Just some dude who loves RPGs, Mecha, Indie and everything in between.
Score is based on how much I enjoyed the game
5 = Unforgettable Masterpiece
4.5 = Close to a Magnum Opus
4 = Fantastic, with minor imperfections
3.5 = Two thumbs up! Though YMMV
3 = Passable, except big red flags
2.5 = Meh
2 = Super Meh
1.5 = Something in the mud
1 = Terrible
0.5 = Run away and don't look back
0 = At this point. I need to time-travel to stop my past self from playing the game.
Youtube link above is my channel where I try to upload videogame reviews when I have the time and walkthroughs. To help others and give a shoutout to games with my 2 cents.
If you want to chat about games you can find me at Discord - Detectivefail
or Steam
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Favorite Games

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions


Total Games Played


Played in 2023


Games Backloggd

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Marvel's Spider-Man
Marvel's Spider-Man

Sep 20

Pathfinder: Kingmaker
Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Sep 20

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition

Sep 19

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon

Sep 05

The Legend of Heroes: Trails Into Reverie
The Legend of Heroes: Trails Into Reverie

Aug 12

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“It’s often written about how Final Fantasy VII changed the fate of Japanese RPGs upon its release in 1997. Much less is written about how, one year later, Baldur’s Gate revitalized the CRPG genre. After the genre tapered off during the mid-90s, losing its appeal to “Doom clones”, RTS games, and the rising popularity of consoles, some CRPG developers were left wondering if they had coded themselves into a corner. Baldur’s Gate, though, managed to bring them back to the spotlight, selling two million copies worldwide and forever elevating the recently founded BioWare into a household name for CRPGs. It’s not that it was the only CRPG around. The revered Fallout series began a year before, to similar critical acclaim – but only a tiny fraction of the sales.” - Felipe Pepe, The CRPG Book: A Guide to Computer Role-Playing Games
As someone who didn’t grow up with Fallout or Baldur’s Gate. Two franchises continued to surprise me to no end during my ventures playing their older catalog over recent years. Fallout 2, being the last old CRPG I beat, I figured it was high time to see how much BG1 holds up, so I can familiarize myself with the universe before eventually starting BG3 down the road. First, I must confess to completing both the base game and Siege of Dragonspear with mods. I say this earlier on to not confuse my experience of a modded playthrough against a non-mod experience. As a consequence, I’ve gone the extra mile to play my switch copy to see how vanilla is to compare the two. Not to completion, but enough to grant me a fair grasp. I’ll discuss this in detail later, but I figure a warning would suffice early on to prevent any misconceptions between vanilla and modded content. I’ll talk about mods later and if I don’t discuss it, please assume I’m discussing vanilla.
Orphaned at a young age. Unknowing of their parentage. Adopted by the kindness of a stranger. Grew up sharing a loving childhood along a playful lass. Taught discipline and care by your father. Lived safely in the confines of the library fortress of Candlekeep for many years. What more could they want? Well… Such halcyon days must come to an end when suddenly you’re attacked by mysterious assassins! Questioning them leads to no answers. So we ask our stepfather later on for any information, However, he evades your queries in favor of leaving the bastion of respite and comfort you’ve known for twenty years. In search of finding answers to these unprovoked attacks in the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms. A campaign setting inside Dungeon and Dragons.
I adore the slow story approach to gently albeit dangerously letting the player go off to the coast and encounter whatever lurks behind the shadows, paved roads, and unbeaten paths. The unrestricted freedom is a major plus and to my delight, I found worthwhile discoveries across my travels alongside my horrible luck being attacked by foolish bandits or powerful creatures. Early on, I was scared yet excited. I came across another kind soul offering tips and directions. Yet unknowingly I wonder if such a person may have a hidden motive to backstab me. Anxiety, dread, and vigilance were my constant internal ruminations once I saw unfamiliar creatures patrolling. Even neutral bears are no exception. Capable of dealing massive damage to my comrades should I provoke one half-heartedly. Beyond the regular horrors of animals and insects, I was able to fight different manners of goblins, ogres, variants of ghouls, ghosts, etc. No shortage of interesting enemies to fight. And my axe cleaved through them viscerally. A dangerous yet fine balance emerges. Granting parties a fighting chance, and safety and instilling a sense of vigilance. I could’ve bumped the difficulty lower time, but I kept the normal difficulty throughout to give me a sense of challenge and excitement. I deeply appreciate the open freedom whilst encountering dangers and opportunities wherever I tread, reminding me heavily of roaming the Wastelands in Fallout 1 and 2.
Enjoyable isometric RPG gameplay. Dialogue choices do a good job of giving you a variety of options to be witty, sarcastic, no-nonsense, blunt, dismissive, etc. In effect, they augment conversations. A visit to the tavern to buy alcohol teases points of interest to travel and investigate. Conversing with the common folk results in similar outcomes. Innocent conversations may lead to potential side quests and multichain ones providing increased incentive to witness the outcome of an ailing NPC. Forget the conversations? Simply scrolling up on the text box reveals past lines said. A handy journal is equipped too which is interesting and provides the player character(PC) monologues of his/her/their internal thoughts about the quest or information sought. Therefore, depth to the world of Forgotten Realms is an alluring prospect. A search function is included too! I habitually checked my journal constantly to read my inner PC’s thoughts on a quest or journal entry. Occasionally to my amusement my dialogue choices can be quite witty, sarcastic, brisk, blunt, or gentle and helpful. The internal monologues are shared without remorse. And I welcome these thoughts and relish the lines.
