|''Armored Core 2''|
Armored Core 2 is the fourth installment in the Armored Core series, and was released for PlayStation 2.
Sixty-seven years after the events of the Subterraean Era, Earth's second largest corporation, Zio Matrix, acquires plans for a research project on Mars, dating back before the Great Destruction. Using these plans, Zio sends a research team to Mars to begin the Terraforming Project, which causes the Martian surface and atmosphere to approximate that of Earth. Other corporations learn of the project and quickly follow Zio Matrix, bringing with them the competitive environment that existed on Earth. Along with them, they bring the employ of the mercenaries of Nerves Concord.
As the three companies' war comes to a close, the most powerful, Zio Matrix, attempts a coup against the government, which has regained control through it's elite mercenary team, The Frighteners, led by Leos Klein. But in the chaos that ensues, the Frighteners turn on the government, assassinating the new leader of the LCC, and taking control of powerful Disorder technology. Amongst the ashes and ruins of war, you must save the humans living on Mars—or possibly die trying.
- Zio Matrix - The most powerful corporation on Mars, Zio Matrix obtained this position after following up on long lost plans relating to the terraforming of the planet. The company is capable of projecting a fearsome array of military might, but is usually capable of ending other corporation's interference with just the threat of its use.
- Zio Matrix Earth Headquarters - The parent company of the Zio Matrix Mars Division. Tensions between the two halves of the company have been boiling over for some time now, and it has become increasingly apparent that the Mars division is beginning to act independently of its Earth-based headquarters.
- Emeraude - The largest corporation on Earth, but the second largest on Mars. Emeraude has ambitious growth aspirations and boldly seizes or creates opportunities to gain the upper hand. Emeraude is the catalyst behind many corporate conflicts, and is often the aggressor in conflicts for resources and territory.
- Balena - Balena falls a distant third behind both Zio Matrix and Emeraude with regards to corporate expansion on Mars, but maintains a firm footing by siding with neither of its competitors. In fact, the company conducts business with both, and is steadily growing, staving off being defeated by the other two larger companies by working closely with the Earth government. Balena also produces more advanced technologies than Zio Matrix and Emeraude, and is responsible for outfitting its Frighteners special forces with their advanced equipment.
- Earth Government - A provisional government organization established after the signing of the Isaac Treaty. Its initial focus was bringing order to the subterranean world after the Deep Earth War. Eventually, the government's attention shifted towards reestablishing human civilization on the Earth's surface and though great strides have been made, much work remains. Given the fact that most of the government's resources are put to use on the Earth, they have little sway over the situation on Mars.
- LCC (Large Scale Enterprises of the Central Committee) - The LCC is an attempt by the Earth government to establish a presence on Mars and bring order to the chaos there. A severe shortage of resources limits the LCC's influence, and what little they do have pales in comparison to that wielded by the corporations. The LCC is more or less a puppet organization with little to no control over events on Mars.
- Frighteners - An Earth government sponsored mercenary group, intended to bolster the LCC's position on Mars and bring both the corporations and Ravens to heel. Its core members are all ex-Ravens and they're lead by Leos Klein, a "Nine Breaker."
- Disorders - The collective designation given to the unmanned units, from an ancient civilization, discovered on Mars as Zio Matrix's continuation of terraforming plans moved forward. They typically appear in droves, displaying insect-like behavior, and take many different forms. Wherever they are found, destruction follows in their wake.
- Nerves Concord - Similar in function to the Ravens' Nest of old, the Nerves Concord acts as an intermediary between the corporations and Ravens. For providing this service, the Nerves Concord takes a commission on all transactions.
- Ravens - Mercenaries of the series, being sanctioned by the Earth Government. Your character plays the role of a Raven, and as such, is hired by corporations and led into a conflict over their independence. Ravens as a whole fell out of favor for a time following the signing of the Isaac Treaty. This situation reversed itself as circumstances on Mars deteriorated, and now their numbers are growing rapidly.
- Nell Aulter- Nerves Concord liaison manager and the person in charge of the player’s mission assignments and communication support. Of the many operators in the Armored Core series, she is one of the most concerned for her raven's well being, showing a level of compassion matched only in later games, such as Silent Line, Last Raven, and Armored Core 4, and offers a stark contrast to the attitudes of other characters in the game.
- Leos Klein - Once an active Arena "Nine Breaker," Klein now heads the Frighteners mercenary organization. A long time pilot with ties to the original Ravens' Nest, he is an ambitious sort whose ultimate intentions remain unclear. The AC Klein pilots is a replication of the Zio Matrix soldier AC seen on the game's cover and in its opening cinematic.
- Boyle & Remille Fortner - Leos Klein's lieutenants. Boyle and Remille are twins, described as being in their early 30's. Boyle acts as Klein's second in command and pilots a heavyweight AC with an energy machine gun, while Remille acts as the operations specialist for the Frighteners, similar to Nell Aulter of Nerves Concord. Remille pilots a lightweight AC with a sniper rifle and lock-on jamming shoulder attachments, but unlike Boyle and Leos, the player never engages her in battle, as Leos apparently betrayed and destroyed her.
Similar to the first game, the player starts off with a basic AC and is expected to complete a trial mission which consists of destroying several MTs. Completing the mission will register the player's character with Nerves Concord, a "mediation" firm much like the Raven's Nest of the PlayStation era games. From that point on the player is relayed missions by their Nerves Concord manager and completing these missions will advance the game's storyline. The Arena from Master of Arena makes a return, allowing players to compete in matches against 57 other Ravens in order to earn more credits and new AC parts.
Changes from Armored CoreEdit
Due to the fact that Armored Core has been transferred to a new environment, namely the PS2, several new features and concepts have been added to the game. Most notably, due to the superior rendering capabilities, the Left Arm Weapon has been moved to the outside of the arm, rather than being inside. Also weapon models were animated, as radar parts move and the barrels of the chain gun rotate when fired.
Also notably, the Armored Core has had some numerous changes to how it works. Armored Cores now move at a slower feel and the defenses have been lowered slightly. To compensate for the slower feel and to introduce a new element, all Cores are equipped with the Overboost, a feature that lets the Armored Core move at an intense pace but drains energy rapidly. The inclusion of the Radiator brought along heat, creating a new gameplay element that had to be factored. Legs had increased weight capacity to help compensate with the larger weight loads that come naturally. Extensions and Inside give a new strategy to the game, giving extra defensive or offensive firepower to the Armored Core. Lastly, the cockpit can now be customized to the player's whim to include more detailed information such as altitude and longitude, current temperature and enemy forces currently in the area, all of which work independent of head or radar parts. The color of the HUD can also be changed as well. These options would remain a mainstay in the series up to Last Raven.
- In Armored Core Last Raven, the VR opponent Flip Flop uses a replica of Ethermaster, the cover AC of this game.