have to pull money out of your own pocket to pay for expenses towards AC repairs and reloading ammunition. Since energy weapons pull entirely from the AC's generator and boost meter, the munitions cost for this build is cut down to zero. It helps us in getting much more money out of missions, and is why I ended the first game with about 100K below a million. It's a very economic strategy.

Also, because this is a slightly modified version of my original machine in AC1, I have renamed this AC to the ARC II to differentiate it from the previous game. It's a habit of mine with each Armored Core game to give it a number based on which main entry game it is in. Although in Project Phantasma, the player Raven is not the same character from the original Armored Core so I simply imagine that in universe the schematics for this design just get passed off to the next guy once the previous Raven was done with it and then added their own touch to it.

But enough talk about builds and reasons for it, here's a test mission to show this thing in action.

AC Test






Yep, several months later, and I still got this poo poo. Let's get into the campaign now, shall we?


Before actual employment, we would like to gauge your true power.
Destroy all opposing forces.

Target any troops you see defending the materials dump. Destroy all
opposition. You will have three minutes.

If possible, destroy the materials dump as well. Do not worry, we will
provide an additional reward depending on your skills.



We have our first mission, and it borrows from the concept of the Attack Urban Center mission from the previous game. It's a timed mission, and our reward depends on how well we go about blowing up poo poo. Let's go.

Click the mission titles below to see the videos


Project Phantasma starts the series trend of providing extra mission details during the loading screens, displaying code name, start time, and location. These screens become much more in depth as the series goes on.





Mission start!



As you can see, poo poo has started to blow up, and we've got to destroy all enemies in the area within the time limit, along with destroying as much of the dump as possible. There's only four enemies to deal with, three Centaurs (the tanks) and one Scimitar (the bipedal mech), so this mission could be over very quickly if we so choose.

But we're not gonna do that. We're gonna destroy as much of the area before taking out every enemy.




Although letting this mission go on for as long as possible brings up a nitpick I have with this and other missions in the game. The game likes to repeat dialogue constantly. Like the exact same lines with no break in between whatsoever. There always has to be a loving text box occupying the bottom of the screen because these people won't shut up.





Eventually I end the mission close to the one minute thirty second mark, and now we can get our reward.


I think this is the highest special addition I've ever earned on this one mission. Deciding to stick around for the extra thirty seconds got me nearly double what I would have earned otherwise. Too good.


Also like the first Armored Core, after missions characters will send us emails informing us about our progress or the general state of things in the AC universe.


Sender: Unknown

Your work so far has been
satisfactory. The missions
from this point forward will
be somewhat more difficult.
----------


We clearly passed the test with flying colors. Now let's start the second mission.


Raid the underground city, Amber Crown. It should be easy to pass the
entrance, although take note there is a security system.

In order to bypass entrance security, simply destroy the four energy
generators located outside.

The entrance gate to access the city is secured by computer. Destroy
the underground condensers then go inside.

Once we confirm a successful raid, we will provide further
instructions. Good luck.



A simple infiltration and sabotage mission. Nothing we can't handle.



I'll admit, I like the name City Sneaker for a code name.



Ah, the Barracuda, our transport vehicle that has no issues with dropping us right into the middle of a hot zone. Even if it means getting itself blown up (though it doesn't here, actually).




Free falling while dodging enemy missiles, always a fun experience in Armored Core.



Aside from the two missile turrets on the top of the entrance, we need to destroy these four generators holding up the force field around the gate to Amber Crown. Simply circling the perimeter and destroying all four is easy, just two shots from our rifle is all it takes.





Heading inside, we find a switch for an elevator that lowers the platform and connects us to a hallway. At the other end is an entrance to another elevator shaft we'll need to make it further down.




Here we're given a short introductory cutscene to a new enemy type in Project Phantasma, the Fireflies. They're not that much different in style to flying enemies present in the original Armored Core, but their attacks will whittle down your AP pretty fast if you let them.




Anyway, this area right here is a nitpick I have with this mission. You are expected to ride down this slow rear end elevator and take out the ceiling turrets and Fireflies that come your way. Thing is, falling to the bottom of the shaft doesn't kill you, and the door is right there, so there's nothing stopping you from just falling to the bottom and going through the door...except that it's locked, and won't unlock until the elevator reaches the bottom. It just pads out the mission in an annoying way, and sometimes the angle of your weapon won't always hit the enemies you're trying to shoot while riding down. I have a couple gently caress ups at this part as a result, losing quite a lot of AP.

Also if you noticed, this mission falls into the same problem as Search and Destroy in that the intercom never shuts the hell up.




The next hallway has us facing some opposition, but at the end is a floor grate that leads us to the generators we need to destroy


Time to put the shoulder cannon to work.




And, done. Hammering the fire button and watching those big explosions is so cathartic.


And another good turnout on our pay for this mission.


We also got another message from our anonymous client. Let's see what it says.


Sender: Unknown

We have confirmed your raid.
Please await for another mission
in the near future.
----------


Yeah, there's still more to come. Another mission is already waiting for us as well.


Conduct a rescue operation. Your target will be brought through Amber
Crown
at Loop Line Angle Junction. Save the target at all costs.

The enemy convoy consists of three vehicles and a couple of MT guard
tanks. Destroy the convoy, but save the transport that contains our
target.

We will take care of things after that. Good Luck.



A rescue mission this time. Nothing should go wrong here.






That right there is our target. The convoy in the center.





There are five enemies of the same type to deal with, the Ogres. They're new to Project Phantasma and compared to most MTs in the series, these ones are of higher quality than others and can be quite a threat if you're not careful. They are highly mobile, almost on par with a typical AC, and have a powerful laser blade that can deal some damage if you get too close. I nearly avoid a close encounter with one near the start of the mission.





There's plenty of time to take out all five ogres and explore the map area before you need to focus on the convoys.


It's always handy to have a good mapping system on your AC if you want to see how much ground you've covered.




Just follow the road back from the end point and you'll see the convoys still trucking along. Destroy the front and back unit, and the mission will be done.

That is, until after the following cutscene.









...well that happened. I guess we're not getting paid since we technically fai-


Oh never mind, that would be silly if we didn't get paid after that cutscene.


We got a new message this time. Maybe some light can be shed on the situation.


Sender: Unknown

I apologize for your recent
inconveniences. Since our messages
are sent anonymously, somebody took
advantage of that fact and sent
you a fake. I want you to conduct
a rescue mission.

However, we are still researching
the whereabouts of our target. As
soon as we locate this person, I
will be contacting you with further
information.
----------


Someone has caught on to our activities in Amber Crown it seems. Gonna expect more opposition in the future.

Next update will see the next mission in the campaign, some story and character elaboration, and the introduction of the game's Arena mode.

ArclightBorealis fucked around with this message at Jan 20, 2016 around 07:23

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010


Ooh, the next ACLP! Going to watch this.

Just change your AC/color scheme every so often, please. It gets boring otherwise.

SSNeoman
Jul 19, 2011




How hosed would you be if you started this game with a clean save?

nine-gear crow
Aug 10, 2013

red bird

SSNeoman posted:

How hosed would you be if you started this game with a clean save?

To start out? Not terribly so, as like 80% of the parts from the original game are purchasable or finable in PP, but the later into the game you go, yeah, you can get really hosed over if you're not bringing your original AC arsenal into the game with you.

I know this because Project Phantasma was my first Armored Core ever, so I didn't even realize that stuff like the Karasawa or Moonlight were things in this series until like two years later when I finally tracked down a copy of OG Armored Core.

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

SSNeoman posted:

How hosed would you be if you started this game with a clean save?

nine-gear crow posted:

To start out? Not terribly so, as like 80% of the parts from the original game are purchasable or finable in PP, but the later into the game you go, yeah, you can get really hosed over if you're not bringing your original AC arsenal into the game with you.

I know this because Project Phantasma was my first Armored Core ever, so I didn't even realize that stuff like the Karasawa or Moonlight were things in this series until like two years later when I finally tracked down a copy of OG Armored Core.
It's actually not so bad, and you're far from hosed. The most difficult thing to overcome would be lack of having Human Plus as you cannot obtain these abilities. Most of the higher-ranking Ravens in the Arena are Plus, or are even outright cheating (a particular reverse-joint using 2x back-mounted Grenade Launcher comes to mind...), this where most of that difficulty comes in. As for the Missions themselves, only the very last few missions present any substantial difficulty, but these can still be trivialized with the right weaponry.

Though yes, you will completely miss out on any parts that had to be found in the previous title, the game is generous enough to start you with 100,000C which is more than enough to build a pretty good AC. The first mission is a money fountain in which they pay a bonus on results. You can hit the ground running very fast, and have an endgame-worthy AC within the first few missions, complete with optional parts. As you progress, you'll find that many of the new parts can be a workable replacement for many of the found parts. All you really miss out on is a Karasawa, and as powerful as it is, you do not need it to clear any of these games. In addition, the parts obtained from the Arena battles are either best in their class (though many have tradeoffs), or have unique functions not available with any of the stock parts.

A Pleasant Hug fucked around with this message at Feb 20, 2015 around 07:19

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Seiren posted:

It's actually not so bad, and you're far from hosed. The most difficult thing to overcome would be lack of having Human Plus as you cannot obtain these abilities. Most of the higher-ranking Ravens in the Arena are Plus, or are even outright cheating (a particular reverse-joint using 2x back-mounted Grenade Launcher comes to mind...), this where most of that difficulty comes in. As for the Missions themselves, only the very last few missions present any substantial difficulty, but these can still be trivialized with the right weaponry.

Though yes, you will completely miss out on any parts that had to be found in the previous title, the game is generous enough to start you with 100,000C which is more than enough to build a pretty good AC. The first mission is a money fountain in which they pay a bonus on results. You can hit the ground running very fast, and have an endgame-worthy AC within the first few missions, complete with optional parts. As you progress, you'll find that many of the new parts can be a workable replacement for many of the found parts. All you really miss out on is a Karasawa, and as powerful as it is, you do not need it to clear any of these games. In addition, the parts obtained from the Arena battles are either best in their class (though many have tradeoffs), or have unique functions not available with any of the stock parts.
Pretty much, though even if you were to carry over the Human Plus abilities from the first game, it still doesn't guarantee you'll have a strong advantage against the higher ranking Ravens in the Arena. Despite that, it's very easy to exploit things to your advantage, which I will explain when I start featuring the Arena matches in the upcoming parts (though I won't necessarily be using those strategies for all 49 matches because that would end up being boring).

But yeah, not being strapped for credits right at the start definitely helps the difficulty somewhat. Going into the red is not a fun experience for anyone.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Part 2: Exposition Dump (Arena Ranks #49 - 40)
Today's part is gonna feature one mission, but it's a bit of a lengthy one, and a lot of things with story significance come up so it makes up for that. Let's take a look at the briefing.


We have located the area where the prisoner is being held. We request
that you plan on a rescue mission.

The prisoner we must rescue is being held in an enemy laboratory.

Destroy the power supply and then take advantage of the ensuing
confusion to rescue the prisoner.

After completing the rescue, heard for the upper section of the lab
and escape in the lightweight plane we have stashed there.