For those not inclined to the hustle and bustle of speaking. One can dive deep into combat. No, not turn-based. No need to grind to level 100 like a JRPG. BG1 uses advanced dungeons and dragons 2nd edition(2E ADND) ruleset. This means you start at a measly level one, working your way to ten. Utilizing real-time action with pause fights they’re the main meat of the fighting aspect. Mouse over an enemy, click, and bam! Your whole party will auto-attack the individual. You can also initiate battles whenever you please. So attacking a shopkeeper or nearby civilian who’s off doing their errands is not exempt from your blade or spells. Hell, the AI will work its magic! No input is required! If the AI isn’t up to snuff. Tinker their script and check each unit’s actions. An aspect that surprised me greatly and the innate options to change their AI to your preference is excellent. Though to be fair I didn’t tinker too much! The default settings are adequate to suit my fighting playstyle. To BG1’s credit, plenty of customization options are at your disposal. Aside from the regular equipment, you can outfit each member: equip two rings, cloaks, amulets, belts, and extra weapon slots! Changeable in the heat of battle. I’m astounded by the sheer options at your disposal in 1998! Making build variety worth experimenting like a madman. Min-maxers will find no shortage to increase their stats or change spells in their spellbook to suit any occasion.
I felt super joy in clearing the nearby lands of evil and helping poor souls along the way. Despite ironically being an allegedly evil paladin. Builds and classes are plentiful and deep. I could assign any of my members in dual classes(within reason), learn spells for my mages, or slot any manner of weaponry as long as the class allows them to. Use ranged weaponry, a sling to hit enemies, and casting spells using wands. By the last chapter, I was running a six-man crew consisting of A Blackguard who is an evil paladin, a thief who is a ranger, and my childhood friend. A vengeful half-orcish Blackguard, A red wizard who begrudgingly joins our motley crew, a neutral evil drow cleric, and an unlucky wild mage who can’t control her powers. A dysfunctional group, full of uneasy alliances and explosive personalities, stayed together through thick and thin. Many fights ensued and yet. We. Did. Not Falter. Okay I must admit we did fail a lot in the final boss… but that’s a story for another day
Companions are plentiful. Twenty-four plus allies you can recruit and four exclusive ones in the enhanced edition. My feelings of satisfaction permeated once I saw a potentially new member along the horizon. Asking for genuine assistance. By random chance in a building. Stumble on unique encounters. Where any battle may ensue or a unique script may play. Choose to help, attack, or run away. These instances never rinse and repeat in a tiring formula. Instead, they felt natural. Moving on the question may arise to utilize canon units before importing to the following expansions/sequels. According to my CRPG veteran friend of mine. The individuals or other party members you choose are “subjective and a pretty fine line. I think if you're uncertain, go for the canon. If you like your setup already, keep it. A little better, but not something you should go out of your way to meet.” Upon completing the plot and seeing the difference between my non-canon friends and my switch version, I'm rolling alongside the canon company. Ultimately, I agree with their statement. Only adding follow your heart to suit your desire. Although, you should keep Dorn as a prospective acquaintance to recruit mhhm.
The Sword Coast is full of danger, excitement, and surprises. Gentle worldbuilding and clean-to-deep lore work wonders. Boosting the writing to levels near engrossing to read. I love it! Reminding me heavily of Lord of the Rings except if the fellowship decided to go off the beaten path and help those in need. Forget the ring! Anyway… a wealth of books you can buy in taverns, and shops presenting interesting backgrounds on religion, history, past historical events, legends, myths, etc. Never hurts reading! Connecting nicely in minor ways to my allies, citizens, and villains! Not pages of exposition. Mostly a couple of paragraphs or extra if you get a heavier tome. Granting informative knowledge on the races, items, and locales. Subtly nudging me to go deeper beyond the surface level “Oh that’s just an elf. Meh, a dwarf, bah a human?” Nay my marvelous friends! They’re more than meets the eye. For the elf could be a half-elf or a drow! Dwarves mistaken for gnomes! And humans themselves can prove resilient. though still squishy… And relations between people are not the norm such as jolly and peaceful. Reminds me of X-Men/Mutant/Brotherhood relationships with the common folk except fantasied. Racism, class hierarchy, and hidden factions are abundant. And I, the poor unlucky son of a gun, have to find answers?! Gimme a break. I’m only level one…
