Armored Core 3 is a video game in the Armored Core series.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Armored Core 3 depicts a world where mankind has sought refuge underground after a catastrophic global nuclear war broke out on the surface. Those who survived formed a subterranean society called Layered. Layered is ruled by an AI simply known as The Controller, which dictates nearly everything that goes on in this world. The two major corporations, Mirage and Crest Industries along with a smaller group known as Kisaragi, all vie for dominance and control over Layered's land and assets. All is not well with The Controller however, and odd events begin to occur. With the number and scope of these errors, some might even go so far as to suggest that the system may be failing...
Armored Core 3 is the game that brought forth the Armored Core 3 Universe. This deviates from the original series and appears to start a new timeline of events which will continue all the way to Armored Core: Last Raven.
- The Controller - An omnipresent artificial intelligence in charge of maintaining all aspects of mankind's underground refuge, Layered. The Controller's influence is so pervasive, so tightly interwoven into even the smallest facets of everyday life, that its existence is rarely given a second thought. The lives of all who dwell in Layered are inextricably tied to it, and all major decisions that they make are decided for them by the Controller. Referred to as 'Dove' in the Japanese release.
- Mirage - Originally an industrial machine manufacturer, Mirage has matured into one of the era's leading AC development powerhouses. The company hopes to further strengthen its position by gaining access to The Controller and administering its power to benefit Mirage's agenda. Given the massive extent of The Controller's ability to manipulate the populace of Layered, this would be an unimaginably useful plan, were it to succeed. However, it has yet to be carried out due to fear of The Controller's reprisals should their attempt fail. Should this happen, it would spell total destruction for them.
- Crest - Mirage's main competitor, Crest initially rose to power as a bioengineering group before redirecting its efforts into the field of AC part development. Crest is just as eager to expand its interests as Mirage but is reluctant to achieve this end by manipulating The Controller. In Crest's opinion, the current system is the best anyone can hope for. Crest offers unwavering support for The Controller and strives to maintain the status quo at all costs. This difference in ideals places Crest and Mirage at odds, making them enemies.
- Kisaragi - Like any corporate entity, Kisaragi strives to grow both its product line and market share, but given its smaller size in comparison to Crest and Mirage, only pushes the envelope when a clear advantage exists. Kisaragi's aspirations for power center mainly on surpassing their corporate rivals, and they take a very middle-of-the-road approach with regards to The Controller. Kisaragi broke into the AC development field after a successful stint as a computer manufacturer, and also seems to be working in the field of bioengineering and research. Kisaragi now bides its time, waiting for opportunities to increase its own resources, size and influence.
- Union - An underground rebel group whose core members consist of intellectuals vehemently opposed to The Controller's uncontested rule of Layered. Given the occurrences that keep happening, support for the group is growing at the beginning of the game. Because of this radical stance in regards to the Controller, Crest considers Union to be Layered's most serious threat, and has gone out of its way to try to eliminate them. Meanwhile, Union remains convinced that something is amiss in Layered and has gone so far as to claim that The Controller is malfunctioning.
- Ravens - These are the mercenaries affiliated with Global Cortex. Once one registers as a Raven with Global Cortex, their private computer network is used to dispatch missions, buy or sell AC parts and the like. This affiliation to Cortex, however, places no restrictions on the Ravens. There is only one stipulation, however; no Raven can directly take a contract without it going through Global Cortex first.
- Global Cortex - A unique organization, Global Cortex is the intermediary between corporate clients and mercenaries for hire. These mercenaries, more commonly referred to as Ravens, are pilots who operate the massive mechanized units known as Armored Cores. Though Global Cortex works closely with all of Layered's corporations, it maintains a strict level of neutrality and does not side with any of them.
- Laine Meyers - Global Cortex liaison manager responsible for the player’s mission assignments and communications support. She often finds herself questioning the events that unfold throughout the game
Many players were confused with the nature of Armored Core 3's storyline in relation to previous AC games. At the end of Another Age, the AC world appeared to be getting back on its feet after the conflicts of the subterranean era (Armored Core, Project Phantasma, Master of Arena) and the Mars crisis (Armored Core 2). However, when Armored Core 3 begins mankind is back in a subterranean city hiding from the effects of a catastrophic global nuclear war.
Two prominent theories have arisen to explain away this discrepancy. Either the game is set in the same world as the previous games and the world experienced a second "Great Destruction", or Armored Core 3 reboots the series' storyline and begins anew from a similar starting point as the original Armored Core. The latter appears to be true.
Two different timelines were mentioned in the Armored Core 10 Works Complete File book, one of which refers to original Armored Core and continues up to the end of Armored Core 2: Another Age.
The other timeline starts with Armored Core 3, ending in Armored Core: Last Raven. The roots of Armored Core 3 began with the humanity taking refuge in underground cities after a large scale disaster occurred on the planet's surface. Centuries after that great destruction, corporations such as Mirage and Crest were established. They paved the way for the development of the first MT prototype, the XMT-01, which soon led to the development of ACs and other MTs.
Like Armored Core (PSone) and Armored Core 2, you are given a trial mission to see if you are talented enough to join the mercenary group dubbed Global Cortex. New features within Armored Core 3 include consorts (additional allies that can be obtained to assist you in a mission), detachable weapons (thereby lessening your total weight and increasing speed), and a new Core classification; Exceed Orbit (EO) which sacrifices the power of Overboost and allows you to deploy a built-in, autonomous weapon on your Core.
Due to mixed fan reaction regarding the Human PLUS abilities from previous games, it was retooled and rebalanced as an unlockable part called OP-INTENSIFY. Obtained after completing the main game, the OP-I becomes available for free in the Shop. Despite being registered as a Kisaragi product, no info aside from the mail received from obtaining the part is known about it as the description only reads '???'. The part takes up all Option Slots in the core, thus it is the only part that can be equipped at a time. The hidden functions have to be unlocked via accomplishing certain feats instead of hitting below a certain negative credit count and the OP-I has to be equipped at the time of criteria being met. You will receive mail as a confirmation of achieving a desired function.
A PSP version, Armored Core 3 Portable was released in Japan on July 30 2009 for UMD and October 22 2009 on Playstation Store in North America. The control scheme, menus and graphics were modified in order to better accommodate PSP's design.
Armored Core 3 Portable does have some new features. There are several new parts, three from Armored Core 2 and Another Age and one from the Japanese Anime of Armored Core. The first three parts, the CLL-EM-070 and the MLR-ZMX are based off of the EAW-S604, ELN-070 and the ZRL-ZIO/MATRIX from the earlier Armored Core games. The final part is the Raven 13. 13 (toned down from the Novel version) appears below Exile in the Arena ranking after the game is complete.
- Sir Fire - Dirty Slime, from Armored Core: Last Raven, is an AI Ranker that uses a replica of the middleweight Crest AC seen in the opening movie of the game
- In the opening movie, it's Mirage (using the red AC's) fighting Crest (using the grey AC's.)
- Missions in Armored Core 3
- Enemies in Armored Core 3
- Parts in Armored Core 3
- Armored Core 3 Arena
- Armored Core 3 Extra Arena
- Armored Core 3 Original Soundtrack