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First Time Impressions: Armored Core (PSOne)

So after almost two weeks solid of Warhammer Online and various half hour sessions of Mega Man, I decided to take a little break by starting a new series I haven't played before. After seeing the trailer for the new Armored Core game coming out, I decided perhaps it was time to check those games out.

1997 with my Playstation, here I come!

Now, usually when someone goes back to play an older game like this they have a safety net built from nostalgic memories to fall on to when the game appears to fall short. That is, unless you've never played the original game before. In that case, its a requirement to always remember two things.

1) The graphics are old, get over it.
2) No, the game doesn't suck, you do. Learn the controls, learn the game.

My first attempt at play, was a complete failure. At first, it seemed like an easy enough concept. Just complete missions, earn money, buy upgrades. Sure I sucked pretty bad but thats alright. I didn't have a manual for the game and I wasn't using a guide. Learning things the old fashioned way left me feeling pretty frustrated only because I had no idea what to do.

I kept at it though. Each mission I tried to move just a little better, aim just a little straighter. Using L2 and R2 to look up and down really threw me for a loop, but I got used to it. Just like a good pilot, you have to put your time in to learn how your craft moves and become better at maneuvering. 10 missions later I felt like I was finally getting a handle on things and pulling off some slick moves with my boosters, except I was -10k in the funding department... not exactly good.

Then it hit me. Progression relies on your ability to buy the right upgrades which in turn depends on you making as much money possible by not sucking. I had not thought of that. This is a good thing to know. So far my mech sucked and I bought him crap parts with what little I could afford.

However, I then discovered the beauty of this game. You can sell your parts at full price, and buy them back at full price. There is no penalty for scrapping your equipment and trying out different parts. I soon found out that this is key. And so began the process of learning what works and what doesn't through trial and error with experimentation. A few hours later and I was ready to start over.

With everything I learned so far, I was finally able to demolish the first 10 missions. Auto-firing missile lock is slick, laser weapons have terrifying power but limited ammo, quad legs (Tachikoma style) to zip around and support the most weight are VERY useful, shiny new generator to recharge energy levels quickly is a must, sell the useless radar, and mix and match the core/arms/head to get just the right build down. Now I'm having fun! Missions went much easier for me the second time around and I had lots of money to try some of the pricier parts and options.

So far I'm very glad I decided to play this series. I can't wait to finish this game and get to Armored Core 2 where the graphics start to really catch up to what the AC units look like in the much improved cutscenes. Not to mention a farther draw distance and levels that don't make me feel like I'm playing in a dark basement.

I'm also thinking the story might be better told in later installments of the series, because right now... emails from random corporations just isn't cutting it for me. I guess if wanted story in my mech games, perhaps I should be playing Zone of Enders.
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About Demtorone of us since 3:10 PM on 02.28.2008

I love me some pixels and retro games from the 16-Bit era and I miss the arcades of early 90's. Recently bought a PS3 followed by a 360 but I tend not to keep up with new releases, instead I often play older games I missed out on. Lately it's been hard though. Gamefly just keeps sending me games, and I keep beating them =)

Now Playing
Dragon Age: Origins
Rainbow Six: Las Vegas 2
Zombie Shooter 2
Zombie Driver

Favorite games
Demon's Souls
Shadow of the Colossus
Metal Gear Solid
Thief 2:The Metal Age
Doom 2
River City Ransom
Castlevania:Symphony of the Night
Bushido Blade
Secret of Mana
System Shock 2
Super Metroid
Final Fantasy III(j6)
Tie Fighter
Deus Ex
Baldur's Gate 2
Zelda: Link to the Past

Love this site, and the people involved in making it great. Its nice to have a gaming news blog that lets me curse unchecked when I fucking need to! I feel fortunate to be a part of such a great community. I became a big fan of the site when I stumbled across RetroforceGo! and fell in love with retro games all over again listening to others share their memories of the early glory days of gaming. Yeah, I'm an "old timer" that dislikes online console nonsense, misses the arcades and the fact that 2D games still take a back seat to 3D (the uprising is coming, I swear it!) but allow me to tell you how I came to be the gamer I am today.