Sidequests feel natural and written well. I like how little down-to-earth they are and deal in relatable matters. One has you stop a man about to jump off a cliff! Search for a cloak to return to a dismayed individual. Clean a house of spiders for the owner to take up residence. May seem mundane and not offer much. Nevertheless, I appreciate the slightly monotonous tasks to slowly build up my user and partners' strengths. Sooner or later I was rolling level 3s party and higher. I was able to partake in extensively intricate activities. A certain thief's quest to pass a test. Passing judgment on a man brainwashed. Aiding or killing a crook who seeks to take advantage of innocent individuals and return a chicken to human life. I kid you not I’m in disbelief on the chicken side mission. A bit of RNG is involved. Incredible to see a quest fail by chance. Hell, you can sell the guy to a vendor and forget him. It wasn’t worth it. The vendor didn’t reward me enough gold… I enjoyed the progression of slowly increasing the complex quests as my friends grew stronger since they offer a realistic fantasy take in mixing inspiration from our lived experiences into a videogame and to the developer's credit I feel it works wonderfully. My members were rugged and dirty as I completed all objectives until my journal entries were tidy. The physical rewards were sufficient and lore-wise adequate. Mods restoring cut content I highly suggest checking out. I found their inclusion to not be out of place and fit superbly adding depth and giving life to the areas you visit.
In the interest of not gushing further, I must talk about my mixed feelings now. Not a positive or a negative, but for the sake of transparency I'm noting them down.
The base game without mods is a bit lifeless compared to my modded playthrough. Certainly there are moments NPC’s are designated, but the world feels sparse, has tiny reactivity, and is slightly oppressive. The absence of considerable mini/side quests and NPCs at intervals loses my interest in keeping going. I cannot send my companions to a specific place. The banter in my cabal is nearly non-existent. And reactions to story beats are missing. Voiced NPC lines are likewise gone. Identifying can be a pain. You’ll come across a sizable amount of magical items/equipment on your adventures. In demand of identifying either by a spell or by heading to a temple and having the priest identify the item to fully see their properties. Not a pain if we are given loads of unidentifiable equipment, and to BG1’s credit, a sufficient amount to tide us over. Not over-gorging amidst decision paralysis. The tediousness comes in the constant back and forth to towns to identify and sell stuff you accrue to offload the heavyweight. Being encumbered sucks. Different members can hold different amounts of carry load so it is kinda not a wonderful idea to make an associate of low weight capacity. The absence of a book bag is puzzling to a degree since decent materials are available to read and not having an ease of access hurts a bit. Sure a handful of items exist in the form of ‘bags of holdings’ to slot gems, potions, and scrolls. Their weight is not endless. Exacerbated by a considerably slow movement speed which boggles my mind as to why no movement speed slider is in the options to make our traversal faster.
THAC0 & Armor Class minus '-' numbers values can be fairly confusing for newbies. How I usually play is seeing numbers of ‘plus’ meaning ‘good’ and ‘minus’ equalling ‘bad.’ Math is different in BG1. The rest is fine as far as I know. You’ll usually see if it is beneficial to apply if the numbers are highlighted in green for favorable/better and red being bad/underperforming. So equipping a weapon displaying a green highlight is best. If it's red don’t equip or else you’ll perform in a minor capacity. Furthermore, pixel squinting in a handful of sections may be necessary. One in a pretty big optional dungeon, a main plot segment, and to a lesser extent upon exploring multiple floors in buildings. Honestly, you probably will squint maybe 5-10%. To my absolute delight, a zoom function, and a highlight everything option exists. Doesn’t alleviate the squinting issue entirely, but a cool option to use. Interacting with objects in a room to solve puzzles or clicking a secret stash can be a bit troublesome without looking carefully at your surroundings.
Can be overwhelming to understand the 2E ADND ruleset for newbies of what you can and cannot do and how values are applied during clashes. At least it's not Pathfinder homework My friends who played alongside me reported similar confusion. I feel reading the manual can help in a certain way to receive a better understanding of the mechanics. Bit lengthy at a hundred-fifty pages plus, but the combat portion is the most important to remember in my opinion. So no obligation to read all of it. Lots of tutors in Candlekeep explain the most important things: Mechanics, features, tips, explanations, etc. Before venturing off, best to chat near cohorts. Thereby gaining a better comprehension of various obscure topics.
In effect, A dangerous, rigid, unforgiving land emerges. Creating a fascinating contrast from my original modded playthrough. The benefits inside the console port I appreciate. A big green outline to all accessible buildings makes access easier, decreasing squinting. Primarily used the controller due to being so comfortable than using a keyboard and mouse(KB+M). Plenty of options in the settings to tweak to your liking. The new CG replaces the old FMV, though I much prefer the original version compared to the new one. Heavier in visceral atmosphere, conveys a darker tone, and has longer scenes compared to Beamdog’s version. As a result, I feel without mods BG1 creates a partially slower, but acceptable version to play for newcomers and veterans alike.
Base game with mods is a completely different ballpark. Much of my mixed feelings are thrown out the window. Containing quality of life features across the board. The commitment to identify is gone. The default movement speed is tweaked to be faster to my preference. NPC banter is awesome, narrative beats hit a big splash, and interactivity feels very fitting and not out of place at all in my honest opinion. The cut content is a welcome addition to augment life in Sword Coast’s areas providing I would say 50-75% additional activities to do. Mini/side quests are not exempt. And subsequently not too out of place. UI tweaks make quick looting not a chore and display data during info/shop menus are very welcome. A tweaks anthology module goes above the heavens to tweak nearly every aspect. My buddy and I strictly kept our list small and light to enhance vanilla, keeping the balance as close as possible to the original. As long as it's fun, but fair then by all means mod away! Consequently, my modded playthrough experience became fun, exciting, and very enjoyable. I extremely recommend installing mods on PC if you can.
