An Armored Core is a powerful robotic war machine used by various mercenaries known as Ravens. Often referred to as ACs by shorthand, they are the titular mecha of FromSoftware's video game series by the same name. ACs have been involved every major event within the history of the games, and have been pivotal in shaping the world where they take place. The player of each game in the series always assumes control of an AC, and through the campaign can buy and earn more parts to upgrade and customize their personal unit.
ACs have been unofficially classified by the fandom into separate generations. Each generation generally either marks the franchise's release onto a new gaming console, or the beginning of a new continuity the canon. In addition, each new generation of ACs often brought new customization options.
ACs in-universe evolved from the Muscle Tracer or MT. MTs were originally simple robots designed to work in the underground cities following the Great Destruction, where they along with their operators were responsible for performing manual labor tasks such as construction. As tensions increased between the corporations, MTs quickly found themselves being designed for the battlefield instead. Over time as the conflicts intensified, MTs began to undergo numerous upgrades and additional features, beginning to sport features like limbs and additional armor. Eventually a unique humanoid silhouette began to emerge, after which onlookers began to refer to them as Armored Cores. While there are separate continuities in the AC universe, it is widely accepted that all ACs can trace their origins to MTs.
ACs were piloted battle by individuals known as Ravens. In battle an AC's firepower, agility, and armor made it a formidable threat. Without incredibly heavy weapons like the Massive MTs or an overwhelming force, taking on a Raven in his or her custom-built AC was often tantamount to suicide. However all of this power came at a cost. ACs were often incredibly costly to repair and maintain and it was often important for Ravens to gain the favor of one of major corporations in order to keep a steady supply of funds to maintain their machines.
There were some exceptions to this rule however. Sometimes ACs were provided to incredibly skilled test pilots directly contracted under certain corporations. In addition there did exist some mass-production ACs that traded performance for price. These units often still maintained individual superiority against most MTs and could mount AC-grade weaponry, often sitting somewhere above mass-production MTs but falling short of customized non-production ACs. Ravens who gained the favor of certain corporations could also receive prototype or top-of-the-line parts as gifts or for testing purposes.
Design Features Edit
The design of an AC was highly modular and could be customized by the pilot to suit any battlefield conditions. Many Ravens tailored their ACs to reflect their strengths and preferred combat combat styles, resulting in a very diverse and specialized force of individual mercenaries who could be called upon for various operations requiring their expertise. Throughout the series new categories of parts have been added to the game, often expanding upon AC customization with each new release.
- Head - The head unit contains visual sensors, optional radar and computer equipment in addition to other specialized sensors. Some head part models came with a variety of high performance sensor suites at the cost of thinner armor, while others came equipped with only the bare minimum of essentials while sporting robust armor to weather enemy fire.
- Core - The torso of the AC. Many other vital parts are located here, including the cockpit. In later AC generations, Core parts gained the ability to store extra back up weapons, utilize autonomous turrets, or temporarily increase the AC's speed for short bursts with the Overboost system.
- Arms - The manipulator arms allowed ACs to carry hand-held weaponry in addition to performing tasks requiring fine motor skills such as picking up objects. In the first generation of ACs, arm units came with laser blades built in. All subsequent generations have arm parts and laser blades as separate parts in order to enhance the customization aspects. In addition to manipulators, Ravens could choose instead to equip arms with built-in weapon systems that traded modularity and versatility for greater firepower.
- Legs - Legs provide ACs with a means of locomotion as well as a support platform upon which to mount weapons, armor, and other components. While humanoid bipedal legs were the most common, the types of leg parts available to a Raven were incredibly diverse and ranged from high-speed hover platforms to heavy tank treads that served as platforms to mount the heaviest and most destructive weapons available. Different weight classes allowed pilots to balance firepower and weight capacity with agility and speed, and many of the more unique leg types offered distinct advantages such as the quadruped legs that allowed for high speed ground movement in addition to the ability to use back-mounted cannons on the move.
- FCS - The Fire Control Systems manage all the weapons of the AC from direct fire munitions to guided missiles. FCS modules came in many specifications, ranging from short-ranged with a wide field of view for target acquisition to more general-use models designed to work with multiple weapon types.
