The game is set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic war in which the Resistance is engaged in an all out war against the so-called "FATHER" and his Corporation. Gameplay and story are featured differently from all the other games in the Armored Core series. Each mission in the story contains voice-over narration that depicts the history involving the events in Armored Core V and how the player character and his group approaches every situation. The in-game environments of the story missions are based in war torn cities, harbors, deserted ancient facilities, and post-apocalyptic wasteland. After the player has completed the introduction of the game, the game begins with order missions, and sub missions; some of these sub missions are required to be completed in order to continue the process of the game's main story. The story is divided into 10 story-based missions depending on the player's choice on which to play first when each story mode is unlocked. As the story may confuse players, they can play order and sub missions to better understand their pilot's and comrade's personal boundaries towards hostile enemies, or friendly units. The Player's AC pilot is a silent protagonist featuring no reaction, but his ambitions can be judged. Armored Core V is not a sequel to previous Armored Core series games, but the game features a linear storyline, similar to the earlier games in the series. Players are free to play the missions in any order they like, although this will not change the story’s ending.
- The Corporation - An enigmatic organisation who first appear as a minor factor in Mission 00. They later become the main antagonist group in the game.
- Zodiac - A group of 12 elite pilots that the protagonist encounters as special enemies in Story Missions and as the main antagonists of the order missions after the fall of MoH.
- Men of Honor - A large organization of mercenaries, they also handle mercenary contracts. Rosary has a past with the group. Lead by Regan.
- Resistance - Oppressed citizens under Father's power, the Resistance strike out against him to relieve themselves of his tyrannical rule.
- City Police - A peace-keeping force directly under the order of Father in his fight against the Resistance. They serve him faithfully. Are eventually taken over and absorbed by the Corporation after Father is killed.
- Carol Dorry - The Player's operator during the Player's time with the Corporation, she currently works for the Chief.
- Chief - The main antagonist in the game revealed mostly during story 09 who is fascinated by the Player's piloting skills. It is hinted over the course of the Story that Chief is actually be an AI, similar in function to Nine-Ball from the early games.
- RD - Serves as the player character’s supplier during the mid-game and as Rosary’s copilot in story 03 under Fran’s command during his occupation in the Resistance. RD betrays the Resistance to join the Corporation.
- Rosary - The player character’s supplier during most of the story missions. Also known to be a money hungry mercenary working under the command of Fran.
- Fran - The player character’s commander and operator in the resistance. She is also the superior of Rosary and RD. Fran is the Leader of the resistance however she aids the player as an operator during solo missions during which Leon covers for her as the Resistance Leader.
- Leon Dantess - Sub-Commander of the resistance who covers for Fran during Fran's solo missions after the death of Jack Batty.
- Father - Originally plays as the antagonist although he is not featured in the game for any purpose other than for ruling the city with an iron fist as part of the story
- Jack Batty - A deceased Resistance member who was killed by the Chief in story mission 00 while the Player worked for the corporation.
General Enemies - Enemies fought through the game, but are relatively weak in comparison (mooks/cannon fodder).
- A66/S Hawk
- AS-12 Aves
- AS-12L Aves/L
- AS-12H Aves/H
- AS-12R Aves/R
- F17 Flamingo
- R28 Shchit
- R282 Shchit 2
- R283 Shchit 3
- Sz11 Speer
- Sz12 Speer L
- Sz13 Speer S
- T-106E Slon
Uncommon Enemies - Enemies fought throughout the game, but are slightly tougher than the average mook.
- EZ-06 Argus (Two - Three Car Configuration)
- F21C Stork (KE-type, CE-type and TE-type)
- F21C Stork (variant B44-Rokh)
- Ammon S
- Ammon A
Bosses - Definitive characteristics of bosses, or extremely dangerous enemies found/fought at certain points in the game (except multiplayer).
