Part 11: Master of Arena - Chapter 3: (Sub) Arena RegistrationSo after putting together the results of the vote, a huge majority pulled for "Attack Chrome HQ" and as such, that will be the mission we take to get ourselves registered in the Arena.
Your target is a Raven recently hired by Chrome, Isaac City's largest corporation. The Raven is Hercules, a member of the Sub-Arena.
He has signed a long-term contract with Chrome as a guard at their Corporate HQ.
Chrome already has a complex security system in place, the Raven has been hired to put
additional pressure on anyone attempting to breach their HQ.
I can take care of the security system, but not the Raven. We have three minutes tops, you must
destroy him within that time frame.
So as you recall, Chrome was one of the two major megacorps fighting for dominance against Murakumo Millenium in the first Armored Core. The result of this battle, regardless of who you sided with and helped win, was that both companies fell apart due to being completely wiped out or lacking any real competition. Of course, in our version of history we sided with Murakumo and kicked Chrome's ass something fierce, but apparently the company survived that it maintains its position in Isaac City? Somehow?
Again, this is where the PS1 game's place in the overall canon comes into question, but frankly who cares, because we're gonna fuck things up further for them again by murdering their bodyguard. Fuck Chrome indeed. Well, except for the engineer that came up with the design for the Devastator, that's guy's alright by me.
...we've been staring each other down for like half a minute and I haven't even done anything to attack you (yet).
Bugzy might have taken a couple of cues from Uncle Jimbo with these kind of situations.
So yes, because Lana disabled the security system leading up to this battle, we will fail the mission if we don't finish off the AC in time before systems return online. Not like we'll be pressed for time as you see.
I am so lucky his missiles fucking missed me right as I planted myself to use the back cannon.
Hercules is equipped with a handgun on his right arm, but what this guy really likes to use is his multi missile launcher. These types of missiles have been proven to be especially effective due to their different trajectories and that an AC's anti missile system has difficulty keeping up with it. Dodging them is trickier than normal, unless you were at the right distance for them to curve behind you and miss.
So yeah, took him down in less than 30 seconds. Like I said, the time limit isn't pressing if you know exactly what you're doing.
You'll also find that we don't actually get a monetary reward out of this mission, or any of the two alternative missions. Not really an issue with our current money situation, but for fresh playthroughs this might be a bit surprising. You find out why this is that way in just a moment.
Returning to the Ravens' Nest, we've got not one but two messages for us. Both of them are pretty important.
Good day. I'm a representative
from PROGTECH and I have had
the privilege of observing your
We have taken note of your
abilities and have decided
to sponsor your entry in the
Please accept, as a small gift,
50000C and an AC part
we have developed.
We look forward to your
success in the Arena.
Sender: Lana Nielsen
PROGTECH is a company that has
grown significantly in recent
years. This is largely due to
their groundbreaking achievements
in AC-related developments.
A brilliant scientist, who serves as
the company's head of development,
is behind a number of their
revolutionary parts. The part
you received is probably one of these.
The Arena is nothing more than a
convenient place for PROGTECH to
advertise. So take care, and don't
let them take advantage of you.
Should your rating increase, due
to success in both the missions and
the Sub-Arena, you may be called up
to the actual Arena. That is all.
For that first email, you get that regardless of which mission you take and the 50000C you receive is basically your payment to cover any expense from the mission. The second email sheds some more light on PROGTECH which receives lots of story precedence compared to the other new organizations the game introduces as clients for its missions. Especially the "brilliant scientist" who we'll get to know in a short while.
This here is the LS-1000W, the part we received along with our 50000C bonus from PROGTECH. Much like Project Phantasma, many of the hidden parts are distinct but mostly for unique reasons as opposed to being top of their category in every regard. In this case, the LS-1000W gives any AC the ability to fire energy waves when using their blade, making it no longer a PLUS only ability.
The downside, however, is that it ONLY fires the energy waves and has next to no utility in close range. And considering I like the attack power that the MOONLIGHT provides, I have no use for this particular item. It does hit harder than all the other energy blades, for what it's worth, and its actually more expensive than any of the energy blades when you look at the buy/sell value.
Now that we got the sponsorship we were after, let's take a look at what the Arena is like for this game.
Unlike the previous game's 49 rank ladder that was available from the start, the Arena mode is split into two sections. As had been mentioned by Lana several times, we're now entered into the Sub-Arena which consists of unranked Ravens that we can challenge at any time in any order. This gives a nice element of choice for players that may not want to tackle certain opponents as opposed to others, and the best part is that the list is always changing. There are always fourteen opponents available at any given time, but the moment that another Raven is KIA during a mission (like we've done twice now), they're removed from the ladder and another Raven takes their spot.
I really like this system as it's just one of a few elements the game has to really show that the campaign and the Arena aren't just side things that can be engaged separately. We had to complete missions to get access to this mode, and now that we do, we can take on any AC we choose and their behavior translates exactly to whenever they appear during a mission. It reintroduces a bit of the dynamic element to progression that Armored Core 1 excelled at with its mission design and Project Phantasma was for the most part lacking.
