When the FromSoftware logo lit up the screen at The Game Awards last year, fans held their collective breath; the studio has built up quite the following over the last few years, with Souls-like the new hottest genre in town, and Elden Ring being one of the biggest games of 2022. When Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon was the reveal, gamers might have been frustrated that it wasn’t another Souls entry, but after seeing a behind-closed-doors presentation, Armored Core VI might have more in common with the genre than you think.
Armored Core first launched in 1997, with the last entry way back in 2012, so it’s been a long time for fans of the mech-combat series waiting for another go around. It’s never been a franchise I’ve spent a lot of time with, but the appeal of battling with giant robots is not lost on me. When discussing the game, FromSoftware mentions that there are two philosophies at play here; the Armored Core philosophy, and the FromSoftware philosophy.
The Armored Core philosophy is all about customising your action game experience through a robust assembly system. Shown off in detail, it will allow you to assemble the head, core, arms, legs, and internal parts, changing which weapons are attached and experimenting with different performances and behaviours. For the tinkerers among us, there’s a lot to consider, and optimising your mech to be as powerful as possible looks deep and complex.
Then, there’s the FromSoftware action game philosophy, which is focused on the smoothness of controls, the way the game reacts to input and actions, along with expansive dynamic maps filled with situations that grant a sense of progression. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, originality and ingenuity within its challenging action battle design.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon certainly looks smooth. As we saw in the gameplay, darting around the map using your assault boost that acts as a rocket booster will allow you to take advantage of a map that has verticality and depth. Additionally, combat looks fast-paced and intense, shooting a variety of mech enemies as you progress. Those who crave the Souls-like difficulty of tough boss battles will be happy to see that remains part of the DNA here, too. You’ll need to make full use of assembly and your skills to take down challenging enemies, one of which was a gigantic mech that sprayed large AEO attacks, requiring you to learn their patterns before going in for the kill.
Armored Core VI certainly looks to be a return to form for the series, with the team perhaps having learned from the last ten years of creating deep worlds to explore with tough-as-nails combat to boot. While this mech action game might not scratch the exact itch you’re looking for in a FromSoftware game, it still looks to take its design principles and incorporate them to great effect.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon launches on August 25 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.