I have a friend who likes to frequently remind me that part of the charm with the older Armored Core games is their absolute clunk. In modern video games, we usually have a lot of jank – but clunk? Clunk is usually filtered out pretty quickly anymore because clunk absolutely sucks. We just don’t remind my friend unless we’re having a spat about the clear and distinct superiority that is Armored Core’s fourth generation.
But if you’re playing Armored Core VI or you just got done with it and you’re clamoring for more, going back and getting into the earlier titles can be quite difficult. Not only have resale values gone up; supposing you do get your hands on some of the older titles such as Armored Core 3, you’re going to find they have a really… Difficult control scheme.
We won’t go into the memes, but we will go over this really awesome modification by VanLaser that massively improves the games by giving you far more standardized third person shooter style controls.
As per the GitHub, the mod actually smooths out the controls so you’re not dealing with all-or-nothing implementation when it comes using the right analog stick for view controls, and oh man, lemme tell you, this evens the playing field.
I played through Armored Core 3 on Hard and it was still as much of a complete pain in the ass as I remember (ha, Souls players think they know FromSoft’s real difficulty), but now? It was an even playing field. I only beat one arena fight by completely cheesing it (did you know most of the AI tries to get behind you and that’s all they really try to ‘do’ in a fight? Some fun reactions when you put your back against the wall…) but otherwise I beat C-13 Barchetta with a single grenade launcher on a light build by out-shooting him.
God it felt good.
Of course I absolutely had him carry me through the Extra Arena to atone for my sins and his.
Through the course of a pretty complete playthrough, I ran into no issues, just re-learning how to play this old game and remembering that whether or not I want to believe FromSoft knew better at any point, energy output is the only useful stat on 90% of their generators, and getting some good ol’ guidance from folks I used to think were insane, I now fully embrace rockets as my god and savior.
I even use rockets in Armored Core 4 now, I’m like, completely born again.
Even when I’ve gone back and played Armored Core 3 so I could grab reference material for it, I basically completed what I needed to prove the point I was trying to make and then rapidly made room by removing the ROMs after. The degree to which this changed the game is pretty massive: I haven’t beat Armored Core 3 in probably a decade just because it’s that clunky.
Which is pretty sad because as a mech sim goes, it’s really hard to beat Armored Core 3 and the immediately subsequent titles. There’s a wide variety of notes it could hit better, but it’s no doubt that this title set the standard for which we see today. I will say I didn’t beat every mission with the mod, but I did get every part and fully completed my OP-Intensify before moving over to Silent Line and didn’t run into any issues. So with the extents of the problems that the mod maker is aware of, I would say this is completely playable and absolutely worth the experience.
Oh. You. Yes, you, you know who you are. Think of this as an open letter to go back and play Armored Core 3 with and without this mod. Do it and come back to me and tell me that it was better without. Tell me you like your clunk that much old man.