Armored Core 2 for Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2)
In Earth Year 223, life on Mars has become a daily struggle for survival in a brutal corporate world. Since the terraforming operation brought a breathable atmosphere to the Red Planet, over 30 percent of Earth's population migrated there in the past 20 years, and the result is a fledgling world with a wealth of opportunities and a host of dangers for enterprising and skilled individuals. One of the most exciting and deadly occupations during these turbulent times is that of an Armored Core pilot. ACs, as they're commonly referred, are giant mechs that corporations use as hired goons to sabotage and harm each other on Mars.
Although the ACs may fight to the death when hired for a job, that doesn't mean that they don't respect one another, and your level of respect depends on your ability to succeed in the Arena, where ACs go up against each other in a one-on-one showdown for mech superiority. Climb the ranks of the Arena and earn that respect you think you deserve. But fame and fortune comes at a price. It could be measured in the huge amount of credits you put into your AC, or it could be measured with your life.
Armored Core 2 is the sequel to the best-selling mech title for the PSOne, and takes place some seventy years after its predecessor. You take on the role of a Raven, a highly elite AC pilot who's just touched down on the Red Planet and is looking to improve your AC and your reputation amongst the battle-hardened denizens of the AC community. Thanks to a constant struggle between the three corporations seeking to control the terraforming project, the Ravens are extremely busy being hired out by the corporations as mercenaries, as each tries to ruin the other's chances of success.
Although a major part of the single-player game is accepting missions from the corporations (there are over 30 missions, many of them completely optional), you will also want to take place in the Arena battles if you want to succeed and earn respect and cash. The Arena is a ladder of 40 of the best AC pilots, and once you beat the mech above you, you take his or her place. You also win cold, hard cash, which becomes extremely important in the maintenance and upgrading of your AC. In this way, the single-player missions and the Arena serve each other, as you have to use the money you earn from both to succeed in either.
Each of Armored Core 2's mechs is utterly customizable, from the 13 different major components that make up their bodies, to colors and logos. The game starts players with the most basic essentials, but to succeed, you'll have to make choices about what you want your mech to be, from its speed to the firepower it can generate. The best parts aren't cheap, and it will take a pilot with great skill to be able to afford them.
Aside from the single-player game, Armored Core 2 also includes a two-player mode, either via split-screen or the link cable. Players can create their own mechs and then upload them onto friend's PS2s so they can compete with their own customized ACs.