When I first started playing this game I had few, to no idea how the story mode played. I was expecting a mech game where a player customized a fighter selecting different parts, ect. Not too deep. With a friendly Online mode. Wow, was I wrong.
The game itself is actually WAY bigger then I thought. Notice the 50+ hour story mode feature. They are not lying. The story mode takes the player into an 'online world' filled with servers, users, and channels (ala, Dot Hack series) All simulating an online experience -- offline. You first create a username, then enter a server and start from there. Before you start destroying those evil mech enemies, you must get your License. You need to take a test. When you pass, you are able to purchase a mech and from there you need to win battles to gain 'cyro' (money/gold) to buy the individual parts. You compete among other users (all offline) in battles that take place around the world; Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, Cairo, and New York.
Besides story mode, Versus Mode allows players to use there fully-customized mecha's in battle. Or they are allowed to chose already made mechs. Quick Battle mode lets players fight without gaining cyros. Besides the offline 'online' story mode, SLAI also features an ACTUAL Online mode. Take your saved mech and battle users using your PS2 Online Broadband Adapter. Steel Lancer Arena International is an great title with many features that allow players numerous of fun hours of gaming. Not to mention, a GREAT soundtrack that includes popular hits from around the world!