- Boosters - One defining aspect of an AC that gave it such an advantage over its predecessor, the MT, was its speed. Even the heaviest of ACs had astounding agility that made them difficult targets to hit. All ACs sport boosters that are mounted to their core and leg units that allow them to fly or glide along the ground at high speeds. Boosters consume a large amount of energy from the generator, so pilots must choose the right booster setup for their preferred combat style. It is unknown what kind of propulsion is used, but later generations revealed through gameplay that the boosters themselves generated waste heat.
- Generator - The generator is responsible for supplying power to the entire AC. While basic operations like locomotion and radar function do not impede the power supply of the generator, more strenuous actions like booster use or the firing of energy weapons and laser blades will drain the generator's supply of energy. It is unknown how exactly the generators in the AC universe create power, but the more recent fourth generation revealed that they utilize a silver-based compound commonly used in rocket fuel in order to generate power. It is still purely speculation as to whether or not any of the other generations of generators utilize this same process.
- Weapons - ACs carry a variety of weapons with them into combat. Any type of weapon imaginable could often be found mounted to an AC. Aside from weapon arms, the loadout of an AC's weapons primarily consisted of a weapon mounted to each arm and two weapons mounted on the core. Traditionally ACs often took a primary firearm in their right arm and a melee weapon or shield in their left, but as of the third generation left-handed firearms were introduced. The second generation introduced extension weapons and inside parts, auxiliary equipment that could be used to give an AC additional firepower or provide various support benefits like energy packs, decoys, or extra ammunition. Extension units were mounted onto the side of the shoulders, while inside units were either mounted underneath the shoulder armor or in the core unit itself. The fourth generation ACs saw a removal of inside parts completely, while the fifth generation replaced back units with additional firearms that were stored on the shoulders and swapped out by the pilot.
- Optional Parts - Various modular units that were installed into the core of an AC to boost its performance. Only a limited amount could be installed at a time, with the limit depending on the type of core part used. Optional parts were often used to reinforce weaknesses of an AC or to bolster its strengths. As of the fourth generation onwards, optional parts have been removed.
|The following information is "gray area" content, meaning that the information may not have been verified, and the format of the writing may not follow this wiki's quality standards. What is written below may even be speculation or mere opinions, or both. Read at your own risk.|
The First Generation - AC1 to Master of Arena
The First Generation of Armored Cores set the standard for all future Armored Cores to surpass.
While limited in terms of variety in comparison with later generations a First Generation unit still had a wide option weaponry, and made up for lack of volume by the sheer power they possessed. Many weapons were capable of annihilating ACs with only a few blasts, such as the infamous Moonlight and Karasawa.
Mobility wise, they were very limited, with only a single or dual booster available for movement. While moderately quick, it was predictable and without other secondary mobility options other than walk.
The First Generation is also known to have the most offshoots and branches of Armored Cores. There are three main types beyond the first original regular Armored Cores:
Scaled down versions of the AC, GPACs were hybrid MT/ACs which were created for mass production. They were very fast and capable of boosting, and had basic weapons such as the bazooka and laser blade. While not as powerful as a regular Armored Core, their swift speed and high performance made them dangerous in large numbers.
While the GPAC was a scaled down version of the Armored Core meant for mass production, the MPAC was a regular Armored Core that was "scaled up" so to speak to be above the capabilities of a regular unit. The only real difference is that the MPAC was internally modified in some way to enhance its abilities. Despite this the unit does not have Human PLUS and also like the GPAC, is much less durable. Examples include the Swift and Spiteful.
Whereas an ordinary AC would be composed of multiple mass produced parts, the Custom was produced specifically as a single set of parts custom designed by a corporation and was never reproduced. Custom ACs often were much more powerful than ordinary Armored Cores, but are also considerably rarer. The two most prominent examples are the AC Vixen and Nine-Ball Seraph.
