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Video Game / Armored Core: For Answer

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"Think. What are you fighting for?"
Pray for Answer
—Opening cinematic

Armored Core: For Answer (2008) is the 13th installment of the mecha combat game series Armored Core. It is a direct sequel to Armored Core 4 developed by FromSoftware and published on the Play Station 3 and Xbox 360 by itself (in Japan) and Ubisoft (North America and Europe). The game utilize the same game engine as 4, but with a new storyline and many customization options to play with.

The Lynx War has become the past. Pax Economica, the system that promised to bring peace to the world is long gone. The surviving corporations are forced to move in wake of massive Kojima Particle contamination unleashed during the ruthless era of corporate warfare. Massive floating platforms called Cradles are built, each housing 20 million civilians. They soar at 7,000 meters above the ground, where the air is still clean and safe.

Still, something is always moving on the surface. The League of Ruling Companies has left their Lynx behind. Now answering to League-run organization Collared, they use almighty NEXTs to secure resources for Cradle. The mercenaries, alongside corporations' gigantic Arms Forts, maintain corporate grip and crush any remaining dissidents on the surface. Such is the status quo that you are the weapon arms of. Still, such a condition wouldn't last long. And all it takes to break everything apart is for someone to ask a right question...

For Answer uses the same features as Armored Core 4, but the game speed has been increased significantly and it also adds Assault Armor, a high-risk, high-reward attack that drains Kojima Particles from Primal Armor to create a massive explosion, on top of many new NEXT parts and schematics. The game has both a single-player campaign with branching paths and PvP multiplayer.

