Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is a spectacular work in its genre, combining various seemingly contradictory components aesthetically, and is also distinguished by a level of finesse that has been a true rarity in recent years. However, the game’s distinctive atmosphere, sluggish storyline, and extremely challenging gameplay are both pros and disadvantages. The massive robots are surprisingly swift and mobile, which the developers take use of at every chance, throwing us platform problems and entire armies of opponents assaulting from all angles and on all planes. The two-stage auto-aiming makes it easy to fight several foes at once. Tanks and war helicopters are actually crushed underfoot, and the landscape is partially vulnerable to devastation, providing a strong sensation of accomplishment and fulfillment. The fighting system is built on the proper usage of multiple weapons and stagger principles similar to Sekiro or Final Fantasy 7 Remake. In addition to the armor points that correspond to the machine’s health, adversaries have an extra bar that fills up with damage taken until the stun condition is activated. Targets affected by this state take tremendous damage from so-called direct attacks. The technique must be continued until the opponent’s health bar reaches zero, which we won’t notice in the case of normal foes.
When an AC pilot identical to us comes in our way, the key to success is pushing, tactical use of overheated weaponry, and maintaining the energy bar, which demands cat-like agility and fast thinking. Defeating this sort of opponent offers you a lot of joy and provides you access to his machine’s configuration files, which allows you to quickly clone the opponent’s build. We will have to confront a formidable monster from time to time, although such opponents may be counted on one hand, and some will return at the conclusion of the game, albeit in various battle conditions. In this instance, we must push our vehicles to their limits: duck and dash, employ the assault afterburner, shoot from the air, and organize our attacks perfectly. The game heavily encourages an aggressive combat style, but you must also be extremely cautious because death is really easy.
Unfortunately, each boss encounter results in an unnecessarily steep escalation in difficulty. Even Dark Souls veterans can keep bouncing off the most powerful monsters. In this sense, the game promotes experimentation with pieces and flexible mixing of weapons and strategies, however I get the idea that the developers occasionally overdid it, especially given that the buildup of effects on the screen may be highly unsettling. In such instances, we realize that the workshop in the game is not simply an addition, but an essential and crucial component of the game, to which we should pay almost as much time and care as the fight itself. At first sight, there appear to be a lot of statistics and pieces to deal with, but the system is quite intuitive and works excellent in practice, and managing the power supply or lifting capacity is easier than it appears. Interestingly, we may witness a brief video of the weapon in action before purchasing or assembling it.
The game is organized into missions that are preceded by briefings that last between 3 and 10 minutes and take place in enormous yet closed environments. Jobs are quite diversified and frequently feature fresh dynamics, which prevents you from becoming bored quickly, even if you repeat them several times for monetary gain or to raise your rating. In addition, there’s the Arena, where we may earn upgrade points by defeating NPC opponents, a helpful tutorial with valuable prizes, and a PvP online mode for 6 people, which I haven’t had a chance to try yet.
Armored Core 6 was built on the enhanced Elden Ring engine, which largely presents itself in grandiose landscapes – massive towns and industrial constructions stretch high beyond the clouds and cover the sky, leaving an exciting impression. The mood is further enhanced by Kota Hoshino’s great music and unforgettable sound effects. The visuals are top-notch in terms of aesthetics, yet huge open expanses are preferable to monotonous hallways built of concrete and steel, which are also plentiful. When seen up close, low-quality jagged shadows may be seen in the distance, and landscape textures can be hazy, but in the heat of combat, we seldom have time for that. The PS5 game has two visual modes: quality at 30 frames per second and performance at 60 frames per second. Drops below the intended levels are exceedingly unusual in all modes and only last a fraction of a second – usually shortly after the loading screen. For the most part, the smoothness is flawless, and I didn’t see a single obvious glitch during the game. With each task, the storyline grows more and more convoluted; it might excite and entertain, but it frequently produces more questions than answers. There are numerous talks, but we continuously get the sensation that we are missing something, that we are only hearing fragments of conversations that go place behind our backs. When you think about it, even missions with basic assumptions have an extremely murky and even ethically problematic undertone.
The narrating style is similar to that of the Dark Souls series – the more we learn, the less we comprehend. The characters appear disconnected from reality, as if they exist outside of their bodies, and the fact that we don’t see a single human face from beginning to end further adds to this image. The camera is led with a leisurely hand in various sequences, allowing you to absorb the unique ambiance and examine the intricacies of the machines, which contrasts with the frenetic warfare and mayhem we see on the battlefield. Armored Core 6 took me 25 hours to accomplish, however a more capable player will finish it in 20 hours. In fact, the only complaint I have is that the difficulty level changes too quickly during monster encounters. Furthermore, the task is realistic, and conquering barriers is really rewarding. The game is addicting, fascinating, and keeps you thinking about it long after you switch off the console, but I’m concerned that because of the “souls” narrative and hard gameplay, many people may be turned off by FromSoftware’s newest release. The remainder will be lost on the Rubicon for weeks and will not be sorry.