Part 3: Sortie 3 - "Another Age! Because fuck you!"
Sortie 3 - "Another Age! Because fuck you!"
Once again we're (begrudgingly) joined by Zorak and nine-gear crow, as we hold a roundtable discussion on whether or not the Armored Core games have a place in modern AAA game development. And maybe blow some shit up, I dunno.
Pilot: Sun Bill
AC: Doom Sayre
-Large missile and handgun is a solid strategic choice, assuming a mid to lightweight opponent
-Good mobility and efficiency
-Low ammo supplies
-Low damage output without large missile hits
For a one-on-on AC fight, this is actually a surprisingly solid design, at least in theory. Fire a slow moving large missile, dodge around the enemy hitting them with high knockback pistol shots until the large missile can catch up and ruin them. The problem lies in being unable to actually fire a new weapon until the large missile has finished reloading, leaving the opponent plenty of time to get away or crash the missile into something.
As an AI opponent though, this guy is very much a joke. He uses his large missile so infrequently that it's rarely a concern, and his ultralight design means he's susceptible to being killed well before he can do any real damage with his pea shooter. Bring something with good knockback or high burst firepower, and he'll go down in seconds.
So since Another Age made all sorts of balancing changes to the system mechanics, from here on out, our Garage segments will be talking through what makes a given category of parts useful, and to hopefully give you a better idea of how you might want to build your own AC. Because after all, this is a Let's Play.
Of course, we've already talked about the most basic aspects of AC design, so we'll be focusing entirely on unique aspects to any given category. Weight, Energy Drain, Armor Points, and so on are beyond self explanatory.
And so we'll be starting with the face of our AC - the Head.
For having the most amount of options possible, picking a head isn't nearly as complicated as it might seem. So let's break it down.
Computer Type and Computer Voice are very much aesthetic factors, and determine what your AC's built in system voice sounds like, and what quality of additional information will be supplied in the rare instances where that happens in Another Age. For example, Rough would be low, tinny audio quality with very little to say, whereas Detailed would be very crisp and clear, and provide information on the loadout of an opposing AC. Obviously, these aren't particularly important statistically, but hey, who doesn't want a nice soothing computer voice after a mission?
System Recovery and Auto Balancer are your 'status defense' and 'poise' stats, to put it in RPG terms. System Recovery determines how quickly your AC recovers from effects such as Jamming, whereas your Auto Balancer manages your Stability when taking fire or landing from a large height. While the number of Jamming effects in Another Age are incredibly limited, a good Auto Balancer can be incredibly important, especially if you prefer aerial combat or are fighting enemies like the punchbots. While a good Auto Balancer score won't save you if your legs aren't up to snuff, a good rating will keep you from being chained to death by some asshole AC plinking at you with a pistol.
Hacking Function and Noise Canceler are two strange, almost useless stats. While in Armored Core 2, a good Hacking rating at least allowed you access to a secret part, there are no such uses for it in Another Age, which kind of begs the question why even include it? Similarly, Noise Canceler functions clear visual and radar interference, but again, such situations are so limited in Another Age to make this stat almost pointless. C'mon, From, you've got over 100 missions here, you can at least bullshit some EM interference or something here.
Map Type simply determines whether or not the head has a built in mapping function, which can be an absolute godsend for certain missions where it's easy to get lost or you have various mission targets. There are a number of different options a head can have for this:
-None: No map function of any kind whatsoever
-No Memory: You only are provided with a small map showing your immediate surroundings within a few feet, effectively no different than None.
-Area Memory: Keeps a record of where you've been across the entire area
-Area & Place Name: Same as Area Memory, but also shows Targets across the map, regardless of whether you've been to that area or not, allowing you to get your bearings much easier.
Bio Sensor is poster child for functions you decry as useless until you suddenly really really wish you had them. Bio Sensors allow you to lock on to non-mechanical targets, such as bioweapons. Without it, you're stuck blindfiring and can suddenly find yourself having a very shitty day.
Sensor Interval is another strange stat that makes me wonder what FromSoft was thinking with some of these. It determines how much downtime there is when you start up your AC until you can start actually locking on to and fighting targets. The number of times this comes into play I think is exactly three times over the entire game.
The rest of the functions are shared by Radar units, so those will be saved until then, but suffice to say that radars built into heads generally have much lower refresh rates and shorter ranges than their back unit equivalents.
But, all that said, what exactly should you use? Honestly, use whatever you like most aesthetically. Heads are one of those parts that you can swap around pretty freely and not feel too affected by them. Obviously, there's some things that are good to take into account, like a good Auto Balancer if you're going for a heavyweight or flying build, but overall, heads have very little variance in their basic stats. Have fun and play pretty princess dressup with your giant robot, it's okay. I'll bring the sequins.
Look forward to next time, where a much more important part category has 200% less to say about it.