Armored Core: Last Raven

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AC:LR Box Art
Armored Core: Last Raven
General Information
Console PlayStation 2
NA Publisher Agetec
NA Release Date June 13th, 2006
AC Game Engine 3rd Generation
AC Story Arc 2nd Era
Predecessor AC:NB
Successor AC4
ACU Rating 4 / 5

Armored Core: Last Raven is the eleventh installment in the Armored Core series. It is the last Armored Core game developed for the PlayStation 2 console and was released to the North American market on June 13th, 2006. It is often abbreviated as AC:LR or LR.

There is a portable version of Last Raven for the PlayStation Portable, Armored Core: Last Raven Portable.

Description

Last Raven, like many of its predecessors, features very high quality CG artwork and videos for its time. The intro video for Last Raven shows a ruined city with a large amount of detail and fidelity apparent in it and its inhabitants. Like Nexus, Last Raven has less of a glossy appearance to its parts than older games like Silent Line. This is likely due to what seems to be a reduction in texture quality to accomdate the large amount of parts and changes to the game engine. Last Raven also employs a method of motion blurring to help ACs in movement seem more smooth. One of the graphical downsides of Last Raven is the strong blue overlay that saturates the games menus. It makes the garage and main menus more washed out than they would have otherwise been.

Many of the sound effects in Last Raven were the same sounds that were in previous AC games. Some people have expressed that they found the Pulverizer sound effects to be entertaining, but outside of that there seems to have been little effort geared to producing higher fidelity or more entertaining sound effects for Last Raven. The soundtrack for Last Raven was received very poorly by the community. It was very different in presentation and method when compared to the soundtracks of its predeccesors like Master of Arena, Another Age, Silent Line, and Nexus. It seemed to be focused around producing a very strong mechanical/rock feeling, while deviating from the more technological/techno feeling of the older games.

Last Raven was well received by the general fanbase, though still not much better than Nexus. Many people still had a hard time adjusting to the new heat system and part breaking. Despite this, Last Raven remains the most played PS2 generation AC game by the general fanbase. Last Raven was seen as an improvement over the previous games of Nexus and Nine Breaker by some because of the rebalanced parts, greater part diversity, and increased energy output of all generators. Others found the addition of booster acceleration, part breaking, and the reduced overall weapon accuracy to be strongly detrimental to the games balance and competitive playability. For the non-avid AC player, Last Raven was just another rehashed AC game. The immense part count, disjointed story, and difficult controls continued to hamper new players.

Last Raven features the third generation Armored Core game engine. It is also the last game to take place in the Armored Core 3 universe.

Game Case Text

EMERGENCY ALERT!: THE FINAL RECKONING!
Raven, we have been slaves to the greedy and arrogant corporations for too long.
The balance of power is tipping, the question of which way depends on you.
The time has come to pick sides once and for all. ACCEPT or DECLINE?

The next 24 hours decides the fate of our world...

- MULTIPLE BATTLE MODES WITH INTENSE 1-4 PLAYER ACTION.
- VIRTUALLY UNLIMITED AMOUNT OF MACHINES YOU CAN CREATE.
- AMAZING GRAPHICS AND DYNAMIC SPECIAL EFFECTS.
- 6 DIFFERENT ENDINGS DEPENDING ON CHOICES MADE.
- DESTRUCTABLE AC PARTS ADD NEW STRATEGIC ELEMENT.

Memo: When last shot is fired... will anyone be left?...

Story

Last Raven takes place approximately six months after the events of Nexus. Unmanned suicide weapons have left the world and its major powers in a broken state. Lacking the ability to maintain competition with each other, the three largest corporations merged into a new ruling body known as "Alliance". In response to the formation of Alliance, a group of Ravens known as "Vertex" has formed. Vertex, led by a Raven going by the name of Jack-O, plans on overthrowing the corporation rule and establishing a new system of rule for the world. A world ruled by Ravens.

Alliance and Vertex are steadily becoming increasingly hostile. Alliance forces, led by the Raven Evangel, are attacking locations known to be under Vertex's control and Vertex has responded in force. Many Ravens have joined the fight for one side or the other, yet many have remained true to the traditional Raven ethos of taking no sides. Many of these independent Ravens have started gangs of their own and been dubbed Warlords. In an attempt to utilize the Ravens that are standing on the sidelines, Alliance has placed bounties on the heads of Ravens known to be working for Vertex. In response to this action, Vertex has placed bounties on the heads of every Raven that sides with Alliance.

Vertex, having finally gained enough confidence and military power, has declared an all-out war on Alliance that will begin in 24 hours. Alliance has begun preparations for multiple attacks on Vertex. To make matters worse, Raven Warlords have seen an increase in aggressive activity. The situation is spiraling out of control.

The events of Last Raven take place during these final hours and follow the actions of a relatively new and unknown Raven.

Major Characters

Last Raven features a large collection of individual characters and organizations. Many of these characters play important roles in the story, much unlike previous games that had very few unique individuals featured in the spotlight.

Organizations

  • Alliance - The Alliance is a new organization formed when the three largest corporations decided to join forces. These corporations were known as Crest, Mirage, and Kisaragi. Initially weapon manufacturers, the corporations strove to gain strongholds on both political and military power as their influences grew. They were caught off guard by an unmanned suicide weapon attack while fighting one another for dominance and were nearly annihilated. Alliance rose from their ashes.
  • Vertex - Vertex is a heavily armed group headed up by a man known simply as Jack-O. He has announced his intentions to form a "New World Order" led by the Ravens and plans to launch a major offensive against the Alliance. Vertex has its headquarters located in Circ-City.

