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News: Armored Core V’s Inexplicably Abominable DLC Preview

Posted on : 16-01-2012 | By : | In : News

Hardware: ,

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Famitsu has a preview of Armored Core V’s downloadable content, and it is not for the faint of heart. It appears there will be both regular DLC and a cross-promotion deal for the official strategy guide, which will net you some nice looking parts. The community is likely to be divided over the issue of DLC if the DLC-only parts convey a clear competitive advantage to the purchasers, and given Armored Core V’s multiplayer focus this is especially problematic. But we can also say that paid DLC might encourage From Software to continue supporting their product through updates, as Relic Entertainment has done, with the sale of DLC being used to fund entirely new features for all players.

What is somehow more worrying (horrifying, really) is what seems to be purely cosmetic DLC in the form of new pilots. It seems that under certain circumstances (such as when your AC has been knocked out, but your team is still in the fight?) you’ll be able to traverse the battlefield as your pilot, since human models running around in a mecha game has always gone over well. Being able to see human beings in Last Raven was a great change of pace, since it gave you a proper perspective on the sheer scale of the ACs, but the three pilots they’re showing to sell us on this idea aren’t what I would have expected. The first is a woman in a pink jumpsuit and overly large jetpack, and while bright pink doesn’t seem to fit my idea of a bleak and perpetual war for resources, in a wonderful show of constraint, she’s not in a miniskirt nor a bra, and there’s a good ratio of jetpack-to-woman, so it’s a Net Good. Next, we have a ninja flying around in the clutches of a giant raven. In a world exclusive, Mecha Damashii can reveal that Armored Core V will explain how the Raven’s Nest began as a school for ninjas with a talent for falconry. And then we have a giant skeleton with akimbo Uzis lazily soldered onto this 3D model. In case you did not realize that he was, in fact, a skeleton, he conveniently has two giant flaming skulls located next to his shoulders to reinforce the point home. Another world exclusive: the dead will rise from their graves to play Armored Core V.

While I see no problem in allowing other people to customize their own experience as they wish, an integral part of the appeal of Armored Core has always been its dark narrative of a future society which has lost itself to the commercialization of war. If ninjas riding on giant birds and skeletons from heavy metal album covers are buzzing around in my character’s campaign to express his identity as a merc-for-hire, I’d better brush up on my Dadaism¬†before the game’s American release on March 20th.

Americans who preorder from GameStop will also be in on the DLC game, with the ominously capitalized “HEAVY ASSAULT PACK”. Who knows what horrors From Software will choose to include? Yesterday, I thought that weapons from the excellently absurd Metal Wolf Chaos¬†or Solaire of Astora’s armor from Dark Souls was asking too much of the strait-laced Armored Core series. But today, we live in a world where anything–everything–is possible. A giant, ambulatory hot dog bun named ‘Herbert’ for your wingman could be a part of the “HEAVY ASSAULT PACK”. Can we, as a society, take that chance? Will you master the HEAVY ASSAULT PACK–or will it master you?

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  • Greg

    Lol “an integral part of the appeal of Armored Core has always been its dark narrative of a future society which has lost itself to the commercialization of war”.Yeah, for all of the five minutes it actually comes into play during the hours of “blank corporation wants you to blow this up,do it”.You
    picked a really weird spot to pick a bone with ACV, either you are surprisingly into the repeated,bare bones narratives that From half heartedly churns out with the skill of a lazy fanfic or maybe finding enjoyment [and thus finding it abhorrent that people can run around as an Uzi wielding skeletons after I defeat their ACs in multiplayer which happens (sans skeletons) in Chromehounds] in the narratives is like finding the entrance to Hogwarts,I have to look at the game at the right angle,
    Now one the point of the dreaded “HEAVY ASSAULT PACK” I can see it going two ways:either it will be an unlock code that allows you to get a set of part for free instead of buying them in the garage or they will be normal looking preorder exclusive parts that people will only find momentarily useful as they gain access to the games full repertoire of parts.With 500 of them involved an “advantage” is merely a relative.

