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Video Game: Armored Core
Congratulations [troper], from this point on, you are a Raven.

The Armored Core series is a mech-combat video game series developed by From Software. It started on the original PlayStation, and over the years, has been on the PS2, PSP, PS3, XBOX360, and mobile phones. With the exception of Armored Core 2, each numbered sequel seems to take place in a different continuity, separate from previous, and later, numbered titles.

The games in the series and their plots are:

Armored Core: In the distant future, the majority of Earth's population has been wiped out in an event known as the 'Great Destruction.' In the wake of destruction, humanity has been forced to live underground while corrupt corporations battle for supremacy. You play as a 'Raven,' a mercenary of the Ravens' Nest group, who pilots an Armored Core (AC), the eponymous Humongous Mecha.
  • Armored Core: Project Phantasma: A Raven operating out of Isaac City receives a mysterious request, to 'infiltrate the Amber Crown.' No corporation or sender name is given, and due to the amount listed in the monetary reward, the danger is obviously great.
  • Armored Core: Master of Arena: In one of the corporation's more violent battles, several innocents are killed in the crossfire. One man loses his entire family, and a few months later, he decides to take revenge on the pilot responsible, the Raven known as Hustler One, pilot of the AC named Nineball.

Armored Core 2: Sixty-seven years after the first game, Earth's second largest corporation, Zio Matrix, attains the plans for a research project on Mars, dating back before the Great Destruction. They launch the terraforming project, which causes the Martian atmosphere to approximate Earth's. The other corporations learn of the project, and follow Zio Matrix to Mars, bringing the battle between them from Earth to Mars. As a Raven, a mercenary of the group Nerves Concord (similar to the Ravens' Nest of old), you don't care about any of that. It's all about the money.
  • Armored Core 2: Another Age: Five years after Armored Core 2, the corporations have all fallen in favor with the Earth government after the incidents on Mars. The people, still living in subterranean cities are tiring of being ignored and armed revolts are a daily occurrence.

Armored Core 3: Set in a post-apocalyptic future, society lives in a subterranean society known as Layered. It is ruled by an AI construct known only as the Controller, which dictates nearly everything that goes on in the world. The major corporations Mirage and Crest and the smaller Kisaragi vie for dominance. The Controller's strange actions seem to indicate that it is going haywire. You play a Raven of the game's mercenary group, this time known as 'Global Cortex'.
  • Armored Core 3 Portable
  • Armored Core: Silent Line: Following the destruction of the machine-run society of Layered, mankind seems to be back on its feet, and has begun repopulating above-ground cities. All seems to be well, and reconnaissance teams are sent out frequently, to determine what has changed. One area, however, seems to be unable to be scouted, and is dubbed the 'Silent Line,' as all communications past that point go silent. As a Raven of Global Cortex, you're employed to find out what is behind all this.
    • Armored Core: Silent Line Portable
  • Armored Core: Nexus: Years have passed since the incident at Silent Line, but as always, the corporations are still at war with each other. Navis, a new corporation, is obviously much smaller than its competitors, but has complete control over a new resource. As a Raven of Raven's Ark, you are employed by various corporations to deal with this.
  • Armored Core: Nine Breaker: During a rare lull in the war between corporations, humanity is finally in a state of relative peace. The entire world is happy for this change, save one organization. This organization does not want the world to return to the state of constant war, but does not want the Ravens, who will man the front lines in the event of a future emergency, to become complacent. The goals of this organization are-to hone the skills of the best, and provide a sufficient, capable fighting force should the need arise again in the future. This is often thought of as the worst game in the series.
  • Armored Core: Formula Front: As the newly hired architect for a new team in the Formula Front league, your job is to design and assemble the team's ACs.
  • Armored Core: Last Raven: In the wake of Navis' attempt to recover and use lost technology, the world has been left in ruins. The major corporations have merged into one super-corporation known as 'The Alliance.' Fed up with corporate rule and oppression, one Raven known as Jack-O forms an organization of his fellow Ravens known as Vertex, out of the ashes of the Raven's Ark. After collecting a sizable force, he declares he will announce an all-out war with The Alliance in 24 hours. Leading the opposing force, a Raven known as Evangel has created an equally large force to combat him. You are approached by both forces and will ultimately be the one to take down The Alliance, or uphold the corporate rule.
    • Armored Core: Last Raven Portable

Armored Core 4: The human population experienced an exponential increase, putting a strain on global food supply. As populations increased, so did the gap between the rich and the poor. The governments of the world began to lose control of their populations, and the six major corporations stepped in, declaring an all-out war. Using advanced AC technology known as NEXT that relies on Kojima Armor, they toppled the world's governments in less than a month, and worked out a new system of government, Pax Economica. Under this system, loyalty to the corporations provides one with food and shelter, essentially forcing people to be slaves. The Ravens have essentially been destroyed, and most pilots are either forced to patrol the colonies for meager pay, or side with one of the armed rebellion groups.
  • Armored Core: For Answer: After the events of Armored Core 4, the desolation and destruction of the surface via pollution of both Kojima particles and production has forced many portions of humanity, but especially the rich and powerful, to live in aerial Cradles to avoid the pollution of the surface. The NEXT pilots, known as LYNX and organized by Collared, feared and renowned for their skills, have been left on the polluted surface to rot and fight in the perpetual wars. However, not everyone's going to stand for this for long.

Armored Core V: After long, bloody wars have polluted most of the Earth, humanity is sequestered in a portion of land that has grown into a large Megapolis simply called The City. Led by a despotic ruler called "Father", The City manages to get by even during harshest of conflicts, except when the Resistance takes matters into their own hands and initiates a coup, emboldened by the addition of a very skilled AC pilot: you. However, things get complicated when a nefarious third party called The Corporation seemingly aids Father by supplying strange, often powerful technology, while at the same time pursuing the Player Character relentlessly.
  • Order Missions: The survivors of The Resistance band together to become freelance mercenaries, eking out a living as territories of the City and its surroundings descend into lawlessness and fighting between factions of Migrants, freelance AC pilots. Here, the story deals with the general life of a mercenary, while introducing Men of Honor, an older mercenary establishment that one of your allies had ties to, and an enigmatic band of cybernetically enhanced AC pilots called the Zodiac.
  • Armored Core: Verdict Day: Countless years have passed and the events of ACV have been consigned to forgotten history. The pollution has cleared, but what should be a celebration of humanity's revival is turning into a prelude for a new apocalyptic war. Across the land, countless structures known as Towers remain from times past, so massive that their interiors are still not fully mapped, but stocked full of valuable Lost Technology. Eager to dominate the new world, the Three Great Factions prepare to battle for the Towers and the unpolluted lands: the wealthy Sirius Executives, the dictatorial Venide, and the inquisitive EverGreen Family, setting the stage for what will come to be known as the "Verdict War".


Main system: Engaging combat mode.

  • Ace Pilot: Every AC pilot is one, so Ravens and LYNXes are judged by how many of each other they can kill.
  • Action Prologue: Happens quite a lot. In fact, Armored Core V had not one, but two prologue missions.
  • Affectionate Parody: AC's very own Parodius is called Metal Wolf Chaos.
  • After the End: The post-Great Destruction world. The world of the Armored Core 3 universe had just recovered from its own Great Destruction-esque event, and then Armored Core: Nexus goes and blows it all up again, leaving you to sift through the rubble a second time in Last Raven. This includes Armored Core V's world.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Surprisingly for a mecha series, usually averted. Most of the featured AIs are designed to kill people, and that's what they do. This is played straight more than a few times though.
    • Played straight in VD with the UNAC's averted in the end due to The Foundation planing it from the start.
  • All There in the Manual: Given some "Blind Idiot" Translation and No Export for You for some of the extra material collections and art books, you need to do some digging to understand some of the games' plot.
    • Thankfully, The Wiki Rule has helped to alleviate this some.
      • The Armored Core Facebook page is posting some of the information only available on the Japanese ACVD Link which include the side story Forgotten Day and says that the AC 4 and AC V universes are on in the same
  • Almighty Janitor: Armored Core 3. Go ahead; try to challenge Exile without adequate preparations because he's in the bottom rank, it's your funeral.
    • AC2 has its own Almighty Janitor in the form of Matthias.
      • Played straight with Werehound in AC2. His profile basically states that he could climb a lot higher, but stays in rank 43 on purpose to stop newbs from advancing further.
      • SAMSARA also takes on this role at rank 22. His description says he enjoys crushing dreams of aspiring pilots.
    • White Glint (aka the protagonist of AC4) seems to have become this in for Answer. He's only rank 9, but he's also pretty much the only reason Line Ark is still intact, and nobody is willing to go against him solo (both missions featuring him are either 2-on-2 or 2-on-1). Even Otsdarva (rank 1) will almost always fall to him in battle.
  • Amazon Brigade: Interior Union, all of their hired pilots are all female. Even their mission broker is a woman.
    • Case in point, only Sir Maurescu from AC4 is male; all Leonemeccanica and Melies (which merges into Interior Union) LYNXes put together are all females: Sera Angelic, Ay-Pool, Stiletto, Wynne D. Fanchon, and Kasumi Sumika ( aka Serene Haze, your operator in For Answer ).
  • Arc Number: The 9th game in the series is Nine Breaker. This also shows in For Answer with White Glint being ranked 9th, and the mission you have to fight him in says that he's better than his rank suggests.
    • The final mission of Armored Core V is mission 09 and you’re fighting something similar to Nineball.
    • Verdict Day has it's final boss N-WGIX/v or NEXT White Glint ver. IX
    • General rule of Armored Core, if it has the number nine involved in it it will usually kick your ass, it's the strongest after all.
  • Arm Cannon: There are quite a few arm models that are just weapons attached to the Core, from laser rifles to bazookas to machine guns.
  • Armored Coffins: No Ejection Seat exists within the AC in any incarnations until Armored Core V (Where you bail out with a jetpack on your back). This prevents Ravens from abandoning the mech in hopes of surrender.
  • Artistic License - Physics: Realistically, the whole Quick Boost system in 4 and For Answer would put the pilot and machine under incredible stresses due to the massive G forces involved in speeding up and slowing down.
  • A Taste of Power: The AC you pilot in the Tutorial Mission of 5 when you first create your character is well-stocked and uses Second Generation parts all around. Then the tutorial ends and you end up with Junk parts in your Garage.
  • A-Team Firing: Arms Forts seem to have trouble hitting anything; in "Defeat Arms Fort Cabracan," an allied Giga Base Arms Fort in visual range can't land consecutive hits on the immobilized Cabracan, a vehicle the size of a city block and as tall as an aircraft carrier stood on end.
    • That's because it's shooting at the massive swarm of attack drones, not the Cabracan. It's first shot usually is the Cabracan, ESPECIALLY if you're underneath the armor, and it WILL hit. Its tendency to miss is due to you killing its targets first. It's actually highly accurate if you don't do anything, but its rate of fire is absurdly slow.
