Armored Core V: Verdict Day has roughly 60 story missions that are all rather forgettable; most of them boil down to killing all enemies. If you have come looking for an epic dystopian Mecha story then Verdict Day will disappoint, it brings the bare essentials to produce a story about MechWarrior’s battling each other.
Online and multiplayer are the main focus for where combat takes place; selecting one of three factions to work with per season means that each season has a new mix of players to fight with or against. Unfortunately, as fun and exciting as that sounds, during my time with the game I could not find a single match or another player online. The premise is great and hopefully with the servers being region free this time around the online component will be more accessible.
Verdict Day apparently takes place all over the world, yet somehow manages to make every level look like the same patch of desert or building repeatedly. The developers seems have a fondness for brown and blue (brown is the clear favourite here), most combat areas consist of deserts and repetitive cityscapes.
If you are a beginner then opting for a faster, more agile, Mec will help you get around the terrain; speed over strength will benefit new-comers while they learn and understand the game. Combat is restrictive for the larger Mecs, thicker shielding won’t protect against the onslaught of aerial enemies that love to hover right above your head, just out of reach of your reticule. Most levels are a trial and error affair, returning to alter your Mec to cater for the mission, experience is defiantly required so expect to put in a lot of hours grinding and tweaking your Mec.
If you are not a seasoned player then it all comes down to trial and error; unless you are willing to research what certain abbreviations mean, delve deep into understanding the performance of parts, or leaf through page after page of information. If you have misunderstood something, or assumed that the item is better just because the stats are higher in number, then you have to do your homework to enjoy. If that is you thing than Armored Core V: Verdict Day offers some of the deepest customisation options I have seen in years.
Combat really depends on how you decide to utilise your Mec, ranging from heavy ground combat to dashing and hovering around the arena in a light Mec. It is hard to get a fix on exactly how it feels to play, as everyone will have a different experience due to the extensive customisation. The enemies, on the other hand, are the same for everyone and also where the issues with combat arise, enemies can be outrageously dumb. Flying Mec’s can and will fly over your Mec, hovering just out of weapons reach; realistically this would be a good tactic if they could also attack while doing so, but it just becomes a case of awkward fly swatting. When opponents do attack, they have over-powered weapons that make short work of any shielding or health you have, most of them make a B-line for you and don’t give much of an option for offensive or defensive maneuvers, leaving you to back pedal until either you or your enemies die.
Without a doubt the Armored Core franchise has been a mixed bag with the last few instalments, and Verdict Day does nothing to entice new players or lessen the learning curve. With nothing more than a few new toys on offer Armored Core V: Verdict Day feels more like an update or DLC than anything else and did not warrant a seventy dollar retail release.
Final Round Rating - 5/10
- Will Flynn