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Armored Core V is the fifth main instalment in the Armored Core mech-combat game series developed by FromSoftware and its fourteenth instalment overall. It was published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in early 2012.
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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.

Armored Core V marks a return to the series' more traditional gameplay in contrast to Armored Core 4 and Armored Core: For Answer, featuring a weightier combat system that emphasizes on tactical gameplay and allows players to use level geography to their advantage.

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The online component is made up of two modes: team battles called "Conquest Mode" (up to five against five), with the fifth member designated as an operator who oversees the battle and issues orders to their team, where each side battles over specific objectives across the map; the other is Free Battle, where players can fight each other in traditional team deathmatches, one-on-one duels, or a battle royale with up to 8 ACs. On March 20, 2014, the online servers for Armored Core V shut down, leaving only Story Mode and Free Battle available.

Has a sequel in Armored Core: Verdict Day.

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Armored Core V provides trope examples of:

  • Action Prologue: Two of them! Your tutorial mission begins as a In Medias Res escape from the City (which is part of the penultimate story mission), while Mission 00 has you fight on the Corporation's side one year before the actual storyline.
  • Anyone Can Die: Leon and RD both perish during the main story despite being major supporting characters. The latter is a special case where he doesn't die when you think he does.
  • Armored Coffins: An aversion to the series' long-established rule; you can still move around as an infantry unit (and take pictures while you're at it) after your AC has blown up, as long as the match or mission is still going on.
  • A-Team Firing: Setpieces in some stages include autocannons firing at a direction. Not only they do no damage, they are perfectly content to shoot at the air.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Some of the 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.
  • BFG: One of the series' staple, but some Overed/Ultimate Weapons introduced here, namely the Giga Cannon, are much larger than the AC carrying it.
  • Black Comedy: In Mission 01, if you kill all enemies fast enough, you are treated to an alternate enemy AC which replaces the one that normally shows up by blasting the latter into bits, and only has following line to excuse himself:
    Zodiac 7: Damn! This place is swarming with enemies!
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Nearly every mech is called an AC. Many suspect this to be Bandai Namco's fault.
  • Bonus Boss: A few supped-up boss fights can be encountered on Conquest Mode. Namely:
    • 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 the 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.
  • Boring, but Practical: HEAT Rockets 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. Rockets, while heavier, accomplish the same effect on targets with weak KE resistance, and even if they do not directly hit the target, they still create clusters of explosions with a medium-to-high amount of splash damage.
  • Bullfight Boss: The boss fight against the Exusia can devolve into one since it moves around quickly and only lets up for a few seconds after trying to ram you. Better yet, there is a subquest that requires you to destroy it with a Boost Charge.
  • Butt-Monkey: RD's quibbles about bailing out in Mission 03 are shut down with an audible punch on the head from Rosary.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Despite its name, the Mass Blade is a huge support beam crudely held together in place with boosters so you can clobber an unsuspecting opponent after fully charging it. Chief creates one in Mission 07 for the second phase of the fight.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Grind Blade is made up of six glowing saws that twirl around like a blender and create a small tornado when unleashed. It's a One-Hit Kill weapon that can even destroy individual bonus bosses with correct timing.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: RD 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.
  • Cool Big Sis: Rosary is quite chummy with Leon and usually manhandles RD despite asserting as the "Big Sis". While she's initially skeptical of Fran and her newly appointed position as the Resistance's leader, she still warms up to the latter and keeps on supporting Fran well after the main story is over.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Angie and the rest of Zodiac are all implied to have been turned into A.I.'s and are slowly slipping into a loss of purpose. This is lampshaded by Zodiac #3.
    "I guess you did give everything up for the project, your body, your brain... your soul, am I right, Angie?
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Just when Leon and the Resistance got their hands on Father in Mission 06, the Corporation unexpectedly arrives to bombard the City, killing Father and Leon, as well as wiping out most of the belligerents. The ensuing chaos is so great that Fran orders a general retreat despite Rosary's protests.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Using Sniper Cannons on a tank AC. You get no lock on at all, so your shots will have to be aimed manually while keeping track of your target's movement. Once you get a hold of it, however, you can unleash obscene amounts of damage upon hapless fools, and the final boss even goes down under 10 carefully aimed shots.
  • The Dreaded: The game's secondary plotline has the Corporation, Men of Honor and Zodiac trying to off you because you're so dangerous.
  • Driven to Suicide: After you defeat the last two Zodiac members in Order mission 83, Angie silently crashes her helicopter due to no longer having a purpose. It's apparently botched, because she is revealed by Word of God in Verdict Day to be the A.I. controlling Bonus Boss LiV.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Overed Weapons to Ultimate Weapons.