    • Setpieces in Armored Core V's stages include machineguns firing at a direction. Not only they do no damage, they are perfectly content to shoot at the air.
  • Another Century's Episode: In a shocking, unexpected appearance, the final boss (sics) the Nineball Seraph on the heroes.
  • Anyone Can Die: Leon and RD in 5 RD is a special case where he doesn't die when you think he does.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: In For Answer, two of the CEOs of the mega corporations are also high-ranking LYN Xes. You can even hire one of them (Takafumi Arisawa) to be your wingman; apparently he doesn't mind putting his life in constant danger in exchange for being a walking advertisement for his company's products. Japanese fans have nicknamed the enormous cannon mounted on his AC the "CEO Cannon".
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Several weapons in the series were like this, until they were replaced with Kojima Weapons in Armored Core 4.
    • Parrying blades, or physical blades, are arguably like this. They feature a long wind-up sequence, have cripplingly short range, and are finite in use. Despite their potential one-hit-kill attack powers, they are outweighed by their disadvantages. The For Answer version and the ACV version, Heat Piles, avert this.
    • Arms Forts are remarked in-game to be the ultimate projection of military strength. You get to blow them up regularly.
    • The Torus Assault Cannon against anyone with an actual brain.
    • The "Moonlight Spiders." Quad-legs equipped with dual Moonlight Blades (or dual any melee weapon really). While they do staggering damage (enough to outright kill nearly anything, including most arms forts) getting a solid hit is often difficult against any enemy that moves even decently quick.
    • Some of ACV's Overed/Ultimate Weapons fall into this. The most famous example, Grind Blade, consists of large, six-bladed, rotating superheated chainsaws. It does what it is advertised: killing other ACs in one hit, but it has a crippling feature that other models don't have. The Grind Blade ejects the entire left arm for the energy input to connect to the Core, thereby forcefully purging the left arm weapon as well as the shoulder weapon if the arm features a left-handed shoulder weapon. This makes using this particularly tricky, especially in light of the common Overed Weapon's Necessary Drawback of slow activation time, limited active time, charge time, and once-per-battle usage.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Grenade Launchers are this in 4/4A. They deal tremendous damage with a large explosion radius (so much so that the explosion radius had to be nerfed in 4A), and they do even more damage combined with Primal Armor-eating machineguns/Gatling guns.
    • Arguably, Sniper Cannons. Slightly gimmicky to equip (being very heavy and having less raw power than grenades), sniper cannons' tremendous muzzle velocity means that if shot, it will hit 8/10 times at max range. This is doubly so in matches with slightly laggy net. To make matters worse, For Answer changed the sound effect of sniper cannons so that it seems as if a silenced cannon. With no explosions to tell that you're being shot at, you can spend upwards to a minute to realize you're being sniped and by then, you'd probably have lost a significant chunk of your AP.
    • Sniper weaponry is good and all, but nothing screams Awesome and Practical like 4/4A Rail guns. To elaborate, sniper weaponry has tremendous recoil and only dedicated machines can handle it. Rail guns have zero recoil and competing muzzle velocity in addition to awesome PA-penetration rating. Plus, unlike energy weapons, rail guns are not affected by energy weapons-compatibility rating. Coupled with fairly high ammo count, rail guns are easily one of the Game Breakers in PvP. They Changed It, Now It Sucks, in a very literal sense (it since has been rendered unplayable due to nerfs).
    • The Overed Weapons Mass Blade and Huge/Giga Missile have been known to be very usable even in Multiplayer. The Mass Blade is a monstrosity of an Improvised Weapon, being a collapsed concrete girder attached with rockets used as a mech-mounted gigantic hammer with bent iron bars as its "hammerhead". Not only it features the lowest drain of all OWs, it has a low energy charging requirements and can be fired off three times with the right setup, instead of the usual two for most models. The Huge Missile is, Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a very large, possibly nuclear-war headed missile. Capable of one-hitting an AC caught directly in its blast, it is even more useful in multiplayer thanks to a weapon called the Target Gun, which enables the user and the user's teammates to lock on to a target even beyond an obstacle. Since the Huge Missile homes on targets and is vertically launched, thereby clearing any obstacles, many teams use it to its fullest advantage having a different, "reconnaissance" oriented teammate tag a target for it to fire, with documented videos showing it killing two players at once.
    • The Vengeance axe-blade weapon arms in VD are not only wicked cool, they can also destroy a tank-build AC with a single direct hit, and are much easier to hit with than most other melee-type weapons, thanks to being lock-compatible and allowing for multiple hit-and-run swings.
  • Badass Normal: You in the Nexus/Last Raven series, in a world dominated with every other Raven equipped with HUMAN PLUS and OP-I. You are the only raven without the upgrades.
  • Base on Wheels: The land-based Arms Forts are either crawlers or massive walkers that easily fit the trope; Spirit of Motherwill is basically a walking aircraft carrier.
  • Battleship Raid: Arms Fort missions from For Answer are long, drawn out, often spectacular fights with your Core taking on fortresses the size of cities, many of which have to be destroyed in sections. Well, other than "Defeat Arms Fort Stigro”.
    • Actually, only the Spirit of Motherwill requires this in order to be defeated. The Stigro, Giga Base, Answerer, Land Crab, Sol Dios Land Crab, Jet, Eclipse, and Great Wall can be easily defeated with a single hit.
    • While Sol Dios Orbit can be ko'd, it still requires you to take out the cannons, and Great Wall can only be damaged from the inside.
    • Actually if you time it right, the Sol Dios Crab will release the cannons, then you immediately one-hit it with a laser sword, and they will die as well. They are actually very easy to do.
    • In Armored Core 2, your last mission on Marsnote  is a two-part raid on the hitherto-unmentioned STAI battleship.
    • St. Elmo from Armored Core V.
    • The Spirit of Motherwill again in Armored Core: Verdict Day. This time it's being rebuilt, so it lacks the massive cannons that it originally had as well as its previous Macross Missile Massacre abilities. They are instead replaced with plasma cannons and fewer but more powerful missiles that can rip an AC apart.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Leos Klein, who fought to liberate humanity from Nine-Ball's control, eventually decides that Humans Are Bastards and attempts to become its overseer just as Hustler-One was.
  • BFG: Pretty much all the guns featured in the series.
    • To clarify, the opening cut scene to For Answer shows that a basic rifle has to be transported to the launch site by an AH-64 helicopter, which is slightly smaller than the gun itself.
    • Deployable weapons, the Giga Cannon and Legion/Multiple Pulse Ultimate/Overed Weapon in 5 really get the point across by being much bigger the AC itself.
  • BFS: The Giga Blade Ultimate/Overed Weapon added in Verdict Day.
  • Black and Gray Morality: In ''For Answer’’, you have to choose between the wholesale massacre of 100 million people as a true rebel, sacrificing the Cradle population in order to open the way to space and covering Omer's actions which led to the situation in the first place, or allowing humanity to die as the pollution on the surface spreads up to the Cradles.
    • In Last Raven, you have to choose between helping Jack-O or the corporations in a senseless war. The corporations only care about ruling the world and have no qualms about using the AC equivalent of WMDs. Jack-O doesn't care which side wins, as long as he finds a dominant to help him defeat the pulverizers that he activated. Jack-O also has a tendency to order the execution of certain Ravens who he sees is unfit to take on the Pulverizers.
  • Black Box: Appears twice in Armored Core: Nexus, once when A desperate Navis Corporation attempts to activate a giant MT they discovered later called "Leviathan" in order to protect their territory, which immediately goes berserk and tries to kill them, and happens again at the hands of Kisaragi when they attempt the same thing and end up waking up a prototype pulverizer and hundreds of little robots who kamikaze their targets... apparently they also kill the protagonist.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Ok, so the ith/is confusion in Japanese is well-known after the Aeris/Aerith saga. "Megalith" is a word in English. "Megalis" is not. Guess what the giant power plant in the two AC4 games ended up being called?
    • There's a fair bit of Engrish in the translations, but the briefing videos have even more Engrish, due to the fact that most of them are not edited. Case in point for the Megalis above, the video refers it as "Megaris". Good English, that.
      • For reasons beyond reason, the original Japanese version of Armored Core 4 correctly names the power plant Megalith.
    • Also, know that weird-looking NEXT that shows up at the end of AC4 with the pilot acting like they know you? If the translation had been done right it would be clear that that was actually White Glint's pilot, who'd been blackmailed into attacking Anatolia via a threat from Omer Science to destroy his colony, Aspina, if he didn't. This information was helpfully totally removed from Sega's localization, meaning you're challenged by an awesome-looking robot for no apparent reason who wants to kill you, also for no apparent reason.
      • Being armed with that knowledge upon going into For Answer would have also helped to explain why the main character from the first game in that continuity was now piloting an insanely modified version of some barely-mentioned enemy AC he (as far as we Americans knew) had met all of once on the battlefield for no apparent reason.
      • This makes more sense in Hard Mode, in which you face off against White Glint several times, where proves he is an incredibly difficult opponent at times. This is usually because he's helping your opponent NEXT.
    • Nearly every mech in ACV is called an AC. Many suspect this to be Bamco's fault.
  • Blinded by the Light: 4/4A gives you 09-FLICKER Flash Rockets. These literally are flash bangs in rocket form and having one set off anywhere near you mean that you lose lock-on capability for some time. This is very bad against close-range combatants like Anjou/Ange, and especially Shinkai. Getting hit by an Assault Armor in 4A will also produce this effect.
    • In ACV, Flash Rockets are universally hated for their large area of effect and cripplingly long effect. Latest patches have nerfed the weapons.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Occurs at the end of Nexus in which the suicide bombing robots emerge from Nine-Ball's lair en masse, released by Kisaragi, to rain death on any and all targets of opportunity. Your pilot is tasked with defending one of these, and as your operator laments that "it may be too late", you start controlling your mech through the cut scene, and as bomber after bomber smashes into you and you get warnings that AP is dropping to less than 10%., the screen fades to black. This is also possibly subverted in Last Raven, as by transferring over your pilot data from Nexus or Nine Breaker, you could infer that your Nexus pilot survived.
  • Bonus Boss: If the game has an arena (excluding Master of Arena) you're never required to defeat the opponent to advance the storyline, and if you do more are usually added after you beat the game. In the more usual sense Armored Core 2: Another Age had the lost field missions.
    • ACV follows the footsteps of Chromehounds by introducing ACV's bonus bosses in Online Mode:
      • LLL: First fought in the Story Mission. It is a gigantic six-legged Spider Mech that literally dwarfs skyscrapers. It lacks a very powerful weapon, instead relying on its durability to inflict Death of a Thousand Cuts. Its armor is so durable that the only way to defeat it is to destroy its weak points on its legs; and destroying three out of six legs will defeat it for good. While easy to do during Story Mission, its Extra Mission counterpart possesses weaknesses in exactly three of its six legs, and instead of one weak point, it possesses four per leg. To make matters worse, said weak points are very powerful laser cannons. Immune even to Overed Weapons, defeating it is an exercise of teamwork.
