The Let's Play Archive

Armored Core: Project Phantasma and Master of Arena

by ArclightBorealis

Part 13: Master of Arena - EX Chapter 1: Humanoid Legs

It's still gonna be a little bit before returning to the main game, so I figured after the last update's introduction of the second disc, I'd start plowing through some of the bonus Arena ladders. And the first one on the menu is the Humanoid Legs category. Since we already have been going with this leg type in the main game, I'll be using my main build once again. Well, with one slight variation when we reach a specific opponent which you'll see shortly.

Now then, onto the EX Arena, Humanoid Legs category.

Starting out in 10th place in the rankings, it's time to start climbing up.

Reward: 10000 C

Not to difficulty of a first match. Zweit does boost around a lot, so using single shot weapons like the KARASAWA require a bit more precision and firing at the right moment in order to hit. Nothing too fancy. Though if you notice, is design is pretty familiar as it was one of the example ACs featured in the Opening CG for Project Phantasma. The only difference is that his right hand weapon here is a pulse rifle instead of a handgun. Still a very nice design, if I say so myself.

The moment we reach rank #9, our description changes and remains that way for a few more matches.

Reward: 12000 C

"Walking Pillbox" comment aside, this AC moves very slowly, even when boosting. The rockets and machine guns are barely a threat if you can continue to hit him outside his range. His lack of maneuverability and predictable movements while airborne helps with this, too.

Reward: 15000 C

This is the first we've seen of another AC besides Nine-Ball returning from the first game, and for being ranked 7th in this category, he clearly is a better fit for the top 3. A real fucking bastard.

For real though, Invisible Q's deadliest weapon is the KARASAWA and the accuracy that he has with it. Being able keep moving and react accordingly to where he's firing from can get you through without losing too much AP, but this is easier said than done. A better tactic, though not exactly full proof and is a bit inconsistent, is to just rush him. During this fight I found he was using the rifle more often when I was at a longer distance, though when he was either cornered or in a close enough distance he just kept moving around to try and maintain distance. He still occasionally fires while at close range, so this isn't a guaranteed method to cheese him. And as you could see, this is the fight I had to swap back to the weapon arm laser cannons because the faster this son of a bitch gets killed, the better.

Reward: 19000 C

Adverse has both maneuverability and a weapon to keep you from doing the same, as hand guns are able to stagger us very easily. That said, he leaves himself wide open when he uses his grenade launcher as he has to stay in place to use it. Hitting him when he's stationary ends the fight much faster than trying to give chase.

Also, I felt rather proud of myself for dodging his one grenade that he fired right on the spot.

Reward: 23000 C

This fight I think I had the most fun with out of everything in this category. Rianon's load out is fairly similar to ours and is mobile enough. Just a very good middle ground in terms of difficulty between the top and bottom ranks. Plus the stage contributed a lot to it, being much more fun to maneuver around than the snowy military base stage from Project Phantasma. In fact the just the setting kind of reminds me of that movie My Darling Clementine.

Wanna take a guess who got to play Wyatt Earp?

Rank #5, and once again our bio gets another update. Things our looking positive for us in this category.

Reward: 32000 C

This guy more than anything likes to reserve using his boosters until he's under attack, in which he starts hopping around. Otherwise, he's just running and is pretty easy to hit. Kind of a let down after that fight with Rianon, but eh, given his bio I'll chalk it up to old age slowing him down.

Reward: 45000 C

Another AC returning from the first game, although his AC has changed names from Puryunu Touri to Fallen Fortune. This was an incredibly close battle as the choice in stage put Vlad at an advantage due to his habit of staying airborne. A stage like the parking garage would've been better to limit his vertical movement, but eh I was already committed. Frankly, I'm surprised I even won that match as I had wasted all my rifle ammo right when he was down to a few hundred points of AP left. That one shot from my back cannon saved my ass in the end.

Reward: 57000 C

Just like Invisible Q and Vlad, Moon is also from the first game. He loves to not only boost around a ton, but also boost towards you and get behind you so you waste time trying to circle around to find him. Fighting from a distance is much more preferred so you can better keep him in sight. Otherwise, his weapons aren't as threatening as someone like Invisible Q, so his constant boosting and rushing you becomes more of an annoyance if anything.

