REVIEW – FromSoftware has returned to the franchise after a long time, and after the Souls games and Elden Ring, the new Armored Core is a refreshing update that draws heavily from the Japanese studio’s recent games. The quality remains outstanding, and since you don’t need to be familiar with the previous installments in the series, it’s probably safe to say that Armored Core VI is an excellent buy for those who are at least interested in robots.
A new action game based on the concept of the Armored Core series that uses the knowledge gained from FromSoftware’s recent action game development.
Eighteen years ago, Hidetaka Miyazaki worked on his first Armored Core game. That was Armored Core: Last Raven and the franchise was far from the mainstream then and isn’t even considered mainstream today… except for AC6 (the full title will be written down at the end, as always), because you can see how successful the Japanese studio’s latest game is, with greedy, corrupt corporations playing a prominent role, of course, and everyone with their eye on a particular resource. The story is average, and perhaps the game’s weakness is the voice acting or how AC6 was written. It’s far from Elden Ring, and all the Souls and even Bloodborne are much better in that respect. However, the gameplay has its requirements: it’s not an easy wall to climb, but it’s rewarding (and time-consuming) enough in return, and it doesn’t matter where you go in the smaller regions because there’s no open world. You get missions in the areas. They can be completed in more than one way.
And our mech won’t be an incredibly fast-moving machine (it’s not Murakumo, just to mention another FromSoftware title…), but slow and cumbersome, but you need to feel the weight, so that’s fine. Fortunately, you can use thrusters plus fly shorter distances. Our giant robots can be equipped with shields, swords, multiple firearms (such as a sniper or laser), or heat-seeking missiles (usually four locations for the mechs). Let’s also think vertically: You have to think about fighting in three dimensions rather than two, so you have to move up and down because it expands the strategy much more, making the fights more enjoyable and, at the same time, not running out of medkit too quickly, which is absolutely how it works, as we are used to from FromSoftware. It’s not a plan to stuff in all the HP and then just go with the flow. That is never a solution. What is, however, is to learn the automatic targeting system (lock-on), which is all about effortlessly switching between whatever is in front of you and the target you have selected. Still, perhaps there is a minor flaw here: it is not always apparent which system you are using at first. These little errors are the ones that add up to make the rating, which is still high, worse…
It seems surprising when artificial intelligence is fighting with us, not just against us. The fact that you can’t have other players jump in is a missed opportunity, as online has been dumped into a minor game mode, which is perhaps another missed chance, so there’s no way a more experienced player can carry you around. Instead, you must collect money by doing the smaller missions because that’s how you get the better parts and weapons. In other words, it is a time-consuming grind that may divide the audience again. Still, customization may make many forget it (unusually, ray tracing is only present during customizing). You will eventually end up here because it may determine how you fare in combat. In addition to parts, you can repaint some elements or apply logos in several places.
You can’t talk about AC6 without mentioning the developers’ recently released games because it’s put together so that anyone who can handle any of the Souls will succeed here. Anyone who doesn’t give up can find their style of play because it’s not so easy to change the difficulty level. True, this approach is perhaps to be expected from FromSoftware; the giant boss fights, which sometimes twist the gameplay, would not be effective enough (for example, those familiar with Touhou will be prepared for this iteration of Armored Core with 5 million bullets on screen). At least there are no complaints about the handling, which makes the overall gameplay intuitive and enjoyable, as well as the atmosphere (the latter is weaker due to the audiovisual and story).
VI + II + I/II
Armored Core VI: Fires Of Rubicon could have gotten a nine out of ten, but minor flaws caused it to slip from this score. Still, a score of eight and a half out of ten is excellent and a product worthy of FromSoftware’s style. It sometimes takes the battles one at a time, and most of the time, the player (who hopefully isn’t judging by default) can find themselves looking at the clock at noon, then looking again, and it’s half past three in the afternoon. Events like this are a sign of a good game. And the latest installment of Armored Core is.
+ Easy-to-learn control
+ Unique yet familiar
+ The fights are exciting
– Audiovisually not outstanding
– The story is funny
– Why is there no co-op?
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Style: Fighting game, Shooter Video Game, Adventure game, Platform game
Release: August 25, 2023.