505 Games has announced that online multiplayer will be included when Armored Core 4 launches in Europe next Friday.
It may already be out in Japan, but Armored Core 4 won't be with us in time for the PlayStation 3's European launch - with publisher 505 Games today announcing that it's due out on 27th April instead.
It might be the first to appear on the PlayStation 3, but Armored Core 4 is actually the twelfth game in the series. The chances are, though, that you won't be too familiar with any of the previous 11 games in the Armored Core series, so here's a quick rundown: create or customise a big robot (called, appropriately enough, an Armored Core, or AC) by choosing from hundreds of body and weapon parts. Then fight other big robots, either in one-on-one arena battles or in more elaborate missions. It's a simple formula, which conceals an enormous amount of depth. But it's not a formula that, so far, has had a huge amount of commercial success outside Japan and the US.
Partly that's because of the idiosyncrasy of the game's default control scheme, which forced players to move around using the d-pad and look up and down by using the triggers, instead of simply using the two analogue sticks like every other third-person title in existence. But actually, the clunky controls did a good job of capturing the lumbering sense of scale of piloting a big stompy robot.
So the most obvious thing about Armored Core 4 (apart from the fact that it's on the PlayStation 3) is that they've changed the control scheme. Now, as with every other third-person title in existence, one analogue stick is used to move and the other to look around. Not that the sense of piloting a complicated piece of machinery has entirely vanished: you'll still need twenty fingers to switch between your various weapons while strafing, boosting, dodging and launching countermeasures. Still, the result, along with a cleaner, clearer HUD design and a couple of tweaks to the gameplay (no more overheating, greater freedom to use your AC's booster), is a more accessible, more streamlined, and a much faster, more fluid game than previous Armored Core titles.
Japanese weekly Famitsu reports that Armored Core 4 will arrive on PlayStation 3 this November.
As promised earlier this week, we've got some new details on From Software titles Tenchu 360 and Armored Core 4 for you.
According to good old Famitsu magazine, Tenchu 360 will feature a kind of Make Your Own Ninja mode where you can create a character from scratch. He'll start off weak as a kitten, well, a ninja kitten, but as the game progresses he'll gain strength, learn new skills and pick up more combat moves.
The Tenchu trailer shown at the Tokyo Game Show said there were 60 million possible variables - presumably that's if you count all the various attributes, body parts and items available.