Armored Core 6 Is The Standard All Future Mech Games Need To Set As Their Baseline

Is a mecha renaissance on the horizon?

Story Highlights

  • Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon has elevated the legacy mecha franchise, providing one of the best, if not the best, gaming experiences in the genre.
  • The game features top-class level design & boss encounters, pushing the player’s limits. Furthermore, it provides an extensive variety of tools to meet these challenges in an efficient & accessible manner.
  • In addition to build options and appearance customization, Armored Core 6 provides situations that allow you to fully harness the power of your mech, despite some people claiming it to be one-note.
  • Considering the niche nature of the genre, with AC6, FromSoftware has set a standard for mecha games moving forward.

FromSoftware’s entered the 2023 landscape with a bombastic entry in one of its iconic, legacy franchises—Armored Core. After last year’s monumental success with Elden Ring, the studio’s next project, Armored Core 6 launched last month to fantastic reviews from critics and players alike. So much so, that it became the series’ highest-rated game to date.

Considering the niche nature of the mecha genre, the success of Armored Core 6 despite its rather mediocre background is astonishing. Yet, the reason for this achievement is clear as day. Simply put, Fires of Rubicon is a great game and checks out all the boxes a game should have.

In the modern-day cesspool of half-baked, cash-grab garbage filled with live-service elements and barely reaching standard benchmarks, the latest AC entry is yet another breath of fresh air. With that in mind, I strongly believe that due to various factors, Armored Core 6 should be the new baseline for all mech games moving forward, with the first factor being…

Armored Core 6 Has Phenomenal Gameplay And Fight Design

No matter how far technology advances, the core element of a video game will always be gameplay. In my opinion, graphics fidelity and narrative are forever going to be second to that. It’s one of the reasons why many people around the world still hold retro games and titles from older generations in high regard. It’s why players revisit them and pray for them to get remasters since those games are so difficult to acquire today.

Armored Core 6, and by extension FromSoftware, understands this fact. It’s why the studio’s titles are so appealing despite the fragmented method of storytelling and punishing battles. Fires of Rubicon uses all of the knowledge these devs have accrued over the last two decades or so. Its controls feel fluid and the quality of traversal and other maneuvers is top-notch.

Ice Worm's encounter is one of the many highlights of encounter design in Armored Core 6
Ice Worm’s encounter is one of the many highlights of encounter design in Armored Core 6

The feeling this game evokes when it comes to controlling a giant hunk of metal armed to the teeth, is something that the mech genre hasn’t been able to deliver in a long time. Furthermore, this sensation constantly changes depending on what build you use, what parts you assemble your AC with, and how it feels in the simple act of movement due to weight changes.

Beyond that feeling, Armored Core 6 features high-octane combat with responsive controls. That thrill is reminiscent of how sword fighting felt in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. A clash between two blades and perfect parries as the loud clangs of those swords is felt in every hit. That level of immersion is part of AC6 and it’s abundant.

Before FromSoftware’s work on the Soulsborne games and Elden Ring, Armored Core games didn’t feel the same. At least from the perspective of a new player. The color palette and environments were dull, missions were shorter than Instagram reels, and the overall design of the game was just bland. In my efforts to prepare for Armored Core 6, I invested hours in the older titles and the difference was clear.

All the knowledge and experience that FromSoftware has gained over the last decade, has significantly benefitted Armored Core 6. From controls, gameplay, and overall design to customization. On that note…

In-Depth Customization And Making It Accessible

When you think about giant robots, you think about customization. These two things go hand in hand and the sheer satisfaction of tinkering around with all sorts of virtual machinery, trying to create the ultimate mech is a fantastic experience. The AC series has always been about this; Armored Core 6 delivers on that intense thrill of playing with robot Legos, taking it out to the field, and raising hell.