      • Exusia: Also fought first in the Story Mission as a final boss. It resembles a humanoid mech not much larger than your AC. However, it has supreme maneuverability and has overwhelming firepower. Not only it is colored red in Extra Mission, it has a dramatically different attack where it will literally grow gigantic laser blades from its wings and zip around the stage trying to slash you from the sky. Despite its high AP, it is quite vulnerable just about against anything, and defeating it is a matter of outmaneuvering it while shooting/slashing at it until it dies.
      • Raijin: A gigantic bomber aircraft, downing the plane seems to be easy. The stage that follows however is a winding maze filled with lethal turrets, with the wreckage of Raijin itself being strong enough to deploy an ultra-powerful cannon used for area denial. Primarily an endurance battle, it is another fight that cannot be won by sheer firepower alone, relying instead on careful maneuvering, teamwork, or both.
      • St. Elmo: A true Battleship Raid, the player is tasked by destroying not one, but two St. Elmos. Each is a large, armored battleship containing various armaments including long-range sniper cannons, vertical missiles, stun locking CIWS Gatling guns, and a Huge/Giga Missile armament that, yes, can kill an AC in one hit. Easily defeated by Overed Weapons, getting an S-rank relies on destroying their turrets rather than going for the immediate kill. The watery terrain makes it all but impossible for tanks, and dealing with two makes teamwork all that more important.
      • Type D No. 5: A revival of the great Armored Core tradition of Gigantic MTs, Type D is nearly 10 times the height of a single AC, armed with two FINGER-like Bazooka hands, massive missile battery boxes, and a main cannon powerful enough to destroy an AC in one hit. It is also colored red. To make matters complicated, it is also capable of deploying very powerful boosters to change locations around the stage. Oh, and getting hit by the exhaust hurts you too. Due to its vulnerability of being one-shotted by Overed Weapons, FROM SOFTWARE has seen fit to buff it further, making old-time tactics unfeasible.
    • Verdict Day follows in the same foot as V with it's special sorties:
  • Boring, but Practical: Machine guns. Not counting the famed Chain Guns, a lot of players fall back to mostly machineguns to do a lot of their grunt work for them (i.e., dispatching anything short of a full-fledged AC/NEXT); sure, a laser rifle looks cool (and most likely lethal to boot), but machineguns have copious amounts of ammo, more likely to track even the fastest of enemies, and provide a steady stream of damage and can easily wipe out scores of M Ts/tanks/helis/what-have-you in no time. In 4A, (regulation 1.40, at least), if you can hit NEXTs with it, the humble machine gun can eat away the mighty Primal Armor of a NEXT like cookies, and equipping two of them kills light NEXTs in 20 seconds-ish of sustained fire.
    • The rifles seem to get a second lease of life in 4/4A. A dual rifle/assault rifle combination is very popular in player-versus-player matches; something that was unheard of in pre-4 games due to several factors: Not only have opponent NEXTs have gotten much faster than machineguns can keep up with, Primal Armors made machineguns much less effective by themselves. Hence, the faster-firing and faster-velocity rifles/assault rifles are the new standard.
    • HEAT Rockets in ACV might be dumb fired, but the sheer attack power and the relative ease to equip (being relatively lightweight, with close to zero drain) make them valuable for that extra punch on something that is not moving for several seconds.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: In many of the games, getting 100% completion would give you the ability to use overweight mechs. That is, after beating every mission and finding every hidden part with one robot, you're allowed to make a new, extremely slow one with any weapons or parts you like.
    • We can do better than that. In 4A, getting 100% completion unlocks Nine Ball's emblem, allowing you to complete the mech after going through a virtual hell and back to do so. In other words, good luck on Arteria Carpals at Hard mode.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In AC 5, RD goes from a relative to coward who takes to you like a friend to a man seemly possessed and ready to kill you for no apparent reason. It's not even explained how it happened since he almost certainly should've died in that explosion... He starts talking about he will kill anything he's afraid of instead of running. He snaps out of his delusions as he is killed.
  • Breakable Weapons: Implemented (poorly) in Silent Line, in which any weapon that hit you basically had a percentage chance of destroying weapons you were holding. Was revised in Last Raven, in which damage to specific body parts would accumulate over time and decrease the effectiveness of those parts until they could be repaired. If the damage was severe enough, the parts would have to be repurchased entirely.
    • This also happens in some of the games intro movies. Also occurs in AC 5 where some AC's aren't destroyed when they should've by all rights have burned the pilot alive in the cockpit. At one point, one them grabs a concrete column with loose rebar and charges at you with that. Justifed as the Chief is seemly an AI and, thus, isn't killed by the explosion or the fire set on his AC.
  • Brutal Bonus Level / Self-Imposed Challenge: Hardcore Mode in Verdict Day is this. After you beat the game you can play through it again but you get to choose a challenge you have constantly effecting you while you play through the game ( i.e. higher repair and ammo cost, higher damage, a lot of stuff being cheep but you only get one AC, One Shot Kills.). It should also be noted that your given a fresh save for Hardcore mode, and teammates, mercs or UNAC's can't help you.
  • Bullfight Boss: Stigro.
    • Exusia, due to its extreme maneuverability can also devolve into this.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": One mission in AC4 has the player intercepting "self destruct drones" fired from a submarine. Drone aircraft that only carry one warhead and are used only once are more normally called "missiles". That being said, the drones are much smaller than missiles and are much more numerous, clouding the horizon with an eerie shade of red.
  • Canon Welding: Verdict Day bridges together the continuity of 4/For Answer and V, previously thought to be unconnected.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: There were three games before Armored Core 2 was released, one more before Armored Core 3, six more before Armored Core 4, and one more before Armored Core V. Thankfully, though, there are usually enough content, new parts, and a new mechanic or two to make them better than the average Mission Pack Sequel. FROM SOFTWARE apparently just didn't want to change numbers that often. Also, a new number in the title usually means the start of a new storyline. The sole exception is Armored Core: Formula Front, a Gaiden Game that's basically a Fighting Game built on the Armored Core 3-series game engine.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Despite its name the Mass Blade in 5 is this.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Grind Blade in 5.
  • Mech Customization: Thanks to the number of body parts and weapons a Self-Imposed Challenge can be to make up the sleek Evangelion or Veritach robots, the Fujikoma from Ghost in the Shell, your very own Metal Gear, a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Zord, or anything in between. Then there's the reverse joints and tank treads.
  • Chess Motifs: ORCA strategist Maltzel has a chess piece for his emblem and refers to his protégés Hari and Vaoh as Pawns.
  • Chicken Walker: A common enemy to meet when you start your mech-piloting career, they only take a rifle bullet to put in the scrap heap. Alternatively, you can choose to equip your mech with "chicken legs", which are most often suited for air combat.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Otsdarva, who starts out as the League's top-ranked LYNX, fakes his own death in order to lead the anti-League group ORCA as Thermidor, then fakes his death again to return to the League as Otsdarva.
  • Colony Drop: Leos Klein attempts this at the end of Armored Core 2, with Phobos no less.
    • As the Player in Armored Core for Answer, you can drop no less than 5 of these in rapid succession, whilst a cheerful Russian records the kill count in blocks of 20 million murdered civilians.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: RD from V often starts to freak out right before danger arrives. Leon tells everyone to be on their guard because RD's ability is uncanny and he's never wrong.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Ultimate/Overed Weapons in 5 are intended to be this given that they can one shot an AC... Then again some of them can wipe out the team if timed right.
  • Competitive Balance: General AC types are Mid-weight Bipeds, Lightweight Bipeds, Light Reverse Joints, Tank ACs, Heavyweight Bipeds, Snipers, Missileboats, Pure Bladers, Balanced Bladers, OverBoosting Jousters and a few more. All of these archetypes are available to the player, provided (s)he can access the needed parts, with each style requiring different skills and tactics to utilize properly. If one wishes it is possible to blend two or more styles together, though the results of the more ambitious blends (like sniper OB jousting) end to either be unremarkable or somewhat crappy.
    • In ''For Answer’’, there is PA Bombers.
      • As of regulation 1.40, PA Bombers have been nerfed and rendered unplayable.
  • Continuity Nod: The games occasionally mention Hustler One/Nine Ball, the final boss of the first game, and the antagonist of the third. In Armored Core 2, one pilot claims to be his descendant (dramatic irony for those who played the first and/or third game, as Hustler One is an AI), and another's emblem is a red beast destroying Nine Ball's. He also appears as a Bonus Boss or Final Boss in several other games.
    • Furthermore, a number of iconic weapons or AC parts have been carried over from one game to the next. Among them are the high-powered laser rifle "Karasawa" (a.k.a. KRSW and Canopus), named after one of the game's designers, and the "Moonlight" Laser Blade, which is named after the Moonlight Sword from FROM SOFTWARE's first-person RPG series King's Field (said weapon has appeared in some form or another in almost every single game FROM SOFTWARE has ever made).
  • Continuity Cameo: In For Answer , your own pilot from Armored Core 4 shows up as the head combatant of Line Ark, guided as usual by operator Fiona Jarnfeldt, though for some reason piloting an updated version of Joshua O'Brien's White Glint. You may choose to fight against him or support him. (S)he dies either way... actually the pilot likely is alive, considering Fiona's relationship with him and her reaction to his defeat. White Glint, on the other hand is a very unique AC, and can't be replaced by Line Ark.
    • Okay, the reason that Armored Core 4's pilot is piloting White Glint is because that's what he took to go break Aretha, the Mutant CORE, in half. It's supposed to be somewhat poetic, in that White Glint, the mech, is used to stop White Glint, the pilot-at Joshua's own request, if I remember correctly.
      • You don't get the White Glint for the battle against the 00-ARETHA. Joshua O'Brien, White Glint's pilot, does feel it to be for the best when you defeat him, though. It makes a bit more sense if you play through the game on Hard Mode.
    • In Armored Core 2, Leos Klein is outright stated in game, and on the promotional site at the game's launch, to be the original "Ninebreaker", the player character from Master of Arena. He was part of the Mars research project, making him at least 90 years old.
    • Characters from the Japanese only story Armored Core Brave New World appears in the portable 3 era games as bonus arena fights.
    • Various maps in Verdict Day are ruined versions of maps from Armored Core V like Father's Tower and the Marine facility not to mention the wreckage of Spirit of Motherwill and the Cradles.
    • The final boss of Verdict Day is White Glint.
  • Continuity Reboot: Several. AC3, and then 4, and now V. So with the exception of Armored Core 2, the series gets a reboot with each new number.
    • Averted with Verdict Day which is in the same continuity as 4.
  • Convection Smonvection: Notably, averted. In any mission near lava or other high temperature environments, being anywhere near it increases your AC's heat. Post-Nexus, your boosters also contribute to your AC's heat output. If you pair really powerful boosters with a weak sauce radiator, your AC will overheat begin to take damage until it cools down.
