What is Armored Core V?
It's the latest chapter in the long-running mech combat franchise from FromSoftware, where all-out war with armored units is combined with strategy, suit customization, and a persistent profile that tracks progress both on- and offline.
According to FromSoftware, the biggest change between Armored Core V and previous chapters is ever-present online, even if you play single-player and never set foot in online battles. When you join Armored Core V, you choose a faction. Everything you accomplish contributes to the overall welfare and success of your allied faction.
Wait – I'm Always Online?
Yes, your persistent profile is critical to the world of Armored Core V. As stated, you never have to actually participate in huge online battles, but you will miss out on the most significant new feature if you opt out of multiplayer. As you score victories for your faction in single-player or alongside your faction online, you gain control of virtual territory. There is a limited amount of real estate in the world, and the ultimate goal is to control as much as possible. Everything you do is poured into the faction's land grab.
Seizing territory isn't the singular goal of Armored Core V, though. Factions may customize their acquired territory. Not only can you add physical features to your territory, but also set up missions and gauntlets for opponents to attempt. If rivals succeed, they may acquire some of your faction's hard-won territory.
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I Still Get to Customize My Robot, Right?
Of course. There are over 500 items to acquire and use to make your Armored Core a beautiful snowflake unique to you. However, the mechs in Armored Core V are smaller than those in previous chapters. The reason for this looks like speed, but it could also figure into FromSoftware's online plans that might not be so accommodating to skyscraper-sized robots.
When Does It Come Out?
Armored Core V hits Japan in late 2011. North America and Europe must wait until early 2012.