Have you played Armored Core 3 on PS2? Would you like the same experience with fewer buttons on the PSP? Then Armored Core 3 Portable is exactly what you need. Cumbersome controls, dated graphics, and ad-hoc only multiplayer are all Armored Core 3 Portable has to offer.
Controls are fully customizable, but even that can’t overcome two fewer shoulder buttons and one lost analog input between the Dual Shock 2 and the PSP. I like the PSP a lot. There are lots of fun games available on it. None of those games are straight PS2 ports of third-person shooters or platformers, though, because the PSP hardware just isn’t quite right for those games. Left analog is obviously movement which means that right analog – if it were available – would be camera control. As it is that gets relegated to the shoulder buttons. Now weapons fire should be on the shoulder buttons, but we’re already using that for the camera, so it goes on various face buttons and d-pad directions. Customizable controls are great (and every game should have them), but they can’t save Armored Core 3 Portable from feeling clunky. No matter how I set up, the controls it never felt right.
Through the story, you play the part of a Raven mercenary. You will pilot your big stompy mech on various missions and shoot at various enemies, all of whom are also in mechs, with different and interesting weapon loadouts. Your own mech is fully customizable, and this is my favorite part of the game. Every time I play a mech game (usually Front Mission 3 or 4) I get lost in the garage making sure everything is just right before moving out into battle, and AC3 Portable is no different. You will win new parts by completing missions or winning arena fights, so you should never be in short supply.
Mechanically, AC3 Portable neglects to auto-save after every mission which is problematic as you progress through the game and unlock harder and harder missions. It also doesn’t ask if you would like to save as you exit an editor, so you are prone to lose some work there as well.
If you need the fast-paced mech action that Armored Core provides on the go, then AC3 Portable will scratch that itch, but don’t expect anything more out of it than you already squeezed out of the PS2 version.
Pros: Customizable controls, customizable mechs
Cons: No auto-save, too many functions and not enough buttons
Plays Like: Armored Core 3 on the PS2 with a half-broken controller
ESRB: T for violence