Despite the email from last update saying that Stinger took advantage of the fact these missions were given out anonymously, they still are not assigning anyone as the sender to avoid confusion. Guess we'll just have to go along with it for now. Not like there are any other options.




And here we start the first mission of the game that has a whole lot of ground to cover.

But first, we need to take two elevator trips down below the surface. Not the most exciting start to a mission, I suppose.




First one's done.




And here's the second. If you kept looking straight at the wall you'd almost think nothing happened because wall moves with the platform.


After that we proceed through this door where the first enemy is located.


And I blow it up right after it nicks some of my AP. These fuckers immediately fire upon you the moment you're spotted, and with how limited these corridors are it's almost guaranteed that they'll hit you. Luckily it doesn't take much to bring them down.





These next set of hallways have multiple doors, but most of them are locked. I still end up checking the locked ones out of habit, but if you're paying attention to radar, the doors that have enemies behind them is the way you're supposed to go.




After checking enough doors and going through long corridors, we pass through a door into a large room and we're greeted with a short cutscene.



It's Stinger, and this time we get to fight him!






This fight, I will admit, is not one of my stronger showings. I take way more hits than I should've, and I don't make use of the fact there's a second floor walkway in this room and use it to my advantage. None of the enemies throughout the level will be able to do me in unless I just sit there, so I finish the mission just fine. Just with not as much money.






We take him down anyway, and this won't be the last time we fight Stinger.





After that fight, we got more corridors with locked doors and enemies to deal with. But the next point of interest in this mission is near.


This right here is the power generator for the laboratory. It was our job to first destroy these so our target could escape and we could rescue them, so we'll do just that.




Boom! No more power. Well, there's still backup power, but that won't stop us.





Already our target has gone to work and making their way out of the base. Better catch up.


I don't remember if this split makes any difference in getting to the next destination, but I finally noticed the 3 on the wall and my mind immediately thought "third sector" according to the intercom. Makes enough sense.






We go through more narrow corridors with scattered enemies and finally reach another elevator that takes us back up closer to ground level. Pass through the door and a brief cutscene takes over.



Our rescue target's a women it seems, and she's under attack.




Interesting thing about the target and her Battle Rig. It can't actually be destroyed. You can sit there for as long as you want and the other rigs won't destroy her. But that would be boring otherwise, so we take care of the two enemies.



Well, time to get moving now.



You don't have to stay behind the battle rig if you're fast enough, the next place you need to reach is another elevator and you won't have to wait long for her to catch up.





Now we have a time limit to worry about. We're almost at the end of this long rear end mission.





The last three enemies in this entire mission, waiting to fire upon you as you enter the hangar. But I get the jump on them and kill all three during a side hop, and not even a single scratch there.


Enter the back of the plane, and we'll finish the mission, and be treated to a massive plot dump. Well, as massive as can be in these games.





Our target and mission assigner finally has a name. Good to know.











That scene for some reason likes to hang on the side of the aircraft before it flies off and fades to black. Not sure what the reason for that is, maybe there was more dialogue that went on much longer in the original Japanese version? Can't really tell.


And now we're paid, albeit forfeiting over half of the reward due to repair costs. Could've been better, but it's nothing to worry about.

But now we know the plot of the game, why we're in Amber Crown, the name of our contact Sumika, who the antagonists are, and that this Stinger fellow is involved in all this somehow.
There's some more elaboration I can give regarding the two main characters, though, along with their significance to the Armored Core series in general.

For start, let's focus on Sumika.

Sumika Juutilainen uses an entirely custom AC build, based off of the GP-AC Ariake model, a mass produced type of AC without the customization ability. Its pink and white color palette easily differentiates itself from the base model. In Armored Core Nexus on the PS2, her AC appears on that game's Revolution disc which is comprised of remakes of missions from the PS1 Armored Core games.

Sumika's character herself, however, serves as a precedence for an important character type in all future Armored Core games: the player's operator. In the first Armored Core, the player tended to receive orders on missions from the clients themselves. In Master of Arena onward, the player is assigned a liaison that handles the missions assigned to them. She also has the benefit in this game as doubling as an AC pilot and will participate in certain missions alongside us. Regardless, all the operators in future games are all women, and most of them are given names. The exceptions to this rule are the operators in Another Age, Nexus, and Nine Breaker.

Stinger meanwhile, is an "irregular," a Raven who has no affiliation with the Raven's Nest although the term is retroactively applied to him as it originates from the AC3 series. Like Sumika, is AC is an entirely custom model, specifically based off of two Mass Production AC models from the first game, Swifts and Spitefuls. Some of this AC's design can be seen in future games such as 03-AALIYAH from Armored Core 4, and it's parts are available in Armored Core Nexus. Not only does Stinger appear in AC Nexus' Revolution Disc, but he also makes a cameo appearance in Another Age on the PS2, alongside another well known adversary from the PS1 Armored Core games.

Stinger's presentation is clearly meant to convey a character that's enigmatic and has some ulterior motive. In the Japanese version, Stinger has the luxury of being voiced by Sho Hayami, a voice actor known for his role as bad rear end VF pilot supreme Max Jenius in Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Macross was created by Shoji Kawamori, the mechanical designer for most of the Armored Core series, so it's interesting to see these two involved in both products. Sho does a great job as Stinger, though because this is the English version and I've spent more time with it than the Japanese version, I have an appreciation for this English VA's overacting in making Stinger come off really evil. He puts slightly more effort into the thing than Sumika's voice actor does, I'll give him that.

With that, these are the two characters we're going to get to know quite well throughout the rest of this game. Get used to it, voice acting and all. But now let's move on to the last part of this update; the Arena.


This is where it all began for the series. Replacing the original top 10 rankings in Armored Core 1, the Arena provides players an optional venue to fight against different AC opponents in multiple stages for credits and extra parts. This first iteration provides a ranking ladder of 50 ACs, the 50th rank being operated by the player AC, and 13 battle arenas to choose from. At any point in the game, you can go here and fight against the next opponent above you and move up the ladder. There's nothing to stop you from continuing, so you could potentially blow through the entire ranking ladder before ever touching the campaign if you wanted (and had the skills too).

This mode, while being a personal favorite of mine in the series, is probably the main factor in this game's imbalances. From a money standpoint, the credit payouts on each Arena match start to increase exponentially and you can earn more credits than you could have obtained in the first game (not counting replaying missions). Difficulty wise, the AI for each ranked AC has its own nuances, but picking the right weapon load out and/or stage can trivialize almost every encounter. Specifically, equipping weapon arms due to their high attack power combined with the low ceiling cavern stage to limit vertical mobility helps deal with most of the difficulty that comes with fighting later AC opponents. Although there are some spikes in the challenge that the same strategy will still work but just barely. Being able to keep your opponent in sight and on the move constantly is important, but those two factors I mentioned make the majority of this mode a cakewalk.

However, for the sake of showing everything in this game in a non boring manner, I will try to challenge myself by cycling through all the stages and mixing up AC builds as we ascend the rankings. But when it gets to the top half or so, don't be surprised to see me resorting to some of the above mentioned methods. Even now this poo poo can still give me some trouble. In the meantime, here are the first ten ranked battles in the Arena, all taken down with relative ease after finishing the last mission. I'll only provide brief summaries of what each ranking AC is like because there's only so much commentary I can extrapolate out of the same thing being repeated for about a minute each. Click each icon of the AC's emblem to see the recorded match.

Arena Ranks #49 - 40




One thing to note as we increase in rank in the Arena is that our AC is given a description based on where we're placed on the ladder. During the first ten ranks that we climb it changes multiple times, but after rank 40 you only need to check it every 5 ranks to see us being described more favorably compared to the competition


Reward: 6000 C

This guy's a chump, even in the widest possible space given that I fought him in. It says he uses the starting AC build, but an interesting detail is that it does not include a back mounted missile launcher. Only damage he can really deal is from his basic rifle.


Our description is changed slightly after beating the the first guy above us. It says "weaker pilots" despite us only kicking the poo poo out of one dude who could only afford to recolor the drat AC.


Reward: 7000 C
Special Part: GBX-TL


This guy doesn't really fight back much, and his primary weapon are missile launchers, weapons that can be easily dodged if you know the trajectory.


This fight also nets us are first special part, the GBX-TL generator. However, as an energy user, this is not worth it for us for two reasons. 1, it is the heaviest of all the generators in the PS1 Armored Core games. 2, the Redzone on the energy meter becomes absurdly huge, like nearly half of the entire meter will recharge slower than the rest, and even with our energy consumption cut in half, the rate at which I like to rapid fire my weapons it's not a good choice.


Reward: 8000 C

This is the first ranked AC that uses energy weapon arms, and they are one of the most devastating weapons an AC can use. Fortunately, this Raven being so low in rank means dodging his shots is easy enough to do. Also this stage I fight him on is the stage that I was talking about when it comes to limiting the vertical movement of some ACs. Because while Roach doesn't take advantage of it, some ACs later on are some jumpy motherfuckers.


Our description changes yet again, but there's still a way to go before public opinion looks at us more favorably.


Reward: 9000 C

Thorn uses a machine gun and keeps a pretty good track on your AC if you let it. By this point, an important thing to keep in mind with the Arena matches is to keep your opponent in sight and to be sure you're dealing more damage than they are. It all boils down to a DPS race.


Reward: 10000 C

Despite being a reverse jointed AC, Snake doesn't abuse the fact that he can hop around all over the goddamn place. And while he also uses a machine gun, he doesn't abuse it quite as hard as the previous AC. Things are still pretty easy as it is.


Reward: 12000 C
Special Part: WC-SPGUN


Killer Rabbit fights with a machine gun similarly to Thorn, but he does not boost around as much compared to him. Keeping him in sight, especially on the level that I fought him, isn't much of an issue.


Beating Killer Rabbit also nets a second special part, the WC-SPGUN. It's a back mounted slug gun that shoots in a spread, and is not really to my style. Just another piece for the collection.


Reward: 14000 C

Salamander not only likes to fire his weapon arm machine guns when he has the opportunity, but also boost all over the place. By this point, you should know not to stay still unless you can take the damage while dishing out more of your own (like I do at the end).


Reward: 15000 C

Our first tank type AC in the Arena, and is super easy compared to the last few opponents. All he does is move around slowly and occasionally fire his missile launchers, which are not especially threatening this early on.


Also, even though I'm rank 42 at the moment, the description changes to this text the moment you reach 43. I had momentarily forgotten when it was supposed to happen, but I still remembered to check before reaching ranking 40.


Reward: 18000 C

After that reprieve, we're back to fighting against a machine gun user who likes to circle around the player. Also this particularly map isn't very fun due to the size mixed with low visibility, though it didn't have as much of an impact to the overall fight.


Reward: 19000 C

The description for this AC is as you'd expect. It's slow moving, and the sniper rifle becomes almost useless upon closing the distance. Very easy victory with a few good laser blade hits.


And now we've cleared the first fifth of the Arena, and our future apparently looks promising. But there's something kind of missing from this. Something all the other Ravens have that we don't...

...oh yeah, an Emblem.

