Namco Bandai announced new release dates for Armored Core V today. Once slated for an early January release, the mech combat game is now expected in March. North America will receive it on the 20th while Europe will have to wait until the 23rd.

AC5 lets players step into the cockpit of an Armored Core, a powerful battle mech that they can customize with a wide variety of parts. This latest installment will emphasize team-based multiplayer battles. In a break from recent tradition, the gameplay is said to be more dependent on strategy than twitch reflexes.

"Gamers have been eagerly anticipating the release of Armored Core V, which will bring strategic mech combat to new heights,” said Eiichi Nakajima, studio head, From Software. “With cooperative missions, a persistent online world battling for territories and epic team battles, Armored Core V is the complete action shooter package.”

One of the ways AC5 will encourage strategic play is through a new Operator Mode. In this mode, one player on a team is designated the leader. He can feed information, like enemy positions and movements, to his teammates.

“A quick trigger finger and razor-sharp reflexes won’t always turn the tide of battle in Armored Core V,” said Carlson Choi, Vice President of Marketing for Namco Bandai Games America. "The Operator adds a new layer of strategy orchestrating his team of Armored Cores to victory by finding the enemy’s weaknesses."

Namco also announced a new pre-order bonus for North American gamers. If you pre-order through GameStop, you'll unlock a 'Heavy Assault Pack' with additional weapons and parts. Maybe these extras will be enough to keep your Core from becoming a pile of scrap metal.

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