- EZ-06 Argus (Ten - Sixteen Car/Fully Armed Configuration)
- Scavenger (Medium/Large-Type)
- Armored Cores (Vendetta, Hanged Man, Vengeance, to name a few)
Armored Cores - Customized, top-of-the-line (non mass-produced/special model) AC's fought throughout the game (offline mode/story and order missions).
City Police - The City Guard
- 'The Raven'
- Hanged Man
- Vengeance (Vendetta RD Custom)
- Silent Howler (Also comes under 'Migrant/Men Of Honor' category)
- Flame Fly
- Sky High
- The Olympia Brothers (III, II, I)
- The Beehive (S9 - A0)
- Fist of Iron
- Storm Crest/Condor
The game will be more about tactics and using the geography of level rather than high-speed finger work. This harks back more to the original PS1 games, especially the first, as many levels were set within city type environments and were more tactical as a consequence. A notable difference will be smaller mecha (5 meters tall, as opposed to the 10 meters tall mech from the previous releases), which will allow more varied, "three dimensional" stages.
A greater emphasis on stealth will be the direct result in the size change, allowing the mecha to maneuver between alleyways, and buildings for cover, and stealth tactics. Due to the size change of the mecha, levels will be much bigger and more detailed. Another element is that you won’t just view your AC from behind, but will have more camera control. The developers are taking a more realistic approach. The narrative will mirror this too, as the characterization won’t be simply friend or foe but instead more grounded and realistic.
New additions to the series is the squad based mechanics; unlike in previous installments, the player will now be accompanied by a group of ACs rather than as just a solo mission. Gameplay will now focus on teamwork and cooperation. Another addition is the inclusion of the Operator, who acts as the the tactical commander, relaying information and commands. Unlike the other members, the Operator does not participate physically in combat.
Another important key is the new emphasis on multiplayer. The game is not completely online. There will be player run bases that other teams can attack. There is also a mercenary system for those who do not want to be a permanent part of a clan, team or like being a "freelancer."
Main differences when compared to previous Armored Core gamesEdit
There are now three damage types: KE, CE and TE which refers to kinetic, chemical and thermal energy respectively. Each weapon has a specific damage type and an AC's damage resistance depends on its parts. Previous titles also had damage types, but nowhere near as important as it is in AC5. If an AC is resistant against a damage type, the rounds will bounce off its armor, dealing minimal damage. If the AC is hit by an effective damage type, the AC will be cut through like a hot knife through butter. The only two attacks that are not affected by any resistances are the overed weapon and boost charge kick attacks.
Head unit is also much much more important than in the previous games, it affects the unit's shock absorption, weapon accuracy, scan mode effectiveness and movement speed.
Leg unit is now more important than ever, as they make up the majority of an AC's AP and load capacity, damage resistance, & movement methods. There are biped, reverse joint, quadruped, and tank type leg unit in AC5.
The biped units are divided into light, medium, and heavy. A common trait among all biped legs is that the shield on the left leg will deploy while using any cannon type weapon, increasing the resist of the AC and causing bullets to bounce off more often. Light and medium bipeds have high KE resistance while having poor CE and TE resistance. Heavy bipeds have high TE resistance, moderate KE resistance and poor CE resistance. Bipeds also have the second highest boost charge base damage, second only to tank types. They also have the best EN efficiency.
Reverse joint leg units are divided into light and heavy units, they have special boosters in their joint which gives them amazing jumping ability, since in AC5 boost drive (wall-hopping) is much faster and more energy efficient than hi-boost. This can give the AC a huge edge in mobility when fighting in urban areas. Light reverse joint have good KE resistance and poor CE and TE resistance, while heavy reverse joint have good CE resistance, and poor KE and TE resistance. They have moderate EN efficiency and poor boost charge damage.
Quadruped legs are quite different from previous AC games, as it is the only leg that can effectively use the sniper cannon. Kneeling is required but instead of a defense bonus, the AC gets a massive accuracy boost and recoil reduction. Since the power of sniper cannon is horrifying in this game (around 13000 to 15000 per shot, some cannons fire a three round burst) this is necessary to balance quadruped and give it a more specialized role. Quadrupeds have the second worst EN efficiency. Its boost charge is also quite powerful.