    • Kojima does this too in 4/4A.
    • Verdict Days final boss really averts this in his 2nd phase where J cranks up his generator output to the point where his 'Primal Armor' field hurts you wherever you go.
  • Corporate Samurai: Genobee in Nexus, Evangel and the rest of Alliance Tactical Unit in Last Raven. By the time Armored Core 4 and For Answer roll around, the Corporations have entire stables of LYNX on their payroll.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Though you never meet they face-to-face, many corporations and their representatives show signs of this. While fighting off opposing corporations is the norm, some corporations may draw civilians into the crossfire (one Kisaragi mission from Armored Core 3 requires you to blow up a civilian monorail and make it look like another corporation did it, Emeraude in 2 has you blow up a solar power plant in order to cause a black out that will make Zio Matrix look bad, and in 4, Omer Science orders Joshua to attack Anatolia.) Others may wage war against themselves or their own subsidiaries in order to prove a point. Crest and the OAE both do this in Nexus, Zio Matrix's entire Mars Division goes rogue in Armored Core 2 and sides with the Frighteners, forcing the head office on Earth to step in and obliterate it, and GA America and GA Europe go at it in 4, resulting in GA Europe and AkvaVit merging into Torus in 4A.
  • Cosmetic Award: You usually get the emblems from any enemy you beat in an arena match.
  • Covers Always Lie: Nexus, Ninebreaker and For Answer, despite the prominence of the AC's Oracle, Nine Ball, and White Glint on the front covers and opening cut scenes for the three respective titles, the number of times these AC's appear in game, not to mention their pilot's impact and relevance to the plot, is almost non-existent.
    • The Spirit of Motherwill in 4A is likewise. Endings B and C don't even require you to fight the damn thing (though it's preferable to fighting the Cabracan).
    • The US cover of 4 shows 3 NEXT's battling in Gryphon, this can't happen in single or multiplayer sadly.
    • The oldest one in the book is the cover for the first Armored Core game which shows a AC dual wielding rifles which is something you can't for five games.
  • Crapsack World: Taken to sadistic heights in Armored Core 4, you pilot a Core that uses a particle that kills the environment as you work for corporations who will gladly throw many lives away and in the sequel, things go From Bad to Worse.
    • Really upped in Verdict Day, V and VD is the future of the AC4 continuity.
  • Critical Annoyance: In every game, bonus points to Verdict Day for giving players the ability to change the AI voice to a story character like Maggy, Fatman and two Big Badsand having them mock the player for getting hit.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Poor Arms Fort Stigro's mission takes longer to load up than it does to destroy the target. The target is a colossal missile-launching hydrofoil with a giant bow-mounted sword blade. Know what else it has? No defense at all against laser blades.
    • Many players' first encounter (at least) with Nineball or Nineball Seraph (especially) amount to this with the players on the receiving end.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Averted, though not apparent until later: Most ACs featured in openings (at least in earlier games) are overweight and impossible to make. That is, until you get Human PLUS upgrades. Other than that, most openings really depict realistic AC-to-AC combat like it would happen in game.
    • AC4/FA actually shows battles that would happen in game realistically. Not only is it plausible to do battle at those speeds, you can do it "faster".
    • Then again, some things you just can't do or can't happen occur in the AC4/FA intros, like sliding down walls, or impaling your enemy with an assault rifle, or getting your weapon shot out of your hand. But hey, Armored Core V added the sliding-down-walls part!
  • Cyber Punk Is Techno: At first. The series gradually goes from pure techno to synthesized orchestra. Played straight from Nexus to Last Raven, but by Armored Core 4, rock guitars are in full force for a Desert Punk vibe.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Angie and maybe the rest of Zodiac in Armored Core V lampshaded by Zodiac #3
    "I guess you did give everything up for the project, your body, your brain... your soul, am I right Angie?
    • The Foundation's Leader and Reaper Squad in VD.
  • Dark Messiah: You in For Answer if you choose Ending C.
    • The 'Dark Raven' Maggie talks about in VD.
  • Death Equals Redemption: After Phobos heads toward Mars in a collision impact, Klein, defeated by your hands, tells you to destroy the orbit control mechanism. This results in the destruction of Phobos and saving of Mars.
  • Destroyable Items: In Last Raven parts of the AC's anatomy were damageable and would lead to noticeable drops in the AC's performance if they were destroyed. A busted head means no more radar. Lose an arm? Kiss your weapons good bye. Busted legs=crippled AC. And a destroyed core left your AC nothing but a fiery wreck.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The reason why White Glint is taken out so early in the story of For Answer.
  • Development Gag: The "God is Force" screen at the beginning of Armored Core 4's intro is a reference to the game's early development codename, Project Force.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Any weapon or part out of your comfort zone.
  • Downer Ending: In For Answer it doesn't matter which ending is canon it still leads to V and Verdict Day.
  • Disc One Final Boss: White Glint in ''For Answer’’.
  • Driven to Suicide: In Armored Core V after you defeat the last two Zodaic members in Order mission 83 Angie does this due to no longer having a purpose.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Nineballs defeat at the end of Master or the Arena.
  • Dub Name Change: Overed Weapons to Ultimate Weapons in 5
    • Also the reason for 'Father' in 5. In the Japanese version, he was called Daihyou (Representative).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Not in the form of characters but in song, two albums that FreQuency (the band that does Armored Core's soundtrack) released Armored Core Reprises and Sunrise have a few songs that are in the full games of V and Verdict Day.
  • Easter Egg: Verdict Day has two maps that are ruins of the Spirit of Motherwill and the wreckage of a Cradle.
  • Electric Boogaloo: See the list above.
  • Elite Tweak: And then some. Each game boasts hundreds of different parts, each part boasts dozens of different stats, and dozens of parts go into building an AC, not including the time spent on the paint job and emblems. One can spend more than half the game constructing and tuning the AC for optimum performance.
  • Enemy Mine: Basically happens in every game, since all Ravens are mercenaries and will often be recruited by corporations that they may have fought in the past.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: For Answer's Ending C features the normally mortal enemies Wynne D Fanchon and Maximillian Thermidor joining together (with two others) in an attempt to kill you and Old King for the Cradle massacre.
    • In the Original Armored Core, if you Choose to Side with Chrome in the Corperation wars, the Chrome Executive who hires you for the mission "Destroy Giant Gun, Justice" seems HORRIFIED that Murakumo is attempting to reactivate the orbital weapon platform singlehandedly responsible for destroying essentially the entire world and foreseeing mankind underground During the Great destruction. in comparison, in the Murakumo route, Chromes desperate last-attempt to turn things around is mobilizing a Small Army of CHAOS unmanned attack craft.
  • Ethereal Choir: 4A's entire soundtrack is riddled with this. This is most noticeable in Today, White Glint's battle theme. 4 have it in the Overture and Mr. Adam, among other songs.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Last Raven's Pulverizers.
  • Executive Meddling: A minor variation: In Armored Core 4, several places that are named in missions (such as Old/Former Peace City) has had their locations changed between original Japanese version and subsequent versions. At first, Former Peace City is located on what used to be Las Vegas (or at least somewhere in the State of Nevada). The US version changes it to somewhere in the Middle East.
    • A more major version from the same game is that, thanks to Qurac-influenced Theme Naming in Eqbal's products, most of them were named after Islamic terms, such as the Tawhid (Oneness of God) arm-shotgun, the Injil (Bible) reverse-legged part, and the Zakat (Charity) machinegun, amongst others. These were changed into meaningless gibberish such as Zakajj in subsequent versions. See also I Have Many Names entry below.
    • Also in 4 the 03-AALIYAH mecha became ALIYA most likely due to the singer who died. The first A and the H returned in For Answer.
  • Expy: Some noticeable examples include the similarities between your operator in For Answer to Sumika Juutilainen from Project Phantasm, and every continuity having a Nineball Expy. Hell, Nineball himself is an Expy of Char and official art makes him look kind of like Quattro Bajeena
    • White Glint in For Answer could be considered an Expy of Gundam Seed Destiny's Kira Yamato and his Freedom Gundam, in that he's the former protagonist, now opposing the new protagonist in a white mecha that's legendary for its firepower and aerial acrobatics, and is also the sole combat pilot of 3rd party organization that lets it none the less hold its own because he's that much of a One-Man Army.
  • Famous Ancestor: Maggie from Verdict Day is related Fran from V.
  • Fan Vid: There are quite a few, with the biggest being Armored Core Limit Release
  • Face-Heel Turn: Strung in 2, Thermidor/Odstarva in the Orca path hard mode and the player character in the Destruction ending of For Answer, RD in 5 and Maggie in Verdict Day.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The player character is always one of these. They are also referred to exclusively as "Raven" in the PS2 games and 4, a simple you in For Answer or Rookie in V.
  • Final Boss: In order of appearance: Nineball, Stinger in Project Phantasm, Nineball Seraph, Scarabaeus/Filial, The Controller, IBIS, Nineball/Prototype Pulverizer, Nineball, Jack-O/Zanida/Evangel/Final Pulvurizer, Josh in the 00-ARETHA Thermidor/ Otsdarva/Shinkai/Wynne D/Roy Saaland/ Lilium Wolcott/Roadie/Kasumi Sumika/ Chief 'in' Exusia, "J"/N-WGIX/v (AKA NEXT White Glint IX ver. )
  • Flash Step: Not entirely. In AC4/fA, your mech has a Quick Boost option. It's exactly what it says on the tin, accelerating you to nearly double your speed for almost a second, allowing you to dodge enemy firepower. It's possible to do this while using your Over Boost and the speedometer tops out around 2500kph while doing so.
    • Pro Tip: Equip two energy blades to dash continually (at least until your energy bar runs out).
    • Aretha, the Final Boss in 4, pulls this one off much better. The Quick Boosters on that thing are insane, crossing a distance of what appears to be several dozen meters within an instant.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams – A lot is fired from laser rifles to back mounted cannons, to cores that shoot pods that shoot lasers.
  • Friendly Enemy: This happens quite a bit but the two most prominent cases are Evangel in Nexus/Last Raven and Antares in Another Age. Evangel turns out to be a jerk with an inferiority complex, and Antares smooth talks you into giving him access to a space elevator for some vaguely malevolent purpose.
  • For Massive Damage: Several enemies can be incredibly difficult, but 4A takes the digital cake on this one with the Arms Fort Answerer and Spirit of Motherwill. The former is vulnerable to energy blades and nigh unbeatable any other way, while you have to attack the latter's gun turrets and missile launchers in order to even damage it. The former is a cakewalk if you take out the missile launchers with twin blades. The latter usually likes high-yield explosives or More Dakka.
    • All of the other Arms Forts can be one-shotted by blades except Sol Dios Orbit on Normal Mode. It's possible to fool Great Wall into separating all its carriages without flying through them, and the Cabracan itself only takes a single hit before it stops being the actual target.