The First Generation was also unique in that it was the only generation to appear outside of the original games it appeared in. Specifically, the First Generation appeared again in Armored Core 4 and Armored Core: For Answer as a standard enemy, called Normals, to underline the extreme superiority of the Fourth Generation Armored Core. Despite their name, they are more akin to MTs as they are standardized and have little difference between models other than weapon swaps.
The drawbacks of the First Generation Armored Core were readily apparent as one was used; the primary method of thrust, the boosters, did not provide any method of bursting in speed, and made rapid dodging maneuvers ineffective. Also, although First Generation Armored Core-grade weaponry was effective against other Armored Cores of the same generation, and lesser enemies, it simply did not have the stopping power to fight higher-generation Armored Cores, as demonstrated by the Fourth Generation Armored Core's ability to eradicate whole squads of First Generation Armored Cores while taking minimal damage itself.
Another key disadvantage that would carry on until the Fourth Generation is the lack of a speed control; that is to say, the ability to stay at a certain speed. Generally speaking, an AC had only two speeds: absolute standstill or absolute maximum; there was no way to allow the pilot adjust in any form and was only capable of reaching its maximum speed. The only known work around to this was "bunny hopping," activating the booster for a moment to jump and continue going.
Although it had perhaps some of the most powerful weapons, another issue the First Generation suffered from was the inability to use more than one weapon at time. This would later be rectified in the Third Generation and all following ones.
The Second Generation - AC2 to Another Age
The following improvements were made from the First Generation to the Second Generation:
Overall, the Second Generation was one of the most critical of all the generations, in terms of the precedents it set. The overboost and extension weapons became staple functions of the Armored Core, and exist today in the Fourth Generation. The inside weaponry and energy shields lasted for several more generations, and were the inspiration for other types of weapons later on. And the radiator, though relatively minor in the Second Generation, would become exceptionally important later on. The Second Generation was largely the foundation upon which all other Armored Cores are built on, more so than the First Generation, making it one of the most important generations of all-time, and a symbol of the Armored Core franchise.
The drawbacks of the Second Generation were not as overt as the First Generation, with the mobility problem alleviated somewhat by overboosting and the combat dynamics improved with the addition of extension and inside weapons. However, this led to increased weight that had to be supported by the legs, and, with the addition of the radiator, meant there was less overall room for weapons. The radiator became, essentially, dead weight, until later, when was used to completely change the balance of the games and alter the mobility available to the Armored Core. Despite this, the Second Generation as a whole presents a stable, consummate example of Armored Core technology.
The Third Generation - AC3 to Last Raven
The Third Generation is split into two groups:the "early" period consisting of Armored Core 3 and Silent Line, and the "late" period consisting of Nexus, Formula Front, Ninebreaker, and Last Raven. with key differences from each.
The Early-Third Generation - AC3 to Silent Line
The Early Third Generation Armored Core was a huge leap in terms offensive ability, though mobility was not improved greatly in the transition from Second to Third Generation.
The following items were added to the Third Generation Armored Core:
The Early Third Generation was very important, because it was the first generation to include left-arm projectile weapons. However, other than an increase in weapon types and the addition of the left-arm gun, the Third Generation was not the cosmic leap the Second Generation was. In addition, the howitzer, an important (at least in the case of the left-arm versions) weapon would only last for this portion of the generation, being removed in Armored Core: Nexus for unexplained reasons.
The Late-Third Generation - Nexus to Last Raven
The Late Third Generation of Armored Cores stood in stark contrast compared to all other generations; where every other generation improved largely on the previous generation, the Late Third Generation took several leaps backwards in terms of ability for the Armored Core. However, this weakening was actually only applied largely to the player-controlled Armored Core, making the games much harder during this generation. This was because of the OP-INTENSIFY-or more accurately, the lack thereof. Some enemy Ravens still enjoyed this advantage, but the player no longer had access to this part.
