Part 3: Project Phantasma - Chapter 3: Disruption (Arena Ranks #39 - 30)
I've taken the time to touch up on my AC build in between updates. Weapon load out remains the same for missions (still wanna get as much money as possible), but the arms are swapped out for the AN-K1 and I've both modified the color scheme and slapped an emblem on the AC. I think the extra grey and light grey colors add to the look nicely.
After rescuing Sumika in the last update, we now have a choice between one of two missions to go on. This is one of three instances in the game where we get a choice in the matter, but unlike the original Armored Core, it doesn't really have an effect on the overall progression of the plot.
Anyway, we're going with Disrupt Military Units simply because the reward is slightly higher, and I find the incentive to be just enough to take it on all three moments when we get a mission choice throughout the game.
We would like you to disrupt the Doomsday Organization's military
We have been informed that the Organization has been using these
exercises to collect data for Project Phantasma. Destroy all opposing
This mission is the first where Sumika is on the field as an AI partner, but her safety or her ability to deal with enemies is none of our concern. Just go in and destroy everything to complete the mission.
I'm pretty sure that's a typo in the code name and it's supposed to say "Rusty Nail." Oh well.
This is a new enemy type in the game and appears in only two missions, the Sargarmatha. It's kind of like an AT-AT in functionality and vaguely looks like a mammoth, but it takes a hell of a lot of fire power to take down. I try getting in close to use the Moonlight laser blade and it still took a couple slashes to bring it down, after firing several rounds from my rifle before hand.
Also while you're dealing with those things, the Fireflies are back, and as always their rapid fire can whittle down your AP really quickly. Really annoying to deal with.
One of the Sargarmatha's notable weapons is its vertical missiles, with each one having a considerable blast radius upon impact. Because of it's trajectory, staying on the ground and constantly boosting away is the best way to mitigate any damage from them.
Once you destroy a certain number of enemies, reinforcements start coming in. Thankfully it's just Ogres, so we don't have to worry about more Fireflies or these mammoth assholes for the rest of the mission.
And the second and last one finally went down.
It's not really visible here, but Sumika hangs around the start area of the mission at the end of the runway, and that's where some of the remaining Fireflies decided to hangout.
And here are the reinforcements. Nothing new to them since when they first appeared. You also get to see in the video their melee attack, which has quite a bit of knock back if you get struck by it.
Mission completed, though with all the damage we took this time we have to spend a third of the reward on repairs. Not as bad as in the last update, fortunately.
After that, we're back to having only one mission available to us.
We want you to disrupt "Project Phantasma" related shipping lines.
Although we do not have many details on the project, we should not
ignore it's existence.
The targets are the enemy transport vehicles. Note that the Rampart
bridge is located in front of the military zone.
Before they cross the bridge, destroy all enemy transports. If even
one of them gets through, the mission will be considered a failure.
We have established a surveillance operation before the bridge at
points A, B, and C. we will keep you updated, so listen for details.
This type of mission would normally be very frustrating due to having to cover a relatively large map (and with little draw distance given it's nighttime), but as I'll show it's fairly easy when you know where you need to go.
You start off in front of checkpoint B and face a fork in the road where the enemy transports will come from. Either direction you go in is fine as they enter the area from both sides at the same time.
Opposition primarily comes in the form of tanks and Ogres. There are also helicopters that spawn in infinitely, though they're barely noticeable. But the enemies here aren't a big deal since the only goal is to prevent the transports from passing the three checkpoints, and since they can't be destroyed by enemy fire there's no need to stand near them. That's what makes this type of mission relatively easy because you aren't just standing and waiting for the targets to appear.
I check the map occasionally to reconfirm my position, but as you can see, there are two paths that the transports come from to the north, so it's a matter of shooting them without exiting the area of operation. With that, I take care of all the transports coming from the north west path.
After that, it's making a rush to the opposite path, and by this point the remaining transports are close to the first fork on their path, and a little bit later Sumika would have spoken up about how close they are to the checkpoints. Destroy the rest and the mission is done.
I am so glad I got a glimpse of that Ogre's weird behavior as the mission ended.
Considerably less expenses this time compared to the last two missions. That's good.
And what do you know, we finally got a new email, no anonymous tag this time.
We have found remnants of a large
weapon the likes of which we have
not come across before. They are
probably related to the secret
project known as "Phantasma".
Thank you for your thorough
and efficient work.
Wait, that's it, nothing else about what this weapon could have been? Just a thank you?
Whatever, on to the next batch of Arena fights.
Arena Ranks #39 - 30
First off, as you can see here, this is the emblem I've chosen to represent my AC. It took some messing around the editor, but I modified one of the sample emblems to make this. The roman numeral II comes from the name of the AC obviously, and when we get to Master of Arena, you can probably see how this will be further edited.