There's gonna be a little bit of time in between this update and the next, and during that time I'll be further modifying the ARC II for both missions and Arena battles, the most important being an updated paint job and emblem. The color palette will still consist of the same blues and whites I've grown accustomed to, but I'm interested in creating an emblem to represent our AC in the rankings for this game and the one after. This also includes any suggestions from you guys. Anything I can fit into a 64 x 64 sprite image made with this game's editor I will give a shot. Otherwise, touching up one of the sample emblems would be better than nothing. It's something I've never bothered with at all in any of the AC games, but I guess now would be a good time as any to start.

Any and all suggestions are welcome. Pictures for reference will also help. And I trust you all to suggest something that won't be the dumbest thing ever...ah, whatever, I still expect that to happen anyway.

We'll be continuing to do the Arena matches alongside the campaign missions, about ten ranks every two missions. It helps to keep things interesting and not save 49 matches of the same thing for the end.

SSNeoman
Jul 19, 2011




The descriptions seem to become more insulting as you climb the ranks

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

ArclightBorealis posted:


Beating Killer Rabbit also nets a second special part, the WC-SPGUN. It's a back mounted slug gun that shoots in a spread, and is not really to my style. Just another piece for the collection.
I didn't think I'd like it either, then I took it for a spin. Note the reload rate. It fires extremely fast, and the rounds have substantial power behind them -- enough to stunlock almost any AC in the entire arena provided you can keep it firing. This will be a recurring theme with most of the arena rewards. They're are either obscenely-powerful, or unique. That generator, despite its massive redzone, has the highest charge of any generator...before the redzone even comes up, though it is too heavy for most builds.

Something to note too, is that if the reward is a back part, the game gives you two of them, presumably so you can dual them. Not that you need to, but this gives you plenty of cash if you sell one of the two.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


SSNeoman posted:

The descriptions seem to become more insulting as you climb the ranks
Competition's fierce, man. It's only near the end does everyone start to show you respect (which is around rank 10).

Seiren posted:

I didn't think I'd like it either, then I took it for a spin. Note the reload rate. It fires extremely fast, and the rounds have substantial power behind them -- enough to stunlock almost any AC in the entire arena provided you can keep it firing. This will be a recurring theme with most of the arena rewards. They're are either obscenely-powerful, or unique. That generator, despite its massive redzone, has the highest charge of any generator...before the redzone even comes up, though it is too heavy for most builds.

Something to note too, is that if the reward is a back part, the game gives you two of them, presumably so you can dual them. Not that you need to, but this gives you plenty of cash if you sell one of the two.
Actually that generator has the second highest max charge, the GBX-XL beats it out by 2000 points. Though if I'm understanding right you're saying that the number for the maximum charge is separate from the redzone itself? Huh...news to me.

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

ArclightBorealis posted:

Competition's fierce, man. It's only near the end does everyone start to show you respect (which is around rank 10).
Actually that generator has the second highest max charge, the GBX-XL beats it out by 2000 points. Though if I'm understanding right you're saying that the number for the maximum charge is separate from the redzone itself? Huh...news to me.
Yes, the condenser capacity is the green portion of your bar during missions, while the redzone is its own thing. It's a little misleading. Put them together and you have the total capacity of the generator, so when you take that massive redzone into consideration, there's no contest. But you got me there, I looked them up and the GBX-TL has 50,000 (Redzone: 22,000), where the GBX-XL is 52,000 (Redzone: 3,300). There isn't really a downside to the redzone, either. It may charge slower, but it also drains slower. In terms of gameplay, it boils down to being more charge in your generator, and doesn't necessarily affect performance by itself. What would make that redzone scary, though, is if you're nearing your maximum energy load to run the AC with its loadout, since the difference there is used to determine the recharge rate (probably along with some hidden values for each generator). Still, the real sticking point isn't anything else but the weight. I could say the same for the GBX-XL too, since its almost twice the weight of the other generators, more than twice as expensive (not that this will mean much -- by the end of the Arena you should be able to purchase literally everything), and is only marginally better than the GBG-XR. Both are hard to fit on ACs after weapons, and I myself still prefer the GBG-XR for anything I can't use the TL for.

Section Z
Oct 1, 2008

Wait, this is the Moon.
How did I even get here?

Pillbug

Oh poo poo. Phantasma was my first Armored Core game, and also the only PS1 game I could get my hands on back then despite looking around game stores and such for Masters of Arena.

I am amazed I was able to fumble my way through phantasma as a rental back then.

LEGO Genetics
Oct 8, 2013

She growls as she storms the stadium
A villain mean and rough
And the cops all shake and quiver and quake
as she stabs them with her cuffs

Borealis, did you consider submitting your previous LP into the archive yet?

On the subject of emblems, up until AC4 I pretty much exclusively used the sample emblems because I was awful using the custom paint in game.

I still remember the sample I choose for my legacy AC.

It was the 7/23/24

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


LEGO Genetics posted:

Borealis, did you consider submitting your previous LP into the archive yet?

On the subject of emblems, up until AC4 I pretty much exclusively used the sample emblems because I was awful using the custom paint in game.

I still remember the sample I choose for my legacy AC.

It was the 7/23/24
I sent it to Baldurk a while back and its currently queued up. Hopefully it shows up there in the near future.

PSWII60
Jan 7, 2007

All the best octopodes shoot fire and ice.

Section Z posted:

Oh poo poo. Phantasma was my first Armored Core game, and also the only PS1 game I could get my hands on back then despite looking around game stores and such for Masters of Arena.

I am amazed I was able to fumble my way through phantasma as a rental back then.

I started with 2, then went back to 1, and it took months before I could find a copy of Project Phantasma. All the online prices I saw were like 120.00 and I was not willing to pay that. Really short compared to the other ones.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Part 3: Disruption (Arena Ranks #39 - 30)


I've taken the time to touch up on my AC build in between updates. Weapon load out remains the same for missions (still wanna get as much money as possible), but the arms are swapped out for the AN-K1 and I've both modified the color scheme and slapped an emblem on the AC. I think the extra grey and light grey colors add to the look nicely.


After rescuing Sumika in the last update, we now have a choice between one of two missions to go on. This is one of three instances in the game where we get a choice in the matter, but unlike the original Armored Core, it doesn't really have an effect on the overall progression of the plot.

Anyway, we're going with Disrupt Military Units simply because the reward is slightly higher, and I find the incentive to be just enough to take it on all three moments when we get a mission choice throughout the game.


We would like you to disrupt the Doomsday Organization's military
exercises.

We have been informed that the Organization has been using these
exercises to collect data for Project Phantasma. Destroy all opposing
forces.



This mission is the first where Sumika is on the field as an AI partner, but her safety or her ability to deal with enemies is none of our concern. Just go in and destroy everything to complete the mission.



I'm pretty sure that's a typo in the code name and it's supposed to say "Rusty Nail." Oh well.





This is a new enemy type in the game and appears in only two missions, the Sargarmatha. It's kind of like an AT-AT in functionality and vaguely looks like a mammoth, but it takes a hell of a lot of fire power to take down. I try getting in close to use the Moonlight laser blade and it still took a couple slashes to bring it down, after firing several rounds from my rifle before hand.



Also while you're dealing with those things, the Fireflies are back, and as always their rapid fire can whittle down your AP really quickly. Really annoying to deal with.


One of the Sargarmatha's notable weapons is its vertical missiles, with each one having a considerable blast radius upon impact. Because of it's trajectory, staying on the ground and constantly boosting away is the best way to mitigate any damage from them.




Once you destroy a certain number of enemies, reinforcements start coming in. Thankfully it's just Ogres, so we don't have to worry about more Fireflies or these mammoth assholes for the rest of the mission.


And the second and last one finally went down.


It's not really visible here, but Sumika hangs around the start area of the mission at the end of the runway, and that's where some of the remaining Fireflies decided to hangout.





And here are the reinforcements. Nothing new to them since when they first appeared. You also get to see in the video their melee attack, which has quite a bit of knock back if you get struck by it.




Mission completed, though with all the damage we took this time we have to spend a third of the reward on repairs. Not as bad as in the last update, fortunately.

After that, we're back to having only one mission available to us.


We want you to disrupt "Project Phantasma" related shipping lines.
Although we do not have many details on the project, we should not
ignore it's existence.

The targets are the enemy transport vehicles. Note that the Rampart
bridge is located in front of the military zone.

Before they cross the bridge, destroy all enemy transports. If even
one of them gets through, the mission will be considered a failure.

We have established a surveillance operation before the bridge at
points A, B, and C. we will keep you updated, so listen for details.



This type of mission would normally be very frustrating due to having to cover a relatively large map (and with little draw distance given it's nighttime), but as I'll show it's fairly easy when you know where you need to go.





You start off in front of checkpoint B and face a fork in the road where the enemy transports will come from. Either direction you go in is fine as they enter the area from both sides at the same time.





Opposition primarily comes in the form of tanks and Ogres. There are also helicopters that spawn in infinitely, though they're barely noticeable. But the enemies here aren't a big deal since the only goal is to prevent the transports from passing the three checkpoints, and since they can't be destroyed by enemy fire there's no need to stand near them. That's what makes this type of mission relatively easy because you aren't just standing and waiting for the targets to appear.



I check the map occasionally to reconfirm my position, but as you can see, there are two paths that the transports come from to the north, so it's a matter of shooting them without exiting the area of operation. With that, I take care of all the transports coming from the north west path.




After that, it's making a rush to the opposite path, and by this point the remaining transports are close to the first fork on their path, and a little bit later Sumika would have spoken up about how close they are to the checkpoints. Destroy the rest and the mission is done.





I am so glad I got a glimpse of that Ogre's weird behavior as the mission ended.


Considerably less expenses this time compared to the last two missions. That's good.


And what do you know, we finally got a new email, no anonymous tag this time.


Sender: Sumika

We have found remnants of a large
weapon the likes of which we have
not come across before. They are
probably related to the secret
project known as "Phantasma".

Thank you for your thorough
and efficient work.


Wait, that's it, nothing else about what this weapon could have been? Just a thank you?

Whatever, on to the next batch of Arena fights.

Arena Ranks #39 - 30




First off, as you can see here, this is the emblem I've chosen to represent my AC. It took some messing around the editor, but I modified one of the sample emblems to make this. The roman numeral II comes from the name of the AC obviously, and when we get to Master of Arena, you can probably see how this will be further edited.

Secondly, this set of fights I outfit my AC with a few different builds. For the first five, I still have the laser cannon on my left shoulder, but have swapped out the laser rifle for the WG-B2180 bazooka and put on the right shoulder the WM-201 missile launcher, which fires a single missile that splits into multiple warheads mid flight. Two weapons I'm not used to using, but for the sake of mixing things up during these Arena matches, I'll happily experiment with different load outs.


Reward: 20000 C

Interesting thing with this AC based on the image is that it has no arm weapons of any type. It only fights with it's WM-S60/4 back mounted missile launcher, and given that these missiles aren't the most damaging things in the game, not much of a threat is posed.


Reward: 21000 C
Special Part: M118-TD


Only weapon on this one is the WG-HG513 hand gun, but the pilot does a good job keeping track of you that he can keep you stun locked quite a lot if you're not careful.