The other significant changes that occurred dealt with the AC radiator and heat management system. Firstly, it was decided that when an AC overheated, it would need to use large amounts of energy to power the radiator to cool down. Secondly, it was decided to raise the heat caused by all weapons dramatically (energy weapons specifically received increased heat output, as well as some high fire-rate weapons, like machine guns), making the energy drain relevant. Lastly, boosters were altered so that they use generated heat. Thus, it became incredibly difficult to create a long-term flight-capable AC, as it would constantly run out of energy and be grounded. The higher-level AIs were largely immune to this, as their innate OP-INTENSIFY powers gave them astonishingly increased radiator ability.
One notable thing about the Late Third Generation is that it saw the addition of many "legacy" parts. That is to say, many popular and well-known parts from the previous generations were re-added in this generation, with appropriate balancing changes to fit with the other parts. Included parts are the FINGER multi-barrel machine gun, Stinger of Armored Core: Project Phantasma's double bladed laser blade, and the frame parts to build the cover ACs of Armored Core 2 and Armored Core 2: Another Age, among several others.
Despite the player being generally handicapped during this generation, it was still the highest evolution of the "Normal" AC, having access to the widest variety of weapons and equipment.
The Late Third Generation provided the following changes:
The Late Third would see the Normal out of dominance as the most powerful weapon on the battlefield. In that regard, it does well, outfitting AC's with the largest armory ever in any AC game. However, it was also very detrimental to the player's ability to fight effectively, while allowing the AI to still use many bonuses from older games the player could not. One could argue that this allows the AI to challenge the player on even ground, while another could say that this was an unfair and "cheap" way of making the AI better.
Regardless, the Late Third Generation, despite many weaknesses on the player side of things, was easily the strongest Normal generation if one takes the AI's abilities as canon. In that regard, the Late Third Generation Armored Core was almost monstrously powerful, and several Late Third Generation Armored Cores might even be enough to give an early Fourth Generation Armored Core pause in battle. That said, the Late Third Generation does not appear in any further games after Last Raven, so this theory could not be put to the test.
There were few drawbacks of the Third Generation; weapon types were plentiful, there were two types of cores to choose from, and the combinations of parts that could be made were shockingly numerous. A minor weakness can be noted in the left arm weapon; although it now provided an extra weapon beside the blade, it was difficult to use. This is mostly attributed to the fact that the left arm was always in the default standby position, thus in order to use it, it required a moment to lift the arm up to ready it in firing position before firing. This meant that there was a delay from the time the weapon was triggered and when it was fired. The left-arm weapon also had no targeting of its own, meaning that if the right-arm weapon was exhausted of ammo before the left-arm weapon and discarded, the left-arm weapon would simply have to be fired blindly.
However, despite these problems, the Early Third is still considered the Golden Age of the Armored Core technology. This would be short-lived, though, as the Late Third Generation rebalanced the game and reduced the overall effectiveness of the AC as the player could utilize it.
The Fourth Generation - AC4 to For Answer
Early Fourth Generation - Pre-AC4Examples of Pre Fourth Armored Cores: 00-Aretha, 002-B
Preceding the the AC4 era Armored Core, these units are the first NEXT models in the AC4 Universe. They are the first units to contain the Kojima technology as well as other prototype designs, and also have the greatest variance in size; a first for an Armored Core series, these NEXTs are non-customizable and have a fixed set of parts and weapons. Despite being an older generation, these units are easily just as powerful, if not more so than mid Fourth Generation units; it is only in the latter half of the AC4 universe that the Fourth Generation NEXTs begin surpassing them. Due to their unstable and dangerous nature, this line of Armored Cores is discontinued soon after their creation. These machines would later be configured in Armored Core: For Answer to be entirely autonomous.
Mid-Fourth Generation - AC4
By the time of Armored Core 4, there are two distinct classes of Armored Cores: Normals and NEXTs. The Fourth Generation of Armored Cores, called NEXTs, are the next step in Armored Core technology and represent experimentation into new territory. The Fourth Generation NEXT provided the following changes:
The Fourth Generation NEXT greatly out-performs every other generation of Armored Core thanks to the addition of AMS and Kojima generators, which amazingly increases the ACs' Energy Output; another key advantage was the removal of the red-zone of the generator; rather than shutting down entirely in the face of an energy shortage, a NEXT will simply momentarily cease energy-related functions in order to rapidly regain its energy stores, before moving on as if nothing had changed.