Armored Core: For Answer provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: "Lapdog" for you, from Old King. It's clear that he sees you as a genuine friend in the Destruction Path.
  • Almighty Janitor: White Glint. 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) can fall to him in battle.
  • Amazon Brigade: Interior Union's affiliated Lynx are all women; two are veterans of the Lynx war, and one is ranked 3rd overall.
  • Ascended Extra: Roadie from AC4 was known for being way more combat capable than his rank and bio suggested, and for running a viable Mighty Glacier in a game that usually favors Fragile Speedsters. He not only survived the events of the Lynx War in that game, but now he's one of the top 4 NEXTs in Collared, and potentially one of the Final Bosses if you pick the Destruction route.
  • 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.
    • Played with by the Spirit of Motherwill, which (typical of BFF) is quite capable of hitting your NEXT at VOB-assisted supersonic speeds with its main gun; it's only the projectile's travel time that gives you the opportunity to dodge it.
  • 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 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 Stigroā€¯.
  • BFG: In the opening cinematic, a basic rifle for AC is shown to be so big it has to be transported by helicopter.
    • OIGAMI, a grenade cannon from Arisawa Heavy Industries, is a fold-able weapon that occupy both back slots and requires lengthy deployment time before it can be fired.
  • Beam Spam: Interior Union's parts allow for this if you load out correctly.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The way the storyline diverges. 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. Then there's the third option...
  • Blinded by the Light: Getting hit by the 09-FLICKER Flash Rockets or Assault Armor will produce this effect.
  • Colossus Climb: A couple of arms forts require you to fly up to the parts you can damage.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Amusingly with White Glint in the intro. Within seconds of landing on Motherwill, he gets heavily damaged and knocked off balance by Normals, loses one of his rifles, and then he deploys Assault Armor despite being nowhere near Motherwill. The A New Order of "NEXT" book rectifies this: Motherwill's mooks were already closing in on White Glint the moment he crashed so the AA was used to detroy them before he could be surrounded. The rest of the battle involves a drawn-out fight between White Glint and Motherwill, with neither side able to land a decisive victory. White Glint eventually withdraws due to ammo issues but considering this took place at a point where Motherwill's weakpoints had yet to be identified in-universe (and thus Motherwill was still practically invincible), White Glint did as well as could be expected.
  • Darker and Edgier: In comparison to the ORCA and League story routes, which function on the series' Gray-and-Gray Morality, the Destruction Path is perhaps one of the darkest routes and ending FromSoftware ever made. Whereas in the other two routes where you're fighting to protect "humanity's best interest" (be it maintaining the status quo or opening the way for humanity to take to the stars), you go on to become the worst mass murderer in human history after you've started the Destruction Path by felling Cradle 03 and racking up a hundred million bodycount entirely consisting of civilians, including women and children.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Chapter 2 has either White Glint, or Stasis and Fragile. They must be defeated before proceeding to Chapter 3, where the plot transitions to the ORCA-League war.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The new White Glint is Anatolia's Mercenary and facing them in combat is inevitable over your playthroughs. If there's any doubt that the Mercenary is the new White Glint, it's quickly dispelled by Fiona still operatimg as their support and is a hostile NPC when the time comes for Strayed and Glint to fight.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: While the Destruction Path is the shortest, consisting only of two missions, the final mission has you fight against four (or five in Hard mode) NEXTs, with little support from Old King, making it an extremely difficult fight.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Neither The League nor ORCA agree with Old King's methods. It gets to the point that League and ORCA Lynx will join forces in the Destruction Path just to stop Old King and you, Old King's lapdog.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Don Colonel does this quite literally. He's a former Normal pilot (basically what Ravens were in pre-4 Armored Core games), and this is reflected in how he pilots Wonderful Body; occasionally holding off the boosters and walking to conserve energy. Unfortunately, this means he doesn't get the most out of his NEXT and is a sitting duck for newer pilots like the player. His bewildered reaction to the player's fighting style suggests he simply has no idea what NEXTs are capable of.
  • Fragile Speedster:
  • Guide Dang It!: The game doesn't tell you how to access the ORCA and Destruction Path routes, which of course makes it very difficult to unlock said routes, particularly the latter.
    • To unlock the ORCA route, you must have beaten the game once and start a New Game Plus playthrough until you reach Chapter 2, after which you will unlock a new mission called "Defend Megalis". Starting and completing this mission begins the ORCA route.
    • Unlocking the Destruction Path is more tedious than the Orca route's conditions. Similar to the conditions for the ORCA route, the route is only accesible via New Game Plus, but you need to have completed both the League and ORCA routes. After that, you will have to battle your way through the Arena until you meet and defeat Old King. Once you've done all that, you play the game as normal until Chapter 4, where the mission "Destroy Cradle 03" will be unlocked and open up the Destruction Path route.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: While you are flying at it in a mostly straight line, the Spirit of Motherwill's main guns are apparently accurate enough to shoot at a VOB-assisted NEXT with a reasonable chance of hitting it.
  • Inconsistent Dub: White Glint's Order Match profile uses female pronouns despite the rest of the game (and Armored Core 4) establishing him as male.