    • If blades don't work, resort to Grenade Launchers, which are the trope, plus area damage. On a side note, using these to defeat Arms Fort Answerer, while flying just below the horizontal missile launchers, essentially makes this the 3rd easiest AF to kill. Just kind of have to manually target though.
    • Ultimate/Overed weapons in 5 can one shot mostly everything in the game outside of bonus bosses.
  • Four Is Death: The Reaper Squad (Shinigami Butai) has four members.
  • Gaiden Game: Formula Front has no canonical ties to the 3-Last Raven story arc.
  • Game Over: Usually, failing a mission will only cost the price of repairs and ammunition, but failing certain story missions will give you a game over.
  • Gatling Good: Notably, the Arms Fort Great Wall is armed with Gatling guns the size of battleships.
    • All AC titles feature Gatling guns.
    • 5 added auto guns which are so big that you can't move while using it without a tank body. The USG-23/H Gatling gun models, with the added rapid fire increase mechanic from high precision arms, have such a high DPS that patches nerf it.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: FROM SOFTWARE must love this trope: take out the enemy while near death? Here, fight another AC/NEXT or two.
  • Glass Cannon: In 4 and 4A, your NEXT better be capable of hitting 900kph with quick boost or you are going to die VERY QUICKLY. Even with an AP in the 6 digits, you're going to need to dodge a lot of dakka to make it last.
    • In general, the standard lightweight AC/NEXT build is like this.
    • The weapon arms in Verdict Day have flimsy, paper-thin armor, but make up for it with firepower and mobility.
  • Gun Porn: The new Overed Weapons in ACV all have an elaborate setup sequence in which parts fold and unfold into their ready forms.
  • Guns Akimbo: Finally an option in the more recent entries to the series.
  • Guide Dang It: Good luck trying to find and/or unlock the secret parts in the 1-3 era games and in V or the hidden Zodiac fights without one.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: Depending on your build, you can either dodge every one or simply shoot them down. Or just sponge up the damage without a care. In fact, it's possible to kill a Missile Boat build by just shooting at him while he fires his missiles, as they explode right next to him. Note that the AI is usually more capable of this, and shooting missiles is only valid in later entries in the series.
    • To be fair, the missiles do a tiny bit of splash damage when they blow up, so if you shoot just one missile in a cluster of missiles, you'll take out more than one because of the chain reaction. This is why Missile Boats die horribly against a machine gun, because one bullet is all it takes when the 50 missiles you just shot are within inches of each other and your face.
    • This trope may be the reason most Missile Boats use vert-fire missiles instead of head-on or sideswipe missiles. Doesn't help much against enemies with good air time, but you can forget about shooting down the missiles if you can't stay off the ground.
    • VTF Missiles are meant to subvert this as they do proximity detonation, but a fast and agile enough AC can still dodge it.
  • Humongous Mecha: MTs, ACs, and in the later games, NEXTs and Normals. NEXT's are around 10 meters tall. V's AC's are around 5 meters. Then there's massive MT's and Type D No. 5 which are bigger than you.
  • 100% Completion: After beating the games, it's possible to go back and select any mission you like. Getting 100% completion means doing every mission and finding every hidden part. In-universe, some Ravens and LYNXes have a 100% mission rating.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed/Restraining Bolt: In Armored Core 2, it was possible to do something known as 'Limiter Release,' which gave your mech infinite energy for about 30 seconds, followed by an extremely long recharge time.
    • Would that make it Trans-Am, then?
    • Ultimate/Overed Weapons in 5 are this by removing the limiter in the AC's generator to charge the weapon for a massive attack.
    • In a more traditional sense to I Am Not Left-Handed, it's a common play style to equip guns on a sword AC and then drop the guns after using up the ammo and switching to your comfort zone (swords).
  • I Have Many Names: Thanks to Executive Meddling concerning Eqbal's preferred Islamic-term-based Theme Naming, the SALAF, SALAUX, and the SOLUH refers to the same NEXT model.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: All over the place in the 4/for Answer games with Kojima technology.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The Spirit of Motherwill is able to snipe (at a distance of several kilometers) an extremely fast moving target with high caliber cannons with shocking ease.
  • Improvised Weapon: All of the Overed Weapons in ACV are not specifically meant to be used by an AC. Most weapons are held by crane-like arms, and in the case of Huge/Giga Cannon, crane arms with steel claws. But even then, the reigning king of improvised weapons everywhere is the Mass Blade: a heavy concrete girder with rockets attached to it meant to be used as a mech-wielded hammer with bent iron bars and spikes as its "hammerhead".
  • Instant Armor: Primal Armor in AC4/for Answer.
  • In Medias Res: The tutorial mission of ACV drops you into a burning city replete with (easy to kill, thankfully) enemies. Then it gives you some critical plot, in which you have no idea who is whom, and then a Boss Fight. This is then hand-waved away as a dream you were having while going to execute a mission. Later on, you come across the exact same scenario, this time with all the clues that the game gave you beforehand.
  • Kill 'em All: Old King's solution to the question at hand in For Answer .
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Nineball, Amazigh, and Hari but you can do the same things Amazigh and Hari can.
    • It's also perfectly valid for the player to invoke as well.
    • In-universe, White Glint is this due to the name coming from how he moves so fast that all you see is a "white glint". Having completely-custom NEXT parts (until you get your own) helps as well.
    • Two bonus bosses of V are even redder, one of them is an upgraded version of the final boss.
    • Verdict Day's final boss does this in it's 2nd phase averting Convection Smonvection again.
  • Leitmotif: A good one is Nineball's 9, Spirit of Motherwill's theme of the same name.
    • In the 2 series, Magnetism is the theme of the Disorder units and Frighteners is the theme of Special Forces group of the same name.
    • Grip is the theme of Stinger and Phantasma.
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: Technocrat Company's FSS-53 Shock Rocket is described in-game as "A dummy rocket that doesn't explode". The stats however say something else: it has the highest Primal Armor-reducing capability of any weapon, meaning one lucky hit and say goodbye to your usually very tough Force Field. To put things in perspective, weapons that usually reduce PA do so by continuous hits, large explosions, or the Awesome, but Impractical Kojima weapons. This being a rocket shoulder weapon, not only you can spam it without needing to free a weapon slot, a good hit means that you can immediately follow up with weapons that deal most damage to PA-less targets. Like grenade launchers, for example.
    • Jammer Guns in Armored Core V is this. While they don't fire fast, have very limited ammunition, slightly unwieldy and are shaped like boxes, they do many nasty things up to and including restricting movement and draining energy output. Using one in team games correctly can make life hell for at least one member of the opposite team. To make matters worse, turret versions of these does both the "movement restriction" and "energy drain" part simultaneously.
    • Another example is the Target Gun. Does no damage by itself, it allows enemies to be locked on beyond obstacles. Weapons such as vertical-launched shoulder missiles and Giga Missile benefits greatly from this however, and strategic use of it can win matches in an instant.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Nineball.
    • A bigger case is Nineball Seraph; it's stronger and faster than anything you can build.
    • Exusia in V is basically the fifth generation's Nineball, improved by having the "person" using it an AI."
    • Any lightweight AC in ACV using a HEAT Pile can one-shot any AC. Except for tanks, which, even then, only require as much as a finger poke for it to die afterwards.
  • Long Runners: Armored Core 1 has been out for over 16 years (July 10, 1997 in Japan). They are on their 15th game right now (20th if you count the mobile).
  • Lost Superweapon: There's usually one per game. Its relevance to the plot varies from game-to-game.
  • Lovable Coward: RD, gifted with Combat Clairvoyance in V, freaks out all the time. Rosary gives him hell for it and tells him to grow a pair. Despite that, he still manages to pull his weight.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Sort of. Nineball's theme "9" has a distorted, mechanical voice chanting to "Destroy Nineball." Which is exactly what the player is trying to do...
  • Machine Empathy: In AC4, the AMS Piloting System links the pilot to their AC for perfect reaction time. The title LYNX comes from the word sounding similar to LINKS.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: You can do this in all of the games, but 4A takes the cake. Starting with the Spirit of Motherwill, we work our way up to the Answerer. Barring Stigro and Orca's Arms Forts, every AF has missiles by the dozen (Stigro has them too, but he's special).
    • One notable Raven in Nine Breaker has Missiles as its weapon of choice (save for a Pulse Cannon), the name of her AC? "MMM." Take a wild guess what that means.
  • Made of Explodium: Most MT s blow up after a couple hits from even the weakest of weapons and once you acquire the really heavy artillery stuff tends to explode if you look at it funny. ACs on the other hand are tough to bring down with even the best equipment. Anything larger (warship, building, Behemoth, Arms Fort) has a tendency to explode gigantically if you so much as poke it with a half-decent energy blade.
  • Mana Meter: ACs live and die by their energy bars. If an AC runs out of power it can't use its boosters or energy weapons until the generator recharges, which can take a couple minutes if you have an energy-dependant AC with a poor generator.
    • NEXT's are an even worse case; a NEXT that is not boosting is a NEXT that will die very, very fast.
  • Master Computer: R from Armored Core, The Controller from Armored Core 3 and IBIS from Silent Line, though remember that A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
    • There are some implications that Nineball is one, too.
    • Chief and Carol in 5 in the same way Nineball might be.
  • Mechanical Evolution: The Pulverizers in Last Raven; as each one gets defeated a new one is made that's even faster and more powerful than the previous one, with tanks being the weakest and the strongest being a crazy airborne spidery-looking thing that gives the Alien Queen a run for its money. Interestingly, the humanoid one sits in the middle of the spectrum in regards to strength.
  • Mega Corp.: Every continuity has one or several.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe example; Nineball/Hustler One isn't actually the first/only one to hold the spot of #1 pilot, just the one that managed to hold it the longest. As a result, the titles given to those that get to #1 are called "Ninebreakers." Nineball himself is practically a fan-based one, often being cited as the hardest boss in the series (e.g. the Chuck Norris of AC's). Additionally, getting 100% Completion in some games gives you a piece of him (e.g. his head part, emblem, etc.)
  • Mini-Mecha: In V the AC are now 5 meters tall, similar to METAL WOLF CHAOS
  • Minovsky Physics: The Kojima Particles from Armored Core 4 are generated by a pseudo-radioactive substance, and are used to power the NEXT's force field-like Primal Armor as well as the Overboost, as well as several excessively powerful weapons. They are also highly corrosive and poisonous, turning anything powered by them into a Walking Wasteland. In some missions that take place in highly populated areas, you are restricted from using Primal Armor as a result, meaning that your Humongous Mecha is suddenly Made of Plasticine.
  • Mission Control: Most of the games have 'em, usually female.
    • In Armored Core V, this is a player-handled role on team missions but is still done traditionally in story and free missions.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Level 5, and even for a mecha series, Armored Core 1-3 is extremely hard only rivaled by Front Mission, your AC rarely have access to Easy Logistics (Out of ammo and don't have a laser blade? Too bad, you are officially hosed and must restart), Trying to play it like a Gundam Video Game will get you killed as energy recovery is not instantaneous.
