Armored Core Wiki
Infobox Armored Core 3
Armored Core 3
Japanese name アーマード・コア 3
Publisher(s) JP: From Software
NA: Agetec
EU: Metro 3D
Composer(s) Tsukasa Saitoh
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
PlayStation Portable
PlayStation Vita
Release date PlayStation 2
  • JP: April 01, 2002
  • NA: September 10, 2002
  • EU: May 30, 2003

PlayStation Portable

  • JP: July 30, 2009
  • NA: October 22, 2009
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Armored Core 3 is the sixth game in the Armored Core series and the third Armored Core game for the PlayStation 2. It was released on April 1, 2002 in Japan; the North American version was released on September 10, 2002; and the European release was on May 30, 2003. The game strays from the story established by the previous games and marks the start of a new continuity. The setting shifts to a subterranean society similar to the first game.

The story takes place in Layered, an underground world that humanity fled into to escape a global catastrophe that ruined the Earth's surface. Within Layered are three corporations vying for control over the limited space and assets. Overseeing all of this is the godlike artificial intelligence, The Controller. Also present is a terrorist group opposing The Controller's near-absolute control over mankind. The player assumes the role of a pilot newly-inducted into the Ravens — mercenaries piloting the powerful Armored Cores — who is soon pulled into a conspiracy that threatens to forever change the subterranean society.

The game received a direct sequel in Armored Core: Silent Line, released in 2003.

Due to its financial success in Japan, it was rereleased in the country's The Best budget line for the PlayStation 2 on November 06, 2003.[1]

A PlayStation Portable port titled Armored Core 3 Portable was later released on July 30, 2009 on UMD in Japan and on October 22, 2009 on the PlayStation Store in North America. The control scheme, menus and graphics were modified in order to better accommodate the PlayStation Portable's design. In addition, it adds new parts and one new Arena opponent. The port marked the start of the Portable series of Armored Core that included it and Portable versions of Armored Core: Silent Line and Armored Core: Last Raven. This version is compatible with the PlayStation Vita.


One entity ruled the world - it was simply called The Controller.
The Controller handled the major decisions of everyone's life.
People took it for granted that The Controller would handle every aspect of their lives for them.
Under the rule of The Controller, people lived safe, yet uninspired lives of a promised prosperity.
As time went on, several powerful factors known as Corporations came on the scene.
In their separate struggles to gain absolute power, the Corporations waged war upon each other.
The Controller even manipulated the Corporation's war.
All was going according to the plans of The Controller, but somehow, the forces of chaos began to rise...
— Opening crawl

Layered 4

One of the abandoned cities in Layered

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Armored Core 3 depicts a world where mankind has sought refuge underground after a catastrophic global nuclear war broke out on the surface. Those who survived formed a subterranean society called Layered. Layered is ruled by an AI simply known as The Controller, which dictates nearly everything that goes on in this world. The two major corporations, Mirage and Crest Industries along with a smaller group known as Kisaragi, all vie for dominance and control over Layered's land and assets. All is not well with The Controller however, and odd events begin to occur. With the number and scope of these errors, some might even go so far as to suggest that the system may be failing.

Characters and setting[]

Two different timelines are mentioned in the Armored Core 10 Works Complete File book, one of which refers to the original Armored Core game from 1997 and continues until the end of Armored Core 2: Another Age. The other timeline starts with Armored Core 3 and ends with Armored Core: Last Raven.

The roots of the Armored Core 3 timeline began with humanity taking refuge in underground cities after a large scale disaster occurred on the planet's surface. Corporations such as Mirage and Crest were established centuries afterwards. They paved the way for the development of the first Muscle Tracer prototype, the XMT-01, which soon led to the development of ACs and other MTs.


  • Img7073eb67zikezj

    The Controller's emblem. The AI is referred to as "Dove" in the Japanese version and this is kept in its emblem for all releases

    The Controller - An omnipresent artificial intelligence in charge of maintaining all aspects of mankind's underground refuge. The Controller's influence is so pervasive, so tightly interwoven into even the smallest facets of everyday life, that its existence is rarely given a second thought. The lives of all who dwell in Layered are inextricably tied to it, and all major decisions that they make are decided for them by The Controller.
  • Ravens - These are the mercenaries affiliated with Global Cortex. Once one registers as a Raven with Global Cortex, their private computer network is used to dispatch missions, buy or sell AC parts and the like. This affiliation to Cortex, however, places no restrictions on the Ravens. There is only one stipulation, however - no Raven can directly take a contract without it going through Global Cortex first.
  • Laine Meyers - Global Cortex liaison manager responsible for the player’s mission assignments and communications support. She often finds herself questioning the events that unfold throughout the game