    • Tollmaster

      I also used to think that From Software’s bare-bones plots were a disadvantage, but through talking with Cacophanus I began to understand that the reason why I wanted to know more about the Armored Core world wasn’t simply because it’s interesting–rather, your playthrough of the game is an exploration of that specific world. The game doesn’t give you much to go on when other games would give you two hours of narration before your player character has done anything of importance. From Software makes you curious about the world, and then forces you to uncover its secrets, rather than the worrying number of games which assume you care about the world’s background far, far before the game has given you a reason to care about it.

      There’s been a lot of talk about From Software’s use of suppressed narrative in their games since the release of the popular Dark Souls, especially in comparison to the overt narrative in Skyrim; if you’re interested, these make great reads:

      http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7290527/one-night-skyrim-makes-strong-man-crumble

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-07-telling-tales-skyrim-and-dark-souls-article

      Like I said, if people want to customize their single player experience, I don’t have a problem with that. What does upset me is having to put up with something that doesn’t fit the Armored Core world in multiplayer. Chromehounds did its best to be a simulation of a war; the various battles had an effect on the game’s metamap, and everyone felt a kinship with their chosen allegiance. Dark Souls kept the game from feeling like an MMO by making it almost impossible to communicate with other players. Both games’ multiplayer modes felt like they were a part of the “real” game; they weren’t abstractions or excuses to have deathmatch arenas. You felt like you were fighting for something.

      Ninjas and skeletons in an oppressive corporate state at war would take away from that feeling. It would kill any immersion that From Software has created through their careful narrative. The game wouldn’t “suck”, but it would be just a little bit more like every other game on the market.

  • Greg

    Mah two cents

    1. Your more than welcome to feel how you do on any particular topic but please be sure to wholly consider the topic at hand and ponder if your making an acceptable statement or an unnecessary diatribe.While the skins may rub you and most likely a few others the wrong way they don’t inherently affect gameplay in any negatvie way nor are they absurdly priced.In short, while wacky they do nothing wrong other than annoy you.If the only misgiving you have about something is that you do not personally like it please end your article with a succinct blurb on your opinion (some thing along the lines of “while its great to see From supporting themselves and the game through non invasive DLC,I think the skins subtract somewhat from the general mood the series tries to establish”) instead of having an entire article making a mountain out of a mole hill than slamming the hell out of it.It just makes you look silly and adds a blog like feel to the site I doubt anyone involved wants.

    2. While there is artistic merit to a minimalist approach to narrative as demonstrated by Ico and Shadows of the Colossus From isn’t weaving a tale that lets you form your own beliefs but rather just sucks at its job.You’re told bluntly that there was a big war but not told how it started or who was involved,you’re bluntly told that Corporations have taken over but never told how they started or how they even make revenue in world that has been nearly shattered by cataclysm,you’re told to blow shit up but your rarely (Master of the Arena,4,and I think For Answer were the only games that I remember actually being kind enough to give a nebulous reason for your existence) given a reason for why this even matters for your avatar who spends their days risking their lives in a giant killing machine.Armored Core games are not artfully woven examples of minimalism where you are told to find meaning within your own context,they are half completely Lego sets.A form filled with gaping holes that have the raw nerve to draw attention to them and beg questions at every turn due to their own actions.In short,Armored Core lacks the tact and precision to be called “subdued”,the writers are just lazy and From as a whole apparently sees no need to add definition to an otherwise interesting if foggy world after creating it,the game will sell anyway.

    • Tollmaster

      1. I thought about changing the tone of the news article, but my thought process was that anyone can post a link to someone else’s summary, while starting an honest discussion about the merits of something is harder to do. If it came across as sounding “blog-like” then I apologize. It’s not that I have an opinion on the subject that really matters, but it’s that I listed reasons I felt this way. Most mecha games, and especially Armored Core, are treated–and reviewed–like trash in the more mainstream video game press, but it’s rare to find that they gave well-considered reasons for why this is the case. They never scratch the surface. I don’t want to just post a link to this silly thing that Armored Core is doing; I want people to start asking questions about the way Armored Core presents its world to the player.