    • 'Father' was originally called Daihyou (Representative) in the Japanese version.
  • Final Boss: The winged mech, Exusia, comes to hunt you down in Mission 10 after Father dies and his regime crumbles, piloted by none other than a crazed Chief still clinging on to his obsession with you.
  • Gatling Good: Gatling guns and Autocannons are two weapon categories that possess a large ammo count and fire at an incredible pace, ensuring a high damage rate despite their low firepower.
  • Gun Porn: The Ultimate Weapons all have an elaborate setup sequence in which parts fold and unfold into their ready forms.
  • Improvised Weapon: All of the Ultimate Weapons 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".
  • In Medias Res: The tutorial mission 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 whom is who, 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.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • Jammer Guns. 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: The Exusia. It's huge, flies around the battlefield (breaking your lock multiple times), throws around some really nasty weaponry (large laser beams and homing missiles), and can ram you for a large amount of damage (if not outright oneshotting you).
  • Lovable Coward: RD, gifted with Combat Clairvoyance, 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.
  • Mini-Mecha: The ACs in this game are around 5 meters-tall, a step down from the 10 meters-tall NEXTs that roamed in Armored Core 4 and Armored Core: For Answer.
  • Mission Control:
    • Story Mode and Order Missions have Fran and Rosary giving you directives while you're on the field.
    • In multiplayer modes, this is a player-handled role on team missions, with them referred to as Operator. Their job consists of spotting enemies across the map and analysing their stats while also checking up on their teammates.
  • Money Fetish: Rosary has one main thing in mind, and it's making money; she even takes offence at even the slight mention of doing things for free. Best summed up at the beginning of Mission 01:
    Rosary: What am I doing again? I'm not picky—as long as the pay's good. [...] I couldn't work for free if my life depended on it. I don't go anywhere without getting paid.
  • More Dakka: This game one-ups the series' great tradition by offering Autocannons which are essentially as strong as regular cannons, with three to four barrels, and an extreme fire rate. While all ACs require kneeling to use this, tanks don't, and in addition can dual wield it for even more dakka.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: 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.
  • Not Quite Dead: RD survives his truck getting shot and later reappears as an enemy, having switched sides.
  • One-Hit Kill: Ultimate Weapons usually deal around 60,000 to 150,000 damage a hit while the most health an AC can have is around 60,000 AP. The Grind Blade is the best example since it actually strikes multiple times in one charge, all with the advertised damage output.
  • Point Defenseless:
    • The Aegis-CIWS unit onboard the St. Elmo is a massive aversion. 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, and the St. Elmo is covered by six of them.
    • Shoulder-mounted CIWS 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 attempts to shoot it down...
  • Private Military Contractors: Men of Honor, outside of their own plotline in Order Missions, is the group that allows players to hire other players to help them out in missions.
  • Psycho for Hire: Chief is under Father's command, but he's much less interested in the latter's orders and more fascinated in the Resistance's desperate struggle. In the end, he's revealed to be an A.I. obsessed with humanity's potential; specifically you, who would become famed in the sequel as the first Dark Raven.
  • Puppet King: Father turns out to be just a figurehead for the real masters of the City and the true force that enforces world order, i.e. the Corporation.
  • Real Is Brown: Armored Core V's stages are bleak and war-ravished, using minor shades of brown and grey, though the ACs are still as colorful as ever.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chief and Carol. Carol is apathetic to a fault and is only mildly interested in your potential, whereas Chief is passionate and obsesses over you once you beat him silly.
  • Restraining Bolt: Ultimate/Overed Weapons remove the limiter in the AC's generator to charge the weapon for a massive attack.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The game's setting; 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, in the climax of the Resistance's siege on the City, 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.
  • SNK Boss: Chief pilots a heavy biped AC that can be built by the player with the appropriate parts, but when he gets to use Ultimate Weapons over the course of the storyline, not only do they charge unreasonably fast, they also have unlimited uses.
  • Staying Alive: 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.
  • A Taste of Power: The AC you pilot in the Tutorial Mission 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.
  • Time Skip: There's 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).
  • Unfriendly Fire: Chief unapologetically shoots down one of his "allies" with a Giga Cannon even though they're both practically working for Father. Carol lampshades this.
    Carol: Sir, pardon me, but I believe that was not the correct target. That was the captain of the City Police.
    Chief: [Chuckles] You don't say.
  • 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!
  • Wall Jump: A feature that was added in this era of Armored Core that greatly augments your maneuvrability and allows you to climb tightly placed buildings quickly. Of course, the only leg type incapable of climbing or walljumping is the tank.
  • With This Herring: The Story Missions 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.
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