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Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon Review - Old Legacy Meets New Genius

  • Varied combat styles and tactics
  • Fresh challenges with aerial combat
  • Incredibly deep customization system
  • Difficult and overwhelming enough to frustrate many players

An Xbox Series X code was provided to SVG for this review. "Armored Core 6" is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

In a landscape populated with first-person shooters and fantasy role-playing games, the "Armored Core" series has maintained a distinct place with its deep customization and visceral mecha combat. "Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon" is the latest entry, bringing fresh mechanics and unparalleled difficulty, easily heightened by its development under the banner of FromSoftware. But as you dive deeper into the world of Rubicon, you'll find that this is not merely a sci-fi "Dark Souls"; it is a quintessential "Armored Core" experience.


The very heart of any game is its gameplay. With "Armored Core 6", you are treated to a reinvigorated experience of destroying everything in the path of your mech, shooting rockets at multiple enemies at once, and scaling titan-scale bosses who can easily lay waste the mech that you've worked so hard on customizing perfectly. From a visual perspective, nearly everything on screen showcases the prowess of the game's graphics rendering, but it also brings forth tangible repercussions to every in-game action. Every blast, every skid is immortalized on the battlefield, a testament to the game's commitment to immersion.

Taking to the sky

At its core, "Armored Core 6" remains an entity of its own, yet there's no denying the influence from more recent and iconic FromSoftware titles like "Sekiro" and "Bloodborne." This is not a mere pastiche of Soulslike mechanics; it's an evolved entity, crafted meticulously, blending the best from its lineage with fresh influences for the 2023 gaming crown.


Newcomers to the "Armored Core" realm will find themselves tested just as much as series veterans, as the game demands patience, endurance, critical thinking, and, well ... luck. Every movement, every shot, and every defensive stance carries weight and consequence. The intricacies of combat mechanics are a lesson in patience and critical thinking, urging players to immerse themselves in the deep interplay between mech configurations, weapon dynamics, and movement strategies. 

The game's introduction of verticality to combat is a game-changer, and one that mech fans will be more than satisfied by. Battles are no longer constrained to the flat plains of warfare, and positioning has never been more paramount. Engagements in the sky, amidst skyscrapers or within deep canyons, add layers of strategy, making every decision crucial.


Mech customization

A standout feature of "Armored Core 6" is the expansive customization offered for the mechs, lovingly referred to as Armored Cores. No need to be tethered to a predefined loadout; the freedom here is palpable. Every Armored Core can be outfitted with four distinct weapons, each operable independently. This alone offers a multiplicity of combat styles, with weapons ranging from rapid-fire guns to devastating missile systems.


Dive deeper, and the archetypes of weapons present a world of tactical depth. Each type isn't just a different flavor but carries profound implications on the battlefield. A player's style could evolve from a high-flying sniper to a ground-based tank, all based on weapon and component choices — not to mention the boss-specific strategies that need to be considered for every fight.

The level of customization extends beyond just weapons. The mobility, agility, and resilience of an Armored Core are dictated by its components. Whether your gameplay leans towards dominating the skies, executing swift aerial maneuvers, or you're inclined towards the sheer might of ground warfare, the game caters to every whim. Experimentation is not just encouraged; it's rewarded.


The union of these features provides players with an unparalleled strategic experience. Where previous titles might have set the foundation, "Armored Core 6" builds an empire on top of it, promising gameplay depth that engages and challenges in equal measure.

FromSoftware's mark

The association of "Armored Core 6" with FromSoftware brings with it an expectation of the Soulslike DNA. The traces are clear as day in the game's ruthless difficulty and the grandiosity of battles. However, pigeonholing this masterpiece as a mere rehash of "Dark Souls" in a science fiction setting would be disingenuous and an easy out.


The "Armored Core" lineage has always demanded time, strategy, and respect from its players. Long before FromSoftware's true rise to prominence with the "Souls" series, "Armored Core" was torturing players with its punishing difficulty and necessity for strategy. Every mission was a puzzle (sometimes overwhelmingly so), with the solution hidden within the proper mech setup. Every weight calibration. Every movement capability mattered. This is nothing new.

While some might be tempted to attribute the game's difficulty to its developers, the truth is that "Armored Core 6" is difficult because it is an "Armored Core" game. There's a fine balance between frustration and fun here, and it teeters beautifully on the edge. Even for those unfamiliar with FromSoftware's signature style, the game promises a compelling experience, as long as they're willing to embrace its grandiose challenges.


Breathing new life into the mech genre

Soundtracks in games can often be overlooked, but with "Armored Core 6's" signature rock orchestral pieces, every battle feels like an epic cinematic experience. The highs and lows of the score accompany players through desolate warzones and serene vistas, accentuating the on-screen action with pitch-perfect harmony. The visual atmosphere, too, is an immersive storytelling device. The contrasting landscapes, depicting the bleak aftermath of war against moments of tranquil beauty, offer players respite amidst the chaos.


"Armored Core 6" has already been received with both awe and reverence, along with a slew of social posts from players indicating that frustration got the best of them, resulting in them stepping away from the game. (Yes, it's that hard.) While final concurrent player stats and sales figures will eventually provide an affirmation of its success, it's the player feedback and lasting impact that stands out. Setting a new benchmark for future titles, the game has not only reignited interest in the mecha genre but also provided a roadmap for future developers on how to evolve a long-standing series while respecting its roots.

"Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon" is a testament to the evolution of gaming, merging classic gameplay with modern mechanics, and upholding the legacy of a beloved franchise. It's more than just its developer's pedigree; it's a homage to a series that has withstood the test of time. Difficult? Yes. Frustrating? You bet. Rewarding? 100%.


Whether you're a FromSoftware aficionado or a mech enthusiast, "Armored Core 6" is a thrilling journey that demands to be experienced.