The Let's Play Archive

Armored Core

by ArclightBorealis

Part 15: EX Chapter 2: What Makes an Armored Core?

Editor's note: this applies to Chapter 2

Another entry in the let’s play means another bonus post, elaborating more on the technical details of Armored Core. As you could tell in Part 2 a good bit of time was spent in the shop getting new parts for our AC. If you’ve been wondering what all the numbers and stats on these parts meant and what they do, I have you covered.

To summarize briefly, an Armored Core is comprised of seven key components for basic functionality. These are the head, core (the torso of the mech), arms, legs, generator, fire control system (FCS), and boosters. The three remaining types of components used by the AC are arm weapons, back weapons, and optional parts. We’ll start by explaining the components that are required for an AC to work.

Head – The head’s most important role for the AC is providing a visual of the surroundings to the pilot. While contributing to the Armored Core’s overall AP, one aspect to balance between choices of heads is additional armor points at the expense of radar functions. This can also include how detailed the AC’s auto map of the mission area is, or a bio sensor function when dealing with non mechanical targets. Some parts even have a missile sensor that will display incoming missiles on the AC’s radar, allowing for the pilot to respond to the attack much sooner.

Core – A very crucial component that make up most of the Armored Core’s AP. The core is the torso of the AC, and is where the pilot is situated, as well as the generator, FCS, and boosters. Compared to other AC parts, there are very few cores, and the ones available lend themselves to specific styles of ACs, factors including weight class and number of optional part slots. Two of the three cores in the game contain an anti missile defense system in the form of a single barrel on the front of the core.

Arms – There are two types of arms for an Armored Core. The first are normal arms that are designed to hold a variety of weapons, and determines the AC’s aiming ability and precision with a blade weapon. The second are weapon arms, which are exactly as the name describes. They have less AP and are lighter in weight, but are extremely powerful in combat. Both arms draw from the same ammo pool though, and having no ammo left can leave the AC unable to continue combat.

Legs – Arguably the most important part of the AC aside from the core itself, as they come in four types, make up a large part of the mech’s AP, and is what ACs are commonly classified by.
Generator – This is what gives the AC power, and allows it to use the boosters and other energy based weapons. Things to keep in mind are how much energy the generator can hold (the capacity is how much energy can be drawn to the other parts of the mech before it can’t go any further) and the rate it recharges. Standing still doing nothing will let the generator recharge as quickly as possible, and only slightly slower while moving. When the energy meter enters the generator’s red zone, it takes much longer for the energy to return, and if it goes past the redzone all energy dependent functions like boosters and weapons are shut off until it recharges.

FCS – The Fire Control System is what allows the AC to lock on to targets as well as the shape of the aim window. In the original Armored Core, the categories for FCS are Standard, Wide & Shallow, Tall, and Narrow & Deep. The shapes of the aim boxes for these different FCS types are different, as well as determine the range at which targets can be locked on. The FCS also determines how many targets can be locked on at a time, which is useful for AC builds utilizing missile launchers.

Boosters – The component that allows an AC to be as fast and mobile as it is. These obviously draw a lot of power from the AC’s generator. Obviously the more powerful the thrust from the booster, the larger the energy drain is. While not described in the details describing them, each booster has a different exhaust length and color to the flame. These and Generators often go in hand as a high power booster goes well with a high energy capacity generator.

Now those are the required components. Here’s all the extra stuff you can throw onto your AC if you have the energy and weight capacity to spare.

Arm Weapons – With the exception of laser blades, all arm weapons are equipped on the AC’s right arm. There are various types including rifles, machine guns, hand guns, sniper rifles, bazookas, energy weapons, and a flamethrower (not available in the shop). These weapons have their own ammunition, reload rate, as well as Weapon Lock type, which is best used with a similar FCS. For example, the rifle that you start the game with, WG-RF35, has a Wide & Shallow weapon lock, so it would be used with an FCS of a similar lock type. And as demonstrated already in the LP, energy weapons do not count toward ammunition costs in the income and expense report at the end of missions. The laser blades are equipped on the left arm only and are used as an offhand melee weapon.

Back Weapons – Back weapons can be equipped on either the left or right shoulders of the AC. In fact, if you have the money for it, you can buy two of the same weapon and put them on both. The back weapon types include missile launchers, rocket launchers, bomb dispensers, shoulder cannons, and radars. The shoulder cannon weapons include items like chain guns, grenade launchers, laser cannons and so on. These are the weapons that Bipedal and Reverse Jointed ACs have to stand still for in order to fire due to the recoil. Radars obviously give the AC radar function if the head part doesn’t have one built in. There are also three dual back units that take up both shoulder slots on the AC, but these are only missile weapons.

Optional Parts – These parts are very much optional, as they are modules that are plugged into slots on the AC’s core, enhancing particular qualities or aspects of the machine. There are some modules that take up one slot like reducing shell damage or energy damage, while some modules take up multiple slots, like expanding the AC’s generator charge. Not every part can be equipped so only use the ones that best suit the AC. These are the lowest priority items to worry about when customizing an AC.

So those are all the parts. How do they all come together? Well, I’ll tell you, by using my current AC build as an example.

When building an Armored Core, there are three parameters to keep in mind: Energy, Core Weight, and Leg Weight. The first one is easy to explain as it is determined by the generator’s energy output. The reason having enough energy output is important is because every part needs some amount of energy in order to function. Things like arm and leg movements, boosters, radar functions, you name it. Every part in the store has the amount of energy drain listed so you can see how much it requires. And as you can see, the selected item in the garage lists how much energy is uses (EP), as well as its weight (WP) which we will cover next

Now, for core weight and leg weight. To describe both simply, core weight is the core’s ability to hand the capacity of the arms, head, generator, FCS, boosters, and any back weapons and arm weapons. The leg weight is the leg’s ability to carry all the above mentioned parts. This is another reason why the legs can be considered the most important part of the AC, and that is the weight capacity. Choosing a leg will affect the leg’s weight capacity, but every part will affect how much the core and legs can both handle.

As you can probably tell by where my AC is now in the LP, Energy drain is not a major issue as our capacity is very close to 10000 and anything else we equip won’t come anywhere close to that. We already have a heavy weight core supporting some light to middleweight arms and being supported by middleweight legs, so we can’t really put any more weight on top of the AC without getting better legs. For now, the legs will stay the same until I have acquired enough money and the right parts that I will need specific legs to support those parts.

If this sounds complex, well, it is. But the good news is that this is the least complex Armored Core customization in the entire series. Just wait until you get to AC2, with extensions and radiators and inside parts and overboost and other nonsense. It only gets more in depth from there.