Left unimpressed by the recent Armored Core games, we were prepared to ditch the series altogether and focus on other genres. Then we watched "Pacific Rim" and fell back in love with humans commanding giant machines of worldly destruction. We decided Verdict Day was a solid enough title to give the franchise one more run.
If only Namco Bandai had its mechs fighting gargantuan beasts from the sea rather than other mechs on bland, colorless environments, it could have had something worth getting excited about. Verdict Day takes positive steps forward in certain areas while backsliding horribly in others, particularly in the visual aspect of the game.
On the positive side, the action ramps up quickly and rarely relents. Missions get repetitive fast, but those who like wide-open spaces with mechs running amok firing volleys of missiles nonstop will find plenty to love. The overcrowded head-up display saps some of the energy by constantly streaming useless data and information all over the screen, distracting you from the meat of the action.
Continuing the trend of visually confusion . . . why do gaming companies actively work to frustrate players by making the menu systems as difficult as possible to navigate? If you drove a race car blindfolded, you'd have greater success than getting around the menus and hidden submenus within Verdict Day.
The game makes it harder for newcomers to find a foothold in the franchise, with its difficulty and awful menus. Only true believers may persevere to spend time truly exploring the options and seeing the story mode to its conclusion.
RATING T for teen
PLOT In a future world, three factions fight over natural resources.
DETAILS PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, $50
BOTTOM LINE For true believers only.