Secondly, this set of fights I outfit my AC with a few different builds. For the first five, I still have the laser cannon on my left shoulder, but have swapped out the laser rifle for the WG-B2180 bazooka and put on the right shoulder the WM-201 missile launcher, which fires a single missile that splits into multiple warheads mid flight. Two weapons I'm not used to using, but for the sake of mixing things up during these Arena matches, I'll happily experiment with different load outs.
Reward: 20000 C
Interesting thing with this AC based on the image is that it has no arm weapons of any type. It only fights with it's WM-S60/4 back mounted missile launcher, and given that these missiles aren't the most damaging things in the game, not much of a threat is posed.
Reward: 21000 C
Special Part: M118-TD
Only weapon on this one is the WG-HG513 hand gun, but the pilot does a good job keeping track of you that he can keep you stun locked quite a lot if you're not careful.
Reward: 22500 C
The description for this guy is a straight up lie. Only weapons this AC has are those arm machine guns, and like most other weapon arm ACs, they deal some significant damage. Same strategies apply, either be really good at dodging, or take the hits while dealing more damage towards them.
Reward: 23000 C
Another weapon arm AC this time using the AW-GT2000, and the behavior is very similar to the previous fight. Simply being on the move and firing whenever possible helps keep it from damaging you.
Reward: 24000 C
A tank treads AC, so it outmaneuvering the player isn't huge issue. The bazooka it uses isn't much of a threat either, especially if you're already good at dodging missiles and rockets. Fairly simple fight.
Here we are now at Rank 35. The description has changed once again, but in between this and Rank 34, I decided to mix up my weapon load out yet again.
The bazooka is now replaced with the WG-FG99 flamethrower. This was a hidden part in the original Armored Core, and one that I didn't really pay much mind to whenever I got it. It's the only weapon of its type, so it's already fairly unique. On my back are two M118-TDs that I earned from the Rank 38 fight. I forgot to mention in the last update, but whenever you earn a back part as a reward, you get TWO copies of it. You can also buy up to two copies of a single back part in the store as well. The M119-TD is incredibly unique as it's not a weapon at all, but it actually extends the ammo for all our weapons. By how much you ask? 50%. That's quite a lot, and stacking two of these things straight up doubles the amount of ammo you can hold. So now all we have on us for weapons is the Moonlight laser blade and this flamethrower, which now has its ammo doubled from 500 to 1000.
More than enough to burn through enemies...if I can aim the thing anyway, which you'll see.
Reward: 25000 C
A reverse joint AC that moves around quite a bit and uses the rifle that comes with starting builds in all the PS1 Armored Core games. Getting a good hit in with the Moonlight takes out almost all of its AP, however, so it doesn't have a lot in the way of energy defenses.
Reward: 26000 C
This is another AC who only has one back weapon, and that is a chain gun. However, because it's a quad leg AC the movement restrictions for certain back weapons don't apply (so long as it isn't airborne). It fires rapidly and is as effective as using actual machine gun weapon arms.
As you could probably see by the length of the Rank 33 fight, I ditch the flamethrower and return to the WG-XFwPPk and use it to mop up the remaining three fights for this update.
Reward: 28000 C
Once again, no weapon arms or arm weapons, just a WR-S100 back mounted rocket launcher this time. Not that hard so long as you don't get yourself stunlocked from repeated attacks (like I foolishly did in an attempt to blade the bastard to death).
Reward: 30000 C
Special Part: HD-G780
We're getting a lot of ACs with either only back weapons or weapon arms this update. Either way, nothing stand out or unique regarding this one, and the same strategies still apply, made easy with this AC's fairly low mobility.
Reward: 32000 C
This AC right here is a warning of things to come. For start, the bastard is a Human PLUS, which means he can bypass certain limitations that ACs would normally have such as firing cannon weapons in midair or extended radar range and the like. And since Human PLUS is something that can only be obtained in the first Armored Core, new players have to deal without having these benefits, but if you ask me, they don't make much of a difference when fighting other PLUS ACs as it still takes a considerable amount of skill and dexterity to win these kind of fights.
Back Stab itself isn't terribly threatening as far as weapons go, but like previous matches have shown, getting caught in a stun lock can cost you significant AP. It does however move around the area rather fast, and it took me a while in this particular area to keep good track of it. That said, he's only a taste of what some of the higher ranked ACs will use against you, but it's a good warning to have.
Here we are, Rank 30. Quite a few lengthy fights this past stretch, but it kept things (hopefully) interesting throughout...
...fuck that flamethrower.
Also, after the Rank 31 fight, we earned another special part in the form of the HD-G780. It's a new head part that not only has similar functions as our HD-ONE (noise canceler, built in radar, etc), but it also has the most total defense of any head part in the game, a good portion of it being energy defenses. It isn't necessarily over powered or incredibly unique like some of the other special parts we'll earn in the arena, but among all the other head parts it stands out in that category pretty well. For variety's sake, we'll be swapping heads next update.