- Armored Core 6 features incredible character development that spans the course of multiple playthroughs.
- Each character grows with the player and somewhat changes as the game goes on.
- FromSoftware does an exceptional job yet again with a silent protagonist.
FromSoftware keeps up its trend of deep characters and subtle character development throughout all of its games, and it is the same with Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon. The only thing different here is that you don’t really ever get to see the faces of these characters, but even then, you can figure out how each character is different from the others based on their dialogues alone.
There will be a lot of spoilers from here and out. If you haven’t played the game yet or intend to experience a spoiler-free run of the game, it would be best not to read further, as we’ll be discussing some of the story-relevant characters in depth and also how they grow onto the player as you continue to play the game and progress through the story.
In Armored Core 6, we play as a silent protagonist. But the thing about this game is that it never makes you feel like that. It may partially be because of all the chatter that is going on around you all the time, but the way these voice actors have poured life into the characters is truly fascinating. Pair that with Kazuhiro Hamatani and Masaru Yamamura’s exceptional story writing, and you’ll get one of the best stories in a mecha game.
Each character in Armored Core 6 is unique and fairly talkative from the start. Even those that appear for only a short while can leave a huge impact on the player, such as that Dafeng Test Pilot. Almost all of them refer to the player in their own unique way, which adds more detail to the character’s personality and how they view the player from their perspective.
Handler Walter may appear stern and stoic at the start, a man able to make the most ruthless decisions without worrying about the cost. Walter may only worry about getting the job done in the beginning, seeing us only as a pawn in his great plan. Once he realizes that we have potential, Walter starts to show a bit of compassion towards us.
Walter carries a huge burden of his past. He has a mission to carry out, and he’s willing to put everything into it. While his actions may appear ruthless initially, once you realize his goal, he becomes quite understandable. Despite his stern behavior, Walter doesn’t let anyone, especially V.II Snail, disrespect us, reminding him again and again to respect his hound.
Towards the end of the game, Walter starts to respect C4-621 genuinely. He starts taking the player’s wishes into account. In our fight with IB-01: CEL 240, Walter is desperately rooting for us to win till the end. After Walter disappears, he leaves a low-quality AC for us inside the prison to aid in our escape. Once we’re done with the jailbreak, we have ‘Cinder’ Carla to take on from where Walter left off to help us achieve his life-long mission.
In the Fires of Raven ending, the player has to destroy the Coral, achieving Walter’s final wish as he is assumed dead after our arrest and doesn’t make an appearance. However, in the Liberator of Rubicon ending, once everything is said and done, Handler Walter appears as the final boss. In this fight, he appears disappointed. He also tells the player to undo the surgery as his dying wish.
C4-621 comes in contact with Ayre after being affected by a coral surge at the end of Chapter 1. Ayre acts as our friend, aiding us in battle on the field even when Handler Walter is not available to guide us. In the beginning, Ayre may look like a trustworthy ally, but as the game goes on, she makes some serious demands from us. However, it is on the player if they wish to side with Ayre or with Walter.
Ayre refers to the player as ‘Raven,’ which is our borrowed identity on the planet of Rubicon. Even after knowing that ‘Raven’ is a borrowed identity, she continues to refer to the player as that. If the player chooses to side with Walter and Carla towards the end, Ayre still continues to help us out but appears as the final boss to stop the player from destroying the Coral in the Fires of Raven ending.
While Handler Walter isn’t a man of many words, Ayre, on the other hand, is somewhat talkative. Ayre also takes the initiative in Walter’s brief absence at the start of chapter 2. It is due to her help that we’re able to convince ‘Cinder’ Carla to help us out. Ayre is one of the characters that make the game feel a little less lonely since she’s always there to help the player out.
At one point, after Walter’s disappearance and our prison break with Carla’s aid, Ayre asks Raven to eliminate ‘Cinder’ Carla. After the player has eliminated Carla, she helps us out in bringing down the Xylem before it destroys the Coral. Ayre also spreads the word among the Rubiconions and asks them to help in our cause while calling the player the “Liberator of Rubicon.”
A member of the ‘Overseer’ squad alongside Handler Walter, Carla is the head of RaD and helps the player out throughout the game once the player has proven their worth. Carla refers to the player as ‘Tourist’ due to the fact that C4-621 isn’t a native of Rubicon. Carla may be a bit stubborn at first, but she quickly proves her worth after the player has shown them their potential.
Carla aids the player after they’ve escaped the Arquebus’ jail and helps us fulfill Walter’s final wish of destroying Coral. She suffers her own share of losses throughout the story, but that doesn’t make her resolve waver. The RaD ringleader also plays a major role during the Ice Worm fight, supplying the boys with the railgun that can penetrate through the Ice Worm’s shield.
A member of Arquebus’ Vespers Squad, Rusty refers to the player as ‘Buddy.’ Rusty is one of the nicer characters in the game and someone Raven can call his friend. Rusty fights alongside the player on several occasions, as well as against them. Vespers are usually unhinged and selfish, but Rusty is a lot different from other numbered members of the Vespers squad and a war buddy till the end.
The player later finds out that Rusty is a spy working for the Rubiconion Liberation Front. He is the nephew of RLF’s de facto leader, Middle Flatwell. In the Liberator of Rubicon ending, Rusty is the first one to answer Ayre’s call when she asks for support in bringing down the Xylem and to give Rubiconions a fighting chance against these corporations.
G1 Michigan is the leader of Balam’s Redguns squad. He is a charismatic leader and knows how to keep his underlings in control. Redguns, like the Vespers, are quite narcissistic and arrogant, but G1 Michigan appears to be different. He knows how and when to shut up any of his underlings. Michigan grants the player the title of G13, which, we later find out, is quite an unlucky number.
During the “Intercept the Redguns” mission, we see G1 Michigan rallying his troops until he makes his appearance, raising their morale while also showing his respect to G13. Michigan sees the player as a capable soldier who can get things done. He doesn’t hold back in his fight against the player, and his overall demeanor makes the player want to respect them in return.
G5 Iguazu is a member of Balam’s Redguns squad. Like many other members of the Vespers and Redguns, Iguazu is fairly arrogant. Iguazu refers to the player as a “freelancer,” referring to the fact that our loyalty doesn’t exclusively lay with Balam. Iguazu also considers himself our rival, even though he isn’t that much of a challenge at the beginning.
Iguazu’s hate for the player is somewhat justified because Iguazu is also a product of Gen 4 Augmentation, like the player. However, unlike Iguazu, C4-621 gets all the praise. He thinks he’s just as good as C4-621, which ultimately becomes the reason for his defeat many times.
Iguazu’s contempt towards the player even makes him send an assassin to hunt us down. Throughout the game, we see a couple of hints toward the fact that Iguazu can also hear Ayre. In the true ending, Alea Iecta Est, Iguazu appears as the final boss, showing that his hate for the player knows no bounds and he’ll stop at nothing until he brings us down, even if that means overpowering a near-omnipotent AI.
Armored Core 6 is home to many unique and interesting characters, and the voice actors have exceptionally delivered what these characters are like. The fact that some of these characters continue to grow through the course of NG+ and NG++ is also an interesting detail. Also the character development that happens throughout the story also teaches you why you shouldn’t be too quick to judge someone.
In the end, FromSoftware has delivered another title with exceptional characters. Even if the player doesn’t say a word, you can see how every other character in the game views the player and understands them. This sort of story-writing and depth isn’t something we get to see often in mecha games, but Armored Core 6 delivers it perfectly.
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