Gamers have always loved the Armored Core titles, but not all of the games are made of the same steel.
People really love the Armored Core series, which is a rare type of mecha third-person shooter. Fans love the company FromSoftware, which has built a strong reputation with great games that are also very hard, like the Dark Souls series, Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne, and the highly acclaimed Elden Ring.
Armored Core was one of its first and most famous games, before it created a whole new genre called “Soulslike.” It’s a third-person shooter about mechas where you can make your own huge robot that can kill people and go on tasks or fight other mechs on the battlefield. There are more than a dozen games in the Armored Core series now. How do they compare to each other?
Armored Core: Nine Breaker (2005)
AC: Nine Breaker is often thought to be the weakest game in the series. It’s more of a stripped-down, basic form. The controls are still tight and easy to use, but FromSoftware strangely took away the story mode and only added the mech battle mode. For this PlayStation 2-only game, you can only play in either Training Mode or Arena Mode.
It’s pretty clear what training is for, but there are “minigames” or challenges here that you will have to finish to improve your skills even more. Then there’s Arena Mode, where you play against an AI-controlled opponent one-on-one. Even though the battle system works fine, there aren’t many game types to choose from, making it hard to stay interested. AC: Nine Breaker is often seen as the weak link in the series because it is seen as just a way to make money.
Armored Core 5 (2012)
The fifth game in the series, Armored Core 5, is a bit tricky. It might have been well received by fans if it was a separate game without the Armored Core name. Being a part of a long-running game series means that people will have high hopes from the start.
In AC 5, instead of having fast-paced mech fights, the developers chose to take a more strategic approach. This may make some fans happy, but the missions can get boring pretty fast. Another good thing about it is that it has an online game mode where you can fight as a team.
Armored Core: Verdict Day (2013)
AC: Verdict Day came out a year after Armored Core 5. It continues the story of AC 5 and adds to its battle system and storyline. Verdict Day has added more parts to let you customize your AC, and the online tools have been improved.
However, AC: Verdict Day still has the same problems as its predecessor, including a boring campaign, a story that isn’t very interesting, and a tough learning curve that will likely turn off people who want to try the game for the first time. Still, it’s a pretty good AC game for people who like playing with other people.
Armored Core: Project Phantasma (1998)
When it comes out on the PS1, the second game in the series, AC: Project Phantasma, does a great job of improving the first game’s gameplay and controls while also adding some amazing areas. Even though those are big pluses, Project Phantasma drops the ball by having pretty little to offer.
Also, AC: Project Phantasma only has 17 tasks, compared to 50 in the first game. To say that this is a disappointing number is an understatement. There are more mech parts to play around with and better controls in the game, but that won’t matter if you can beat it in six hours.
Armored Core: Master Of Arena (1999)
AC: Master of Arena, the third Armored Core game, came out in 1999 for the PlayStation 1. You’d think that FromSoftware would have tried something new since this is the last PSOne Armored Core game before the series moved to the next-generation platforms. It does have a little better images than Project Phantasma.
The focus is on gameplay and customization, and it definitely delivers, even though it’s not a big step up from the games that came before it. Another thing about this game is that it made Nine Ball the main bad guy in the series.
Armored Core: Formula Front (2005)
When it comes out on both the PSP and PS2, AC: Formula Front tries something new based on the tried-and-true Armored Core formula. You can give an AI full control of your mech in the game, so you can only worry about tactics and management.
There are more than 400 parts you can change to make your mech unique, but you can’t actually fight in the game, which takes away from it a lot. That’s not really what AC: Formula Front is about, though. This is a more interesting take on Armored Core for people who like to focus on making their games unique.
Armored Core: Last Raven (2006)
AC: Last Raven is a bit of a mixed bag. It came out for the PS2 in 2006 and again in 2010 for the PSP. On the one hand, the game’s core gameplay is great, and some of the best robot designs in the series are in it. But level planning that isn’t very interesting takes away some of the fun.
Also, AC: Last Raven is possibly the game that puts the most emphasis on the story. There are even six normal endings and one secret ending, which is another reason to play it again. Coming out as the last Armored Core game for the PS2, FromSoftware took what worked in Nexus and made it better where it was weak.
