Armored Core: Last Raven
is a mecha
video game in the Armored Core
In the wake of the now defunct Navis's failed attempt to control recovered ancient weapons technology
, the world has been left in tatters. Looking to consolidate power, the Corporations (Crest, Mirage, and Kisaragi) have merged into one super-corporation known as "The Alliance". Fed up with corporate rule and oppression, and seeing a newfound threat in The Alliance, a Raven known as Jack-O (an important but minor character from Armored Core: Nexus
) forms an organization of Ravens known as "Vertex" from the ashes of the fallen Raven's Ark. After rallying a sizable force of fellow Ravens to his cause, Jack-O declares that he will launch an all-out war on the Alliance in 24 hours. Leading the opposing force, a Raven named Evangel has rallied just as many Ravens to the Alliance and is preparing to fight Jack-O head on. Making matters all the more complicated, many Ravens have turned into independent warlords, setting out on their own after the collapse of Raven's Ark.
To finish this volatile situation: you. You are approached by both sides seeking your cooperation. Will you side with the Corporations, or assist Vertex in causing their downfall? You have a choice to make, Raven.
Last Raven features a branching plot line with multiple distinct endings, a first for the Armored Core series. Depending on the players' actions within the game and which of the factions they ultimately side with the game's plot and ending will vary dramatically. There are six distinct endings featured in the game.
- Vertex - A force of former Ravens formed by Jack-O sworn to fight against the Alliance. Vertex has captured the old Navis installation known as Circ-City. Jack has also put out a bounty on any Raven caught working for the Alliance.
- Alliance - Alliance is a coalition of Crest, Mirage, and Kisaragi that was formed after a grand scale assault from "unknown" units left the three corporations in pieces. They've also issued bounties on both Ravens employed by the Vertex organization and Warlords(independent Ravens).
- Alliance Tactical Unit - The military arm of the Alliance super-corporation. Led by the Raven Evangel, it is charged with defending the Alliance headquarters and suppressing the activities of Vertex and the other local warlords.
- Kisaragi Loyalists - A group of Alliance scientists who are still loyal to Kisaragi as a separate entity from the Alliance. They are rumored to be continuing the bio-weapon experiments started by Kisaragi back in Armored Core: Nexus from a secret facility in the Garav Desert.
- Independent Warlords - Ravens and non-Ravens alike who command their own small armies in the region. Most of the warlords are strongly anti-Alliance and are looking to use Jack's upcoming war to their advantage, but Jack has plans for them...
- Jack-O - Former #3 in Raven’s Ark’s Arena and now leader of Vertex. He was integral in toppling the former Raven's Ark power structure in Armored Core: Nexus. He disappeared after the unmanned suicide weapons attack at the end of Nexus, but returned two months later and formed Vertex. He pilots the AC Foxeye and is one of the few who know the truth about the Pulverizers.
- Crow - He is Jack-O's right hand Raven and is very skillful in aerial combat. He pilots the AC Sight Hawk. He appears to be controlling Vertex for Jack-O.
- Bolt - A Vertex Raven that is loyal to Jack-O's causes. He pilots the AC Thunderstrike which specializes in energy weapons and thermal stress.
- Sorcerer - The pilot of the AC Banshee and is one of Jack-O candidates to be the "Dominant." He shares some kind of friendship with Jack-O.
- G. Faust - A veteran AC pilot, Faust recently came out of retirement to aid Vertex and its ideals. He pilots an outdated AC called Panzer Messiah, which uses many basic parts.
- Ω (Omega) - A Vertex Raven who pilots the AC Clown Face. Deemed to be a talented and skillful combatant.
- Evangel - A Raven who was expelled from the Ark after setting up direct and illegal contracts with corporations. He has since joined Alliance and has become the commander of its military wing, the Alliance Tactical Unit. He pilots an updated version of his Nexus AC, Oracle. Evangel considers himself a "Dominant," a superior warrior, and nurses a strong inferiority complex which leaves him always looking to prove himself in combat. He is not above double crossing anyone as he showed in "Nexus" to obtain what he desires.