All that's left now is to take down Ernst.

Reward: 140000 C

Ernst is definitely worth his place on the ranking, because he is the only one AC in this specific Arena that is a Human PLUS. And is overweight on top of that. His tendency to hover a lot made the choice to fight in the garage a priority, though his deadliest weapon by far is the backmounted grenade launcher. With the benefits of PLUS, this fucker can fire that thing from anywhere and keep moving. Staying relatively close and in sight is important, all while dodging his grenade shots when they happened. Or do what I stumbled upon where my KARASAWA shot and the splash damage of his grenade at close range finished him off. If you can't dodge his shit, just have it blow up in his face!

Also, like Zweit, Ernst is an AC design originating from the opening CG for the very first Armored Core. They were indeed basic parts as the description says, and in that footage even he had to kneel to use his grenade launcher. Quite a jump in skill between games.

All 9 foes are defeated, and we're now top rank in the Humanoid Legs category.

For that, we receive our prize, the LN-23, a new Humanoid Leg part. This is the sort of prize you can expect from each of the other leg categories, but let's take a look at some of the stats.

When you look at the general shape of the part, it appears to look like a heavyweight. The description though calls it a "lightweight model, but without sacrificing defense or load capacity." The weight stat is listed at 2300, which is over a hundred points less than the LN-D-8000R which we have equipped. With pretty good defense stats and more load capacity than what we have, this seems like a good part. For me however, what keeps me from switching to this for the main build is that it still has the same sort of speed that the heavyweight legs have. Our current max speed we get from the 8000R is 269 while the S3 is 106. Alas, the speed at which I am able to move around at even without boosters is preferable to my style. But, depending on if something tough comes along that we might need the extra load and reduced weight, it's worth holding onto.

Now, before wrapping this update, since this category and the three others cover what is one of the most important parts that can determine how you control your AC, I'm gonna end each of these series of matches with an effort post provided by AC1 parts and systems expert Seiren.

Seiren posted:

Legs are the single most important choice you can make in Armored Core. Your choice of leg-part will affect every aspect of your ACs performance, from defenses & mobility, energy efficiency & recovery, even how you handle laserblades is affected by legs. Even within the same "class" of legs, there are subtle differences in the movement performance, especially when relating to airborne mobility, turning speed, and the momentum of the AC. Their load capacity can also determine what kind of firepower you can field. It is a given that heavier legs = higher load = higher defenses = low speed, but each type is tailored to a particular style on play.

Standard Bipedal Legs are the average, standard legs compared to the more specialized types. "Average", however, doesn't mean "bad". They're the most numerous type, with plenty of offerings for each weight-class, so you can further categorize them and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. They get good mobility all around, and while they don't particular excel at either ground-based or airborne-fighting, a combination of both is highly effective. Without Plus, they must take an immobile stance to use any type of back-mounted cannons. This greatly improves accuracy and firing angles over gunning on the run as a Plus, but being immobile is a death sentence except for extreme circumstances (A good example would be the final mission of the previous game, preparing a powerful cannon to kill Hustler One very quickly in a relatively safe area) They can claim one clear-cut advantage over other types, and that is having the fastest laser-blade strikes in the game. As long as they're played to their strengths (or the player's raw skill & loadout vs. the other, as the case tends to be with middleweights), they're excellent for players of all skill levels. I'll divide them into classes based on their weight to highlight the details.

Lightweight legs tend to be the most mobile, have low load-capacity and poor defenses, and are pretty drainy on your generator. Some enhanced models sacrifice in certain areas for higher defenses or AP, sometimes trading already-poor defenses for more load capacity, or trading more energy for better overall performance. They're highly mobile, both on land and ground, and when combined with a strong booster, can achieve excellent rising abilities, all while remaining easy-to-use. I preferred lightweight bipedal legs for a long time, utilizing quick hit 'n run strategies with the RFM-118 (i think that's the right part name, if not I am talking about the enhanced Rifle that becomes available in this entry), small rockets for staggering to setup for a blade strike, and some radar.