  • Crest - Mirage's main competitor, Crest initially rose to power as a bioengineering group before redirecting its efforts into the field of AC part development. Crest is just as eager to expand its interests as Mirage but is reluctant to achieve this end by manipulating The Controller. In Crest's opinion, the current system is the best anyone can hope for. Crest offers unwavering support for The Controller and strives to maintain the status quo at all costs. This difference in ideals places Crest and Mirage at odds, making them enemies.
  • Kisaragi - Like any corporate entity, Kisaragi strives to grow both its product line and market share, but given its smaller size in comparison to Crest and Mirage, only pushes the envelope when a clear advantage exists. Kisaragi's aspirations for power center mainly on surpassing their corporate rivals, and they take a very middle-of-the-road approach with regards to The Controller. Kisaragi broke into the AC development field after a successful stint as a computer manufacturer, and also seems to be working in the field of bioengineering and research. Kisaragi now bides its time, waiting for opportunities to increase its own resources, size and influence.
  • Mirage - Originally an industrial machine manufacturer, Mirage has matured into one of the era's leading AC development powerhouses. The company hopes to further strengthen its position by gaining access to The Controller and administering its power to benefit Mirage's agenda. Given the massive extent of The Controller's ability to manipulate the populace of Layered, this would be an unimaginably useful plan, were it to succeed. However, it has yet to be carried out due to fear of The Controller's reprisals should their attempt fail. Should this happen, it would spell total destruction for them.
  • Global Cortex- A unique organization, Global Cortex is the intermediary between corporate clients and mercenaries for hire. These mercenaries, more commonly referred to as Ravens, are pilots who operate the massive mechanized units known as Armored Cores. Though Global Cortex works closely with all of Layered's corporations, it maintains a strict level of neutrality and does not side with any of them.
  • Union - An underground rebel group whose core members consist of intellectuals vehemently opposed to The Controller's uncontested rule of Layered. Given the occurrences that keep happening, support for the group is growing at the beginning of the game. Because of this radical stance in regards to The Controller, Crest considers Union to be Layered's most serious threat, and has gone out of its way to try to eliminate them. Meanwhile, Union remains convinced that something is amiss in Layered and has gone so far as to claim that The Controller is malfunctioning.


  • Layered Map

    A map of Layered

    Layered - The setting of Armored Core 3. An underground city composed of multiple sections. Many of the areas are massive, complete with artificial skies and large, varied environments. Layered was constructed by nations that predicted a great catastrophe to save their citizens and wait for the Earth's surface to become habitable again. Layered is self-sustaining and provides its inhabitants with every need, including artificial sun, air, energy, and food. It also has significant industrial capabilities that enable citizens to manufacture products like MTs. As Layered requires a massive degree of administration to fulfill the needs of its inhabitants, it is governed by an advanced, vast AI with almost complete control over Layered: The Controller.


The game introduces a number of new features and mechanics. Weapons can now be detached on the fly, allowing ACs opportunities to lower both their total weight and energy drain while in combat for increased speed and energy recovery.

Armored Core 3 intro Exceed Orbit

An Exceed Orbit Core in action

Another addition is a new core classification: Exceed Orbit. This new Core type sacrifices Over Boost and VS MG to allow ACs to deploy a built-in autonomous energy weapons from the Core itself. The EOs track enemies that are even out of the player's line of sight and even when the Core is out of ammunition. Disabling the EOs lets the Core resupply its ammunition, thereby giving ACs an option for a weapon with unlimited uses, something which was previously only possible with laser blades.

With the addition of "Consorts", allies can now be obtained before some missions begin. The player is occasionally given additional funds by clients to hire help in the form of MT pilots, fighter jet or helicopter squads, or fellow Ravens. In these cases, hiring help is left to the player's discretion. In the mission "Defend the Monorail", for example, the player is given funds and an assortment of consorts to choose from; within the confines of the allotted funds, the player may choose to spend this money hiring either one AC pilot or up to two MT pilots; alternatively, the player may simply enter the mission by themselves.

A difficulty level can be selected upon starting a new file, between Normal and Hard. Once the game starts, the difficulty level can no longer be adjusted on that same file.


Main article: List of Early Third Generation Parts

There are 231 AC parts in Armored Core 3. They can be obtained by purchasing them at the shop, finding them in missions, or by performing specific tasks for people. Because Armored Core 3 takes place in its own continuity, no parts from Armored Core 2: Another Age return. Parts in the game are manufactured by either Mirage, Crest, or Kisaragi.