One notable change is that Armored Core parts are not individual but built from sets. For example the AALIYAH model of NEXT is built from parts based solely on AALIYAH based parts. A variant model, the ALICIA is named after its legs but is otherwise the same AALIYAH. Other NEXT designs are named differently from the "stock" based on a difference in arms. Most NEXT pilots use a NEXT based on a specific part set but with customized AC weapons.
Also notable is the lack of a radiator system, clearing up more space to be used for weapons or heavier gear. Relatedly, NEXTs of the Fourth Generation seem to be able to carry a great deal more than previous "Normals," and are significantly larger.
Finally, the left arm weapon has been made completely interchangeable with the right. There is no difference between weapons in either arm, although both arms have weapons bought in their own categories still. Both weapons also have their own targeting, and the latency period between trigger-pull and actual firing has been removed for left-arm weapons.Normals - A term used to refer to older generations of Armored Cores, but also includes models that do not use Kojima Particles. Conceived by the companies, they saw heavy use along with NEXTS during the National Dismantlement War. They are mass production units designed for large scale combat. While still more effective than conventional units, a Normal is typically completely outclassed by NEXTs. Despite this fact, they are still a mainstay of many of most companies forces, as NEXTs are presumably significantly more expensive and much more difficult to mass produce. NEXTs - A term for what is considered to be the most advanced form of Armored Cores. Based on Normal technology, the NEXT's separate classification revolves around the use of Kojima technology and Aspina's AMS piloting system to make the already dangerous Armored Cores much more deadly on the battlefield. The NEXT represents the current high-point of Armored Core design, when compared to all other forms of the vehicle. NEXTs are repeatedly shown to be able to wipe out entire armies of lesser Normals and MTs, and only the most advanced Normals (such as BFF's "Silent Avalanche" sniper squadrons) are shown to be able to compete with them. NEXTs also have the widest range of customization of the AC generations, but are also notably more expensive. They are often the deciding factor in battles, and almost always the key to victory for the winning corporation in any major engagement.
Late Fourth Generation - ACFA
Encompassing all NEXTs built the decade after the Lynx War, Late Fourth Generation models are considered to be the apex in the NEXT evolution. The ability to Quickboost has been increased several fold with greater efficiency in terms of KP drain, energy output, and and overall mobility. The Late Fourth Generation also noted the transition from a ground based unit with limited flight time to a more efficient unit with potentially limitless aerial capabilities; whereas in previous generations, an AC would lose considerable speed when airborne, a NEXT actually gained from it to a large degree.
This gave NEXTs not only the advantage of an extra dimension of movement, but also greater overall flexibility and survival rates as it was far better suited to changing combat situations than Normal Armored Cores, which were limited to basic boosting and were essentially stuck to the ground. Weaponry has also advanced in terms of sheer quantity as well as firepower the refinement of Kojima weapons technology. Simply put, NEXT technology has been refined to the point of perfection, allowing these mechanized one man armies to take on enormous odds (Arms Forts and even armies) and still come out on top.
The Late Fourth Generation NEXTs brought forth the following changes:
Despite the new capabilities of the Fourth Generation Armored Core, in some instances NEXTs lacked features of older models. The first and foremost was the lack of a core mounted Anti-Missile System. In older generations, most Cores usually had a built in laser-like interception system which was capable of destroying missiles that came into range; this function had no cost and did not take any energy. This feature is entirely absent in NEXTs, which may be considered a minor design flaw. However, taking into account a NEXT's superior agility, shoulder-mounted flares and Primal Armor, core-mounted anti-missile systems were essentially supplanted in terms of function.
Another key shortfall is shown in A Dark Night's March, in which it is shown that NEXTs also lack night vision capability, which is extremely odd, considering that most other units such as MTs, Normals, and even tanks had this piece of equipment, meaning that without support, a NEXT is essentially useless at night and much less effective during adverse weather conditions.