Before I forget, my thoughts on Siege of Dragonspear the expansion to BG1. Solid stuff and a prelude to BG2. We start weeks after the events of the first title. Caelar Argent and her army arrived near Baldur’s Gate quickly. For what purpose? No clue man. But I spend the rest of my questing life confronting her forces in skirmishes and dastardly deeds. She has the gall to send assassins to me!? Yeah, I’m done lady on the assassination attempts. So now you and your comrades set off to investigate her motives, her reasons for sending agents and why the bloody hell does she need an army!? Doesn’t take long to complete. You can finish it quickly according to HLTB in 18 hours or less. For me, I did all the sidequests clocking in under twenty-five hours. Bit of a step down in quality compared to the previous entry, in terms of dialogue and non-fighting. Most if not all of them consist of fighting. These are the moments, the expansion shines a great deal. Epic battles opposing Caelar’s forces. Imagine army vs. army. Defending our position against waves of enemies, infiltrating enemy camps, finding clues to unlock an alternate path, etc. I love it! Smaller maps and favoring a linear approach dressing down the large dungeons in favor of bite-sized portions alongside their puzzle segments. Super appreciate the change of pace from a grand scale in the first, to enhanced closer encounters to test our mettle. Companions chatter at various points to talk about their gripes, goals, or on their new adventures. So they’re not left in the dust for development. Heck, the new units are a treat too! Music again hits all the right notes. No major complaints to say, despite a wish for a sprinkle of nuance in the writing giving a heavier expanse to the world. And it does so to a certain extent. I would’ve liked a bit of extra lore-building to devour. I also wish one member had received extended screen time to develop. Still, Dragonspear is a solid one and I recommend it for those who want worthwhile content and can’t get enough of the Forgotten Realms universe.
One last thing before I head out. Special thanks to the following people who played beside me. Kairoch for completing a modded playthrough. Mango and Jag for finishing the Switch version and granting me an interesting insight into their experiences and finally Donkeyworld for clarifying and providing awesome CRPG insight. This review would not be possible without their thoughts, company and countless laughter sharing our experiences. I also apologize for this long review. It has been in the works for weeks and I’ve nearly gone crazy about whether to publish this longer or shorter. Ultimately cut pages as a result. Nevertheless, I'll allocate them in a Pastebin link below for those curious.
And so after defeating the final boss, seeing the end credits, and doing everything possible plus completing Siege of Dragonspear over the course of my seventy-five hour journey. I can only say Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition is a refreshing CRPG to try out. Despite some hurdles and bumps on the road during my travels, I believe BG1EE is a fine entrypoint. An above-average effort to keep the game modernized enough for consumers today. Hold’s up nicely. Consequently, I believe the Switch copy and by extension console ports is a serviceable version to play if you don’t desire to tinker around on PC. 98% of my hours were conducted blindly. Meaning no walkthrough was used. The normal difficulty was fine for me. No story points caused me to slam my head on the wall repeatedly. I never got tired of exploring uncharted areas to fulfill my cartographer’s wish to map every nook and cranny. Sure I died. And yes I will admit to reloading countlessly. The save and loading times are fast and I didn’t mind retrying again and again until I advanced further. The fantasy setting is rich, full of wonder, chaos, order, and plenty of world-building to devour. Writing is flavorful. Full of seriousness and humorous lines. Stabilized to not throw my suspension of disbelief into a state of confusion. I completed every side quest and didn’t tire, so I can say they’re pretty satisfying and worth investing your effort in. Because you’ll require the experience to level up. I admire the slow-burn narrative approach to losing newcomers to Sword Coast, embracing their inner curiosity to explore, fight, and discover secrets. Satisfying gameplay loop in not just the combat, but in the dialogue. Installing mods fixed most of my mixed feelings to a certain extent. A likable large cast of companions to recruit and the sheer customization at my fingertips to outfit as we see fit is splendid. Graphics, music, and improvements the remaster tries to implement are commendable of Beamdogs' attempt. I applaud 90s Bioware in creating an incredible CRPG. It is a titan of role-playing and fantasy. Full of nearly everything I thirst for. An easy recommendation for any newcomer or veteran in the genre to sink their teeth. And one I can safely say shot up to my top ten Western RPGs. Can’t wait to start BG2! After a CRPG break…
Base game without mods: 7.7/10
Base game with mods: 8/10
Additional Material:
BG1EE Mods list used & Proper Mod list order
Adventurer’s guide AKA Manual on BG1EE
BG1:EE Before I play Tips
Kairoch’s Extra tips for BG1
My Cut pages from review, Final thoughts on the ending, Durlag’s tower. - Cut pages are fine to read for any newcomer and spoiler free. My thoughts on the ending, final boss, Durlag's tower - should only be read by those who finished the game.
CRPG Book Project - Felipe Pepe made the book free to download. But if you want to support them buy a copy of the book!

