Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon Review

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon – A Return to Mecha Action

From Software’s latest release, Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, brings gamers back to the roots of the Armored Core franchise. With stunning graphics, a consistent 60fps frame rate, and intuitive controls, this game delivers on the promise of an intense mecha action experience. However, some elements of the game remain rooted in the past, such as its mission briefings and overall storytelling. Despite these drawbacks, Armored Core 6 excels in its highly customizable mecha battles that are both intense and frantic.

Storytelling That Falls Short

One area where Armored Core 6 falls short is its storytelling. The game relies heavily on radio conversations, PowerPoint-style mission briefings, and combat chatter, making it difficult to engage in the story while battling for survival on the mining planet of Rubicon. The protagonist, a blank slate character, follows orders from varying factions, resulting in a disconnected narrative. While there are hints of ulterior motives and questionable loyalties, it is challenging to form a deep connection with the story. The branching storyline, which allows players to make faction-based decisions, fails to create a sense of investment in the outcome.

The Puzzle of Combat

Despite its storytelling flaws, Armored Core 6 excels in providing players with a wide variety of objectives that cater to different play styles. The game’s customization options allow players to equip their mechs with various weapons and parts, each with its own weight, defensive value, and other unique attributes. Strategic decision-making becomes crucial as players balance the need for powerful weapons with considerations like energy requirements and regeneration capabilities. In addition, internal parts can be optimized for specific combat roles, adding another layer of complexity to the customization process. The result is a combat experience that feels like solving a satisfying puzzle, with no one-size-fits-all solution.

A Diverse Mission Experience

The missions in Armored Core 6 offer a diverse range of challenges, ensuring that no two missions feel repetitive. Players will find themselves investigating abandoned outposts, avoiding laser cannons in underground facilities, and infiltrating caves to destroy generators. The unique design and variety of missions keep the gameplay fresh throughout the 15-hour campaign and beyond.

Embracing Failure and Adaptation

Failure is an inevitable part of Armored Core 6, but the game mitigates frustration with a generous checkpoint system and the ability to modify the mech after each death. Players can assess their strategies, make necessary adjustments, and return to the mission with a fresh approach. However, one inconvenience is the inability to access the shop when stuck in a mission, requiring players to back out, purchase necessary items, and restart the mission.

Intuitive Controls and Dynamic Boss Fights

The controls in Armored Core 6 are easy to pick up, allowing players to jump into the action with minimal learning curve. The hard lock-on system has received mixed reviews among longtime fans; however, it strikes a balance between convenience and skill. Players can toggle between targeted-assist mode and manual aiming, providing both camera support and accuracy. The hard lock-on system enhances boss fights, allowing players to keep their adversaries in sight during intense battles.