Genre Third Person Vehicular Combat / Platforms PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer From Software / Publisher Namco Bandai
Platform Played On PS3
When I first pressed the Start button in Armored Core: Verdict Day’s main menu, I expected to be greeted by a fairly standard mech-based combat game. For the most part, that’s exactly what Verdict Day offers you, though it stumbles in quite a few areas.
At its core, Verdict Day is all about siding with a particular faction, building your mech unit – and team, if you feel like – after which you’re free to start causing mayhem, both offline and on.
Even though you may enjoy it all by yourself, Verdict Day is heavily built around the online component. The game offers a persistent global map, divided into seasons, each one lasting until either one faction conquers the others’ regions, or the time-limit expires. There are three such factions to choose from, but the problem is that your pick doesn’t really matter, as there is nothing to separate these sides, except for a few lines of text and their respective colour.
Before diving into building your own mech and wreaking havoc, you can also either create, or join a particular team. This isn’t a requirement to play the Verdict Day, but it’s strongly recommended, as the game can be quite unforgiving if you’re playing alone. To distinguish one team from another, several customisation options can be appointed to your crew, such as a name, territory, colour, and a few more. When it comes to your home-base, you are also given the possibility of customising it by purchasing new defence mechanisms (a.k.a.: turrets) and formations which determine your cannons’ positions, all these in order to further protect your region from being overrun by enemy players.
Verdict Day offers a very intuitive system, through which you can communicate with other players, both allies and opponents. In a game like this, it’s crucial for you to work as a team, and in case someone’s missing a headset, simply pressing a button to bring up a wheel with different conversation options is a welcomed addition.
Having a team is all well and good, but what if you prefer the lone-wolf approach, and to only get help in certain situations? In that case, the answer is pretty simple: hire mercenaries, as these players will only help you on a specific mission you choose. You can also put your mercenary services for hire, and even win money and custom parts in the process. To make things a little bit more interesting, you’re also allowed to invade other people’s missions as an enemy.
When it comes to the proper gameplay, Verdict Day offers a few modes, though they’re mostly the same thing. There’s the usual 5V5 team deathmatch, the normal and special sorties (a.k.a.: standalone missions), and the story sorties. That said, don’t be fooled by the “story” ones: these are nothing more than individual assignments, the only difference being that they have a few lines of dialogue in the beginning and ending. The story is non-existent, the characters are bland, and every mission consists of simply destroying every other AC (Armored Core/mech) and turret in sight.
The last important part of Armored Core: Verdict Day is the customisation of your AC. This is where the game truly shines, as there are loads of options for you to build your mech. Among other parts, you can choose your AC’s legs, which will determine if your mech will look like a robot, or a more traditional tank, or four different types of guns, each with their own attack power, ammo capacity, reload time, range, and the two more important features which heavily influence your gameplay: weight, and energy consumption.
You will also have to take into account a certain balance when it comes to your weapons: will you take up a gun with more ammo but not so powerful, or a more destructive weapon but with a smaller cache? Even though the ammo is limited – making it a necessity to know just how much you’ve got left – the game will never show you unless you fire, making you effectively waste it. This is really ironic, since the heads-up-display is very cluttered, unintuitive, and even ugly to look at.
Besides hooking your mech with the latest stuff under the hood, you can also purchase more powerful parts, in addition to different paints, emblems, and decals. It might be overwhelming at first, but building an AC from the ground-up turns out to be an actual fun process.
On the visual and technical side, Verdict Day doesn’t really impress. As mentioned, the HUD is very cluttered, in addition to a lot of useless menus to go through. Even worse is the fact that the loading times are pretty significant. The soundtrack is nothing to write home about. The visuals? Well, let’s just say that the explosions – in particular – are even worse than some PS2 games’. Environments, and even the ACs are simply bland and unimpressive.
Armored Core: Verdict Day is not an impressive package. Building your own mech is fun for the first two or three times, but when you actually get to the main part of the game, you realise that all those preparations are for nothing, when the game looks so bland, is hard as nails to a point of frustration if you’re not receiving help from others, and is overall boring. Besides that, the community is quite scarce. In short, these are not the droids you’re looking for.
+ Building your AC from the ground-up is fun.
+ Lots of customisation options.
+ Easy to communicate with others.
+ The idea of a persistent world is great…
– … if only people were actually playing it.
– Bland visuals and unimpressive soundtrack.
– Frustrating if played alone.
– Story is non-existent, with each mission being 90% the same.
– Cluttered and sometimes confusing interface.
– Overall boring.
The Score 5.5
In addition to being a PC editor, Vlad Pintea is also a chief of news and reviews here at Analog Addiction, and sometimes he even speaks his own mind. You can contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, on Skype (vlad94pintea), Steam, Facebook, or Twitter. Have a good day, and remember: stay calm, and keep on gaming!