Tank type legs are quite special in AC5, while having the best AP and resist in the game, it does not allow the use of a booster, and must rely on on-board boosters housed in the leg unit. It is the slowest leg and has very poor EN efficiency, it will deplete its EN reserve in only a few hi-boosts. However it has the highest boost charge damage, able to take out most light to medium ACs in a single charge. Tank type legs do not need to kneel to use any cannon-type weaponry and is the only leg that can dual wield them (while other legs can hold cannon weapon In both arms, it can only deploy and use one at a time). Tank type legs can dramatically increase their turning ability by remaining stationary, allowing both tracks to rotate in opposite direction. Tank type legs cannot boost drive, they can only do a short vertical boost before falling back down.
There are three type of arm unit in AC5: KE resist type, CE resist type and TE resist type. Shoulder weapons are mounted in the arm unit. Some arm units can have two shoulder units (Same type and fires like a single unit, but with double capacity) , one shoulder unit or no shoulder unit at all.
KE resist types are for light and medium AC, they usually have low accuracy, low EN consumption and the lowest AP.
CE resist types are for sniping AC, they generally have high accuracy, highest EN consumption and moderate AP.
TE resist types are for heavy AC, they have moderate accuracy, the highest AP and damage resistance, and moderate EN consumption.
There are four kinds of boosting in ACV/VD: Normal boost, Hi-boost,Glide Boost and Boost Drive.
- Normal boosting: The main method of movement in ACV/VD much like it is in AC4, however it does not require the art of using both analog controls to move around.
- Hi-Boost: Very similar to the Quick-Boost of The 4th AC Universe, Hi-Boost is often used to quickly dash between buildings towards an unwary opponent, or to evade being hit by slower, more clumsy missile salvo's. Hi-Boosting can also be used to dodge certain CQC attacks (such as the R28's melee attack or the Scavenger/Exusia tackle, but it depends on AC build and boosters).
- Glide Boost: Similar to the Overboost high-speed maneuver in previous titles; except unlike Overboost, one can only activate it when their AC is stationary/moving on the ground. When one activates Glide-Boost while remaining stationary, their AC will change posture, as if ready to charge. Once Glide-Boost is activated the AC will rise slightly during the maneuver but overall will stay at the same height in which it had launched from. If the AC encounters obstacles that are at least half its height, the AC will move over it, and has overall more freedom to change direction (unlike in 4/4A. You could change the angle of your destination, but you still remained locked in a forward motion) except the one that is opposite when you first activated it. (e.g. if you activate glide-boost while going left, you can go forward, backward, but not to the right. However you may change to the right, but this requires a rather gentle gesture of the controls to be performed).
- Boost Drive: A newly introduced boosting method, it is often considered the best way to move around the battlefield and should be used whenever possible. It consumes the lowest amount of EN and (depending on the angle and the currently equipped boosters) gives an acceleration much better than hi-boost. In ACV/VD, it is the only way to gain altitude if a ladder-like terrain is not present. Boost drive requires any surface relatively vertical to the AC to be achieved.
- Boost Charge: A special gimmick only found in the 5th generation of AC (ACV/VD), the Boost Charge is an overloaded Hi-Boost that allows an AC more versatility in close-quarters by using the left leg as battering ram. Nearly all designs in ACV/VD have reinforced armor around at least one leg (the left leg for bipeds, the feet and first/knee joint of RJ's, the shins of tetrapods and front edge of tank treads; although some tank-tread designs feature physical piles as the gimmick in the design).
- The damage dealt to foes depends on the leg's boost-charge ability, the AC's current total weight and the speed it is moving at (e.g. if an AC is remaining stationary and charges, it will do less damage than the leg's stats. If it is moving in normal boost mode and activates boost-charge, it will do the full amount of damage stated by its leg's stats. However, if the AC glide-boosting and then boost-charges, the Ac may deliver two to three times the amount of damage).