Reward: 22500 C

The description for this guy is a straight up lie. Only weapons this AC has are those arm machine guns, and like most other weapon arm ACs, they deal some significant damage. Same strategies apply, either be really good at dodging, or take the hits while dealing more damage towards them.


Reward: 23000 C

Another weapon arm AC this time using the AW-GT2000, and the behavior is very similar to the previous fight. Simply being on the move and firing whenever possible helps keep it from damaging you.


Reward: 24000 C

A tank treads AC, so it outmaneuvering the player isn't huge issue. The bazooka it uses isn't much of a threat either, especially if you're already good at dodging missiles and rockets. Fairly simple fight.


Here we are now at Rank 35. The description has changed once again, but in between this and Rank 34, I decided to mix up my weapon load out yet again.


The bazooka is now replaced with the WG-FG99 flamethrower. This was a hidden part in the original Armored Core, and one that I didn't really pay much mind to whenever I got it. It's the only weapon of its type, so it's already fairly unique. On my back are two M118-TDs that I earned from the Rank 38 fight. I forgot to mention in the last update, but whenever you earn a back part as a reward, you get TWO copies of it. You can also buy up to two copies of a single back part in the store as well. The M119-TD is incredibly unique as it's not a weapon at all, but it actually extends the ammo for all our weapons. By how much you ask? 50%. That's quite a lot, and stacking two of these things straight up doubles the amount of ammo you can hold. So now all we have on us for weapons is the Moonlight laser blade and this flamethrower, which now has its ammo doubled from 500 to 1000.

More than enough to burn through enemies...if I can aim the thing anyway, which you'll see.


Reward: 25000 C

A reverse joint AC that moves around quite a bit and uses the rifle that comes with starting builds in all the PS1 Armored Core games. Getting a good hit in with the Moonlight takes out almost all of its AP, however, so it doesn't have a lot in the way of energy defenses.


Reward: 26000 C

This is another AC who only has one back weapon, and that is a chain gun. However, because it's a quad leg AC the movement restrictions for certain back weapons don't apply (so long as it isn't airborne). It fires rapidly and is as effective as using actual machine gun weapon arms.


As you could probably see by the length of the Rank 33 fight, I ditch the flamethrower and return to the WG-XFwPPk and use it to mop up the remaining three fights for this update.


Reward: 28000 C

Once again, no weapon arms or arm weapons, just a WR-S100 back mounted rocket launcher this time. Not that hard so long as you don't get yourself stunlocked from repeated attacks (like I foolishly did in an attempt to blade the bastard to death).


Reward: 30000 C
Special Part: HD-G780


We're getting a lot of ACs with either only back weapons or weapon arms this update. Either way, nothing stand out or unique regarding this one, and the same strategies still apply, made easy with this AC's fairly low mobility.


Reward: 32000 C

This AC right here is a warning of things to come. For start, the bastard is a Human PLUS, which means he can bypass certain limitations that ACs would normally have such as firing cannon weapons in midair or extended radar range and the like. And since Human PLUS is something that can only be obtained in the first Armored Core, new players have to deal without having these benefits, but if you ask me, they don't make much of a difference when fighting other PLUS ACs as it still takes a considerable amount of skill and dexterity to win these kind of fights.

Back Stab itself isn't terribly threatening as far as weapons go, but like previous matches have shown, getting caught in a stun lock can cost you significant AP. It does however move around the area rather fast, and it took me a while in this particular area to keep good track of it. That said, he's only a taste of what some of the higher ranked ACs will use against you, but it's a good warning to have.


Here we are, Rank 30. Quite a few lengthy fights this past stretch, but it kept things (hopefully) interesting throughout...

...gently caress that flamethrower.

Also, after the Rank 31 fight, we earned another special part in the form of the HD-G780. It's a new head part that not only has similar functions as our HD-ONE (noise canceler, built in radar, etc), but it also has the most total defense of any head part in the game, a good portion of it being energy defenses. It isn't necessarily over powered or incredibly unique like some of the other special parts we'll earn in the arena, but among all the other head parts it stands out in that category pretty well. For variety's sake, we'll be swapping heads next update.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


I like the updated paint job. The color contrast almost makes it look like the game is running in an upgraded engine.

I enjoyed the hell out of watching you break the first game, so this is going to be a lot of fun.

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

ArclightBorealis posted:

Also, after the Rank 31 fight, we earned another special part in the form of the HD-G780. It's a new head part that not only has similar functions as our HD-ONE (noise canceler, built in radar, etc), but it also has the most total defense of any head part in the game, a good portion of it being energy defenses. It isn't necessarily over powered or incredibly unique like some of the other special parts we'll earn in the arena, but among all the other head parts it stands out in that category pretty well. For variety's sake, we'll be swapping heads next update.
Some more parts-talk. I absolutely adore this series, and this is my favorite generation of them.

As far as Head-parts go, the G780 is OP as hell. Powerful enough that it gets a big nerf in Master of Arena. It's only around 100 units heavier than other heads, but the defenses are more than twice of any other head. For some builds, though, that weight can make the difference. The numbers aren't insane, but it is hands-down the best in its class, and a no-brainer choice for any AC design in Project Phantasma.

I like that you're switching things up this time around, and I like that you're trying to make certain things work. In later Armored Core games Flamethrowers aren't a complete waste, but in this generation, it's useless. Sure, it does great damage if you can stick on a target for a time. Best of luck doing that to anything that isn't stationary, though. I applaud the effort all the same. I don't get to use them nearly enough because they're so heavy, so I'd like to talk about why I love Multi-Missiles.

Multi-Missile units can either be disappointingly weak or very powerful based on two factors, range and obstacles. Think of them like Sniper Rifles, but for Missiles. At short ranges, the missiles split and attempt to converge, only to cross paths just behind the target and miss. At longer ranges, however, they excel, as they'll converge right onto the target. Missiles themselves are generally weak in tight-quarters, and the multi versions are even worse in these instances. This may either require you to adjust your distance, equip a longer ranged FCS if their travel distance is still too short, or fight in a more open location. Number-crunchers will look at the ammunition and the damage per-warhead and wonder, "So if I have to be at mid-long range and have few obstacles to effectively use these, I can use this missile with more ammo at any range, ignore most obstacles and they do more damage, what good are these multis?". The answer to that is to confuse & overwhelm the Core-part's anti-missile systems, if applicable. Every missile weapon fights against two statistics of Cores, the Anti-Missile Response (lower number = faster possible intercepts) and Anti-Missile Angle (Number = Angle of possible interception, where any value between 0 and the number shown triggers the response). You know those red/orange beams you occasionally see emanating from your AC when a missile flies at you? That's this feature, and here's the difference:

A standard missile that fires missiles multiple-times, one after another, is easier for Cores to intercept for two reasons: All the missiles are coming from roughly the same angle, and their launch interval is long enough to intercept multiple missiles from one launch sequence. Not only does that make it easier to simply evade the entire stream as they all come from the same direction, but the few that do get through to be a threat, the intercept system can take of several more. That's a lot of potentially wasted firepower either missing entirely, or being intercepted. The few that do actually hit won't be nearly as damaging as hoped, and likely won't even stagger a lightweight AC. But with that said, they are easier to use, and you can be less mindful of obstacles in the way. The Vertical Missile is great for this, but they're fairly easy to avoid with some practice (or completely useless indoors, under an overhang, anywhere with low ceilings) As for mission targets that typically do not possess anti-missile systems, overshooting missiles via multiple single-target locks is easily possible, but controllable by firing with fewer locks.
Multi-missile systems overwhelm these systems by simultaneously throwing multiple missiles at the target that will all impact at the same time (Which is also the primary strength of any Dual Missile shoulder unit, or any part that fires simultaneous missiles aside from having high potential firepower), and further confuse them by attacking from multiple angles at once. This is harder to evade by default since no direction other than directly forward is safe, and must be done quickly, if not outright impossible depending on the range of the firing position. You may see beams moving to attempt an intercept in multiple directions, only for them all to fail, or most of them fail. The Dual Multi Missile unit is a very powerful piece with this in mind, and is extremely hard to avoid when fired from a great distance. The downside is that they're harder to use because they need a longer range & space to work effectively.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


RickVoid posted:

I like the updated paint job. The color contrast almost makes it look like the game is running in an upgraded engine.

I enjoyed the hell out of watching you break the first game, so this is going to be a lot of fun.
Thanks. Felt pretty satisfied with it myself, especially after switching out the arms.

Seiren posted:

Some more parts-talk. I absolutely adore this series, and this is my favorite generation of them.
I have to say I really appreciate the effort you put into making these posts, especially when they go into even greater detail than I can muster when writing these parts. Plus I even learn an extra thing or two I didn't realize before sometimes, so that's nice.

And yes, Multi Missiles are pretty great for the reasons you listed. My appreciation for them actually stems from the Arena in Armored Core 2, specifically because of going in with all missile setups and firing a dozen warheads at an AC to jack up their heat gauge and drain their health. Of course, heat didn't exist as a concept in the PS1 games so the damage it poses doesn't get quite as absurd. But for getting around the anit missile defenses, it's a good one to have for sure.

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

ArclightBorealis posted:

I have to say I really appreciate the effort you put into making these posts, especially when they go into even greater detail than I can muster when writing these parts. Plus I even learn an extra thing or two I didn't realize before sometimes, so that's nice.
Thanks. I'm glad something I posted was useful. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see a write-up on, well, just put it out there and I'll see what I can wrack my brain for. I'll probably do a bit about interesting parts that end up getting used, but the more curveballs the better!

I may be capable of doing videos soon since I'm getting a fantastic new PC, but I can't guarantee anything yet. If that becomes possible in the near future, would you mind if I did?

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Seiren posted:

Thanks. I'm glad something I posted was useful. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see a write-up on, well, just put it out there and I'll see what I can wrack my brain for. I'll probably do a bit about interesting parts that end up getting used, but the more curveballs the better!

I may be capable of doing videos soon since I'm getting a fantastic new PC, but I can't guarantee anything yet. If that becomes possible in the near future, would you mind if I did?
Sure, I wouldn't mind at all. Plus some of the posts you made already I could put together into a bonus part in between games. Any more covering certain topics would be great (As a sneak peak, I have plans for the next Arena fights to use different leg types, so there's a topic already).

bradzilla
Oct 15, 2004

WARP SPEED


Fan of Britches

gently caress, these games are so good. I thoroughly enjoyed your LP of the original and enjoying this as well. Makes we wish they'd release these all on PSN to give it another go.

Crazy Achmed
Mar 13, 2001



Slippery Tilde

ArclightBorealis posted:

And yes, Multi Missiles are pretty great for the reasons you listed. My appreciation for them actually stems from the Arena in Armored Core 2, specifically because of going in with all missile setups and firing a dozen warheads at an AC to jack up their heat gauge and drain their health. Of course, heat didn't exist as a concept in the PS1 games so the damage it poses doesn't get quite as absurd. But for getting around the anit missile defenses, it's a good one to have for sure.
If you're playing with weapon setups for the arena fights, try a loadout using the quad machine gun wepaon arms (the same as that "minelayer" guy has) and the dual back multi-missile part. It's pretty much as brutal as you can get in terms of sheer damage per second - pick an open arena, get in the air and unload your missiles from long range until you're empty, then close distance and let loose with the machine guns. The damage, stun and projectile speed on those is amazing, but be careful with your aim as they run out of ammo very quickly. Make those shots count and this build will melt every ranking AC in the game. It's the only build that worked for me against the higher tier arena opponents, gently caress those guys and their PLUS bullshit.