You don't want to take hits from many weapons. Without optional parts, even the starting Rifle can stagger one long enough to score multiple hits. You -definitely- want to avoid being struck by anything big, like Rockets, Bazookas, any kind of missile, and even chain guns, because it will stagger your AC and set you up to take dangerous amounts of damage. Employ hit 'n run or out-turn your enemies, or stay at long range and plink away with sniper weapons or mid-long range missiles...assuming you can fit them on without going overweight. They're almost always one of two extremes -- they're either glass-cannons that are loaded for doing a lot of damage very quickly, or they're long-range types trying to use their mobility to play keep-away and wear you down. There is a middleground, and it varies based on loadout. Good for players who like to get around quickly, and prefer evading fire as opposed to tanking it. Blading with them gives you plenty of speed (and thus, more opportunities to get in for a quick strike), but also sets you up to be staggered right out of the attempt, so care must be used. Learn how to evade fire and avoid landing hard, and they can take you far. The amount of practice required to learn effective evasion varies from player to player, but this generally isn't something beginners should work with until they gain some experience behind something a little more durable.

Middleweight legs are some of the most well-rounded, balanced legs in the game. They achieve good performance in all areas, with the LN-1001 series being the epitome of "balance". There are specialized types offering higher shell or energy defense, lighter weight (typically at the cost of load capacity or AP). These can actually be further divided into 'light middleweight' and 'heavy middleweight' without actually stepping fully into either extreme, trading a little mobility for defenses & load or some defenses for more mobility. I pilot lighter middleweight ACs these days, going so far as using the default, starter legs (mostly out of preference rather than statistics) unless I absolutely need something heavier for some reason. They're surprisingly effective if you can work around the low load capacity, and keeps them light for good mobility. Not a whole lot to say -- no strengths, no weaknesses. They can be built to fight effectively at any range, or specialize for a particular range. They can take some hits, and the smallest thing that can stagger one is a Hand Gun (the small, pistol-like version, that is -- the "gold shotgun" handgun (WG-HG512) is designed for staggering ACs and can even stagger a bipedal heavyweight) A solid choice for beginner or expert alike. Beginners will like maintaining a good speed & having solid defenses, while experts will enjoy using their personal style and skills to overcome all sorts of challenges.

Heavyweight legs are slow & plodding, but make up for it with the second-highest defense levels available to players, excellent load capacity, and retaining some shred of lateral mobility. You'll usually want to compensate for that by using high-power boosters like the B-VR-33 or possibly even the exceptionally-draining B-P351. The choice largely depends on your generator, and how drainy the rest of your AC is. You can field some of the big guns easily, like Bazookas, cannons, the Karasawa, and more. Anything less then several small missiles, middle missiles, rockets, bazooka or bigger will not stagger you. The "gold shotgun" handgun (WG-HG512) -can- though, so watch out for that particular gun. You might think being a giant, lumbering tank with huge guns is easy, and it is -- for missions. Your defenses mitigate a lot of damage, and you can avoid the slow, powerful hits while dishing it out yourself. The same cannot be said when opponents are zipping around at 400km/h+, floating around behind you, and making your life hell. Some loadouts however straight-up cannot kill you because they will run out of ammo first. If this ever happens to you be sure to gloat how your indestructible death-dealing monstrosity stood up to their weak, baby weapons and blow them to hell at your leisure...or as soon as you can actually hit them. They are surprisingly hard to use, and if you don't use general-purpose weaponry like Rifles, Pulse Guns, Machine Guns, or the like you must be very mindful of your shots and your ammo consumption. Big guns tend to have less ammo. Make every shot count. I can't recommend them for beginner players unless you're sticking to missions. I'm not particularly a fan of them, but I know people who make good use of them and throw their weight around pretty easily. It's a love-or-hate thing, but it is typically very difficult to play to their strengths without significant practice.
For anyone who wants to know all the advantages and disadvantages when it comes to using a leg type, read it closely. He definitely does a more thorough job of explaining it than I can.

Lastly, here's a look at about how much progress we have left on disc 2. With only 9 EX Arena matches one, we've only covered about 8% of the content. I told you there was more Arena stuff crammed on this disc than in the main game.

Regular missions and Arena matches resume next update, with Ex Parts happening after each one with a new Arena ladder to be covered.