What They Say:
Dynamic, fast-paced mech action.
Based on the knowledge gained during the joint development of their recent titles, Bandai Namco Entertainment and FromSoftware seek to deliver a new action game. By combining FromSoftware’s longstanding expertise in mech games and their signature robust gameplay, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon will be a new action experience.
In Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, players will assemble and pilot their own mech with 3D maneuverability to move freely through three-dimensional fast-paced missions. Take on difficult challenges and overwhelm your enemies with dynamic movements that make full use of ranged and melee combat. Players can enjoy a variety of actions that can only be truly realized with mechs.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is one of this year’s most anticipated titles for both die-hard fans of the series and curious newcomers. After playing through the game I can confidently say that the game met all my expectations but also left me wanting in various ways.
Armored Core VI carries on the legacy of the mech building and fighting game series by giving players all the options they need to create their best mobile killing machines. Players start off simply with a standard mech, a single weapon, and a plasma blade and are thrown into the wringer with the task of defeating a challenging boss in the first hour alone. While this mission is challenging and sometimes frustrating, as is standard in a FromSoftware game, the players who learn from their mistakes and use the tools available to the best of their skills will triumph and feel phenomenal when they do.
After defeating the boss, players are given the chance to select all available parts of their choice for their AC, including helmet, arms, legs, core, and booster. All parts contribute to how much health or AP your AC has, how heavy it gets, how far it can boost and for how long, how much energy it can consume and recover, and how easy it is to stagger. Additionally, players can pick and choose whichever weapon they want, from standard gun types like shotguns and assault rifles to bazookas, Gatling guns, grenade launchers, plasma rifles, melee weapons, and more. Players can also get additional weapons they can equip to their shoulder parts for more damage and these are typically missiles. However, once you get further enough in the game, you can also equip OS Chips, which allow players even more skills like better healing, several types of combat armor, and even the ability to equip regular weapons to your AC’s shoulders.
All these options work excellently by allowing players to tailor their combat experience however they want. The options also allow players to challenge the several formidable bosses each chapter has, most of whom will not hesitate to wipe the floor with you. Being able to easily switch your build between checkpoints is a godsend, and defeating bosses, many of whom have unique, challenging aspects, by figuring out their move sets and which build works best feels highly satisfying.
Narrative-wise, Armored Core VI is one of the handful of modern games in FromSoftware’s catalog that has a cohesive narrative. Players play as an independent mercenary thrown into a conflict between Rubicon 3, a post-apocalyptic planet populated by rebels who fight against a bunch of greedy corporations over the control of Coral, a mysterious energy source said to speed up mankind’s technological advancement. The game will have you make decisions on what to do, who to side with, and who to make enemies. The concept is genuinely an interesting one and feels very much like a modern take on a FromSoftware story structure.
Visually, Armored Core VI is incredible. The game’s environmental design, though drab and depressing, is still very detailed and consistent with a highly mechanical dieselpunk aesthetic. The motions are precise, and the mechanical workings of an armored core are surprisingly intricate. The visual effects are also fantastic, mainly seen through boss fights and weapon effects. Other than that, the voice acting from characters is also quite good, and the soundtrack is impeccable and greatly supports every hype moment in the game. It’s just too bad that the narrative didn’t have enough cutscenes to develop the story, and it doesn’t have many interesting characters. The characters that are interesting also never get models or physical appearances, which is unfortunate.
Lastly, I can’t help but appreciate the game’s online mode and how much more responsive it is compared to From Software’s recent titles. Participating in PVP matches is a relatively painless process. Players can either make a room to invite other players or friends in order to spar in a 1v1 or 3v3 mode, or join other games themselves and challenge whoever. I also didn’t run into any disconnection issues throughout my experience. Performance-wise, Armored Core VI runs quite well in both performance and visual modes. However, it’s more advisable to play in Performance mode due to the action nature of the game.
All in all, Armored Core VI is a great game that offers a fantastic albeit highly challenging gameplay experience. While I wish the story was given as much attention as the gameplay, it still doesn’t stop it from being one of the most engaging action games of the year.
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Age Rating: Teen
Release Date: August 25, 2023
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
This review was done with a review copy provided by the publisher. We are grateful for their continued support.