I'm 27 and grew up on Nintendo and PC Gaming. Basically when my brother would have the TV to game I would be killing Nazis in Wolfenstein 3D or mapping out dungeons for Eye of the Beholder. When the SNES was released, the same pattern was repeated only with Doom and Lands of Lore in the mix. Throw in some Warcarft and Duke Nukem and I was two mouse clicks away from being addicted to PC gaming for life. Thankfully my brother was gracious enough to have a life so I could waste mine on our consoles when he had things to do, lol.

Back then every Friday it was almost an unspoken tradition to ride our bikes to Video Action down the block and rent a game for the weekend. Good lord we rented some terrible Nintendo games, but hey, we hadn't played them yet, so we had to try them. Home Alone and Cliffhanger would teach me otherwise.

I, like many, was duped by Nintendo with the 64. What a piece of shit system! At least I got to play Zelda and I did beat Turok (3D pitfall jumps and all). Mario 64 and F-Zero round out the few games I actually enjoyed on that system. PC games filled A LOT of my time then. Baldurs Gate, Thief, Tie Fighter, Diablo, Half-Life, Jagged Alliance, Mechwarrior 2, Warcraft 2, Starcraft, Hexen, Counter-Strike, etc. It wasn't until I convinced my brother that he had to get a Playstation for Final Fantasy 7 that I truly became a console junkie.

Getting a PS2 was a no brainer for me in high school. How could I not after devoting countless hours to my PS1 with games like Resident Evil 1 & 2, Alundra, Bushido Blade, FF8, FFTactics, Wild Arms, BoF3, Vagrant Story, Syphon Filter, Grandia, Silent Hill, Castlevania:SotN, Metal Gear Solid... I mean, sweet Jesus there were A LOT of great games for Playstation. Yeah they look old and busted now but back then they were amazing. So PS2 was just the next natural step up.

I PC gamed a lot more after that, heh. For some reason the PS2 console couldn't hold my attention past the obvious choices like GTA3/VC/SA and MGS2 & 3. Probably had more to do with my upgraded PC and the fact that PC games had a lot more appeal to me during the PS2's life cycle. Morrowind, Fallout 1 & 2, Diablo 2, Half-Life 2, Farcry, Deus Ex, Thief 3, Warcraft 3, Call of Duty, Gothic 1 & 2, Oblivion and then... World of Warcraft. Above all other reasons I find myself so behind on games, its because of WoW. That and around the time of WoW's release I started dating girls. I am now 3 years clean from WoW and am a better gamer for it. Only a few years clean from women, and also a better gamer for it, lol.

These days I'm catching up on games I missed. After two failed engagements and finally graduating from college with a BA I find I have LOTS of free on my hands but I'm loving every second of it. You realize how much you really take for granted when your freedom is limited for a time, and then given back to you.

RetroforceGo introduced me in to a new genre of games - SHMUPs!! I never get tired of some arcade shooting action. Can you yell DO DON PACHI!?! I can and do when I'm drunk and shooting spaceships in droves, muwhaha!

Bought a Gamecube for Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime. Then there was Ikaruga. I suck at it but man do I love playing that game. I plan on getting through Windwaker one of these days, but that damned jail sequence at the beginning really pissed me off.

Bought a PS3 for GTAIV because I knew MGS4 would be out soon and I'd have to have that as well. The 360 came soon after I realized games like Castle Crashers, Braid, Crackdown, Dead Rising and various SHMUPs needed my attention. Games like Dead Dishwasher Samurai still make me happy about my 360 purchase. Doubt I'll ever buy a Wii, though the new Punch Out was a lot of fun.

My DS begs for my attention as I attempt to play Piano for the first time ever. I also love reading fantasy novels from R.A. Salvatore and George R.R. Martin, watching movies and GOOD anime as well. I'm really in to TV shows like Dexter, House MD, and Sons of Anarchy as well as good independent pro wrestling like Ring of Honor and real sports like the NFL. Greenbay Packers 4 life! There just isn't enough hours in a day. Man, it is a great time to be a young nerd these days.
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