You can also view the main Arena ladder, but as the image shows this is only for reference and the Ravens here cannot be challenged. There are fifteen slots, just like in the Sub-Arena, but they are all numbered. And once we get to this point, we will have to face them in ascending order just like the last game.
All in a lead up to this.
In the meantime, let's take on a few Ravens in the Sub-Arena. These first three I'm just using my current build from the missions, but like Project Phantasma, I'll be challenging myself with different stages and AC builds for your entertainment. It helps that just about everyone in the Sub-Arena are fucking scrubs, so no need for exploiting the AI. Also to note that credits are given as a reward (and hidden parts depending on the specific opponent), but here in the Sub-Arena each defeated AC nets a 10000C payout.
A tank type AC, which means he's slow but can use any back cannons while moving or airborne. Though after the stuff I went through with some of the tank ACs in Project Phantasma's Arena, going back to this level of challenge makes it such a breeze. Especially as my laser cannon proceed to out do his rate of damage.
The description for this guy could not have been any more on point, as his linear cannon was all he ever wanted to use. As such, he got only one hit on me, and couldn't do a damn thing as soon as I got in close and slashed him four times. Sort of didn't know how to feel about the bastard.
Guy uses a variety of energy weapons, and is pretty active in moving around the area. Of these first three ACs, definitely the more enjoyable and it actually got me closer to losing than any of them.
Now, out of the fourteen available opponents, why did I pick these three specifically? Because defeating them each nets a different AC part, as you can see from the three above.
For start, the WM-MVG812 is a small missile launcher, and other than the design of the part itself, it doesn't really have anything else to make it special. The attack power of each individual missile is equal to that of the WM-S60/6, but it can only fire up to four missiles when locked on. Also going against it is that it's about double the weight ofthe S60/6, so if you were going with small missiles for your build, there are better options.
This one, the WG-XW11, is an energy based weapon so it automatically would appear to be a good fit for my build and play style. The specific description for the part says that it is capable of firing two simultaneous shots, which is their way of trying to say this weapon has shorter reload time than any of the other energy weapons. But it while it has more shots than the KARASAWA, the attack power isn't enough to justify a switch. Hell, the XPwPPk from the last game has more rounds AND still hits harder.
The HD-4004 looks familiar to you if you watched the opening CG as this is the head part used by the other AC in that movie. The stats are slightly different from the HELM in minor ways, though it does include a noise canceller in the off chance we run into a situation where someone's trying to jam our targeting system.
But really, I just like the design of the head, and the color settings I already had set translated nicely so I don't need to spend another few minutes tuning RGB values to make it fit. Now let's get one more mission out of the way before calling it a wrap on this update.
We have pinpointed the location of the base that terrorists have been using for
their strikes on Isaac City. You mission is to attack this base.
The base's location is in an Old Castle in the NW sector of the White Land Area. The
castle, now a fortress, is protected by many gun Emplacements.
The gun emplacements surround the entire fortress and will attack if given a target. Do
not let your guard down, even for a moment.
Back to the White Lands, but this time instead of high contrast colors on the snow making things hard to see, this will be done during night time...which still makes it hard to see but for different reasons.
Christ, the safety level really shot down on this one.
Ah, the Barracuda. Some things never do change.
I did not check exactly if the Barracuda does get destroyed by enemy fire like it does in Armored Core 1. For now I'll just assume, or hope rather, that those things got an upgrade in defenses in between games.
So, this castle is a different design than the one where we fought off enemies alongside Sumika in Project Phantasma, and it is slightly bigger. This mission deals its enemies in waves, with the first one being these 9 gun batteries placed around the area.
There are batteries on the center area of the castle, and then there are more situated on the towers connecting the surrounding wall. Sniping them with a few shots from the KARASAWA cleans things up nicely.
The last three are actually outside the castle's perimeter. These batteries in the particular were the ones firing at our transport. Makes sense considering the pilot still thinks it's a good idea to drop off an AC on top of a hot zone.
Once all nine batteries are destroyed, the next part of the mission takes place. Huge AC sized tanks Puppies start coming in from outside, and while they can't get inside past the perimeter wall, they still need to be taken care of to complete the mission.
These guys mainly use their dual missile launchers to attack you. Their model has a machine gun turret attached to the top, but they don't really take advantage of it in close range.
At this point because of their speed I switch to my back cannon to take them out. Both this and the KARASAWA take them out in two hits, but as I want to save some of my rifle ammo this will do for now.
8 dead Puppies later.
Another AC battle, let's go!
Instant death is a bit of an exaggeration, but the idea is the same in that Ninya has some hard hitting weapons. For one, he has weapon arm cannons that while single shot deal powerful damage on impact, and secondly he has a dual missile launcher occupying both back slots. Movement is of the essence if you don't have the shell defense to brush it off.
Man, when you're down to the end with little ammo, there's nothing more satisfying than a well timed sword swing.
Alas, we forfeit about half the reward towards expenses do to the damage taken. No problem.
Last note, because the AC we fought was once again part of the Sub-Arena, he is removed from this ladder as a result of being dead. When this happens, and new ranked AC appears at the bottom of the ladder, just above where the player's info is. And it's gonna keep changing from here on out.
There is more to see with regards to the Arena, but I'm going to post that as a separate update after this one. There's a shit ton of content within this game, it's incredible.