The OP-INTENSIFY Optional Part

Due to mixed reactions regarding the Human PLUS abilities from previous games, it was retooled and rebalanced as an unlockable Optional Part called OP-INTENSIFY. The OP-INTENSIFY becomes available for free in the Shop after completing the game. Despite being registered as a Kisaragi product, no info aside from the in-game mail received from obtaining the part is known about it as the description only reads "???'". The part takes up all Option Slots in the Core, making it so that it is the only Optional Part that can be equipped at a time. Instead of hitting below a certain negative credit count like with Human PLUS, the hidden functions of OP-INTENSIFY are unlocked by accomplishing certain feats while the part is equipped. Players will receive in-game mail as confirmation whenever a hidden ability is unlocked.

The Portable version adds 11 new parts, some of which are, unlike in the original PlayStation 2 version, replicas of parts from previous games like Armored Core: Master of Arena and Armored Core 2. One new part is the CHD-GLITCH, a head part from the novel Armored Core: Brave New World. The inclusion of the CHD-GLITCH starts a trend in the Portable series where Armored Core content from outside the games are added.


Main articles: Armored Core 3/Enemies, Armored Core 3/Arena, Armored Core 3/Extra Arena
Sukutamu MT

One of the first enemies encountered in-game. Dubbed by fans as the "Sukutamu"

Enemies in the game are divided between MTs, manned weapons such as bombers, unmanned weapons like turrets, biological weapons, and Armored Cores. There are 72 Armored Cores available to fight in the Arena.

The Raven 13, a character from Armored Core: Brave New World, is added to the Arena in the Portable version. He appears in the Arena ranking below Exile, the lowest-ranked Raven in the PlayStation 2 version, after the game is complete.


Main article: Armored Core 3/Missions

There are a total of 49 missions in the game. Missions are divided in-game based on their location within Layered. The clients include Crest, Global Cortex, Kisaragi, Mirage, and Union.


Main article: Armored Core 3 Original Soundtrack

The soundtrack was composed by Tsukasa Saitoh, Kota Hoshino, and Yuki Ichiki. It contains 19 tracks and was released on CD on May 22, 2002. The first track, "Artificial Sky I" — named after the artificial sky that limits Layered — is the game's main theme and is remixed into several other tracks throughout the game, such as "On Satelloid".

Tracks from the soundtrack are also reused and remixed in other releases such as Armored Core: Nexus; for example, Armored Core: Silent Line recycles "Artificial Sky II", the main menu track in Armored Core 3, for its own main menu theme. Another example is the Armored Core Reprises album, which contains remixes for both "Artificial Sky I" and "In my heart".

The soundtrack is included in the Armored Core Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Box collection, where it is compiled into the fifth disc.


PlayStation 2 version[]

Official wallpapers[]

Armored Core 3 Portable[]

Emblem animations[]

Official wallpapers[]


The PlayStation 2 version of Armored Core 3 holds a rating of 74 on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[2] Famitsu magazine gave the game a score of 34 out of 40.[3] In David Smith's review for IGN, he called the game "unquestionably the best Armored Core game yet made."[4] Similarly, Greg Kasavin of GameSpot said "it's not the prettiest game around, and it's basically similar to what the series has always offered, but this latest Armored Core is still a good, solid game."[5]


  • Prima Games published a 144-page paperback English strategy guide for the game on September 17, 2002 as part of their Prima's Official Strategy Guide series. It was written by Joe Grant Bell.
  • Gallery 9 42 325851

    Sir Fire and its AC, Dirty Slime

    Sir Fire from the VR Arena of Armored Core: Last Raven is an AI Ranker that uses a replica of the middleweight Crest AC seen in the opening movie of Armored Core 3. Sir Fire's AC is described in-game as a "healthy balance between mobility and firepower," with weapons selected for mid-range combat. The AC can use its grenade launcher while moving in spite of its bipedal legs.
  • At the title screen, the word "EBSW820-e" can be spotted appearing and fading away in the background, with an upside-down version reflecting underneath it, slightly obscured by what appears to be a slash mark. The word may be referring to the part seen in the background of the Main Menu, however no such part by that name exists within the game.


  2. "Armored Core 3 for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  3. Author unknown. プレイステーション2 - アーマード・コア 3. Weekly Famitsu No.915, Pt.2, 75.
  4. Smith, David (September 09, 2002). "Armored Core 3". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  5. Kasavin, Greg (September 11, 2002). "Armored Core 3 Review". Retrieved October 22, 2018.