  • Kill Sat: Earth is surrounded by a large number of these. They're designed to target anything that tries to leave Earth and were originally placed there by the old corporations to ensure that no one would be able to exploit the untapped resources of outerspace, which also has the unfortunate side effect of leaving humanity stranded on a dying world.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Several of the other Lynx War survivors have racked up quite the reputations. Roadie, for example, went from a lowly Lynx noted to be a match "only for a small squadron of Normals" to one of the highest-ranked Lynx in Collared, described as a veteran who makes up for his low AMS aptitude with sheer battle experience. Then there's White Glint, the protagonist of the previous game, who's so powerful that nobody is willing to take him on one-on-one.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Many Arms Forts have dozens of missile launchers on them that you have to boost around to avoid. Special mention to Spirit of Motherwill, who fires a salvo every 10 seconds.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: ORCA was formed by several Lynxes that were left behind on the surface. They seek to carry out the Closed Plan, defying Collared and by extension the League. However, some in the League are intentionally feeding them help before stabbing them in the back, to set an example.
  • Mook Horror Show: The first mission has you fighting (read: slaughtering) Line Ark's Normal forces, who can be heard over the radio panicking at the appearance of an enemy NEXT. It becomes a little awkward later on if you choose to support Line Ark, since those were technically the good guys that you killed, but it's not like you had a choice.
  • More Dakka: GA makes the parts that make AC builds like this possible.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • League Path: You helped the League in annihilating the ORCA terrorists and stopped the Closed Plan that could have lead humanity into space, saving the Cradles and maintaining a system that is doomed to eventually fail.
    • ORCA Path: You, the last surviving member of ORCA, succeed in completing The Closed Plan by sacrificing the Cradle populations for the destruction of old corporations' Assault Cells that were preventing humanity from migrating to space. But there is no guarantee that this peace will last for long...
    • Destruction Path: You take up Old King's invitation and kill absolutely everyone; The League, ORCA, your (former) operator, the Cradle populations... The only consolation is that those who were responsible for this radiation-addled mess in the first place finally got their due justice.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Unlike every other AC in the Armored Core 4 era, White Glint was designed by series veteran Shoji Kawamori.
  • 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.
  • Perspective Flip: Many missions come in pairs depicting the same event, but from different sides. For example:
    • "Defeat White Glint" has you and Otsdarva attack Line Ark and its guardian, White Glint, while "Defend Line Ark" has you working with White Glint against Otsdarva, with CUBE having taken your place on the League's side.
    • "Destroy Arteria Ulna" has you directly participate in the July attack that is only alluded to in the narration of the League path.
    • "Attack on Arteria Carpals" has you destroy the defenses around Carpals while waiting for Nobless Oblige to arrive so you can take him out, while "Defend Arteria Carpals" has you and Nobless confront ORCA's Julius Emery, who has already wiped out the defenses before you even get there.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Two of the CEOs of the mega corporations are also high-ranking Lynxes. 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".
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The cradles are said to house 20 million humans per cradle. However, if you choose to destroy them in the Destruction path, they seem rather small to be able to actually hold that many people per cradle. Though this can probably be chalked up to hardware limitations more than anything.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: Meet Rai-Den, God of QB-chaining. Quick-Boosting is 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...
  • So Last Season: If you choose to remain independent at the start of the game, your starting NEXT will be an 03-AALIYAH from the now-defunct Rayleonard. In Armored Core 4 the AALIYAH was Difficult, but Awesome with its high-speed, energy-intensive combat style, but in this game it faces stiff competition from other cores like LANCEL (which you can also start with), and with no ability to tune for extra energy capacity, using the AALIYAH as a new pilot might be more trouble than it's worth.
  • Sphere of Destruction: Assault Armor, a new feature that is built into some NEXT parts.
  • Symbolic Wings: White Glint's overed boost exhaust gives any AC using it's Core parts the appearance of wings. And as Line Ark's guardian angel, it's extra appropriate.
  • Villain Protagonist: You in the Destruction Path.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • CUBE, piloting the fastest AC in the game and equipped with PA-eating machine guns. It doesn't help that 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. Worse, if you want to help Line Ark, then CUBE is a required enemy who is much more dangerous than Otsdarva and takes out White Glint soon after Otsdarva goes down, forcing a 1-on-1 fight.
    • White Glint himself is no slouch in this department in the League version of that mission, as a Lightning Bruiser who is perfectly capable of using Assault Armor to nuke you if you're careless. And Otsdarva is still scripted to lose to him, so he's no help. And to top it off on Hard Mode, White Glint gets a Heroic Second Wind after you take him down the first time.
  • Walking Wasteland: All NEXTs are this, due to their usage of Kojima Particles.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Pretty much any Arms Fort can be destroyed in one motion by any AC that has two energy blades and a four-legged chassis.
    • 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). Arguably, BFF probably didn't think anything would be able to get close enough to Spirit of Motherwill to destroy its weapons in the first place, considering it can precisely hit a relatively small NEXT moving at least Mach 2 (You can hit as high as 2600kmph with the Vanguard Overed Boost.)
    • 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.
    • ORCA is much, much closer to this trope, perfectly willing to kill millions in order to save those who remain.