In an IGN interview conducted last year, when asked about Armored Core VI’s approach to difficulty Masaru Yamamura(director of AC6) replied “...What we wanted to focus on was really intense and tough mecha battles. We have generally tried to keep it on the challenging side, but it's not to say that it's a flat difficulty line throughout. We wanted to have some nice tempo changes and some nice mix to the difficulty and the level of challenge.” My dude. You did it! I can’t get enough of these clashes! Intense 1v1 duels. Where overwhelming forces meet nimble mercenaries evading missile barrages and bullets galore. Minibosses are spared no expense either. Feeling menacing and tough to beat. Without the right setup, I probably would’ve sweated buckets straining my body and mind to the very limit. I’m so engrossed to the extent, I am reminiscing the good old days from AC Last Raven(ACLR) and AC For Answer(ACFA). Already completed everything I could within three playthroughs. Now I’m soaring across Rubicon’s skies again in my fourth run. Armored Core is back! Blazing, burning, and brightly across nearly all points. If that’s not enough to get your engines running hot, remember Rainn Wilson from ‘Mechless Mutual’ has you covered. Dude seems familiar… probably from some Office tv show.
For those who don’t know AC in general. It is primarily a third-person mecha shooting game. You control a silent protagonist who pilots an Armored Core(AC). Accepting corporate contracts, building up funds, and in doing so, retool their mech when needed. The story is not the strongest you could entice anyone to dip in my opinion. And the IP isn’t renowned to resonate with everyone due to mediocre scores. Outside of outliers. Yet despite all odds the latest installment blasts beyond the mediocre to land among the highest of highs. Penetrating through the nicheness of a twenty-six year long legacy. And still retain the number 1 spot in the UK. Proving without a shadow of doubt, FromSoftware has clearly learned from their past mistakes.
ACVI is no different from its predecessors. But there’s a catch. For the first time, we're not on Earth huh? We're on Rubicon 3. So a new playground awaits us. Coral, a substance found on the planet, is discovered to be both an energy source and a data conduit. Becoming a hot item to advance humanity further by leaps and bounds in the technology sector. Perfect! Our plans proceed on the transhum- until their research causes the Fires of Ibis to occur, combusting the surrounding systems to flames. Fifty years later Coral has been detected once again on Rubicon. And so begins the rush of corporations heading there. To utilize Coral and restart their selfish endeavors regardless of the planet's inhabitants' wishes. As Augmented human C4-621, callsign Raven. You follow orders from a handler named Walter, accepting contracts in the hope you will become free someday. That’s the gist you need to know to get started.
ACVI's story pulverizes its way to being one of the strongest I’ve witnessed in the franchise. And it means a lot compared to previous plot beats. Past games in the story department are usually presented in a simple manner. With hardly any cast to back the main character. Offering no connections, no relatability and no personal motive in conjunction to the protagonist. Recent entries try to break the mold, but more or less most missions are too short and disconnected offering no before or after action report to connect both main/side cast to the narrative. And main objectives all too basic and not noteworthy for a mecha story. For ACVI in comparison, they have all those opposite qualities in spades. Not so much to expect from other powerful games with enthralling story hooks to tell. Here, no hand gently feeds the player, instead we must piece it together from the text given. 621 is offered choices on what divergent missions to accomplish. Therefore, impacting the outcome of the narrative. Equating to three different endings. I find it hauntingly similar to how the Nier series implements them. But not the same. Beyond the corporate duties is a slice of trans humanism and more I won't say due to spoilers. The beats detail unfamiliar roads the first path did not tread. So its a good incentive to keep going past the end credits and see what the rest have to offer. Personally I found it a must to see the fights, new dialogue, new mission structures etc. I like witnessing all the endings and the progression is slightly altered via the storytelling. If I were to rate them. I’d say NG++ = NG+ > NG. The NG is still good in my books. I’ll talk further later since I feel it is an improvement, but there are a few things to be concerned about.
A satisfying gameplay loop emerges in a multitude of factors: the extensive customization in equipping light, medium, and heavy parts to outfit your robot killing machine. Think of it as post-apocalypse deadly legos. Except building a mech twenty to fifty times the size of humans. Become a bulky tank capable of withstanding the hardest of blows. Go for a tetrapod Think crab legs and hover in the air taunting peons below who can’t reach you. Go bold and embrace the small and nimble builds to become an ace. Ace Combat?? Close man. Except you can pilot it, and shoot any kind of weapons you can think of: plasma blades, shotguns, gatling guns, rifles, missiles, bazookas, shields, etc. Forget the robots of the past. Moving at a sloth’s as if you’re a Mechwarrior. No man. Front Mission? While I’m excited we're getting FM2 soon. No sir! Not turn-based! Well, how about Xeno mechs? Getting warmer my friend! What Armored Core excels beautifully is the sheer mobility you can outfit in nearly any direction. They’re the only franchise I’ve played thus far within the genre to go insane in movement. Whereas others take a different approach going for heavy mechs. AC has no qualms about letting you fly like a Gundam or Macross unit and I for one am here for it! Combat is frenetic, chaotic, and incredibly dangerous. Show no mercy against hordes of mechanized enemies, head into a facility to wipe out pesky spider units. Blast foolish laser bugs in the air. Fight epic duels versus other mercenaries to the point of being outgunned and outmatched. Not always though. Face off in epic David vs. Goliath meets Shadow of the Colossus robot-type battles. Yeah, I kid you not. Look up at the big machines dwarfing your size to the point that if they land on you, the aftermath will show nothing but bent, broken machine parts lying on the ground.