Related pages[]

External links[]

Armored Core franchise
PlayStation (1997-1999) Armored CoreArmored Core: Project PhantasmaArmored Core: Master of Arena
PlayStation 2 (2000-2005) Armored Core 2Armored Core 2: Another AgeArmored Core 3Silent Line: Armored CoreArmored Core: NexusArmored Core: Nine BreakerArmored Core: Formula FrontArmored Core: Last Raven
Mobile (2004-2008) Armored Core: Mobile MissionArmored Core: Mobile 2Armored Core: Mobile OnlineArmored Core: Mobile 3Armored Core: Mobile 4
PlayStation Portable (2004-2010) Armored Core: Formula FrontArmored Core 3 PortableArmored Core: Silent Line PortableArmored Core: Last Raven Portable
PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360 (2006-2013) Armored Core 4Armored Core: For AnswerArmored Core VArmored Core: Verdict Day
PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and Steam (2023) ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON
Other media Armored Core Designs 4 & for AnswerArmored Core Mechanical GuidanceArmored Core Official Data BookArmored Core Variable InfinityArmored Core Visual Art WorksArmored Core 10 Works Complete FileArmored Core: A New Order of "NEXT"Armored Core: Brave New WorldArmored Core: Tower City BladeArmored Core: Verdict Day Official Setting Documents Collection -the AFTER-30 Minutes Mission
Armored Core 3
Arena Enter subpage
Characters AceAdieuApple BoyAsterAsylumBack BreakerBad BrainBarchettaBBBilboBisonBrassBremenCallerCascadeCastdownChain ImpactCitizen No. 0824-FK3203 (Player character)ClaizenCold HeartComebackThe ControllerCypressDoralDucksEndymionExileFanaticFanfareFaustFixerFlare-UpFlying FixFragileGaidozGrand ChiefHard EdgeHostileHozumiHuntressImpulseKalchasMidasMilky WayNocturneOXParadoxParanoiaPass AheadPylonReginaRoyal MistSandovalScyllaShadow AgeSnakewoodSpartanStrasbourgStreet EnemySuburban KingSweet SweeperTerraThunder HouseTrafalgarTrooperTsukuyoTwinhead-BTwinhead-WValkyrieVectorViceWake UpYellow Boat
Portable-exclusive: 13
Enemies Enter subpage

AepyornisAix FurAntler MossB7723CB988A C-TypeB988A M-TypeBalsam MBamakuruBlue OspreyController AgentsD-C003-AD-C021-SD-C101-DD-C301-PDigiFiend NBFly Paper MGFour Sit LFuryukuGibbonGlide CobraGoshawkGrand Rock-S26Growl GGureiboaGustav Mk-7KabaruriHokumosuMaindefuniaMoreMPTA2NoizamufuraiPond SkaterPufferQuadruped Form GQuadruped Form MSea GoblinSealing GunnerSukutamu Form CSukutamu Form DSupaido GTabaniddoU-IzaruWaelder

Gameplay mechanics Exceed OrbitsOP-INTENSIFYOver Boost
Locations Avalon HillLayered
Missions Enter subpage

"Assault Crest Facility" • "Attack Mirage Forces" • "Bomb Disarmament" • "Defend Crest HQ" • "Defend Energy Reactor" • "Defend Helicopter Crew" • "Defend Naire Bridge" • "Defend Personnel Convoy" • "Defend Ruglen Laboratory" • "Defend Testing Grounds" • "Defend the Arena" • "Defend the Monorail" • "Defend Water Processors" • "Destroy Computer" • "Destroy Escaping MT" • "Destroy Germ Canisters" • "Destroy Gun Emplacements" • "Destroy Kisaragi Forces" • "Destroy Massive MT" • "Destroy Massive Weapon" • "Destroy Naire Bridge" • "Destroy the AC" • "Disable Pulse Generators" • "Disable Radar Equipment" • "Disable Security System" • "Distract Union Defenses" • "Eliminate Infiltrators" • "Eliminate Intruders" • "Eliminate the Bombers" • "End Employee Rebellion" • "End Employee Standoff" • "Eradicate Life Forms" • "Escort Transport" • "Infiltrate Layered Hub" • "Infiltrate Rehito Lab" • "Investigate Magna Ruins" • "Investigate Water Swells" • "MT Training Exercise" • "Prevent Capsule Theft" • "Protect Crest Convoy" • "Raven Test" • "Recover Data Capsules" • "Recover Ship Cargo" • "Rescue the Survey Team" • "Safeguard Alloy Sample" • "Safeguard Water Supply" • "Secure the Mine" • "Secure Trene City" • "Steal the Access Program"

Organizations Crest IndustriesGlobal CortexKisaragiMirageUnion
Parts Enter subpage
Technologies Armored CoresExceed OrbitsMuscle TracersOP-INTENSIFY
Others CreditsEmblemsMailArmored Core 3 Original SoundtrackArmored Core 10 Works Complete File