    • The Laser Blade and affiliated weapons (it would be a different story if all of them were labeled Pulse-weapons and Particle-weapons) puts a dampener on practicality. Otherwise, this series offers a great insight of robotics: targets do not lock on immediately and depend on the processing power of the onboard computer FCS, Arm Cannon arms and rockets must be aimed manually compared to arms and missiles that adjust their aim based on the FCS, and (varying upon the game) heat is a major detractor to movement, and if you're not careful, could melt the circuitry (and possibly you) inside the AC.
    • ACV has gotten even harder on the scale, after they incorporated a lot of physics in the game. Case in point, Kinetic Energy weaponry (basically bullets) loses attack power and start to bounce off even moderate armor in long ranges. Chemical Energy (explosives) weapons don't lose attack power, but their trajectory is more parabolic and less accurate. Thermal Energy weapons (lasers, pulse) simply became ineffective due to diffusion with range. The best one? Charging attacks (that is, mech kick) is determined mostly by the leg's attack power, which corresponds to weight, and also velocity. Know what else uses those variables in real life? The equation to Kinetic Energy itself, one half times mass times velocity squared. The only problem seems to be that some of the "laser" weapons (as described in some of the Order missions) are actually plasma weapons, but "Blind Idiot" Translation may cover for that...
  • Moe Anthropomorphism: Since the series has next to nil human characters, most featured mechs have gotten this treatment in fan works. Really.
  • Mook Maker: Arms Fort Cabracan.
  • Moral Dissonance: You do realize Exavil was an office building, right?
    • The Queenslance is a cruise ship and pretty much an oceanic office building.
  • More Dakka: Ever-present in the form of Chain Guns, but applies doubly to any Arms Fort, which is essentially a mobile gun made out of other guns.
    • ACV one-ups the great tradition by offering Autocannons which is essentially as strong as regular cannons, with three to four barrels, and an extremely astounding fire rate. While all ACs require kneeling to use this, tanks don't, and in addition can dual wield it for even more dakka.
  • Multiple Endings: For Answer. Works a little oddly in that there's no clear decision point; it just comes down to seemingly arbitrary choices of the unconnected early missions what you'll end up doing, though there are a few obvious attack it/defend it mission pairs later on.
    • Last Raven also has this. The "canonically" accepted one is there one where every last raven but you are killed and both sides of the war are devastated by the Pulverizers. The other endings are just one of two variations: Alliance wins, Vertex wins.
  • Mythology Gag: A given, considering all the different continuities all over the place. Some examples are:
    • Kasumi Sumika, your Operator in For Answer, plays a similar role that Sumika Juutilainen in Armored Core: Project Phantasm.
    • The way Wonderful Body moves in For Answer is similar to the way you pilot Armored Cores in pre-Armored Core 4 games.
    • The Classic Palettes in ''4/4A'' are color schemes from older games.
    • The ninth game is called Nine Breaker.
    • Michael F in Last Raven Portable to Michael F from 4
    • The Moonlight due to it being in every game FROM SOFTWARE makes.
    • Armored Core: Nexus and the Revolution disk has this.
    • Chief and Carol in V who are basically Nineball/Lana Nielsen from ''Master of Arena''
      • Even better in the side story "Forgotten Day" Carol quotes Nineball/Lana verbatim
  • Neglectful Precursors: in Armored Core 2 It is implied that all of the Lost Technology was left behind by a long dead alien race.
  • New Game+: It's possible to upload your data from previous games in the series. In an interesting example, in the first and second games, getting 50,000 credits in debt resulted in your character being made "Human+ ," and starting over from the beginning with some bonuses, such as a better radar, double energy, and the ability to fire large weapons without kneeling.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Happens quite a bit. Because he or she lacks a personality, your protagonist is usually quite slow on the draw and can be tricked into doing things detrimental to their own best interests.
    • Leos Klein lures you into a fight in the reactor room of a space elevator with the intent that the ensuing fight will cause massive damage to one of Mars's most vital pieces of infrastructure.
      • However, the game warns you that collateral damage is possible before going into the mission, so if you're savvy enough you can put together a strategy that minimizes the collateral damage, such as luring Klein into close-combat with a blade, or simply using machine guns, snipers, and other single-target weapons in lieu of explosives.
    • Antares, who literally appears out of nowhere at the end of Another Age, cons you into helping him gain access to Earth's version of the Mars space elevator, and then the government sends you in to clean up your own mess after he usurps control of said space elevator.
      • Not quite a con. Antares outright tells you he's keeping his objective a secret. As a Raven, your only interest in the end is money. Naturally, you don't care about either side. And since you get paid by both sides anyway, the situation is closer to Playing Both Sides.
    • The entire plot of Master of Arena is pretty much this. You catch on to it fairly quickly though.
    • In AC4, your ammo, repair, and operating costs all come out of your budget. Screw around too long and you can go into debt from a series of successful missions.
      • Same thing for online mercenary contracts in V.
    • In Armored Core V, you play a prologue mission that starts shortly before the story and you are working with Fran and Rosary. They are part of the resistance. In the second prologue mission, which takes place a year beforehand, you work with Carol and Chief which are part of the Corporation. You then help kill the resistance Leader... who turns out to be Fran's father. The next mission you are working under Fran for the resistance who are now in dire straits because of you.
  • Nintendo Hard: Hard mode will kick your ass in 4 and 4A, usually completing your objective isn't too hard, then a tough NEXT (or 2!) comes along. Or you have one target to kill; suddenly there are 4 more, each a crazy tough flying fortress with mega-damaging weapons. Or killing the Final Boss, using most of your ammo in the process, then getting ambushed. Most Hard Modes are not easy.
    • Except for in For Answer, where one Hard Mode actually allows you to One-Hit Kill a boss that normally is annoyingly hard to take down.
    • Occupation of Arteria Carpals, just, Occupation of Arteria Carpals.
    • Marche Au Supplice. Just Marche Au Supplice. (On hard mode, it's identical to Normal Mode Occupation, except you have no back up at all, the enemies are already in the arena (so no free One-Hit Kill shots while they're doing their dramatic Entry), and the aforementioned enemies put the ones in Carpals to shame.
    • Last Raven in it's entirety is a horrendously difficult game. Some missions more so than others, but to put things in perspective, one of the very first missions you can select at the start of a completely fresh run is one of the hardest missions in any game of the series.
    • Verdict Day added Hardcore mode and the game itself is already difficult.
  • No One Should Survive That: Erik survives being on the end of a brutal Curbstomp Battle against the rogue UNA Cs in Story Mission 06 of Verdict Day. Apparently, he does this often enough to be considered a mercenary of exceptional skill, despite his poor battle performance. This could be why he serves as your sparring partner in the AC Test mode...
  • Not Quite Dead: RD in Armored Core V.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Around half of the songs in For Answer revolve around a pseudo-version of this. Spilit of Motherwill (yes, Spilit), Today, 4 The Answer and Scorcher are standouts.
  • One-Man Army: Thermidor lampshades this in Ending C of For Answer, asking the player if he thinks of himself as a One Man Army. In actual game play this is mostly avoided.
    • In V you can be this given the game's secondary plotline is the Corporation, Men of Honor and Zodiac trying to off you because you're so dangerous.
      • Comes back in Verdict Day with The Foundation and The Reaper Squad trying to kill you because they don't want another incident like in Armored Core V.
  • One-Hit Kill: At least in 4 and For Answer, using dual energy blades on a four-legged chassis allows the blades to be thrust forward; dealing absurd amounts of damage that can kill anything if enough of the animation connects.
    • Overed Weapons play this straight by doing 60,000 to 150,000 damage a hit while the standard AC has around 34,000 AP.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Otsdarva as Thermidor. His AC, Unsung, uses almost the exact same weapon load-out as Stasis, Otsdarva's NEXT, including the Omer-made laser bazooka and PM missiles unique to his crafts. In the Japanese dub, he doesn't even bother to mask his voice, making his true identity quite easy to figure out.
  • Passing the Torch: Your character's operator (possibly mentor) in For Answer is Kasumi Sumika, a LYNX who first appeared in AC4.
    • Older Than They Think: Your part-time partner and proto-operator in Project Phantasma is also called Sumika. However, given PP and 4A take place it separate universes, it's not the same one.
    • Another example from 4A, after defending Line Ark alongside the White Glint, Fiona Thanks you for helping them and says that she wishes to express her gratitude. You then acquire the Arms, Legs, Head and Core of the White Glint.
  • Pile Bunker: Exists since Armored Core 3. Interestingly, their status have changed from the usual Joke Weapon (early pile bunkers were no more powerful than laser blades, take up your main arm weapon slot, and is finite) to a definitive Difficult but Awesome weapon in its own right. Specifically, HEAT Piles in V are extremely powerful, capable of taking an AC out in one hit, and has a much forgiving hitbox than previous iterations. The fact that the titular mechs in that title aren't zipping around at Mach 2+ helps.
  • Point Defenseless: Played straight, subverted, double subverted, averted, all over the spectrum. General rule of thumb is that any Close-In Weapons System designed to pick off incoming missiles mounted on your AC usually works, except when it doesn't (Playstation 1-era Armored Core titles' torso-mounted anti-missile systems were notoriously unreliable and you're better off manually avoiding it). Conversely, non-AC opponent's CIWS will usually not work, except when it does (a particularly strong CIWS, for example).
    • One of the biggest recent aversion of this trope is the Aegis-CIWS unit onboard the St. Elmo. While it says it's a CIWS, it's more effective shooting down AC units rather than missiles thanks to its endlessly stun locking bullets, not to mention St. Elmo is covered by six of them.
      • Shoulder-mounted CIWS in V tend to be very effective in what they do. Stealth Missiles however completely enforces this trope. There is something very distressing to see Stealth Missiles hurtling towards you while your CIWS futilely attempt to shoot it down...
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner
    Hustler One/Nine Ball/ Lanaa Nielsen: Target Verified. Commencing Hostilities.
  • Pre-Order Bonus: Armored Core V had two, the Recon pack and Heavy Assault pack, which gave some of the Overed Weapons early without needing to beat the game. Apparently Armored Core 4 had one which added two more NEXTs to fight in the Simulation (one of which was apparently Nineball) but it's most likely an Internet rumor since there's no proof anywhere.
    • VD came with a cool one which came with an artbook, soundtrack CD and a small model AC if you ordered it from Bamco's site.
  • Private Military Contractors: Raven's Nest, Nerves Concord, Global Cortex, Raven's Ark, Vertex, and Line Ark. They bill themselves as "Dispute Resolution" firms, which is just a fancy name for "Mercenary Organization". Men of Honor in ‘‘V’’ do this in the more traditional sense non-story-wise by having players hire other players to help them out in missions.
    • SIGNS organization loans UNACs, which are unmanned versions of your mech.