Seeing the good old AR-1000 and/or the shoulder-mount chaingun in place of your arm/shoulder energy cannons would be a nice blast from the past, too.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Part 4: VIP (Arena Ranks #29 - 20)

Gonna get started with the next set of missions for this update, this focusing on capturing and protecting a specific target.


We have been informed that a high ranking official will be visiting
the Doomsday Organization weapon test facility in SE Amber Crown. Run
interference and capture him.

The weapon testing area is secured with both anti-aerial radar and
anti-tank land mines. Beware of these deterrents - they can prematurely
end the mission.

We will divide into two groups. You should head north from the
riverside, cross two bridges, then head west.

When the battle begins, choppers will not be able to approach the
testing plant. Ignore the enemies and keep going.



Yep, first ever sneaking mission in an Armored Core game. Not that hard though when you follow the briefing closely.






Just a recap of the briefing, and clarification that we can't use our boosters at the start, got it.




...Tells us not to use boosters, proceeds to use them herself. Surely she knows what she's doing :V



Following the instructions from the briefing, following the river is the path we need to take until we reach the second bridge. And even though Sumika clear did the opposite of what she told us to do, I'm gonna do this first part the way From probably intended and that is loving walk there.



Neat thing about this level at the start is that the skybox slowly lights up as you proceed. Fits with the time of day pretty well, and it also helps to not be wandering in near total darkness.




When you reach the second bridge, there are tanks stationed on both ends of it, one on the right and two on the left. Blowing these up won't affect the sneaking part of the mission, so we'll deal with them now.




Those are the only three tanks you'll face, and now all there is is to head down this path west to the destination.



Although there are two helicopters flying around that spot you at this point, and I shoot them through the trees. Our position still isn't given away for whatever reason, but I'm not complaining.



A bit more walking later...


We reach the destination...


And now we wait...






Ladies and gentleman, there you have it, the first human NPC to be ever modeled in an Armored Core game in engine, and it'll stay like that all the way until Last Raven when ground infantry are introduced in missions.


Now, commence attack!



Only three enemies are guarding the building, called Javelins, and they're simple reverse joint MTs that are as easy to take down as their predecessors in the first Armored Core. The helicopter is also a target, so that the VIP can't leave.


I did NOT mean to blow up that building in the process. At least the target wasn't in there, and it should convince him otherwise to cooperate.




And that wraps it up.



"You saw that building I blew up? Consider that example."





Easy work for a sneaking mission, and good outcome on the pay as well.


Got a new message in our inbox, and it's a lengthy one, but not anything we couldn't already assume.


Sender: Sumika

After interrogating a captured
prisoner, we have extracted the
following information:

- A large conglomerate has
contributed sufficient
funds to establish the
"Doomsday Organization"

- Another large company is
working with the Doomsday
Organization
secretly on
the "Phantasma Project".

In order to interrogate the prisoner
further, we will take him to a safe
house in Amber Crown.


Yep, various other organizations and companies have pitched into Project Phantasma, though that's as far as it goes in assuming who those other parties might have been. Only thing that matters is taking down the Doomsday Organization and not a potentially bigger problem beyond them.

Oh well, let's start the next mission.


We have decided to transfer our prisoner to an abandoned factory
located in the slums of Amber Crown.

The Doomsday Organization is also seriously investigating this matter,
so we would like you to guard the prisoner on the way to the factory.



I don't know what else could've been extracted from the prisoner before moving here, but we'll just take her word in it.



I feel like "Slaugher House" isn't the most appropriate code name for this type of mission. Unless we're the ones expected to be slaughtered...





As to be expected.


Fireflies are one of two enemy types we're dealing with this mission, and I don't need to explain again the strategy and/or how annoying they can be.


The second type, however, is entirely new. The Eagails are quad leg MTs with multiple weapons to use at various ranges. It's design and weapon load out is very similar to what can be achieved with AC parts, but unlike actual ACs, the AI for this can't keep up and is destroyed easily.




Most of the Eagails come from these shafts in the upper walls, and since their aim is obstructed when below the shafts, it's easy to pop up, take a few shots, and get out of the way without taking too much damage.

I also ended up staying airborne for a considerable amount of time this mission as a result.


Eh, doubt it's over yet, I still have control of the machine so there's gotta be something left, right?


Right on cue!





Such a heated exchange of words.


And now it's round two with Stinger, this time with Sumika there to assist/take most of damage. Works for me!





Oh yeah, and that vehicle with the VIP in it? No one really goes after it, not even Stinger. Not much of a protection mission if there ain't a risk to it.





After kicking his rear end a second time, Stinger leaves the way he came.


And Sumika is now stuck in midair for some reason.


Another successful outcome on the pay.


Sumika's got some more words for us.


Sender: Sumika

Good job! After obtaining more
detailed information from our
prisoner, we have decided that
an attack on the Doomsday
Organization's
main headquarters
is necessary.

I believe that Stinger will
make a move sometime in the
near future. When it happens,
be ready.


Could've already guessed that would eventually be the course of action. Fine by me.

That's it for today's missions, now back to the Arena!

Arena Ranks #29 - 20




For this next set of Arena fights, I decided I would experiment with different leg types, since I primarily have used normal legs. I ended up buying several parts from the shop before hand, some of which didn't get used in this set though, and a few of those parts were one of each leg type. To start, we'll go with tank treads, as this allows us to use one of the heavier generators in the game, the GBX-XL. It ways a bit less than the GBX-TL, has a smaller redzone, and the highest maximum charge of any generator. However, the weight is still an issue that prevents it from being used in most builds, so I figured a tank AC would be a good place to show it off due to the treads having much higher weight capacity. Also swapped out the arms and went back to the core I used in AC1 to increase my AP even further, and I slapped on the WX-S800-GF Dual Missile launcher that I had been holding onto since finding that part during a mission in AC1. It fires six missiles at once per lock on, so it has a similar effect to the multi missile launcher from last update. Except less ammo to use it for.


Reward: 33000 C

This is possibly the fastest time I've beaten someone in the arena, and for this guy I'm certainly lucky he did most of the damage to himself from the mines. As a weapon arm user, the AW-MG25/2 has relatively low attack power, but it's the rapid fire of the shots that makes it devastating. So yeah, I'll take it.


Reward: 34000 C

This guy's almost identical to Jester in build and tactics. Normal leg AC with machine gun weapon arms and he keeps a good track on the player most of the time. Note that missiles in low ceiling arenas like the cavern are NOT a good idea, but I somehow manage to bullshit my way through it to make it work. Half of the missiles fired blew up in the ceiling, but at least the other half were able to track. But again, never a smart setup.


Reward: 36000 C

This guy's a tank tread AC, so maneuverability isn't a concern with this guy. Heavy firepower, however, is one as he has the AW-RF120 dual arm cannons and the WC-GN230 grenade launcher equipped on his AC. This was probably the one tank battle I had the most fun with out of the three because of the slow pace and trying to get the drop on each other.


Next set of legs to try out are the reverse joint type. They're quite similar to normal legs as it's bipedal, but the reverse joint legs have an easier time jumping. However, they cannot hold as much weight compared to normal legs, and are meant for more light/middle weight builds. Also decided to switch back to the KARASAWA for old times sake on these next few fights, and with the ammo magazine attached to the back it gives me more than enough ammo to deal with enemies.


Reward: 38000 C

This guy follows a pattern of jumping very high all over the place, so getting a reliable hit on him is to fire just as he lands. That said, there's nothing particularly challenging with this AC. He has the exact same arm weapons as Darwin, but since we're not using treads it's considerably easier to dodge their fire.


Reward: 40000 C
Special Part: WG-PB26


Same deal, jumps around a lot, fire at him upon landing. Difference is that he has the WG-XP2000 pulse rifle instead of weapon arms, so while his shots aren't all that powerful, he fires it off a lot. His cannon and rocket back weapons aren't used quite as often.


Just another update on our standing in the arena. To think we're only halfway through.


Reward: 41000 C

This AC's pretty heavy, but regardless he floats around quite a bit early on before settling down later. None of his weapons deal a significant amount of damage alone, the missiles being very easy to dodge or intercept with a core's anti missile system. Just continuing to fire KARASAWA shots at him chews through his armor quickly.


I got my fill for both tank treads and reverse joint legs, so we'll wrap up the last four fights this update with quad legs. Interesting thing with the quads compared to later installments is that the legs don't all move individually. In fact, the AC just glides around everywhere on them, making them almost like faster alternatives to the tank treads. The speed they move at on average is about double the normal speed of regular legs. However, activating the boosters will automatically make the AC go airborne. Just the basic things to keep in mind with them.

Also, that part that we earned after rank #25, the WG-PB26, is a handheld grenade launcher. In the first game there was the back mounted grenade launcher with its distinctive design, but here that fire power is available as an arm weapon. Compared to everything else we can get in Project Phantasma, this grenade launcher has the highest attack power in a single hit at 2200 points. Of course, the low ammo count is meant to counteract this, but that's why we've equipped two M118-TDs to double the amount of grenades we can fire. Still takes a steady aim to make good use of, and I intend to make the best of it for your entertainment.


Reward: 42000 C

A reverse jointed AC that REALLY likes to hop and boost around, making my current set up with the grenade launcher very difficult. Although because of how often he moves he doesn't get much opportunities to use his back mounted slug gun. With a player AC build like this where you have limited but powerful shots, patience and constant movement are important so you don't waste too much ammo. Not much of a problem this time, but later on I start cutting it quite close.


Reward: 44000 C

This guy was a lot harder to hit than Fire Crest was, mostly because he didn't jump around a whole lot and the quad legs give him enough speed to evade most of my shots. Here, getting above the enemy AC or having it cornered guarantees a better shot, like when it fell into the little ravine on the map.


Reward: 46000 C

This guy just boosts around all over the place, but there are still opportunities to get some shots on it, especially if tries to use its chain gun since it needs to remain stationary when firing. I still cut it close in this one, coming out with only 2 shots remaining in my grenade launcher.


Reward: 47000 C

This guy is not only a Human PLUS, but also has an AC that exceeds the weight restrictions of its parts. Yes, it goes into battle overweight, is not affected by it, and is a goddamn pain in the rear end. It took me three times before I could beat him, and part of the strategy came down to firing the grenades at point blank. The cave stage helped with the fact that it flies around a lot so I can still keep the AC within my FCS' view window. Near the end when he's just walking, he almost always sidestepped my grenade shots the moment I fired them, so it's much harder to land a shot on him.


60% through now, but the worst is still yet to come...next update.

SugarAddict
Oct 11, 2012


Is it possible to fire more than one weapon system at a time?
If that was the case, would it be easier to just have Gatling arms and two back Gatling guns and just let loose?