- Triturate - The pilot of the AC, Vigilance. He is a very skilled pilot and Evangel's right hand man. He is loyal only to Evangel and will follow him where ever he goes.
- Jouster - A young and talented Raven that works for Alliance. He is the second best pilot in the Alliance Tactical Unit and pilots the AC, Heaven's Ray.
- Principal - A female Raven who joined Alliance because she believed they could protect her. She too takes the precaution of bringing additional troops for her own protection. She pilots the hover AC, Sundial.
- Mollycoodle - The pilot of the AC, Pinch Break, that features a set-up identical to the one used by Nexus' Genobee.
- Caspian - A high ranking Raven that utilizes unfair advantages over his opponents. He pilots the AC Raging Torrent IV, the latest revision of his previous AC set-ups in "Nexus".
Independent Ravens and Warlords
- Zinaida - A female Raven who is one of the few fully independent Ravens left. Despite being a relatively new Raven she is rumored to be the most skilled independent Raven. She has no interest in Jack's war on Alliance and is simply fighting to survive. She fights to prove her abilities in purely fair combat. She pilots the AC Fascinator.
- Rim Fire - A cunning and dangerous Raven bounty hunter. He pilots the AC Bullet Life, a quad AC which utilizes a variety of rapid fire solid shell weapons in its arsenal.
- Zuben El Genubi - The pilot of the AC South Nail. Not an exceptionally talented pilot, however, he seems to have employed somebody dangerous into his private army.
- Wanton Busker - Pilot of the hover AC, Gambit. Partner to the pilot Vola Volant, and is the tactician among the two.
- Vola Volant - The pilot of the AC, Sudden Drop. Possessing above average skills but with limited experience, he is usually operating under the guidance of his partner, Wanton Busker.
- Green Horn - The young pilot of the AC, Hot Spur, and is leader of a contingent assisting Vertex.
- Mumu - Pilot of the lightweight AC, Metis. Is the head of an armed group opposed to Vertex.
- Cerberus Garm - The pilot of the AC, Niflheim. He has some relation to Mumu, and often is near her.
- Shade - The pilot of the AC, Stratus, a tank AC with massive firepower.
- Sheila Caldwell - The operator and manager of the player's Raven character. She was once the director of Mirage's Information Department but quit after the unmanned weapons attack. Her role is similar to that of her predecessors like Lana Neilson, Nell Aulter, Laine Meyers and Emma Sears; she provides the player with mission-critical information and updates on the state of game world.
- Ed Weisz - A military researcher who gathers and analyzes information for Ravens. At one point he used to do this for the corporations. The information database the player has access to is compiled and updated by him. His name is a play on the word "advice".
Special Weapons and Misc.
- Leviathan - Large-scale special weapons developed by a civilization that existed from before humanity's subterranean exile. They were first rediscovered by Navis corporation and later by Alliance. They were first seen in Armored Core: Nexus in incomplete form. With Jack's declared time of attack approaching Alliance has been forced to cut short the research and reconstruction of the Leviathan units in their possession, possibly cutting corners in the process. When deployed they are boasted by Alliance to be invincible and they are putting all their capital behind them. They are named from the biblical monster Leviathan, said to appear at the end of the world. Unlike most ACs and other powerful weapons, they have no defense against missiles, so large missile swarms seem to be very powerful when used against them. The Leviathan first appeared in Armored Core: Nexus, as a stationary and incomplete weapon. A massive weapon similar to the Leviathan appeared in Armored Core 2: Another Age, both as a stationary model and a mobile one.
- Pulverizer - A force of extremely powerful A.I. controlled weapons from an age gone by. They are known to be of the same type of technology as the weapon drones that were found in a facility previously controlled by Navis in Armored Core: Nexus. Pulverizers are constructed to mimic ACs and are called Pulverizers because they literally pulverize everything in their paths. The suggested tactic if a Pulverizer is encountered is to flee immediately. Five types are known to exist; Tank-Leg, Quad-Leg, Bipedal, Hover-Leg, and Airborne. The Airborne type does not mimic an AC in terms of design so much as it does the Leviathans. Like Leviathans, it has no defense against missiles, with the exception of the final "Super" Airborne Pulverizer.
