Armored Core: Formula Front is a pair of related games--one for the PS2 and one for the PSP. The PSP game actually looks just as good as the PS2 game, making it one of the few titles that fulfills Sony's "promise" that their portable has the same horsepower as a PS2. Players will be able to import the robots they create in the PSP game into the PS2 game. The interesting thing about both versions of Formula Front is that they're not mission-based action games like the other iterations of the AC series have been.
Developer From Software has kept all of the parts-jockeying and customization intact, but, instead of battling multiple enemy mechs in large environments, the focus of this new game is 1-on-1 arena combat.
Players can assemble a garage of as many as five different mechs, or "Cores." Each robot consists of a head, a body, a leg set, an arm set, a generator, a radiator, and optional weapons for the left arm, right arm, left shoulder, and right shoulder. The cash earned from battles can be spent on better parts or used to tune them. When all is said and done, you'll be able to create your own custom mechs from a selection of more than 500 unique parts.
Re-development on the game is currently on-going, so we don't have much to report about the combat controls at this time.
We sure can say that the game looks beautiful though. The mechs and backgrounds in Formula Front are way more detailed than the mechs in previous Armored Core games, and, since the developers don't have to make the environments as expansive as in the past, they've kicked up the level of detail with loads of new flame, heat, water, and transparency effects. When a robot fires a missile volley, you can actually see the hatch covers pop open and watch scortch marks form on the robot's shoulders as the heat from the rocket engines burns the robot's metallic hull.
According to our sources inside Agetec, the TV style presentation from the Japanese version of the game will still be retained in the form of post-battle replays. Players will be able to view the battle from multiple angles and the replay camera will automatically zoom-in or slow-down the action during particularly dramatic scenes.
5/14/2005 Frank Provo