And I remember there was an energy shield module in the original Armored core, do you have plans for that?

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

I am truly glad you're mixing things up for this game because it's definitely giving me plenty of material to work with for parts-, which I am more than happy to do. Also, it helps you to improve as a player, especially when you get to Master of Arena, because a lot of the battles there are brutal, and for certain sub-arena, force you to use leg-types you wouldn't otherwise consider using.

Since you've kindly opened the door on leg-parts this update, I'll go ahead and give a run-down. I'm not going to touch on specific leg-parts, because there are too many to mention, so I'll just go over the types of legs:

Legs are the single most important choice you can make in Armored Core. Your choice of leg-part will affect every aspect of your ACs performance, from defenses & mobility, energy efficiency & recovery, even how you handle laserblades is affected by legs. Even within the same "class" of legs, there are subtle differences in the movement performance, especially when relating to airborne mobility, turning speed, and the momentum of the AC. Their load capacity can also determine what kind of firepower you can field. It is a given that heavier legs = higher load = higher defenses = low speed, but each type is tailored to a particular style on play.

Standard Bipedal Legs are the average, standard legs compared to the more specialized types. "Average", however, doesn't mean "bad". They're the most numerous type, with plenty of offerings for each weight-class, so you can further categorize them and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. They get good mobility all around, and while they don't particular excel at either ground-based or airborne-fighting, a combination of both is highly effective. Without Plus, they must take an immobile stance to use any type of back-mounted cannons. This greatly improves accuracy and firing angles over gunning on the run as a Plus, but being immobile is a death sentence except for extreme circumstances (A good example would be the final mission of the previous game, preparing a powerful cannon to kill Hustler One very quickly in a relatively safe area) They can claim one clear-cut advantage over other types, and that is having the fastest laser-blade strikes in the game. As long as they're played to their strengths (or the player's raw skill & loadout vs. the other, as the case tends to be with middleweights), they're excellent for players of all skill levels. I'll divide them into classes based on their weight to highlight the details.

Lightweight legs tend to be the most mobile, have low load-capacity and poor defenses, and are pretty drainy on your generator. Some enhanced models sacrifice in certain areas for higher defenses or AP, sometimes trading already-poor defenses for more load capacity, or trading more energy for better overall performance. They're highly mobile, both on land and ground, and when combined with a strong booster, can achieve excellent rising abilities, all while remaining easy-to-use. I preferred lightweight bipedal legs for a long time, utilizing quick hit 'n run strategies with the RFM-118 (i think that's the right part name, if not I am talking about the enhanced Rifle that becomes available in this entry), small rockets for staggering to setup for a blade strike, and some radar.

You don't want to take hits from many weapons. Without optional parts, even the starting Rifle can stagger one long enough to score multiple hits. You -definitely- want to avoid being struck by anything big, like Rockets, Bazookas, any kind of missile, and even chain guns, because it will stagger your AC and set you up to take dangerous amounts of damage. Employ hit 'n run or out-turn your enemies, or stay at long range and plink away with sniper weapons or mid-long range missiles...assuming you can fit them on without going overweight. They're almost always one of two extremes -- they're either glass-cannons that are loaded for doing a lot of damage very quickly, or they're long-range types trying to use their mobility to play keep-away and wear you down. There is a middleground, and it varies based on loadout. Good for players who like to get around quickly, and prefer evading fire as opposed to tanking it. Blading with them gives you plenty of speed (and thus, more opportunities to get in for a quick strike), but also sets you up to be staggered right out of the attempt, so care must be used. Learn how to evade fire and avoid landing hard, and they can take you far. The amount of practice required to learn effective evasion varies from player to player, but this generally isn't something beginners should work with until they gain some experience behind something a little more durable.

Middleweight legs are some of the most well-rounded, balanced legs in the game. They achieve good performance in all areas, with the LN-1001 series being the epitome of "balance". There are specialized types offering higher shell or energy defense, lighter weight (typically at the cost of load capacity or AP). These can actually be further divided into 'light middleweight' and 'heavy middleweight' without actually stepping fully into either extreme, trading a little mobility for defenses & load or some defenses for more mobility. I pilot lighter middleweight ACs these days, going so far as using the default, starter legs (mostly out of preference rather than statistics) unless I absolutely need something heavier for some reason. They're surprisingly effective if you can work around the low load capacity, and keeps them light for good mobility. Not a whole lot to say -- no strengths, no weaknesses. They can be built to fight effectively at any range, or specialize for a particular range. They can take some hits, and the smallest thing that can stagger one is a Hand Gun (the small, pistol-like version, that is -- the "gold shotgun" handgun (WG-HG512) is designed for staggering ACs and can even stagger a bipedal heavyweight) A solid choice for beginner or expert alike. Beginners will like maintaining a good speed & having solid defenses, while experts will enjoy using their personal style and skills to overcome all sorts of challenges.

Heavyweight legs are slow & plodding, but make up for it with the second-highest defense levels available to players, excellent load capacity, and retaining some shred of lateral mobility. You'll usually want to compensate for that by using high-power boosters like the B-VR-33 or possibly even the exceptionally-draining B-P351. The choice largely depends on your generator, and how drainy the rest of your AC is. You can field some of the big guns easily, like Bazookas, cannons, the Karasawa, and more. Anything less then several small missiles, middle missiles, rockets, bazooka or bigger will not stagger you. The "gold shotgun" handgun (WG-HG512) -can- though, so watch out for that particular gun. You might think being a giant, lumbering tank with huge guns is easy, and it is -- for missions. Your defenses mitigate a lot of damage, and you can avoid the slow, powerful hits while dishing it out yourself. The same cannot be said when opponents are zipping around at 400km/h+, floating around behind you, and making your life hell. Some loadouts however straight-up cannot kill you because they will run out of ammo first. If this ever happens to you be sure to gloat how your indestructible death-dealing monstrosity stood up to their weak, baby weapons and blow them to hell at your leisure...or as soon as you can actually hit them. They are surprisingly hard to use, and if you don't use general-purpose weaponry like Rifles, Pulse Guns, Machine Guns, or the like you must be very mindful of your shots and your ammo consumption. Big guns tend to have less ammo. Make every shot count. I can't recommend them for beginner players unless you're sticking to missions. I'm not particularly a fan of them, but I know people who make good use of them and throw their weight around pretty easily. It's a love-or-hate thing, but it is typically very difficult to play to their strengths without significant practice.

So, after that block of text about the standard-stuff, we can move on to the more exotic types.
Reverse Joint type legs at first glance seem like standard bipedal legs. In several ways, that isn't wrong, but there are some notable differences. They're cheap to buy and repair, drain less energy, have middling-to-poor defenses and load capacity, and low-ish AP. Their mobility on the ground leaves something to be desired, and they suffer in turning speed. And then you hit the jump button, and you go careening into the stratosphere at a single button press. That isn't just for show -- Reverse Jointed legs are exceptionally maneuverable while airborne. Even the heaviest of them (roughly equivalent to a heavy-middleweight biped in weight) are more agile in the air than several types of lightweight bipeds. They are very much an airborne fighter, and they excel at it. A good build with a skilled pilot is unmatched in the sky. Like any other biped, they will need to take a firing stance to use cannons. But you shouldn't use cannons on them anyway, even as Plus. Laser blades aren't so great either -- they're 3rd place overall. They are decently-useful for mid-air blading, however. They track a little better, and their slash is suited for striking enemies just slightly lower than them. The difficulty of such a thing prohibits extensive or exclusive use, and you cannot fire blade-beams while airborne regardless of blade model or Plus status.

Rather than power, you're looking for efficiency with your boosters. The B-T2 or the B-HP25 are solid choices, with the higher-powered B-T2 being better because the HP25, though incredibly efficient, is very slow. (B-T001 is serviceable, of course, being the overall best booster in the game). Being above your opponents has distinct advantages that aren't immediately clear to novices. As any player will tell you, the AI pilots love to jet around somewhere above you and be annoyingly hard to track regardless of their designs. This is the strength of RJ The objective is to stay in the air at some range as directly above them as possible, preferably darting over their head when you think they've drawn a bead. If you're not above your enemies, you're recharging energy to get back up there, or you're floating dangerously close to the upper-ceiling of the combat area (Don't accidentally go out of bounds via skybox!). Floating just over your opponents head moving back and forth over them while staring down at them means you can maintain a lock-on without needing nearly as much turning effort to keep up, especially with Wide & Shallow FCS-types. Meanwhile, they will need to turn a lot just to keep up -- let alone get a good shot on you. Depending on your loadout, you can fly low and peck away with short-to-midrange weapons and be annoyingly hard to hit, you could outrange them with height and utilize long-range weapons with disturbing precision, you could go somewhere in between, and even use any sort of missile effectively. An overlooked weapon, the Mine Dispenser, likely a back-weapon either completely forgotten or tried once and filed under "suck" is best used on RJs, but only at low altitudes. The damage potential is absolutely incredible, capable of shredding the heaviest ACs in seconds...but the tradeoff is that they are annoyingly-hard and very finicky to use effectively.

If the enemy flies up to meet you, you've successfully brought them to fight you on your terms -- where you have a significant mobility advantage and are easily capable of utilizing all axes for evasion unless they too are reverse-jointed. Avoid cannons, even if you're Plus. Their firing angles are limited, they're unable to shoot downward past so many degrees (around 45~55 or so downward) while arm weapons are not limited to such restrictions and can actually fire straight-down. Use fast, solid-round weaponry such as Rifles, Sniper Rifles, or utilize missiles. Certain weapon-arms can be exceedingly effective at further cost to your defenses. Try to avoid energy-based weapons, as your energy should be preserved to stay airborne, or to stay evasive on the ground as you recharge. The Karasawa cannot be overlooked, and if you must use an energy weapon, it should be this or none.

It all sounds gravy, but then you realize something. You have poor defenses, and you're easily staggered. You've got mobility as your primary defense. Being staggered means you're falling. Falling can mean destruction. Missiles are your worst enemy, as even small missiles can bring you out of the sky. It is generally more difficult to avoid missiles coming from range when you're starting off airborne, and while you have great agility, missiles are difficult to evade while staying in the "sweet spot" directly above your enemy. This could open you up to other attacks, and heavy weapons will knock you around like nobody's business, throwing you off and putting you in a dangerous position. You can minimize the chances of this, but few missiles have a small sight for lock-on. Some can target you while you're floating slightly behind targets, and you must be mindful. You have to try to apply missile evasion techniques vertically, which is substantially more difficult than lateral missile evasion. The same principles apply, but are more difficult to implement.

I've heard stories of novices doing awesome things with these, but those are the exception rather than the rule. I'd recommend them for advanced players who are familiar with all kinds of movement and missile evasion techniques, but this feels unfair, as once you get a feel for them, they're not particularly difficult to use well.

I'll throw that out there for now, and save another write up for quads and caterpillars for another post. This is lengthy enough as it is.

e:

SugarAddict posted:

Is it possible to fire more than one weapon system at a time?
If that was the case, would it be easier to just have Gatling arms and two back Gatling guns and just let loose?