Scan mode is a new mode where the AC actively searches for enemies. While in scan mode the screen will turn into a sonar/infrared type display and the AC cuts power to its weapons, rendering them inoperable for the duration of scan mode. As a result the weapons power will be redirected back to the capacitor and EN regeneration will greatly increase. A box in the lower right displays the current AP, generator power, each weapons' remaining ammo, and remaining recon units. If a recon unit is deployed, scan mode will also allow you to see enemies that are behind cover and within the recon unit's scan range. You can analyze enemy units by holding the right arm weapon button, once scanning is complete which, depends solely on the head units scanning capability, an extensive list will show the target's AP, resist, and a few charts that tell you how effective your weapons will be and at what range each of your weapons will be best against this target (note that at 198, which is the best head for scanning in the game, this scan is completed instantly, where most heads would take 2 to 4 seconds to complete the scanning process). Pressing the left arm button marks the current target for your team, but only last as long as you remain in scan range of the enemy in scan mode.
Weapons now cycle in a different manner than previous AC games. Back mounted weapons have been scrapped, instead replaced by Bay Units, placing the weapons on a carousel-style swapping system. Aside from weight, there are no limits to what can be stored in the bays with the exception of cannon weapons, and there is a short delay as an AC switches between weapons. Shoulder weapons have returned, replacing extensions, with the introduction of several new categories, including CIWS Anti-Missile systems, auto attack guns, Bomb Dispensers, UAVs and Sub-computers. Ultimate Weapons are placed in their own unique slot, and replace the hangar weapons spaces, potentially limiting the versatility of the Armored Core.
- Main article: Ultimate Weapons
Ultimate Weapons (UWs, Overed Weapons in Japan) are the most powerful weapons in the game. They are built while purposefully ignoring AC's original scale and limits. UWs can only be used once in every mission because when it is activated the generator of the AC will also disable its limiter, pushing its output to dangerously high levels to power it. UWs cannot be used with bay units at the same time. There are Five Ultimate Weapons in the game, each having their own unique usage and power. There are several weapons in this category and most are unlocked by completing the Story Missions of the game.
- Strategy Tip: UWs with low charging times can be used twice in quick succession with the right generator, as the UW remains active as long as your generator can output the energy. This can also lead to the UW not being used at all if you wait too long before charging the weapon and your generator powers down as it is charging or before it can fire.
The game was released in Japan for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles on January 26, 2012.
As of March, 20th 2012 the game was released in all NTSC regions whilst the European release has been confirmed for March 23, 2012.
There are at least two confirmed preorder packs in the North American region: Amazon offered the Recon pack, which includes high speed assault weapons, while Gamestop offered the Heavy Assault pack, which features a lot of powerful weapons, such as KARASAWA and MOONLIGHT. Both gave access to UWs early on, which are normally obtained through the Story Mode and Order Missions.
Since it's release, Armored Core V has received several DLC (Downloadable Content) packs to further enhance the gameplay experience. The first two ever released for the game were the Heavy Assault and Recon packs that had been available as pre-order bonuses. While the packs had no new parts, they did allow for early access to several of the game's better gear and Ultimate Weapons.
The third set of DLC content to be released was called the Modeler's Pack, which featured a total of 473 different items: 390 re-textured parts (which all retain the same stats of the originals), 35 Emblems (containing favorites from past games), 39 Team Emblems (also from past games), 5 new Workshops (consisting of: Scrapyard, Air Base, Father's Tower, Modeler's Desk and Corporation Space Station) along with 5 new Pilot Models. Included alongside this DLC was a fourth set of DLC content, which was a free Compatibility Pack for players who had the chance to/ hadn't downloaded the Modeler's Pack. The Modeler's Pack was previously available priced at £6.49/€7.99, but as of September 2013, it is rendered completely free of charge, at least in the European region.