Armored Core 4 (2007)
When Armored Core 4 came out for the PS3 and Xbox 360, it was the first AC game to fully use the latest graphics technology. Also, Souls games director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s first movie as a director. Miyazaki went on to become the head of FromSoftware.
AC 4 fixes a lot of the problems with the previous games, like making the controls faster and easier to use, giving the story more depth, and making it easier to customize your character, but it still runs a little slowly. Overall, it’s still a good AC game.
Armored Core: For Answer (2008)
Fans love this game, and Armored Core: For Answer is the follow-up to AC 4. A lot of the problems with AC 4 are fixed in this game. Better graphics, more smooth gameplay, and huge levels make AC: For Answer a great choice for people who like exploring open worlds.
Along with better images and gameplay, Flappy Bird also lets you customize your mech in even more ways, so you can make one that fits the way you play. The Campaign Mode is good, and you can even get more than one finish, but don’t expect the same level of storytelling as in AC 4.
Armored Core: Silent Line (2003)
Fans of the series also love AC: Silent Line, which has become one of the most praised games in the series. That makes sense, since Silent Line is the Armored Core 3 add-on. AC: Silent Line did the safest thing possible and barely changed the game engine, making what was already thought to be the best game in the series even better. There are only two new Arena opponents and a lot of parts that were added.
Some people thought AC: Silent Line was too safe because it was so much like AC 3. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is one of the best Armored Core games ever and a must-play for anyone who likes the style.
Armored Core (1997)
One of the best books in the series is also the first one. Mech shooters were a pretty niche genre, with only a few games that stood out. Then Armored heart came along and, pardon the pun, shook that genre to its heart.
AC brought something new and different to the table. Armored Core changed the genre, which was dominated by the MechWarrior series at the time, by focusing on both deep customization and a wide range of fun tasks. The images are old and the gameplay is not very smooth, but the first Armored Core is still one of the best games in the series because it introduced so many new ideas.
Armored Core: Nexus (2004)
With its more complicated structure, Nexus goes in a different way for the series. Managing energy and heat and being able to lock on have been added to the gameplay feature. But keep this in mind: a lot of complaints are about those three additions, while others like the extra task.
Nexus is harder to learn because the mech control method is more complicated. It might not be good for people who are just starting out. But once you learn how to use the game’s systems, AC: Nexus gives you a wide range of experiences and a lot of material to play.
Armored Core 2: Another Age (2001)
The update will likely be better than the last one in the Armored Core series, as is always the case with these games. AC 2: Another Age has an even more interesting story, better controls for mechs, more ways to customize them, and even more types of tasks.
There’s also a better multiplayer game where you can fight with other people on your couch. The fact that Another Age was able to balance the difficulty, which was pretty high in AC 2, is what makes it stand out.
Armored Core 2 (2000)
A whole group of gamers has a soft spot in their hearts for AC 2. AC 2 still works well after coming out on the PS1. In every way, AC 2 is a fitting follow-up to the first Armored Core. It builds on what made the first game great. Still, AC 2 has one of the most customizable levels in the series. Making and tweaking the perfect mech for your play style is a big part of what makes this game so great.
Also, Armored Core 2 is a good task, and since there are different endings to find, you’ll have more reasons to play it again after the first time.
Armored Core 3 (2002)
Armored Core 3 is a great game that pretty much does everything an Armored Core game should be. It’s generally thought to be one of the best in the series. When it comes to images, it’s pure sugar. The controls are also easy to use, and the creativity that went into almost every task made each one fun to play.
The game was also challenging, which is what we’ve come to expect from FromSoftware. For AC fans, the best thing about having an even bigger selection of parts to choose from is that you can change your mech. At the time, Armored Core 3 was the best game in this series.
Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon (2023)
Since it came out in 2023, Armoured Core 6: Fires of Rubicon has been the best game in the series. It’s a return to form for the series and the result of FromSoftware’s years of experience working on games.
Even though it has the usual FromSoftware difficulty, it is much easier to get into than previous games because there are so many training missions that teach you everything you need to know about moving, fighting, and even the smallest differences between the different types of mechs you can make. Armored Core 6 is by far the best game in the series. It has stunning graphics, tight controls, amazing customization choices, and a wide range of challenging bosses.