People

  • Protagonist - A pilot who seems to be new to the Raven fold. Little is known of this enigmatic and silent individual. This is the player character.
  • Sheila Caldwell - She is a mission operation specialist responsible for providing up-to-date information and support for her Raven clientele during a mission. Her current clientele is the protagonist. She used to be a director in Mirage's Information Department, but left after the unmanned suicide weapon attack.
  • Ed Weisz - He is a military researcher who gathers and analyzes information relating to various conflicts, battles, and people. He used to make a living performing these duties for the corporations. He's currently under the employ of the protagonist.
  • Evangel - The pilot of AC Oracle. He is a Raven working for Alliance and is the commander of the organization's Tactical Unit forces. Evangel used to belong to the Raven's Ark, but was kicked out for taking direct contracts from the corporations. He suffers from a severe form of inferiority complex. He considers Jack-O to be his personal rival.
  • Jack-O - The pilot of AC Foxeye. He is the leader of the newly formed organization Vertex. While employed by Raven's Ark, Jack gained notoriety for denouncing the improper dealings some of the organization's upper management had with their corporate clients. He vanished after the Ark fell apart, but recently re-emerged to do battle with Alliance. He plans on creating a world ruled by Ravens.
  • Zinaida - The pilot of AC Fascinator. Little is known about Zinaida's motivations and past except that she is unaligned with any group. She is relatively new to the Raven fold, yet she has already made a heavy impression on the scene. She is considered to be one of the most dangerous Ravens alive.

Gameplay

General comments on any major traits of the games engine or of the games concepts should be made here. Default control scheme options and usability of those control schemes. Also, any major differences between the mechanics of this game and the mechanics of previous installments of the Armored Core series should be listed.

Mechanics

This section is for commenting on special features and behavior of the game engine. Also, it is for listing and commenting on formulas that the game uses for determining booster speed, damage reduction, energy regeneration, etc.

Missions

The missions in Last Raven are very interactive and have many in-game rendered cutscenes. Many fans find that the branching plotlines and the short time period the game takes place in creates a more entertaining and tense story mode. An interesting new feature in Last Raven is the player's AC walking out of the hangar once a mission is accepted, instead of just skipping straight to the mission loading screen. Another new and relatively interesting feature is that parts that are broken during a mission cannot be used again until you have finished an entire story mode playthrough.

One of the cons of Last Raven is that pre-mission client voice overs and post-mission mails sent to the player are duller than in previous AC games. Last Raven also removed the pre-mission screen where special mission details like mission codename, weather conditions, recommended Raven rank, and chance of success were listed. Some of the missions in Last Raven are very easy, while others are quite difficult. This is mostly due to some AI ACs having access to a very powerful version of Human Plus. Overall, Last Raven is considered easier than Nexus due to less powerful heat mechanics and more available energy.

Last Raven has a total 75 missions.

A complete list of missions for Last Raven is available here: Full Mission List

Arena

Last Raven features three different arenas. The arena that is most like the arenas in older AC games is the VR Arena. VR stands for virtual reality. This arena can only be accessed via single player mode. The VR Arena allows the player to fight against ACs that are seen nowhere else in the game. To fight against an AC in the VR Arena, a player must first place a bet against that AC. This bet is a predetermined amount. If the player wins they will be rewarded with the pot, also a pre-determined amount, and potentially a part. Maps are pre-selected in the VR Arena. Parts that are broken off or damaged in the VR Arena do not need to be re-bought.

The other major arena is the EX Arena. EX stands for extra. The EX Arena can only be accessed via single player mode. The EX Arena opens up once you have defeated at least one Raven in the story mode missions of the game. Every Raven you defeat in story mode appears in the EX Arena for you to fight at your leisure. In many cases, the EX Arena is much easier to win fights in than in the story mode due to maps being more usable and the enemy receiving fewer special abilities. No money or parts are gained by defeating opponents in the EX Arena, but you do unlock a part for defeating each of them in story mode missions. Instead, you are given their emblem as a reward for winning in the arena. The player gets to choose the map in the EX Arena. Parts that are broken off or damaged in the EX Arena do not need to be re-bought.

The last arena is the Versus Arena. This arena can only be accessed via multiplayer mode. While not truly an arena, the AI operated opponents in the multiplayer mode are unique and not seen anywhere else in the game and are in the same format as the EX Arena. All of the AI ACs in this arena are considered part of the "TR" series. Nothing is unlocked for beating the TR series ACs and they are all available from the moment you turn Last Raven on for the first time. There are no special requirements to fight them and they can be fought in any order. They can also be used as teammates in multiplayer battles. The player gets to choose the map in the Versus Arena. Parts that are broken off or damaged in multiplayer mode do not need to be re-bought.

A complete list of arena combatants for Last Raven is available here: Full Arena List

Parts

Parts Per Category
Head 28
Core 21
Arms 37
Legs 59
Booster 10
FCS 14
Generator 10
Radiator 10
Inside 20
Extension 28
Back Unit 77
R. Arm Unit 77
L. Arm Unit 66
Optional Part 19

No new part categories were added over Last Raven's predecessor Nine Breaker, although many new parts were added. General part-balancing occured along with Booster Acceleration being added as a new stat and tuning field for boosters. Also, all generators received 1,000 more EN Output to compensate for the relatively low energy available in Nexus and Ninebreaker. Although Last Raven has a large selection of parts, there is very little design diversity in competitive ACs due to the stratification of parts respective of their ability to abuse the mechanics of the game. Last Raven, like many AC games, is highly abusable. This has lead to the creation and use of banlists within most competitive circles and at most tournaments. After the implementation of banlists for Last Raven, competitive design diversity increased drastically.

Last Raven has a total of 450 unique parts.

A complete list of parts for Last Raven is available here: Full Part List

Intro Video

References

1. Armored Core: Last Raven - ACU Community Rating, Review, and General Discussion Topic