    • You are usually a mercenary and in many of the games you switch sides faster than you switch parts on your AC. In fact, you are often hired because your performance against your target killed so many of their units that they now need to hire you. Basically you're making business for yourself by making it so that you're the only person left they can hire.
  • Psycho for Hire: Stinger, Shamir, Do Su, Chief; most games have one.
  • Pun-Based Title:
    • For Answer:
    • Also, try saying the last three words in Armored Core 2: Another Age to see how that works out.
    • Armored Core: Master of Arena.
    • Armored Core V = ACV = Advanced Combat Vehicle. This is probably unintentional.
  • Punch Clock Hero: See below.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Nearly every AC you fight is one of these, as they are usually just recruited by corporations you happen to be fighting, corporations which may later recruit you because you killed their employees. Sometimes subject to Lampshade Hanging, including an instance in Armored Core 3 where Nocturne tells you "We're both Ravens, just do what comes naturally, and don't think about it.", right before trying to kill you.
    • This was also lampshaded in Armored Core 2 by the Raven Bulk: "We are both Ravens. No hard feelings, right?” The pilot's accent makes it come off as kind of soulless, making the line extra creepy.
  • Rank Inflation: Armored Core 3 through V. So far missions rank performance thus: S, A, B, C, D, E. S is practically flawless, E in 3 to Last Raven and D in 4 to V is total failure.
  • Real Is Brown: Armored Core 4 has a graphics filter that will either make things: A. Brown B. Grey C. Too Bright D. Too Dark or E. Brown, said graphics filter was thankfully ditched in ''For Answer’’.
    • Subverted: Most of the Armored Cores themselves have bright, almost flamboyant color schemes.
    • Armored Core V's stages are bleak and war ravished using minor shades of brown and grey, the AC's are still as colorful as ever.
  • Real Robot: The MTs and Normals are about as real a robot as it gets, outside of Patlabour. The more powerful ACs and NEXTs develop immunity to G-forces, but are still fairly 'real'.
  • Rebellious Princess: Rosary aka: Cordelia
  • Red Baron: Most pilots have a title but the best are usually labeled 'Ninebreakers.'
    • In VD the protagonist of V is labeled 'The Dark Raven' by Maggie
  • Revealing Cover Up: Crest Industries' sloppy attempt to deny that The Controller is malfunctioning in Armored Core 3 only stand to confirm the Union's theory that it is malfunctioning.
  • Rocket-Powered Weapon: The Mass Blade.
  • Rogue Protagonist: White Glint in ''For Answer’’.
  • Running Gag: Meta version; every new game in the development will have the inevitable question "Is Nine Ball in it?"
  • Schematized Prop: Oh, god. Every part has exact and in-depth specifications for any attribute the part applies to, even the ones no one in their right mind would use.
  • Schiff One-Liner: Wynne D Fanchon from For Answer utters one to her defeated opponent in Ending A. As he sits in his destroyed mech, your opponent claims that your ideals will cause the downfall of humanity. Wynne replies: "Humanity? I don't see humanity anywhere, Otsdarva."
  • Secret A.I. Moves: Aside from enemy ACs occasionally having parts that simply don't exist, the higher-ranked Arena opponents in 3 and Silent line have ALL the optional parts equipped, including the OP-Intensify (which, by itself) takes up all the slots on a Core).
    • Proudly presents: Rai-Den, god of QB-chaining. QB, or Quick-Boosting, is basically a High-Speed Missile Dodge that can be used again and again, limited in consecutiveness only by your generator output/capacity and your reflexes. Because AIs get infinite energy and don't have to worry about the pesky limitations of fast-twitch muscles...
  • Shoot the Dog: One interpretation of For Answer Ending C. Sacrifice a hundred million innocents for a chance to save humanity? Tough choice.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In Armored Core V, the City is under a tight grip of a tyrant called Father. You are the last hope of the Resistance to topple his dictatorship and free its citizens. However, the Corporation, who were allies of Father, executes an attack that wipes out both the Resistance and Father at the same time. The chaos that followed ensured that the stability of the City is all but gone, forcing all of its inhabitants and survivors to seek shelter in the unrelenting desolation of the world beyond the City's borders. You, who were the Resistance's only hope, accomplished nothing in the end, and with everyone else who were less fortunate, began again as wanderers eking out a living by being a mercenary.
  • Shout-Out: Despite being 10 meters tall, Armored Cores have the the same feel as VOTOMS. They skid across the battlefield using a combination of boosters and feet and are highly customizable. And don't get started on Kojima Particles...
    • There's one to the Xanth novels, of all things. In the first book there's a character that uses three pseudonyms: Wynne, Dee & Fanchon. Then in this series there's the character Wynne D. Fanchon.
    • Every chapter in Armored Core 4 is named after a book by Agatha Christie.
    • The entire Stratford line in V/VD are named after characters from King Lear.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Rosary and Regan in V, and Castor and Pollux in 2
  • Skippable Boss: In some cases you are not obligated to kill certain boss enemies you meet and are encouraged to evade them to continue the mission uninterrupted. The bosses are usually hard enough in AC that some of them are considered Hopeless Boss Fights the first time you try them, but can usually be beaten after acquiring better parts.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: As a rule, Armored Core games tend to have a cynical worldview. A recurring theme is a decaying world torn apart by conflict while civilians are forced to eke out a living under oppressive Corporations. However, some games have been more idealistic than others.
    • The first trilogy of the game (Armored Core, Project Phantasma, and Master of Arena) is not as cynical, but does not elaborate on the worldview. At least, the first game ends on a zero sum game, while PP has you successfully destroy Doomsday Organization, and Master of Arena culminates in destruction of Raven's Nest and Nineball, which were manipulating events behind the scenes.
    • Both Armored Core 2 and Another Age were pretty upbeat, what with humanity successfully colonizing Mars. The threat of inter-Company conflict is present as ever, but 2 makes it pretty idealistic after defeating Leos Klein. Another Age is more ambiguous, however.
    • The Armored Core 3 series is definitely dark. First, 3 and Silent Line culminate with you freeing Humanity from the Controller's grasp and freeing the denizens of the other Layered. Then, Nexus and Last Raven slide back into cynicism with the Corporations gaining unrestrained freedom, and the world marches again to the brink of ruin as the cruel La Résistance leader's true goal of preventing further destruction of humanity by destroying the source of said misery.
      • This branches off with Ninebreaker/Formula Front in a what-if-Navis-was-never-formed and thus Nexus-never-happened? Ending the need of Ravens and turning AC combat into bloodless arena battles.
    • Armored Core 4 and For Answer hit an even farther end of cynicism. Not only has the world's government has been overrun by the Companies; the new Kojima Energy brought untold pollution to the already-resource-deprived world. In For Answer, the temporary solution was to evacuate Earth's citizens to the upper atmosphere, and the only solutions to the problem are to maintain the ultimately destructive status quo, or sacrifice millions of innocents to open up space, the last, albeit uncertain hope for mankind or to commit a cruel mercy killing.
    • Armored Core V is set in an already-scarred world with only pockets of civilization left. The Resistance aims to bring the despotic Father, ruler of the only Megapolis left in the world, down and to bring in a better reign. However, a group of enigmatic figures aid Father and actively hunt down the protagonist. After a massive debacle where no side won, the hard-earned stability of the City is gone forever, causing the land to become lawless, with roving Migrants and AC Pilots duking it out to become the best. So...more cynical then 4.
  • Smug Snake: Omer Science's briefing guy, especially during the briefing for "Destroy Arms Fort Spirit of Motherwill" where he spends quite a large amount of it making sarcastic comments about the Bernard and Felix Foundation and the Arms Fort itself.
  • Spell My Name with an S: "Zinovie" becoming Genobee, is likely a lost-in-translation error, as Zinovie is a legitimate Russian name. It was also possibly meant to be "Shinobi", but either way, Genobee'd still be wrong.
    • Malzel's name should have an umlaut, rendering it as Mälzel, which explains the pronunciation in the Japanese version.
  • SNK Boss: One could consider Nineball Seraph this since it uses parts you can't get.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Assault Armor in ''For Answer’’.
    • VD's final boss has one.
  • Spiritual Successor: Three of them: Chromehounds, Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit, and METAL WOLF CHAOS
  • Staying Alive: Armored Core V has Chief, whom you knock into the ocean but comes back a few missions later, which doesn't follow this trope, and you fight him in a one-on-one duel and beat him there... but then he reactivates, reveals that he is an AI, rips a support beam out of the wall and tries to kill you with it. But it doesn't stop there, he comes back again as the final boss using Exusia. And it's implied in the ending that he isn't done there.
  • Super Prototype: There are usually a few of them around in each game, whether it's a mech or just a weapon part. Subverted in For Answer where the player's operator comments that because they are sending out last generation Super Prototypes ORCA must be getting desperate.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Y'see, the best way to counter the missile spam is usually machine gun fire which is then best followed up with grenade launchers or plasma weapons but this tends to not work well against skillful evasive maneuvers combined with a lightweight build. The best answer to the lightweight build tends to be missiles.
    • Played completely straight in Armored Core V. There are three types of defenses that correspond to three types of attack: Kinetic Energy (Bullets, fragmenting explosives; KE), Chemical Energy (Explosives; CE), Thermal Energy (Pure energy; TE). Any given mech has a defensive focus on one type, and a smaller defense focus on any other two. Likewise, while an AC may carry all types of weapons, concentrating on one is the most effective loadout most of the time. Thus, in matches, mechs with weapons that can exploit an enemy's glaring built-in weakness (carrying TE weapons against TE-weak opponent) usually wins the battle.
  • Tank Goodness: Even if the player doesn't use a tank type AC, at least a couple opponents certainly will.
  • Thanatos Gambit: The Union liaison in Armored Core 3 speculates that The Controller's "malfunctions" are actually an attempt to provoke humanity into defending itself and ultimately killing it. The people who worship The Controller as a god take it as a sign that it has decided humanity must die and gladly accept their fate.
  • That's No Moon: In Armored Core 2, the Martian moon Phobos is actually a piece of Lost Technology
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In your final fight against Zinaida from Last Raven, her AC shows signs of damage. However, all this "damage" does is gives her infinite energy and cooling, as well as the ability to travel over 550 miles per hour when boosting, which shouldn't even be possible given the weight and weapon load out.
    • In fact, most of the games are guilty of this, as many of the single player ACs you encounter have such idiot AI (such as attempting to boost through a 10 meter wide steel wall or conveniently relieving themselves of all their ammo, simply because you are on the other side of it) that FROM SOFTWARE gives them all of the aforementioned superpowers. This is most noticeable in Last Raven, of course. Depending on the story path you take, you can end up facing TWO such opponents in the SECOND mission, WITH NO WARNING WHATSOEVER. Given Last Raven's attempt at more realistic mechanics, this did not go over well.
    • It's not just Zinaida-virtually every enemy AC controlled by AI gets unlimited energy, superb aim when firing at your missiles from halfway across the map, and ignoring fog.