And I remember there was an energy shield module in the original Armored core, do you have plans for that?
This showed up while I was writing up my post, and I can answer both!

There is no way to use multiple weapons simultaneously until later generations, unless you count weapon-arms, being two of the same weapon. So no, you unfortunately can't go dual back-mount Chaingun Cannons or even be a Gatling Monster and let loose. Would be pretty nuts, though.

As for the 2nd question, I can only think of one thing that could possibly fit that description, is something from Master of Arena, the P77-ST Stealth part. Which isn't really an energy shield of any sort! If I recall, shields were introduced in Armored Core 2, which I am significantly less familiar with, so you might be a generation early.

A Pleasant Hug fucked around with this message at Mar 2, 2015 around 23:13

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Christ, this recent batch of Arena fights went rough. Bunch of deleted footage of AC builds and stage selections failing to do poo poo against some of these matches.

At least I show off some weapon arms in the process, but it's gonna be a sign that I mostly drop switching things up because I need to win, dammit.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Part 5: Destruction (Arena Ranks #19 - 10)


Another split in the campaign where we can pick one of two missions to progress the plot. As always, we'll be going for the one that has the slightly higher pay.


We need you to completely destroy the Doomsday Organization
detachment.

The detachment has been seen gathering in the downtown area of Amber
Crown
.

Their intent is currently unknown, but it's a perfect opportunity for
us. We're hoping that if the detachment is destroyed, Project Phantasma
will fall through.



Nothing like a little ambush on the enemy.






And now we start against the first of three waves of enemies in this mission. Three Tauruses sit there doing nothing while the two Ogres do most of the fighting.



The buildings are good at providing cover if you need to avoid fire. Though this level if anything likes to chug a bit in framerate.




Sumika informs us of reinforcements arriving, as we've finished the first third of this assignment.


This time, Eagails are thrown into the mix with more Ogres.




Third wave throws the last group of Ogres at us and I try to clear them out with the back cannon.


Although one of them gets in close and actually uses its melee attack on me. Has a bit of knock back to it.



And that's the end of that. About half a million in credits now, not counting all the random parts I bought for the arena and money earned from ranked fights.


Got a new message for us from Sumika. She's been mailing us a lot lately.


Sender: Sumika

As you know, their detachment
has been destroyed, and their
power source eliminated.

We will now conduct the assault
operation as planned.


Well, now we know the basic idea of what our next mission is going to be.


We request that you begin an assault on the Doomsday Organization's
HQ.

We have recently heard that they are near completion on a new weapons
system code-named "Project Phantasma".

Before the project is on-line, sneak into the main office and extract
detailed data about the project from their computer system.

The target is located in the lower room of the office complex. On your
way, destroy all obstructions as you see fit.

This will be an extended mission, so prepare your AC ammunition stores
accordingly.



This is the first long mission we've had since rescuing Sumika. Though we don't need to carry as much ammo as the briefing would imply.






Back underground, we go.


But first, and elevator ride.


The primary enemy we'll be facing here are the Nashorns. They've not been seen since the second mission of the game, and back then we only came across two. This time though, there are a total of 100 of these things that appear throughout the mission, but killing them all isn't a requirement.


They also don't attack immediately and die in one hit, so they're not very threatening.


There are also ceiling turrets posted at various places throughout the base, and they can be a bit more annoying.



We find another elevator later on descend further into the base.



Eventually you reach this part of the level where there are multiple corridors and rooms that don't lead to anywhere but more enemies. I had briefly forgotten to go down the correct path and spent a minute or two blowing up Nashorns.

Once we reach the destination, cutscene time!




Sumika goes through the door to do computer stuff...




We're introduced to a new enemy type, the Papagai. It's a very similar design to the battle rigs, and flies around everywhere firing its missiles and machine guns. We have to hold out against 8 of these things until Sumika finishes her business.


Any second now.




Now we leave, and conveniently all our ammo is refilled, and we never came close to running out prior.



The rest of the mission is just retracing the steps we took to get to this point and return to the exit. Until we get outside at least.





Yep, we're outside now right as the place is being bombed to hell.



And we've got one last enemy type to deal with, three Heat Waves. They're a returning type from Armored Core 1, and it originally appeared in a mission where we had to kill a Human PLUS that had gone rogue.





And, that's the end of that one. Doesn't feel quite like the end of things, though.


Once again, Sumika's got another message from us.


Sender: Sumika

The Doomsday Organization
has essentially been destroyed. We
are assuming that their contributor
was the one who bombed the HQ
and sent out paratroopers to take
care of the rest.

It seems as if they wanted to
destroy all evidence of
the Phantasma Project.


With that set of missions done, on to the next batch of Arena fights.

Arena Ranks #19 - 10



These ten fights was where I started to get my poo poo kicked in the more I tried to experiment with AC builds, so as a result, these are all on the same cavern stage just to keep the ranked ACs from flying all over the place. I do show off some more of weapon arms though, primarily machine gun and energy cannons. Also, all of these ranked AC are PLUS capable, so it's a whole bunch of rule breakers we're dealing with.


Starting off with the AW-XC65 energy cannons and I have two M118-TDs equipped to double the amount of ammo. These things have the highest attack power of weapon arms from the original Armored Core but also extremely high energy drain. Having the optional part that cuts energy consumption in half is wise to use in this case.


Reward: 49000 C

This guy has the exact same arm weapons we have, and the WM-L201 missile launcher on its back deals quite a bit of damage on its own as well (it's attack power is 4300 points). It being a heavyweight AC doesn't stop it from being threatening, but moving around quickly in a level like this is to player's advantage.


Reward: 51000 C
Special Part: AW-DC/2


Sadistic is the first member of the Scorpion AC team, and is the first PLUS opponent to demonstrate the ability to fire energy waves from a laser blade swing. Since he has the Moonlight blade equipped, this makes these blasts hurt a ton. The rest of his weapons aren't that big of a concern though.

Finishing this fight nets us a new part that boasts the single highest attack power of any weapon arm part. They're dual grenade launchers, and have less ammo than the current weapon arms I'm using, but I don't make use of them later on because the energy beams did a better job of dealing damage to enemies. The grenades still fall under shell damage, and some ACs have considerable defense against solid attacks.


Reward: 52000 C

This was one of the faster fights I finished, but Gepard's arm weapons and back mounted grenade launchers (the fucker had the audacity to equip two of them) all deal significant damage both directly and through splash damage. His speed is still hampered by have tank treads, so while he can get a good aim on you, keeping him in sight is just as easy.


Reward: 54000 C
A breath of fresh air after hard hitters that were the last few fights. He uses a lot of similar parts to what I used in the past, but both his sword waves and KARASAWA shots aren't difficult to dodge.


Reward: 56000 C

I think I set a new record for myself with fastest time completed on an Arena fight. Slick's loadout is similar to Gepard, but aside from the opening attack, he seemed to barely doing anything. Still, less than 20 seconds, holy poo poo.



Rank description has changed, and with that we're swapping out the energy cannons for the AW-GT2000 gatling guns. Single attack power doesn't matter much when these things shoot so fast that the damage adds up.


Reward: 62000 C

Kind of a similar situation as the last fight, but only slightly longer if only because of me using gatling guns rather than energy cannons. I started to wonder at this point whether the game was starting to go easy on me after that bullshit with ranks #19-17.


Reward: 70000 C

Seeker has machine gun weapon arms, and this fight is as much of a DPS race as you could imagine. Though he does mix things up by firing his back mounted missiles.


Reward: 75000 C

One thing to note regarding the ACs named Panzern is that they're all tank types. He's not the most maneuverable or accurate with his cannon arms, so he goes down after taking a steady stream of bullets.


Reward: 81000 C

This guy moves around a hell of a lot, and he also is a machine gun weapon arm user. Also, while I said at the start that this stretch of opponents are all Human PLUS, this guy oddly enough is an exception. He has the back mounted chain gun, but has to stand in place in order to use it.


Reward: 90000 C
Special Part: RZ-Fw2


Guy's similar to the last Scorpion AC we fought. Keep moving, continue firing, don't let it deal more damage than you are. Beating this AC earns us a new AC part in the form of a radar. It's the best one of its kind, having the highest range and its own radar type known as octagon. Most radars usually display the data on the hud as either a square or circle, so instead whenever we use it our radar on screen will be octagon shaped. Pretty nice.


You're goddamn right I'm not gonna quit. There's only nine more ACs left above us.

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

I...uhh, don't really want to make an effortpost until there's a new page. Between those and Arc's updates, there's a lot of content to take in for one page.

The Arena battles have quite a fair difficulty curve. It starts off insultingly easy; the first contender has less than a default starting AC would, but gradually becomes more difficult. Better weaponry, improved parts, better AI performance...then it takes a sharp spike upwards at around Rank 35 or so, when combatants have quality ACs that are fully equipped. It's this sign that the kid gloves are off, and the game starts putting up a real fight. After 25-ish, the game is actively trying to kill you, with even better performance, and a solid dose of Human Plus. At 15 there's another spike that sharply raises the AI difficulty, and it becomes determined to drag you down to Hell. So not only do they have good builds, their AI is very strong, they are pretty much all actively cheating at maximum power, and have the benefit of not having to make a weird game-claw with its hands to track you. Yet, there's still one more tier left! When you win, you actually feel like you've accomplished something, because it's loving hard.

Project Phantasma introduced one of the most annoying sound effects whenever boosters are engaged. For those that like to "pulse" their boosters to maintain height and energy, it becomes some obscene cacophony of noise that grates on the ears. Add in spastic AI-controlled ACs who just love to hover at the bottom of their energy bars, and it's like an orchestra of ear-bleeding madness.

I think I'm going to challenge myself and see just how far I can go with a stock AC without Plus. Should be interesting

SIGSEGV
Nov 4, 2010


It's true that having a new page would be good. I'm more used to the later AC games so I can't really comment.

Except that I'm glad we'll eventually move out of tank controls city.

Also the part 5 link in the OP is messed up.

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

SIGSEGV posted:

It's true that having a new page would be good. I'm more used to the later AC games so I can't really comment.

Except that I'm glad we'll eventually move out of tank controls city.

Also the part 5 link in the OP is messed up.
More people were exposed to the later games, which I think is a sad fact as I feel like the first gen plays best. Not to say I don't like the later ones...just that they felt less of a game and more of a sim? Not really sure how to put it. Seemed like as time went on, they became more about crunching numbers than making a sweet murderbot and piloting it well. Especially when said numbers don't really matter when you have such OP weaponry that other mechs get wrecked in a single hit regardless of high numbers...but that's discussion for a much later thread

I rather like the controls for these. Contorting my hands in weird ways to wrap around a controller a certain way is something I seem to be skilled at. Might explain why I am the only person I know to make good use of Rockets. (they're good i swear ) I never got a good feel for the dual-stick schemes until AC4 and 5. You've also got until the 4th generation games (Nexus, Nine-Breaker, Last Raven iirc) until you get a dual-stick control scheme, so strap yourself in!

SIGSEGV
Nov 4, 2010


That's okay, I'm not the one who is getting spiderhand syndrome again. I just have to remember it.