- Unknowns - The classification given to the unmanned suicide weapons, weapons which were responsible for the damage done to the world at the end of Armored Core: Nexus. In Nexus, the Unknowns came from a large facility deep underground, but in Last Raven, their source is the Internecine.
- Amidas - Kisaragi engineered bio-organisms that were intended to be used as weapons. There are three grades of these creatures: Baby, Adult,and Queen. Queen-grade Amidas have the ability of flight and can shoot multiple blasts of energy.
- Dominants - A Dominant is said to be someone who shows an unusually high aptitude for combat, someone who literally dominates on the battlefield. Many of history's greatest warriors are said to be Dominants and the term has come to be applied now to powerful Ravens. Evangel believes himself to be a Dominant and, due to an inferiority complex, has gone out of his way to try and prove it.
- Internecine - A massive A.I.-controlled manufacturing center buried beneath Circ City. It is discovered by Jack-O after Vertex claims Circ City as their headquarters. The Internecine is the device that creates and controls both the Pulverizers and the Unmanned Suicide Weapons previously seen in Armored Core: Nexus. The purpose behind the device was apparently to create the ultimate weapon by having one generation of Pulverizer gather data on opponents in combat which is then used to create an even deadlier generation of new Pulverizer until an undefeatable Pulverizer is eventually created. Almost all of the game's six endings take place within the Internecine.
In addition to a graphical update from Armored Core: Nexus
, Last Raven
's game engine has undergone another significant overhaul. 19 new parts have been added from Armored Core: Nine Breaker
; 5 heads, 5 cores, 2 back weapons, 4 right arm weapons and 3 left arm parts. The majority of new parts are remakes of parts from previous PlayStation and PlayStation 2 era Armored Core
Boosters are now affected by a new "Acceleration" stat that effects how quickly your booster is able to reach top speed.This drastically affects booster selection and gives certain boosters previously overlooked new use and meaning.
The Garage section of the game has been streamlined with the menu and assembly system being made faster and easier to navigate.The number of ACs a player has access to in their garage has been increased from 3 to 5 and a physical garage environment and has also been created as the in-game menu screen (Players have been given the option to view their ACs from whatever angle they chose using the analog control sticks while at this screen). Another new addition, is the ability to see how any part change (even ones that have not yet been bought) can affect your AC in every statistic. This has greatly aided in helping a player decisions on AC design.
The 24 hour time line described in the summary is advanced incrementally with each mission the player undertakes.The player is presented with multiple mission choices and the game's storyline will change in relation to the player's choices in the game.There are six endings to the story line because of this.
Actual in-game humans appear for the first time in the Armored Core series (Project Phantasma showed a human in one mission but the player could not interact with him). Humans in the game are minuscule in comparison to an AC and serve to reinforce the scale of an AC which is sometimes lost on players after fighting similarly sized enemy ACs and MTs for the past nine games. The opening video from starting a new game even shows the Raven Zinaida coming out of her AC, Facinator, previously unseen. Before that, players have only gotten a glimpse of the cockpit of an AC in both Armored Core 2 and Armored Core 3. This helps end a long debate of where and how a Pilot controls an AC.
ACs now take physical damage to external parts. If extensive damage is incurred by parts like heads, arms, legs and cores they will become weaker over the course of the game and eventually be destroyed. Destroyed parts cannot be used on an AC and replacement parts need to be purchased from the Shop. Losing an arm will mean the loss of the weapon equipped on it, the loss of a head will mean loss of radar functions and a damaged leg part will hamper the AC's mobility. An AC can continue operating with nearly every part of its anatomy destroyed except its Core. If the Core is destroyed in battle then the AC itself is destroyed and the game is over.
Multiple AC test options are now available in the Garage menu. Players can now chose to face two regular MTs, nine light floating MTs, four automated missile turrets, a single basic AC or no opponent at all. A VR Arena also exists in the game and allows players to face up to 30 opponent ACs in arena combat. Nine of the ACs in the VR Arena are remakes of the ACs that have appeared on the covers of every Armored Core game to date, except Armored Core: Formula Front and the Mobile Phone AC games.