Building on the older blueprints in the series, there are so many callbacks. AC2 to Verdict Day. And probably more from AC PS1 games, but I still need to play those one day I'm quite astounded at the sheer effort FromSoftware crafted. Not so much to inject nostalgia bait, but carefully done so I'm not in a reference-filled theme park. Taking lessons in the Soulsborne aspects, Sekiro and heck Daemon X Machina(DXM) An anime-like AC game in all but name, is spared no expense! And the result is quite remarkable. Sekiro’s posture and stagger are reformed. Called ACS(Attitude Control System) Once any enemy craft accumulates enough damage they are left in a ‘staggered’ state. Becoming immobilized and any incoming damage transforms into critical hits. Effectively harming the unit a great deal. After a short period, they can regain their normal status and thus you must break their ACS again. A wonderful rule to abuse against foolish adversaries. Personally haven’t seen such a regulation in older titles. Fights escalate becoming strategic and wary. You are not exempt from the rule. So watch the ACS bar! Moving on. Felt DXM inspiration. Which is ironic since they look at AC for inspiration heh. Mainly the banter and colorful cast. Full of interesting personalities and a pleasant range of voices to keep them distinct. Hearing Michigan’s voice akin to a drill sergeant praising you while delivering lines of “Maggot!” Lives in my head rent-free. Rubbing steel arms with fellow mercs. Becoming buddies. However every so often certain individuals are slow to the point of snails and irritating, bringing all the arrogance to show their superiority to you. Yet this doesn't detract from the personable buddies, which is such a rare sight to see in an AC. I love it! A better attempt than past operators sounding your ears off in a monotonous voice.
Repair kits are awesome and something I never expected. But holy moly after using them, I’m 1000% onboard. Should be a mainstay in the franchise. Please, Hidetaka Miyazaki, I'm begging you. Granted pilots only hold three charges and no we can’t upgrade them like in the Souls IP. Like ten in our pouches to chug. Honestly I’m still in disbelief, we possess essentially mecha estus?! What?! A WD-40 mixed with an elixir of life?! But hey I’m not complaining. The inclusion of the feature works wonders to recover your extra armor points(AP) to live. Also, Human Plus is back, kinda. By defeating opponents in the Arena you gain operating system chips to buy and upgrade your mech. Granting passive skills you don’t need to equip except core expansions. Amplifying the damage done in various categories. Kinetics? Sure. Plasma? Sure. Explosions? Buddy… Sign. Me. Up! There’s more to unlock, but suffice it to say outside of these elements. All upgrades you buy are permanent. Meaning I see no reason not to undertake the Arena to finish off all opponents. And in turn, upgrade your body. Trust me. Increasing repair-kits recovery is a godsend. Moreover, missile superiority is packing heavy blows. Reminding me of AC2 missiles, fascinating villain presence makes a triumphant return. And solid variety in missions. Demonstrate consistent superb points across the board. To the extent objective parameters are given fair treatment: Defend against waves of enemies, stealth tasks, escaping a map, etc. My nostalgia is somehow stroked. Alongside certain themes cheekily reappears in another fashion. AC Nexus isn’t spared either, the soundtrack gives off the extremely high-quality tracks I'm already listening to outside of playing.
AC FA Primal Armor makes a wonderful return now called Assault Armor. Want to surprise attackers by making a 360 degree explosion around your AC? Boy oh boy are they in for one hell of a wake-up call. ACV and Verdict Day scan mode is by the gods gone. No longer a mandatory function, Instead serving as an optional scan mode to display details in your surrounding environment. Highlighting foes, caches for weaponry, data logs, etc. Last-generation games feature a resupply option called ‘Workshop sites’. Now reconfigured whenever a long operation occurs you can resupply and regain all ammo and AP. No cost is necessary.
Level design has changed to incorporate a denser, larger area to cover. Maps are wide and brimming with intricate detail. Broken machinery litter landscapes and factories in production continue to function even if a tourist is snooping where they shouldn’t. Complemented well by smooth transitions into small pathways, corridors instill a claustrophobic nature. Bringing spice to the environmental eye candy. And hell you might see a surprise or two when you see advanced setpieces. Ambushed by an AC duel outta nowhere!? Receive enemy reinforcements partway through a job or encounter divergent objectives throughout. Not all assignments are long to beat. A careful balance emerges to complete levels in less than five minutes or greater depending how many times you reload a checkpoint or comb every inch of a place. Simple objectives in the beginning, gradually increase in complexity as you delve further in a playthrough. Nudging the player to overcome challenges, testing them thoroughly to prove they have the skill and fortitude to go beyond. If one lacks in talent they can make up for it through different builds and playstyle. Of course, results may vary. Just because I had a fine time, isn’t the same for others. In addition to open zones, there are plenty of data logs to find. Detailing lore on individuals in the world, combat logs by defeating mobs of opponents. And I must say the opponent variety is plenty, so you won’t get bored seeing #1 then #2 then #3. No complaints about their design after fifty-nine assignments. I’m hungry to defeat anything in front of me.
The soundtrack composed by Kota Hoshino, Takashi Onodera, and Shoi Miyazawa is just as marvelous as their predecessors. Evoking senses of Bladerunner, Portal and The Division. Hearing Things and New Era convey robust unity and constantly reinforce the numerous allusions and references I found to excellent effect. Inserting Elden Ring vibes into the mix sneakily. I’m astounded at the level of quality. Post-punk, trance, monosynth, and dark synth waves combine in an unexpected product resulting in an eerie, yet soulful and tranquil sound. A consistent flow in haunting rhythms I found to be oddly mesmerizing. Luring me deeper to embrace not only the twisted sense of tension throughout, yet doesn’t detract at all by transforming the whole soundtrack into pleasant humming heavens. A small number of tracks are jazzy and uplifting to the beat. A wonderful surprise, providing a nice change of pace in the otherwise somber and atmospheric themes permeating. Overall, I believe the soundtrack largely succeeds in conveying a “sense of loneliness, nostalgia wrapped in a dark old sci-fi feel.” Well done!
Very satisfied with the console port on my PlayStation Four Pro. Had one crash in my 3rd playthrough, but the rest of my runs have been smooth. So maybe an outlier. Did not experience any bugs or glitches. Which I am super thankful for. And I am extremely impressed by how fast menus load. ACV and ACVD took their sweet time from the starting screen to the main menu and the following notifications popping up. Connecting to the internet and adding unnecessary filler. Thankfully none of that bull is here. Enter the menu and bam! We're in the garage! Sick!
