Armored Core 6’s big doofus boss let’s you feel like a mech god

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon Boss Battle – EC-0804 Smart Cleaner

In Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, players will encounter a series of challenging boss battles, including the AH12 HC Helicopter, the HA-T-102 Juggernaut, and the formidable Balteus. However, amidst these difficult encounters, there is one boss battle that stands out as surprisingly easy and enjoyable – the EC-0804 Smart Cleaner.

The Smart Cleaner boss battle takes place immediately after defeating Balteus. As players infiltrate Grid 086, they are faced with little resistance from “Cinder” Carla and her team of RaD pilots. The only real concern during this mission is ensuring that you have enough ammunition to complete it. After Carla surrenders and grants you access to the facility, she unleashes the Smart Cleaner as a final challenge.

Bear hug!
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

The Smart Cleaner is a notable departure from the fast and shielded Balteus. It is a bulky tank equipped with powerful, metal-shredding arms and a large smelter bucket. Unlike its predecessor, the Smart Cleaner telegraphs its attacks heavily, making them easy to anticipate and counter. Furthermore, it has a vulnerable glowing mouth-hole where players can unleash a barrage of bullets, explosives, or plasma fire. Additionally, players can even dump their ammunition directly into the bucket. It’s a boss battle that is surprisingly straightforward and gives players a chance to regain their confidence after the challenging encounter with Balteus.

FromSoftware, known for its notoriously difficult games like Dark Souls, rarely provides players with such a sudden decrease in difficulty. Typically, the developer rewards players for defeating a challenging boss by either introducing new obstacles or resurrecting the boss with a second health bar. In the case of the Smart Cleaner, its purpose is to offer a respite from the intense battles and allow players to feel powerful and accomplished.

In the larger scope of Armored Core 6, the Smart Cleaner boss battle represents a refreshing change of pace from FromSoftware’s usual design playbook. It is a pleasant surprise that showcases the developer’s versatility and their ability to create enjoyable encounters that don’t rely solely on high levels of challenge.