Armored Core Verdict Day is the latest in the long-running mech franchise which will be familiar to many and is available on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This newest installment is effectively a standalone expansion of the previous game (Armored Core V), allowing you to import many of the customization options from that game. While Verdict Day offers a lengthy singleplayer campaign, the main focus is on multiplayer, with players fighting for one of three factions for control of the world map, which resets weekly. Players can either form teams to get involved in the multiplayer action or create their own using AI-controlled UNACS to fill in the gaps.
The array of parts with which to customize your own Armored Core (a mech) is dizzying and amazingly complex with around 600 parts to choose from. Your AC (Armored Core) doesn’t need to be bipedal, with quadrupedal and even tank-tracked lower halves on offer. Most of the basic parts tend to be fairly similar with the only real choice being what kind of damage they offer the most protection from, allowing you to tailor your AC to the kind of enemy you expect to face.
The weapon selection on offer is impressive as well, with a host of different kinetic and energy weapons complimented by an array of different missile and rocket options. The most impressive tools in your arsenal are known as ‘Ultimate Weapons’, with six that have to be unlocked through completing the main story missions. In Verdict Day, using an Ultimate Weapon leaves your AC somewhat vulnerable as it deactivates the generator preventing you from gaining energy for around 40 seconds, which helps balance their extreme power.
Verdict Day has an incredible amount of depth, a lot of which won’t be at all obvious and will require you to do a lot of reading of the virtual manual. If you take the time to do this however, you will get a lot more out of the game, and really this is a necessary first step for a new player to take if you want to really enjoy the game. This depth makes a near endless array of possibilities viable when it comes to building your AC so there will always be a reason to try out new configurations and experiment.
While individual games have a minuscule effect upon the world map, the fact that they have any impact at all is a nice feature. For most players, the progress of the global war won’t mean much but for groups, especially larger clans, being able to see the cumulative results of your victories and defeats lends a sense of meaning should keep fans coming back for a long time to come.