Not only that, it’s the way Armored Core 6 makes it all accessible for players that really stands out. Of course, having all these options is cool but it’s meaningless if experimentation isn’t incentivized. While various parts cost a great amount of COAM, selling them gets you a 100% refund. This allows you to constantly buy and sell AC parts to try out new things, see what clicks for you, and have a good time. As if that wasn’t enough, having the ability to swap out your builds after every death is a godsend.

Beyond the assembly aspect, Armored Core 6 also provides an improved array of methods to modify your mech’s appearance and aesthetic. I’m closing in on the 100-hour mark and I still don’t fully understand this system. All I know is that I’ve seen people come up with some seriously impressive mech designs, and that speaks volumes. After all, players have been making Venom, Kirby, and Hello Kitty robots.

Since alot of people asked, here’s the code for my venom AC (swipe). Enjoy!
byu/moyu2099 inarmoredcore

And that’s not where it ends. FromSoftware even added a wonderful quality-of-life feature, allowing players to share these designs with each other. It may not seem like something huge and perhaps it isn’t but it’s including the option that matters. I welcomed this ability back when it was added in Nioh 2, then Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, and I’m glad that Armored Core 6 has it too.

With all of these visual options, extensive & accessible build variety, in addition to level and boss design that puts you at a loss for words, FromSoftware allows us to utilize all of that power. And that takes me to my last point…

Armored Core 6 Gives An Arena To Fully Harness Your Mech

I’m assuming most of the players who’ve taken a trip to Rubicon would get the pun here. Yes, I’m talking about the PVP arena, otherwise known as NEST. The only thing that’s better than being able to build a lean, mean, killing machine is being able to engage in combat against fellow pilots. Armored Core 6 delivers on that front with a PVP system that’s far more consistent and balanced than what we got with Elden Ring.

Moving on from that, the PVE content of the game really allows you to experience each and every aspect of your mech. By that, I’m referring to how most games nowadays often fail to provide situations that challenge a player, leading to them having to think outside the box to overcome obstacles. If a player is getting good at a game, it should be mandatory for the game to increase difficulty instead of doing the opposite.

The STRIDER mission brilliantly portrays the scale of AC6's arena design in terms of verticality.
The STRIDER mission brilliantly portrays the scale of AC6’s arena design in terms of verticality.

Let it be known that I’m not throwing shade at making things accessible. However, if developers should cater to other groups, they should also cater to the hardcore part of the playerbase. This commitment can be seen in the many levels and boss fights in Armored Core 6. Verticality, horizontal space, environmental obstacles, and gargantuan ships, all add to the ultimate experience of the game. The STRIDER and C-SPIDER missions are just a couple of examples.

Ever since the original Dark Souls, FromSoftware has created worlds worth exploring. Worlds that evoke feelings without coming off as rushed pieces of whatever you wish to call modern open worlds and other things. It’s not that the people at FromSoftware don’t miss at times because they have, albeit a bit less than other devs, but if you’re being called out for being successful by going against the norm, there’s not much to say after that.

Setting The Standard

Mechs have almost always been niche, especially in gaming, despite the far-reaching popularity of icons like Gundam, Super Sentai, etc. Armored Core itself was a niche franchise and can still be considered one. However, the launch of Fires of Rubicon and FromSoftware’s established base has brought a ton of attention to the series. Safe to say that there will be more eyes on this name as we move forward.

With how Armored Core 6 provides the most polished experience in the Mecha genre of video games, I believe it has set the standard for everything that comes after it. Competition breeds excellence and if modern AC games are going to be as solid as Fires of Rubicon, as a fan of the genre, I’ll get my hopes up for even greater experiences.

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is available now on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC, and last-gen consoles. Read on to find out why we believe it to be the greatest mech game of all time.

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Saad is a News writer at eXputer. With vast journalistic experience working for a multitude of websites, Saad currently reports to eXputer with the latest news and dishes out his opinions on a frequent basis. He's currently studying Game and Interactive Media Design, which has further increased his knowledge about the ins and outs of the industry.

Experience: 1+ Year || Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Media Science.

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