Armored Core: Nine Breaker is a video game in the Armored Core series.
During a rare lull in the usually incessant infighting between corporate giants, the world is experiencing its first taste of relative peace in many years. This is not to say that the corporations have discontinued plotting or carrying out attacks against one another, but the occurrence of such acts are much less frequent. With the exception of one clandestine organization, the world as a whole is grateful for the recent climate change. The organization in question does not advocate a return to the days of wanton violence and destruction, but is concerned that the sudden shift from a constant "conflict ready" state to one of seeming peace will cause many to let their guards down. Specifically, they do not want the Ravens who will man the front lines in the event of a future emergency to grow complacent. In an effort to prevent this from happening, the organization has recruited some of the world's top AC pilots to take part in a rigorous training program. The goal of the program is twofold: further hone the skills of the best, and ensure a sufficient and capable force is at hand should the need for their services arise ("Last Raven" proves this ideal wise).
- Nine Breaker - The title awarded to the #1 Raven in the Arena. The title dates back long ago and was first awarded to a Raven who defeated Nine Ball, the most powerful Raven in history who held the #1 title longer than anyone could remember.
- Unknown - The anonymous author of the messages that open and close the game and the organizer of Nine Breaker’s training program. The message relayed at the end of the game the unknown sender informs the player that the Corporations are using the training program to sharpen the skills of Ravens that they intend to make into a fighting force. Many fans have suggested "Unknown" is actually Jack-O, of Nexus and Last Raven, who in the latter game is the head of a force of Ravens known as Vertex. The accuracy of this message and of the events of "Last Raven" make this a probable speculation. It is also possible that Unknown is Hustler One in disguise, testing new raven talents or the that he is the A.I. that created Nineball, so it can perfect its fighting skills should the need arise; although, this particular speculation is much less likely, because Nineball (and its pilot, Hustler One) were defeated hundreds of years before the events of Nine Breaker.
- Nine Ball - Nine Ball is described by "Unknown" as a powerful weapon from an age gone by. "Unknown" is speculated to have recreated Nine Ball in the image of a legendary Raven's AC to serve as the final challenge for prospective Ravens who entered the training program. Nine Ball is an A.I. unit that was built to simulate the legendary combat abilities of "Hustler One" (relating to the story line of the PSX Armored Core titles). This is to explain the special abilities that the unit possesses.
In a some-what controversial move, developer FROM SOFTWARE remodeled some of the basic elements of the Armored Core formula for Armored Core: Nine Breaker. Removed altogether are the storyline-based missions and instead 'training missions' have been added into the game, intending to develop a player's skill at piloting an AC. The game was divided into two modes, Training Mode and Arena Mode.
Training Mode put players' skills to the test by having them compete in various trials. These trials are broken down by category; Attack, Defense, Move, Technic, Special and Overall; and in each of these categories are five separate tests. Each test has five different difficulty levels and the test parameters are increased with every level making it more and more difficult for a player to complete the test. Depending on how well a player does they are awarded gold, silver, bronze or fail status for the test. Getting consistent gold results unlock additional features like hidden parts or more trial missions.
Arena Mode consist of arena battles. Starting from the very bottom of the arena ladder the player can compete in arena matches against a wide array of other Ravens (nearly 200) and collect points for each win they score. When enough points are gained a player earns the right to challenge higher up opponents and move further up in the arena. When certain requirements are met new AC parts are unlocked.
Attempts to loosen the restriction of the heat element introduced in "Nexus" have been made in the game. Heat seems somewhat more tolerable to players overall, but some feel not enough.
The tuning system of "Nexus" has been fixed in Nine Breaker. No longer does tuning cost credits and you can freely tune and un-tune parts capable of being tuned.
The lack of missions and the existence of the training program have made the existence of a shop feature pointless. You no longer deal with credits at all in Nine Breaker and your achievements grant you access to parts.
Attempts to increase mobility have been made in addition to the attempts to loosen heat restrictions. Maneuvers feel moderately quicker versus the considerably sluggish feeling that "Nexus" gave players.
- It is difficult to determine whether Nine Breaker is a sequel or spin off of sorts. Two reasons for this are that:1) the Ravens' Ark still exists during this time and 2) no Raven in Nine Breaker appears in Last Raven yet some Ravens from Nexus do appear.
- Armored Core: Nine Breaker suggests that the Original Armored Core Universe and the Armored Core 3 Universe are the same. This is because Nine Breaker uses some Nexus Ravens and uses the Universe of Armored Core 3's parts and corporations while also using Nine-Ball who only appeared in the Original Armored Core Universe.
- Nine Breaker is the 9th game in the series, playing off the Nine-ball reference of the game.