Another problem with NEXTs lies in their Primal Armor. When their Primal Armor is active, a NEXT is nearly indestructible, but once its Primal Armor is gone, it will take a lot of damage from even small arms fire. Because of this, NEXTs need to rely on their superior mobility in order to avoid taking hits that would drain a lot of their Primal Armor, and must also be careful when using Assault Armor.
Aside from the lack of night vision, most of the older features missing from the NEXT were so because of obsolescence, rather than design flaw. The lack of anti-missile systems were made up for primarily with Primal Armor and superior mobility, and in no way puts a NEXT at a disadvantage against any previous generation.
The Fifth Generation - ACV to Verdict Day
Early Fifth Generation - ACV
Whereas each succeeding generation of Armored Cores was a significant improvement over the next (with the exception of the Late Third), the Fifth Generation can be better described as one part refinement, one part advancement, and one part regression in terms of their overall capabilities.
Fifth Generation Armored Cores are now less than half the height of the previous generation and are designed to preform well in urban combat situations. Also, unlike in previous generations, the Fifth Generation Armored Cores generally work in groups of 2-5 and place emphasis on squad based tactics. The small size of the 5th Generation ACs allows them to quickly travel through alleys and other tight space, and also means that they can better use buildings as cover in order to protect themselves from projectiles.
These units no longer possess a radar system, and is instead replace by Scan Mode, a specialized mode that allows an AC, when used in conjunction with recon units, the ability to see opponents on the battlefield, even when hiding behind buildings. It also gives a huge energy boost, at the cost of the ability to fire weapons while in this mode.
Fifth Generation Armored Cores have also returned to their ground-based combat roots and have limited aerial capabilities, and are not able to fly or maintain height for extended periods of time. Despite this, they have an abundance of movement options, giving them greater variety in terms of boost they could use in any situation.
Compared to the previous generation, the booster system has been simplified and consolidated; instead of having a multi-booster arrangement, ACs now have a simple, single booster part type similar to older generations, arranged onto the core in two or four unit sets on the back and/or sides. This allowed heightened mobility options for AC's of this generation to such a degree that they can be seen as miniature NEXTs, with only the high energy costs from the above options holding a pilot back from more radical movement options.
The Fifth Generation brought forth the following changes to mobility:
*Normal boost - Normal boost is a default booster function which allows an AC to traverse terrain faster than walking. This boost takes no energy, and while airbourne, an AC will stay aloft for a short period of time, slowing floating back to the ground. Because of its slow nature, its not particularly useful for dodging, but allows an AC the ability to quietly maneuver in tight spaces.
*Hi-Boost - A very quick burst acceleration which replaces the Quick Boost of the Fourth Generation but is slower to reuse. This can range from a short and controlled burst to a powerful and long lasting one, moving a unit over huge distances.
*Glide Boost - Similar to the Overboost of previous generations, Glide boost is a cruise mode that allows an AC to travel at a fixed height but with the flexibility to move almost 360 degrees on a horizontal plane. It can be combined with Hi-Boost to increase speed for short periods of time. Its main limitation is that it can only be activated on a flat surface, and not in the air.
*Boost Charge - In essence a melee attack reinforced with boosters (a kick or a full unit tackle). It is an extended Hi-Boost, and will still move an AC a significant distance, albeit slower.
*Boost Drive - the ability to jump off building to gain more height or suddenly change directions. Its low energy usage and versatility gives ACs an edge in combat, allowing them to overtake or flank enemy units almost instantly.
Weapons have been drastically overhauled as well; ditching the back weapons system from older games, all weapons are now hand carried, with a weapon being equipped on each arm, and two on hangar units on the shoulder. "Back Weapons" are now classified as "Cannon Weapons," and require an AC to enter a stationary "ready" position before firing (similar to the old crouch for using the traditional back weapons). Certain legs also receive a defense bonus while in this mode.
With precision-type cannons, the AC must manually aim at its target. Tank legged ACs can use these weapons without entering the "ready" position, making them an ideal choice when considering the use of cannons.
