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May 15 2007
Armored Core 4 - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
28/6/2007Red Ant505 GamestreetFromSoftware
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-22-8$119.95

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Battle around the city streets.
From Software's Armored Core series has been around for years. In fact this year is the 10th anniversary for the series with the first game released on the PSOne on October 25, 1997. Since then, and despite the "4" in this title there have been 11 other games previous to this one. Despite never achieving massive review scores the series has a large following - especially in Japan.

While Armored Core 4 was released in Japan on December 31 2006, and in America on March 20 2007 European and Australian gamers will have to wait until June 28th to get their hands on this title - that is, if you haven't imported it already. We've been fortunate to get our hands on the demo of this game and have spent quite a bit of time playing it. We can tell you already that if you liked previous games in the series, or indeed mech based games in general, then Armored Core 4 is a game you'll want to check out.

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In this screen the game looks impressive but...
Made up of approximately 30 missions this is a mech based game where you are sent out on a series of missions - primarily to destroy targets or enemies. Each of the mechs has a wide range of moves, and several weapons. In fact newcomers will need to take some time to get used to all the controls in the game - there's plenty to learn in order to become efficient in playing the game.

Where this game comes into its own is with the massive levels of customisation which you can make to your mechs. With just a few simple and intuitive steps, players can augment their creations with serious weaponry, external armour and internal hardware and then fine tune and tweak each unit for best performance. The possibilities are almost infinite! Players are able to test drive their creations in a series of trials and then, when ready for battle, challenge other mechs in order to advance through the exciting tournaments and leagues.

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Battle in the skies.
Online gameplay will also play a role in keeping you hooked on this game. From Software has included support for 8-players online and, should this game be lag free, it is certain to provide plenty of thrills and spills. The online game revolves around Deathmatch styled gameplay but the developers are also including the ability to exchange match data, emblems and even entire mech creations. As yet we are unsure about split-screen multi-player making it into the release, but we certainly hope it does.

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The mechs look bad-ass.
From what we have played of Armored Core 4 the levels are pretty basic with minimal texturing on the terrain and buildings. The mechs move around smoothly enough, and the explosions look pretty nice however the game, or at least the level we played, looked quite barren and sterile with few bright colours even around the cities skyscrapers. Surely the developers could have made the cities more realistic - neon lights, billboards, perhaps the odd vehicles or signage. I guess this minimalist approach has kept the game running as smooth as possible, but is it enough? I guess we'll find out when we get the full game soon.

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Some explosions look pretty nice.
Audio in the game is, as expected, full of mech based sounds as they stomp their ways around their levels, or glide around using the booster packs. The game is full of a wide variety of weapons and the explosions certainly make the room shake on a decent sub-woofer.

Armored Core 4 is a game which mech fans will likely love. Our time playing the game has been fun - certainly the mech based battles are fairly intense and while the graphics aren't pushing the PS3 to new heights this will be all about the gameplay. Expect a release in late June.