    • Invoked with AIs: why doesn't Nineball need to crouch to fire his grenade launcher? Because he's an AI, and they get Human+ benefits as well.
    • Chief also does this too, using a fallen power line AS AN OVERED WEAPON.
    • Essentially all enemy units have infinite ammo and energy in missions, even if the opponent is an AC. This means that, unlike Arena matches, waiting for them to deplete all their ammo is not a viable strategy:
      • Armored Core 2's Strung has an unlimited supply of vertical missiles, in an area with poor visibility to boot.
      • Another Age's Zaltehook spams missiles and sniper rifle fire when he should have run out already.
    • While the anti-FCS rockets, decoy dispensers and dummy/ECM makers work on human players, they only keep NPC A Cs from locking on. They are still deadly accurate at aiming right at you with a non-missile weapon anyway.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In Armored Core 2, the once-weak Martian Government gets a sudden taste of power and promptly abuses the heck out of it. This leads to many Ravens (including their own hired guns, the Frighteners) revolting to form a Raven's Republic when they are needed the most. For Answer had the ORCA Brigade, made up of dissatisfied LYNXes and most of all Old King.
  • Theme Naming: Omnipresent throughout the series. What am I talking about? The pilots are referred to by either LYNX (in 4 and 4A) or Ravens (every game prior to 4) as a codename. They may have actual names, but a generic pilot is called either a LYNX or a Raven in every game.
    • Most part names in later games have this. For example in 4/4A, Leonemeccanica/Melies/Interior Union names their parts after stars and star constellations while Eqbal names their parts after Islamic terms (or Arabic-sounding gibberish, depending on the version). Algebra later settles with flower names.
    • On the other hand, Rayleonard Company's Berlioz and Supplice refers to composer Hector Berlioz and Marche Au Supplice (also a mission name), a part of his Symphonie Fantastique. This is of course, after we get past the fact that Rayleonard names their NEXT models after R&B stars: AALIYAH and ALICIA (Keys). A renamed generator part was actually named 06-RIHANNA.
    • Rosary's real name, Cordelia, her sister Regan, and Regan's bodyguard Oswald are all taken from Shakespeare's play King Lear. In a good bit of Fauxshadow, this does not lead up anywhere.
      • And Verdict Day has the head of Sirius Gloucester Stratford, it's a theme for the whole Stratford family.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: A low-ranked Raven in the Arena in Armored Core 2 goes by the moniker "Hustler Two" (AC: Eight Ball). He claims to be a descendant of Hustler One, which is kind of hard to take seriously seeing as how rogue AIs don't have kids. His AC is also hilariously inferior in comparison to Nine Ball.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: ORCA and Vertex, who is borderline Darwinist in selecting rebels against the corporations.
  • There Can Be Only One: One of the endings of Armored Core: Last Raven involves your protagonist ultimately killing every other Raven in existence. Why? Look at the title. The Rival Zinaida points out that she was ultimately trying to do the same, though in her case it was to prove her superiority to other Ravens (For you, it was just business), and begrudgingly admits you are better than her before her AC explodes spectacularly. And she also CHEATED, at that.
  • Timed Mission: In AC4, you pay for your NEXT's operational costs, and you're charged according to mission time. While you don't fail outright if you take too long, you can easily burn more cash than you gain if you take too long. Some missions take longer to load than they do to beat if you're going for that coveted S-Rank.
  • Time Skip: Outside of the unknown ones between most of the games, there are a few explicit time skips. There is a ten year gap from 4 to For Answer (or, rather, a ten year gap between the National Dismantlement War). V has a one year gap between the prologue mission and the first mission, as well as a two year gap between the end of the story missions and the start of the order missions (which is a Guide Dang It outside of the artbook and the official Armored Core Facebook page). Verdict Day ups the gap by having a hundred years pass between it and V, to say nothing of the unknown gap between Verdict Day and For Answer.
  • Title Drop: Partial. In For Answer, Ending A, Kasumi Sumika/Serene Haze addresses the player, referring to their choices and decision to let humanity live in the Cradles as the "Answer".
    • Happens in Ending B as well. In the final mission for that route, as you begin the mission, your operator says "You've chosen your answer. Now see it through."
      • Also in Ending A, should you be defeated and the final hit was made by Thermidor, he remarks to you "Sorry, but I won't let you take this from us. But I'll be sure to remember... your Answer." Lots of talk of the elusive Answer in the ending, huh?
    • Complete: The gigantic flying fortress "Arms Fort Answerer"
    • The 'Verdict War.'
  • Tomato Surprise: Somewhat rare in the fairly straightforward series, but the end of Silent Line reveals that Sara Cross of the Artificial Intelligence Office is actually IBIS, the counterpart to The Controller known as DOVE from Armored Core 3. The revelation is foreshadowed by Sara’s increasing reservations about the player's actions, and the sound of her voice shifting slowly from that of a middle-aged female to an artificial-sounding male as you explore IBIS' domain. To drive the point home, the voice starts shifting back once you destroy IBIS' defenses.
    • Also happens in Master of Arena: Your operator, Lana Nielsen, begins actively working against your best interests and eventually it's not only revealed that she's an AI, but she's actually Nine Ball and she's merely been stringing you along this whole time and planned to kill you from the very start.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Kojima Particles in 4/For Answer. They've been described as "radioactive" and "polluting" (the latter probably means "hard to get rid of"). A major part of the plot in For Answer is how humanity copes with the high levels of Kojima pollution due to the constant use of NEXT's.
  • Transforming Mecha: Nineball Seraph can legitimately transform into a plane mode. Something no other AC has replicated before, until...
    • White Glint in ''For Answer’’, though only if you don't use parts that conflict with its transformation.
      • White Glint's transformation is only seen in the intro movie and in the model kits-the only part of the transformation that happens in game play is the Overboost wings opening up.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Nabeshima discussed this in an interview over V. Specifically, he noted that most battles are "centered on how well you could dodge your opponent's attacks while firing away and gradually whittling down his AP... That's fun, of course, but once one side has an AP advantage over the other, it became difficult to come back from that. Overed Weapons are intended to dramatically change that battle balance."
  • Updated Re-release: Armored Core 3, Silent Line and Last Raven (but no Nexus for some reason) were re-released for the PSP with the title Portable tacked onto the end. All three games featured brand new parts and arena fights not found in the PS2 versions of the games.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Assault Armor does a nice little chunk of damage and can erase an opponent's PA. However it also erases your PA even if you miss, its range is quite short, and it's utterly useless against Arms Forts and mobile fortresses. It is however, useful against blade-build NEXTs.
    • And, by extension, any part that amplifies the damage done by Assault Armor.
  • Villain Protagonist: For Answer, Ending C.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Zodiac #3/#8. Poor Number 3's semi-psychotic voice bordering on insanity just makes you feel sorry for the bastard.
    Angie: "Damage critical. Mission failed, #3/#8."
    Zodiac #3/#8: "This is some kind of a sick joke, right Angie? We turned ourselves into puppets for this?! I don't even remember why!
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The arena in most games tends to be relatively easy until you run into one enemy specifically designed to stop you cold.
    • Cube in 4A. Piloting the fastest AC in the game and equipped with Primal Armor eating machine guns. It doesn't help he is capable of quick boosting so rapidly that just keeping him in front of you long enough to take a shot with most weapons is hard, to say nothing of actually landing a hit. You would never expect such an infuriating enemy to be ranked 18th out of 30.
  • Walking Wasteland: Any NEXT is this due to the ubiquitous use of Kojima Particles in their Primal Armor and possibly weapons.
  • Wall Jump: Added in V.
  • Was Once a Man: The Foundation leader, which might be "Forgotten Day's" Issac, and the mercenaries of Reaper Squad, including Maggie when she does her Face-Heel Turn in VD.
  • Wave Motion Gun: So many.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Spirit of Motherwill is beaten by destroying its weapons (because the explosions cause uncontrollable internal fires, a rather glaring engineering fault for a weapons platform), Stigro has absolutely no resistance to energy blades (which generally do a huge amount of damage when they land).
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Line Ark is an aversion. While they were branded revolutionaries by the League, they're actually very democratic and accept people from all walks of life. This approach however has led them into a massive Motive Decay. Line Ark's successor of sorts, ORCA in ''For Answer’’, is this.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Interestingly, only stateside editions use "Credits". Japanese versions use COAM instead; short for Company Assured Moneynote .
    • Credits are called "Au" in 5, implying gold is being directly traded but it still follows the trope.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Your operator, who has stood by you through countless missions in For Answer can't help but register her disgust at the choices your pilot makes that lead to Ending C. The enemies who appear to kill you and your accomplice after the fated mission also lash out at you with the following, starting with your Operator herself.
    "Please accept my apologies. That briefing you saw was manufactured. This is the end of the road for you. I think you understand why."
    "Your actions were clearly deliberate, there's no point in trying to reason with you."
    "Maybe it's just an animal. Can it even understand what we're saying?"
    "You think you're some kind of one man army? You think it's your right to choose who lives and dies?"
    "You kill too many."
    "To end up facing you like this... Too bad. You walked right into my trap. Stand still so I can cut you down."- This includes Kasumi Sumika, your operator, who joins in on the attempt to kill you on Hard Mode.
    • Your operator in For Answer also expresses disapproval over other actions, as she is obviously less than happy if you destroy Megalis, the sole power source of Line Ark.
  • With This Herring: The Story Missions in V are often long, hard, and brutal. The beginning AC you have is nothing more than a hodgepodge of "Junk" parts; parts that are no longer in their peak state due to damages they've sustained, denoted with the prefix "D/".
  • Who's Laughing Now?: RD, who has been the meek, easily-scared character and often being the butt of jokes and Rosary's casual dismissal does a Face-Heel Turn, only because he was promised that he would survive if he joined the Corporation side and being told that he is, in fact, special. The despairing tone of his voice as you destroy his AC is painful.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Nine Ball is the series’ unofficial mascot despite appearing in only four out of fifteen games. ( and his cameo boss appearance in Another Century's Episode R) And any Armored Core fan worth their salt will recognize him.
  • Word Salad Title: Even in context some of the games titles are just weird. By way of example, the thirteenth game's full name is "Armored Core 4: For Answer". Say that out loud and see how it sounds.

Mission objective achieved. System switched to normal mode.
TenchuCreator/From SoftwareKings Field
Another Century's EpisodeMecha GameArmored Warriors
Ace CombatVideo Game Long RunnersAtelier
ArkanoidScience Fiction Video GamesArtemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator
Arcana HeartPlay Station 3 Assassin's Creed I
Anno DominiCreator/Ubi SoftAssassin's Creed
GothicXbox 360 Army Of Two
Ape EscapePlay Station PortableArmy Of Two
Arc the LadPlay StationArmy Men
Metal SlugAwesome/Video GamesWario Land
Arcana HeartPlay Station 2 Army Men

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