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Armored Core 2
Score: 98%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Agetec
Developer: From Software
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:
Armored Core is back and looks better than ever in its first appearance on the PlayStation 2. Armored Core 2 not only features better looking graphics in general, but much more detailed mech emblems as well. If you're into making your own emblem for your mech, you'll enjoy the ability to use a USB mouse to make your own emblem without fighting the gamepad. As for the sound, the sound effects are pretty good and the music isn't half bad. In extended matches in the arena, the music can get a bit redundant, but then again, I tend to draw out arena matches for long periods of time, wearing my opponents down or tricking them into exhausting their ammunition...

Gameplay:
Ah, the eternal question, 'Is it FUN?'. Yes. I would have to say this game is definitely fun. There's a 'roleplaying' aspect to the missions that RPG gamers will like, but it doesn't get in the way of non-RPG gamers. Those interested in 1-on-1 mech combat can while away the hours in the arena. Cutomization freaks (and I can call them this because I'm one of them) will find barrel-fulls of modifications that can be made; from upgrading legs and arms to changing weapon systems, to type of radar, to your own custom emblem. It's all there to be played with. If you want to (or need to), you can modify your mech to better suit each new mission or opponent. If you prefer, you can keep you mech the same and see how far you can get.

Difficulty:
The difficulty ramps up nicely in Armored Core 2. The early missions (and opponents) are fairly easy, but things get progressively harder. Often, you have a couple (or so) missions to choose from at any given time. Watch the debriefing information for each and see which you think you'd be able to do. You can use the amount of money offered as an indicator of the difficulty, but bear in mind that conditions might change once you're on the mission. They might have known that enemy reinforcements would arrive. Also - it's important to keep track of what your SPECIFIC goal is. In some cases, you may merely have to protect some specific object for a limited time. There's no need to try to kill all enemies if this is the case; just protect the object. In the arena, you can only choose the next mech above you to challenge. If you win, you get a monetary prize which can be spent on upgrades, etc. If you lose, you can try again. You don't have to pay for ammo or repairs involved in arena fights, so the arena is a good way to build up some money if you find yourself unprepared for your next mission. (And you will...) Overall, the game does have its difficult parts, but it remains interesting even at those times. Armored Core 2 is a hard game to put down.

Game Mechanics:
Combining arena fighting and mission based fighting allows Armored Core 2 to provide that 'instant action' for casual games as well as that 'submersive storyline' for those who are fans of the genre. Throw in the 2-player mode and you can really choose the way you want to mix it up. This game really pushes the concept of 'customization'. The levels of modification and customization a player can make to their mech are astounding. The game is excellent, and its production quality is high. Armored Core 2 is a must have for mech combat gamers who want to show off their PS2s.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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