But the latter games do allow you to make a sweet machine and pilot it well. But I'm mostly thinking of AC4 and 4A because they are the ones I can still remember pretty well. I do miss the glorious times of when picking weapons that weren't one shots on every normal-down unit on the map wasn't a faux-pas.

SIGSEGV fucked around with this message at Mar 11, 2015 around 00:44

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Well, there's only less than ten posts until the next page, so maybe there's something else to discuss until then? The next part isn't gonna be ready for a while anyway, real life poo poo taking priority being a main factor.

SIGSEGV posted:

It's true that having a new page would be good. I'm more used to the later AC games so I can't really comment.

Except that I'm glad we'll eventually move out of tank controls city.

Also the part 5 link in the OP is messed up.
Fixed the link, should be good now.

Seiren posted:

I...uhh, don't really want to make an effortpost until there's a new page. Between those and Arc's updates, there's a lot of content to take in for one page.

The Arena battles have quite a fair difficulty curve. It starts off insultingly easy; the first contender has less than a default starting AC would, but gradually becomes more difficult. Better weaponry, improved parts, better AI performance...then it takes a sharp spike upwards at around Rank 35 or so, when combatants have quality ACs that are fully equipped. It's this sign that the kid gloves are off, and the game starts putting up a real fight. After 25-ish, the game is actively trying to kill you, with even better performance, and a solid dose of Human Plus. At 15 there's another spike that sharply raises the AI difficulty, and it becomes determined to drag you down to Hell. So not only do they have good builds, their AI is very strong, they are pretty much all actively cheating at maximum power, and have the benefit of not having to make a weird game-claw with its hands to track you. Yet, there's still one more tier left! When you win, you actually feel like you've accomplished something, because it's loving hard.

Project Phantasma introduced one of the most annoying sound effects whenever boosters are engaged. For those that like to "pulse" their boosters to maintain height and energy, it becomes some obscene cacophony of noise that grates on the ears. Add in spastic AI-controlled ACs who just love to hover at the bottom of their energy bars, and it's like an orchestra of ear-bleeding madness.

I think I'm going to challenge myself and see just how far I can go with a stock AC without Plus. Should be interesting
Yeah, that's definitely the case. The general curve is pretty consistent, but on a micro scale AC difficulties in a 5 to 10 rank range can still sometimes vary in personal experience. Ranks 19 through 17 gave me a hell of a lot more trouble than 16 - 10, even with my optimal build, but those ACs are still tougher than the first half on the ladder.

But man, to think that once this is done it will have been the fourth time I've beaten this game's Arena mode all the way. Unlike the missions, it almost never feels easier for me each time. Especially with trying to mix up builds and stuff.

Oh, and good loving luck to that. Can't imagine lasting long with that myself.

SIGSEGV
Nov 4, 2010


It becomes more doable in the newer AC games, AC4A was definitely 100%able with at least one of the starting builds.

EponymousMrYar
Jan 4, 2015

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.


The PS2 games are where I hit my stride with Armored Core. (3 and Silent line mainly.)

The PS1 era games were certainly fun to put together and murder things but the most fun I had was actually with the Demo Disc for Armored Core fightin' against one of my buddies for a couple of matches. I was also too young and dumb to get into the 'shot conservation' mindset that the game sort of forces you into even with energy weapons.

Glad to see them done though since Armored Core is pretty fun no matter what.

Ashsaber
Oct 24, 2010

Deploying Swordbreakers!

College Slice

I've only played 4/4A/VD, so I don't know much about the early installments (other than what I've seen from this thread and a previous LP of Gen1). Oh yeah,and Formula Front's PSP port, but eh.

I do remember vividly that in 4A various equipment had vastly different performance based on your patch number, with one of the starter builds being an energy hog beyond belief in one of the original release, to the point that if you slipped off the edge in the first mission you basically couldn't get back to the mission area, while the final patch allowed me to use basically that mech with few changes all the way through the arena, mostly because its boosters didn't drain your energy in 10 seconds of use, and the starting machine guns got a 3.5X multiplier on their power from the previous patches. Given that I only got through the arena the first time by using the vert fire mini nukes that homed just short of forever and could pull hairpin turns that was pretty amazing.

Something that also made me love 4A more than the other entries I've played is the pre-mission briefings, which, strangely enough, is a feeling I get more from the original AC than any other game I've seen in the series. Even just knowing who you're working for, and what they think of the enemies they've set you on fleshes the world out a lot more than it rightfully should.In 4A you could easily get a feel for most of the major players; Omer and their cronies were dicks who payed way too well, the Interior Union were fairly cold and distant, while GA was, while still probably as bad as the others, still full of middle management and pilots who you could go out and get drinks with if you aren't forced to murder them all. AC original did the closest I've seen out of all the ACs I've seen, you at least get a decent sense of who you're working for and against, with how they talk to you and how they react to the unfolding war.

Meanwhile, 4? Outside a few special plot missions the entirety of the game is basically 'You've been hired to kill all the things here, here's some special rules. We won't tell you who's hiring you or who you're after'. having started with 4A this felt like way too much of a step back for me, took too much of the personality out of it. It may fit the atmosphere of being a merc who kills for the highest bidder, but it leaves the world feeling lifeless. VD on the other hand doesn't even bother with that much, while the setting is pretty interesting. A three way war between a Fascist group, a Corporate Supergroup and some newcomers with smaller numbers but interesting tech and ideas, as well as a group who has better understanding of the amazing ancient tech everyone is fighting tooth and nail for should be interesting. Instead its Red Team Blue Team Green Team and that's it, no further information, no real world building beyond that. Outside the personal story of a few voices without connected faces you get nothing more than a few sentences telling you what sort of equipment generic AC enemy #23 has, or that there's a lot of mooks out there to kill. It really just shows how multiplayer focused the game was.

ArclightBorealis
May 28, 2014

You are HUGE!
That means you have HUGE ESSENCE!

RIP AND TEAR YOUR ESSENCE!!


Ashsaber posted:

I've only played 4/4A/VD, so I don't know much about the early installments (other than what I've seen from this thread and a previous LP of Gen1). Oh yeah,and Formula Front's PSP port, but eh.

I do remember vividly that in 4A various equipment had vastly different performance based on your patch number, with one of the starter builds being an energy hog beyond belief in one of the original release, to the point that if you slipped off the edge in the first mission you basically couldn't get back to the mission area, while the final patch allowed me to use basically that mech with few changes all the way through the arena, mostly because its boosters didn't drain your energy in 10 seconds of use, and the starting machine guns got a 3.5X multiplier on their power from the previous patches. Given that I only got through the arena the first time by using the vert fire mini nukes that homed just short of forever and could pull hairpin turns that was pretty amazing.

Something that also made me love 4A more than the other entries I've played is the pre-mission briefings, which, strangely enough, is a feeling I get more from the original AC than any other game I've seen in the series. Even just knowing who you're working for, and what they think of the enemies they've set you on fleshes the world out a lot more than it rightfully should.In 4A you could easily get a feel for most of the major players; Omer and their cronies were dicks who payed way too well, the Interior Union were fairly cold and distant, while GA was, while still probably as bad as the others, still full of middle management and pilots who you could go out and get drinks with if you aren't forced to murder them all. AC original did the closest I've seen out of all the ACs I've seen, you at least get a decent sense of who you're working for and against, with how they talk to you and how they react to the unfolding war.

Meanwhile, 4? Outside a few special plot missions the entirety of the game is basically 'You've been hired to kill all the things here, here's some special rules. We won't tell you who's hiring you or who you're after'. having started with 4A this felt like way too much of a step back for me, took too much of the personality out of it. It may fit the atmosphere of being a merc who kills for the highest bidder, but it leaves the world feeling lifeless. VD on the other hand doesn't even bother with that much, while the setting is pretty interesting. A three way war between a Fascist group, a Corporate Supergroup and some newcomers with smaller numbers but interesting tech and ideas, as well as a group who has better understanding of the amazing ancient tech everyone is fighting tooth and nail for should be interesting. Instead its Red Team Blue Team Green Team and that's it, no further information, no real world building beyond that. Outside the personal story of a few voices without connected faces you get nothing more than a few sentences telling you what sort of equipment generic AC enemy #23 has, or that there's a lot of mooks out there to kill. It really just shows how multiplayer focused the game was.
Yeah, the story presentation and world building has varied quite a lot across many of the Armored Core games, even ones prior to 4. Another Age is probably the most lacking in any sort of plot (if you don't count Nine Breaker and its training mode conceit) and only really decides to have a conflict and antagonist near the very end of the game. Meanwhile this game and AC2 puts quite a lot of emphasis on story with some clearly defined characters. Still, the whole universe of Armored Core 3 is probably my favorite because of that world's progression and the curve ball thrown at the end of Nexus that fucks things up even more. Has a nice beginning and end to the whole saga, which I guess in a way was telling about From's plans to break from the formula with 4 (the last PS2 game was called Last Raven for a reason).

4A really does have a good setting, and those ending choices in particular could get pretty sadistic, but it's the one thing I have the least issue with regarding that particular era of Armored Core.

A Pleasant Hug
Dec 30, 2007

...It's the thought that counts, right?

ArclightBorealis posted:

4A really does have a good setting, and those ending choices in particular could get pretty sadistic, but it's the one thing I have the least issue with regarding that particular era of Armored Core.
Supposedly, "that one ending" (I'm sure you know the one, I'm just trying to tiptoe around spoilers) is apparently the true ending. Rumors seem to point to it being why the world in AC5 is so hosed-up. While I didn't quite finish Verdict Day yet as I'm sick of grinding team points just to get access to parts that aren't complete garbage, maybe there's some reveals towards the end that I'm missing.

Honestly, though, I think that with all the cash-monies FromSoft is making hand-over-fist from the Souls games that they should give Armored Core the reboot treatment. They can nail the gameplay. They can nail a story, and they can even do some semblance of continuity if the King's Field series was anything to go by. As hard as I wished the series would get real multiplayer going, it shouldn't be at the cost of an actual single-player mode. There's no reason they can't do both. They could even bring back Chrome, Murakumo, their associated child-companies, and hell, maybe even introduce companies from later games sooner to build them up.

quote:

I do remember vividly that in 4A various equipment had vastly different performance based on your patch number, with one of the starter builds being an energy hog beyond belief in one of the original release, to the point that if you slipped off the edge in the first mission you basically couldn't get back to the mission area, while the final patch allowed me to use basically that mech with few changes all the way through the arena, mostly because its boosters didn't drain your energy in 10 seconds of use, and the starting machine guns got a 3.5X multiplier on their power from the previous patches.

Some of those Regulations they created, even the ones that were based around balancing multiplayer ended up breaking the single player game in hilarious ways. Some of the arena NEXTs (and even some in the missions themselves!) push the limitations of energy and load capacity so much under the default set that some of the small tweaks completely annihilated their performance using up-to-date settings. And don't get me started on the "infinite energy" patch, while interesting, was totally broken.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

SIGSEGV
Nov 4, 2010


Yeah, I really wish we got a bit of single player focus again.

And that regulation wasn't broken, it was perfect and fine and only good, hilarious things.

Besides, the next post should be on a new page if my math is right.

  • Locked thread
«5 »