      You’re welcome to disagree, but what’s more important is that this discussion could occur in the first place.

      2. I don’t believe I can currently elucidate how I feel any clearer than I have already tried to, and you are allowed to feel differently from me. A few years ago, I would have agreed with you, and I don’t think I was “wrong” then, but merely that I saw the issue from a different perspective. Then, I wanted to know more about the Controller in Armored Core 3, who created it and why, and what the player character thought about all of this. The way I feel now is that while a game which did explain all of this could have been just as great, I was interested in the story of Armored Core 3 in an entirely different way because of the lack of information. You play the role of a detective actively attempting to puzzle out how this strange subterranean society works, while having the story told to you in two hours of cutscenes would have you passively viewing what the director wanted you to see. My “story” playing Armored Core 3 was created by what I thought was going on, and it was completely different from what everyone else thought was going on, and there aren’t many games which can sustain that many different opinions. I, too, want to know the real reasons behind everything but if I did, it would take out some of the charm of searching from your own answers.

      I don’t want to say it’s the “best” way to tell a story, but I also feel it is important that at least some games do something different from the rest.

    • SignOfZeta

      There is no need for a New York Times-esque manufactured neutrality. If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t like it. Telling someone to keep their opinions to themselves, or to generate half-ass qualifying statements at the end of the article, on a website like this, which pretty much IS a blog (sorry, it is) makes no sense. There is a reason I’m reading this site and not just the press release or Wikipedia or something. Its because I WANT someone’s opinion.

      Personally, I think AC sucks. Its always sucked. Adding a bunch of useless overpriced DLC isn’t going to make or break this dark dingy slog of a series. It certainly has fans though and if they don’t speak up when the game heads down what they perceive to be the wrong path then the only other choice is to abandon the series, which doesn’t do anyone good.

      • Greg

        You would rather have rambling diatribes over objective news?

        • SignOfZeta

          Yes.

  • Greg

    1. For future reference an honest discussion is generally formed through a question and not by jabbing the audience with a negative statement.Providing details about the news in question then voicing your personal opinion and asking for the input of others would have been a better format.When it comes to mech games being reviewed poorly this is because they generally are poorly made and not due to bias.I bet if Front Mission 5 was given to people who played Front Mission 4 their opinions would change drastically due to the jump in quality.

    2.Now you raise questions on personal beliefs an objectivity.If you found it fun to search for answers that should have been given then there no way around that but I would be careful giving credit to such a method.There is a distinct difference between the artful use of minimalism and just having a lot of plot holes and one should not accept one for the other.I came to this conclusion myself due to the fact that Armored Core gives you too much information at a time.It tells you almost everything that is going on but not the whys or hows,its a gaggle of As without Bs if you will.In my experiences subdued tale consists of a few concrete details that provided a minimum of grounding and context followed by events and happenings that cause you to question on a whole.Armored Core on the other hand takes the time to define the world and box your prospective in with the context given yet does a rather half assed job of it by giving reasons why blank is so but never how blank came to be.

  • Bob

    Could just think of it as a holographic projection over the actual pilot. Something that a VR addict might use because they can’t stand to be separated from their “real” selves while they go about making a living in bleak reality.

    Cause I really don’t want to think about having a giant falcon in your cockpit only having to use it on rare occasion.

    • Tollmaster

      If this were a Super Robot video game, your idea of a falcon-based escape system could be a million-dollar idea.

  • Greg

    The ACV demo is up,get it before the 23rd.

  • Raven

    You know I’ve heard a lot of fuss over games recently and honestly it’s annoying. ”Oh this game sucks I’ve wasted my money” boo who go cry about it but just cuz you can’t enjoy any game that isn’t moderwarfare or some dumb ass computer game rpg (some exceptions) doesn’t mean you should go around saying games suck. That goes double for those who are to dumb to pay attension and see a motive and clear storyline.