Despite all the praise I've been endlessly pulling, I must talk about my mixed feelings. Not a positive or a negative, but for the sake of transparency I’ll state them below. First, the implementation of new game cycles could be better. Players need to take certain missions in a manner to achieve the NG/NG+ ending. Taking the opposite operations in the 2nd run for the others. Once these two requirements are met a new path will emerge to unlock NG++. It should be noted, starting a 2nd playthrough upon beating NG. Reinstates the protagonist right after the tutorial. Requiring them to complete old missions and adding more than a handful of unfamiliar assignments included. Finishing NG+ rewards extra exclusive missions to complete. I had to follow Powerpyx’s guides, for all endings and one to make sure I finished all the engagements correctly in a manner leaving no doubt for me to head to the final route. I highly recommend looking up a guide for both to not mess up. I feel the punishment for not going in the manner intended will cause possible frustration. To restart and play an unnecessary fourth operation. During my time playing, I was ruminating possible alternatives. Highlight completed ones, and include a warning or another tutorial to inform mercenaries of the unique quests. There are no multiple saves to rely on. You get one save, so make it count. Unless you like backing up your save constantly. Wish the method was easier to prevent accidents. Therefore, allowing anyone to start a fresh operation painlessly.
The illusion of safe ‘difficulty’ throughout is blown to bits upon encountering the 1st boss. The devs have little sympathy whatsoever for throwing you to the pits. In one of the hardest fights in the beginning and asked us to defeat them with starting equipment. Imagine an armed Megatron versus a no weapon Bumblebee. Such a decision seems to be deliberate to convey how future encounters can be, aligning with Yamamura’s decision earlier. And he does succeed. Since I’ve read countless rants, criticism, angry responses, and complaints ad nauseam. The developer team's intention doesn’t always pan out to the masses. So what's the solution? Another mode? Easy mode? Hmmm. Doubt it. Soulsborne + Sekiro and AC I’ve played don’t contain those options available. So what’s next? Well, they contain an in-depth tutorial archive alongside training quests to bring fresh pilots up to speed. And I found their inclusion to be extremely welcoming. Easy accessibility to refer to the archive and see mechanics I can take advantage of. They specifically mention changing your build, if you’re having trouble. Past entries had players accruing debt. Now it is not possible any longer. Retry errands to your heart's content to earn sufficient funds. The added checkpoints, assembly of parts, repair kits, and passive skills via ‘OS Tuning’ create a fair parameter to redo engagements. Lessening the tediousness and frustration by starting square one again. In effect, the quality of life features make the hard-as-nails bouts fairer than before. I still maintain Last Raven is the hardest entry in the franchise. ACVI by comparison hits the halfway point to the zenith of ACLR. Moving on, to remove any misconceptions I am not defending Yamamura’s decision, merely trying to explain there are avenues within to help consumers interested in buying or trying out the newest installment. I didn’t come out unscathed either. The 1st boss and each chapter's end baddie demonstrate a higher ceiling to break through. So I’m worried the latest title might be a little too hard. Nevertheless, I am not saying ‘git gud.’ I hate the phrase a lot when a person who needs help asks genuinely and is given a troll/meme response. Let us be better and lend a helping hand to those who wish to pilot an AC alongside us. Who continues to struggle. Responses such as I wish you luck! Keep on trying! Don’t lose hope! Change your builds. Sell equipment and try other weapons. Replaying operations is a great way to earn money and some can be done in less than two to three minutes. These are far better responses.
Arena I think could’ve had more substance. Felt it was lacking compared to previous ones. Push the AI to its limits to challenge us further. Expose us to similar adversaries like Z, N, K, J? or throw a big wrench and add 2v1, 3v1, or 4v1 conflicts to truly test a player's capabilities. A boss rush mode to practice against arduous enemies. Instead of having to restart from the beginning during a task before combatting the big baddy. Additionally, I wish multiplayer was expanded instead of 1v1 or 3v3 duels. Grant us co-op missions online/offline, and set up super bosses, and SOTC-like robots. In ACVD we faced off a version of Motherwill as a team. Why can’t we do the same in the latest title? I’d love to face our previous opponents beside my teammates. DXM had co-op super clashes to tackle and I thought they were incredibly eye-candy, altered elements and most of all were not present at all in the regular story. They push pilots to cooperate and in doing so defeat them. Makes me think much of the effort was in the single-player portion. A factor I deeply appreciate.
In the end all of these hurdles, doesn’t diminish the sheer strengths too much. AC6 takes all the best qualities since its inception and hones the edge of its moonlight blade so hard I am in awe of it. Bear witness and see how ravens fly above blood-red skies fearlessly. Embracing stronger than usual story, gratifying content in both gameplay options and combat, an excellent soundtrack, and worthwhile quality-of-life options, rides the fine line of integrating nostalgia, but has enough to stand on its own. Expansive levels to explore, fight, and discover hidden secrets. Memorable cast. Both likable and destable. Fair, but challenging difficulty next to an expansive number of customization options for your robot body. High replayability and little to no performance/bugs/glitches mishaps. All collide to a must-play for any newcomer or veteran. Easy recommendation to fans and enthusiasts within the niche genre to see all endings. Overcoming multiple tall walls to reach what I firmly believe is one of the best AC entries I've played thus far. A return to form by FromSoftware. Bravo Masaru Yamamura and his team. Looking forward to your future works as director! This title boldly demonstrates there is still a thriving market for the genre in the videogame industry and I for one am standing right beside them waving in my cheerleading outfit to ask other devs to achieve similar levels of greatness. And while there are plenty of mecha titles to watch out for. I for one highly anticipate a sequel since history has shown evidence to import our equipment and continue the storyline. Good chance to expect one. Excuse me, while I play Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon for a 4th bloody time!
Edited 9-9-23 - Adding a proper story section and cleaned up some text formatting.