Upon completing the game the player is given access to two additional menu options, "EX Arena" and "Free Mission". The EX Arena is made up of all the Ravens the player fights and kills over the course of the game's story. Playing through the game's storyline multiple times and exploring different story paths will add more Ravens to the EX Arena stable. The Free Mission option is a holdover from previous AC games where all the game's missions are unlocked after the player clears the storyline. In Last Raven's case, only the missions of the particular path the player has cleared are available. Like the EX Arena, multiple play-throughs and exploring the different plots of the game are required in order to completely fill out the Free Mission page.
Armored Core: Last Raven
features multiple distinct endings based on the path which the player chose to follow through the game. There are six distinct endings in total.
- Evangel ending: Evangel's defection to Vertex is revealed to be a deception and part of a plot to undermine Vertex from within. At the end of the 24 hour cycle Vertex is crushed by Alliance and Jack-O killed beneath Circ City. This is also called the "Jack-O" ending by gamers, because the final mission involves the destruction of Jack-O directly by the player. Though Jack-O is upgraded with better parts and tactics, he is severely damaged and only wishes to be destroyed by the Player, for unknown reasons. It is speculated that his AC was beyond repair to the point where he could not make it out of the facility, and wanted his name remembered.
- Alliance ending: Alliance defeats Vertex, however by the end of the 24 hours both Jack-O and Evangel are dead. Jack is killed by Evangel, piloting Pulverizer unit and Evangel himself is then killed by the Raven. This is also called the "Pulverizer ending #1" by gamers because the player fights against a "super" pulverizer, a pulverizer that is more powerful than its normal form, without actually upgrading it's design.
- Pulverizer ending: The Alliance-Vertex war ends in a stalemate as the Pulverizers unleashed by Jack decimate both sides. Both Jack-O and Zinaida are killed trying to shut down the Internecine, effectively leaving the Raven the last surviving Raven in the world. This is also called the "Pulverizer ending #2" by gamers, because it ends with the destruction of every pulverizer in the game, excluding the secret ending one.
- Jack-O ending: Vertex defeats Alliance and Jack-O's new order begins. The Internecine beneath Circ City is destroyed and Zinaida is killed in a one-on-one battle with the Raven. This is also called the "Zinaida Ending" by gamers, because the final mission involves the defeat of Zinaida by the player, and is also considered to be the hardest mission in the game. This path can also be reached by taking battle against every AC possibly as the player progresses through the missions, including 2-on-1 battles with ACs, which happen 3 times in the game, making it possibly the hardest path through the game as well.
- Vertex ending: Alliance's special weapon Leviathan is destroyed but Jack-O has once again gone missing. Evangel sneaks into Circ City in order to destroy the Internecine and is defeated by the Raven. This is also called the "Evangel ending" by gamers, because the player defeats Evangel during the mission, who is also upgraded and more powerful than his normal form.
- Leviathan ending: Alliance is completely crushed by Vertex and Evangel is killed earlier in the game. Three Alliance Leviathans are destroyed by the Raven and Vertex emerges as the undisputed victor of the war. The Third Leviathan is considered to be a "super" Leviathan, because it is more advanced and more powerful than the previous two.
- Secret ending: This ending opens up after every mission in the game is cleared. Chronologically it takes place after the Pulverizer ending. One last Pulverizer emerges from the Internecine after its destruction and a mission request from an unknown client is sent to the "Last Raven" seeking its destruction. The Last Raven destroys the final Pulverizer and solidifies his position as the greatest Raven ever. This is a second of the "Super" pulverizers, because it's design is exactly like the Airborne Pulverizer, but with alternate (or inverted) colors. It is also the first Pulverizer to feature an "Anti-missile" system, similar to Core Anti-Missile System (Core AMS) featured in most core parts in the game. Before this Pulverizer, all previous versions had a weakness to any and all missiles, because they had no defense other than manual dodging, unlike most ACs.