All weapons and armor come in three damage type categories: KE, CE, and TE (Kinetic, Chemical, and Thermal). Bullet based projectiles deal KE damage, Chemical/Explosive type projectiles deal CE damage, and energy weapons deal TE damage. This allows Pilots to tailor their AC to become extremely resistant to certain kinds of weapons. When facing a Fifth-Generation AC, it is strongly recommended to scan them in order to determine which weapons to use against them.
The concept of the Hanger has also be dramatically improved. In previous generations, it was necessary to purge weapons to use the hangars. This is no longer the case, nor needed with the Fifth Generation unit as they attach to the shoulders via a carousel like mechanism. These hangers also allow pilots to store rifles and Gatling gun on them, rather than being limited to smaller weapons. Rockets and Missiles are relegated to built-in shoulder units and can be equipped in single or dual mounts, but two separate shoulder weapons cannot be equipped at the same time. The only weapons that require to be purged before using the hangars are cannon type weapons.
A key feature of this generation is their use of Ultimate Weapons, extremely powerful but difficult to use weapons capable of destroying at least one ordinary target in a single strike. These take the place of the traditional Back Unit and are extremely heavy. They prevent the use of Hangar parts however.
Late Fifth Gen - ACVD
The second half of the Fifth Generation is similar to the Late Third Generation in that it saw many changes (most negative) to the effectiveness of parts and weapons, but also saw a boost to various others as well.
Overall, mobility for lighter units were increased greatly, allowing them an even larger advantage against other units. On the flip side, most heavier units, particularly tanks, became significantly slower with much weaker firepower, making them more vulnerable, less useful, and overall struggle to fight other units.
Energy recovery has been increased across the board, enabling ACs to reach new limits of operational time; some ACs are now able to stay permanently in hi-boost while in scan mode.
The Late Fifth Generation saw rise of a few new generation of parts:
Retrofit Parts: based on existing parts, retrofit parts were modifications of regular parts with significantly different stats, giving ACs different specializations and uses.
Weapon Arms: Like past generations, Weapon Arms do not offer a lot of armor or AP, but they make up for these drawbacks through their destructive power. All 5th generation weapon arms pack cannon type weaponry, and allow any AC to use them without entering the "ready" position. This means that Weapon Arms remove the mobility penalty of traditionally carrying such weapons on lighter ACs. These Weapon Arms also allow ACs to equip regular weapons on top of the ones present within the weapon arms, making these the most versatile Weapon Arms in any AC generation. Weapon arms can also allow storage for hand held cannons when the pilot starts using the Weapon Arms, rather than forcing the pilot to purge these weapons before switching, making them ideal choices for Tanks.
Shields: Making their return after their departure at the beginning of the 4th Generation Era, shields have been completely revamped. Instead of decreasing the amount of damage that an AC takes, it has its own AP and absorbs damage completely until it has been depleted. Much like the damage types it is split into three types: KE, CE and TE. Each type has a high single defense, and low defense in the other two areas. This means they excel extremely well against their rated damage type, losing little AP and rarely being dealt effective damage. However, against any other damage type, they will deplete quickly and will almost always take effective damage. Their portability and usefulness on almost any AC makes them a highly used and effective tool.
One of the important weaknesses of this Armored Core generation is their lack of a radar. Its replacement, Scan Mode, does not allow an AC to fire its weapon and locate enemies at the same time; ACs can still utilize boosters while in Scan Mode, and their Boost Charge attack. ACs also have limited numbers of recons; once depleted, Scan Mode becomes significantly less useful as a means to locate enemies.
5th Generation Armored Core also lack strong firepower alternatives for non-tank legs. Cannon-type weapons exist, but are limited to use by a handful of legtypes, and lacks a HUMAN-PLUS solution. This means that overall most units have significantly reduced offensive capabilities. This makes them much more situational. Cannons must also be purged in order for an AC to switch to a weapon that is being stored on their hanger, further reducing their utility. As a result of these draw backs, 5th Generation ACs work best in pairs or in groups, with each covering the others' weaknesses.
Despite their weaknesses, a team of well built 5th gen ACs can handle a fight against N-WGIX or even an Arms Fort if the pilots are skilled enough.