I’m at a sheer loss to hype anyone about Armored Core: Verdict Day. And this is coming from someone who loves mecha, even the most dull ones I usually find some aspects worth looking into. Except for Nine-breaker, but that's a topic for another day. Here I am struggling so hard to get into a cockpit let alone function in one. In the end, I'm leaning quite heavily on “Skip this, please. For the sake of your sanity.” There is plenty wrong here, but I'll do my best to give a fair overview for those interested.
Set 100 years after the events of ACV. I won’t spoil what happens in the previous game, but suffice it to say. You control a new protagonist. The “Lone Mercenary.” Accompanying them is an operator Maggy and a transport pilot by the name of Fatman. Yes, I kid you not, one of your handlers' names is Fatman… Okay….Unexpected Kojima character aside You have slightly fewer main missions(Sorties) here than the predecessor with sixty to go through, but only ten have relevance to the story. The 50 are mainly AC vs. AC duels and the occasional eliminate every enemy unit. The Sorties barely drop important plot scenes here, quickly dulling my interest. Sure they can drip-feed you lore pages after duels, but these only talk about the enemy and less about enriching who, what, where, when, and why questions about the ACs we use and less so about the characters, relationships, and plot threads we encounter. Mostly delegated in cutscenes, but these are too small in number when a majority of battles are simply skirmishes without context. So lack of context and exposition here hurts. To give you the bare minimum: “The Three Forces” reign supreme. The Venide, Sirius, and Evergreen Family(EGF). I don’t need to discuss their background because there is hardly vital information to explore. But the gist is that the Forces are in a constant 3-way war with each other for the power to use the Towers. Tall megastructures dot various places around the globe with hidden ancient advanced technology. There is a fourth power; “The Foundation,” a group that claims neutrality yet supplies all factions with weapons and UNACs(Unmanned Armored Cores). And you, my unlucky friend, have to navigate the different assignments from each of these factions.
After completing all the missions offline, I have to say the story is a downgrade from its predecessor. Villains unremarkable of note and meh characters. The inclusion of lore is a nice touch that constantly updates in a sort of digital newspaper; “The Voice of War” or VOW for short. Yet, these ultimately don’t do much to engage players enough to immerse them further into the world. Serving as little more than a footnote, an after-action report after a main story encounter and as a result disinterests me to care for worldbuilding at large. One could easily see this as a checklist the devs did to fulfill a ‘lore’ requirement. Granted, the series isn't known for lore to feed, since we have to piece together the sparse environmental storytelling told through fragments of cutscenes, character dialogue, and morsels of information that may connect with villains. Yet this in itself isn't a strong point to dive into from my time playing AC2 to ACVD. There have been attempts by more dedicated fans on Youtube to somehow connect the pieces of lore, an endeavor I respect and admire. So perhaps there is something to tie knots...
One feature I loved in the earlier title is the workshop sites. These sites allow one to resupply and change their outfits with different parts. Here the devs removed it in favor of larger, wider areas to fight enemies and much smaller levels. However, this presents a more bland design. Now corridors and areas became too samey and copy-pasted throughout. Once you see one AC vs. AC engagement you’ve pretty much seen them all. Dropping you from one wasteland with cliffs to an industrial, and another with broken factories and inoperable war machines. The lack of creativity compared to the tight-knit levels in the preceding one is a cause for concern. This coupled with a meager amount of interesting enemy variety and cool special boss encounters to wow you, are nearly nonexistent here. This is exacerbated by a poor list of worthwhile main objectives beyond defeating all enemies. Sure there are a handful of very uncommon ones, but more often than not the objective is simply "eliminate everyone." Where are the timed limits? Defend against 'x' waves of enemies? Defeat colossus-type machines!?
Can’t even go online since the servers are offline on PS3. I wanted to try some cool Sorties I hear you can undertake with others, especially battling an old special enemy type from AC V. Now that’s not possible. The servers were gutted, which comprises I would say a 3rd chunk of content left to peruse. Wish I could play that… Somehow… sighs
Anyway, there must be something here worth experiencing?! Right!?
Thankfully, there is. For such a bleak world, the soundtrack composed by longtime AC composer Kota Hoshino with Yuka Kitamura is surprisingly uplifting, not full of edge and hardcore rock. Instead, I am treated to a slew of tracks keeping the beat, full of techno, violins at times with bass during heavy moments, and chaotic musical mayhem. Not seeking to increase my anxiety, instead the music pumps me up to be efficient, keeps my spirits up, and despite overwhelming odds stacked against me, I persevere through heavy damage. Vocals are carefully sung in a beautiful tone sometimes in the background rather than the foreground. Where prominent instruments like the drums reign supreme in precision tempo to not destroy the beat too much. Not with an intensity to the extent they’re drumming without end, but utilized carefully to keep tracks soulful, pleasant, and full of good rhythms. Although, some tracks raise the tension and suspense to full throttle. Giving rise to my anxiety, but even so, it is still not enough to delve into despair. Some of these tracks for some reason feel triumphant with hints of melancholy. In effect, the composition of the whole soundtrack is eclectic, with controlled chaos, and a dash of oozing coolness here and there.
There is a neat addition here I haven’t seen in all the AC entries I’ve played thus far and I dearly wish the feature will become a mainstay for future installments. In that upon dying. You don’t automatically head to the results screen. Instead, you are ejected from your mech with two big tanks equipped to your body to hover. From here you can spectate the skirmish as an active participant. Did you bring along a UNAC with you? Let’s see if they can defeat your enemies... If they can. You. Win. The. Mission. Oh my god. This single-handedly saved my playthrough and made repeating assignments upon failing them not a chore, but something I'm interested in witnessing since my buddy could finish the enemy AC or remaining mobs right? Yup! I lost countless times my ally finished the job when I couldn’t. They are a constant companion when you hire them during your main campaign progress. So fighting alone isn't so lonely when you have a buddy along!
Aside from that you can even upgrade these guys and make your own customized A.I. And even go above and beyond by allowing users to tweak their chipset to prioritize what to do during combat. I’m astounded at the sheer depth to have full control to tweak our A.I. companion into becoming a super killing machine. I didn’t delve into the option too much since I only found out during my repeated attempts at the final battle. But even without tinkering. The default UNACs you can use do more than enough damage to help you to victory. I’ll never forget SIGNS UNAC D/01. The dude carried me through countless fights, even when I used my previous build from importing. Salutes o7
As with certain entries in the AC series. You can import your saves from the past game to grant you additional parts, use your loadout, emblems, etc. I was able to use the build I had before the final boss painlessly. So it's a good idea to import if you do have a save. Fast process and you don’t need to have a struggle in the beginning.
That’s pretty much the only thing I could say positively to defend Verdict Day. I could sprout suggestions on what not to do, but I think FromSoftware learned from their mistakes here and is actively working hard to improve with the next entry coming soon. Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon. All in all, I’m incredibly soul-crushed to say, ACVD is a deteriorating mecha full of rust. And I shudder to enter the cockpit of one. The sum of its parts is not enough to redeem the underwhelming gameplay, poor level design, no noteworthy boss types, barebones story, weak worldbuilding, questionable feature replacement, missing online connectivity, and meh cast and villains. Customizing your AC remains satisfying, but everything else bogs my enjoyment. With very few positives for me to confidently recommend to newcomers or veterans. It’s a shame the last Armored Core the devs made before diving into a hiatus goes out not with a bang, but with a whimper. There is potential here, and I wish the servers were still online for me to play the multiplayer component. To anyone who enjoys this title, I triple salute your dedication. When I had only a little. I would only recommend this to super dedicated fans who want to try the last AC before ACVI by FromSoftware, but honestly, you're better off playing the past games in my honest opinion. AC2, AC3, Nexus, and AC4, are all better starting points.