Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X (Reviewed)
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon is the latest version in the mech action-packed game series from FromSoftware. You get to build, customise and control a mech around some amazing levels, leading to some fantastic boss battles. This game is a challenge, so you will have to use every item and every credit you earn to build the best mech for the situation you encounter.
The game starts with a lead into the world of Rubicon 3, where a vast disaster has been contained to this planet where a new mysterious substance is located. You play your role as a mercenary in this interstellar landscape.
The game lands you in a series of distinct places with several missions to uncover what is going on and to gain valuable credits to upgrade and enhance your mech for the evermore challenging environment you will face. Each landscape isn’t an open area but usually has limits in terms of exploration (which is perfectly fine); each level has boundary limits, but the level design gives a massive sense of scale to each terrain you land in. Your mech lands in each area, and you have a specific set of tasks to complete to progress to the bosses and gain new equipment.
Customisation plays an essential part in Armored Core; you will have to update and tweak your mech as you progress through the game. The level of customisation is phenomenal, and every aspect of your mech can be customised from guns, shoulder guns, legs, arms, body and head units. Each component can be customised and painted to your heart’s content! I didn’t spend hours tweaking the colours of my mech, but you can if you want.
Gameplay is a set of unique mech combat actions that depend on your customisation. Still, this 3rd person shooter leverages a 3D style of shooter action where you can jump, boost, rotate and move your mech around the screen to avoid incoming missiles and various types of guns, too. To succeed in this game, you will pick a playstyle and mech to combat the enemies before. You can go for a tank build that will take lots of damage or a light, nimble mech that uses dodging to avoid taking damage or build a mech somewhere in between both. The guns and weapons are enormous, and the action is immense; the bosses range from mechs to giant mechanical beasts, and the scale and sheer action of the game are huge. It’s a beautiful mix of strategic fighting, massive explosions, and a steep learning curve like any FromSoftware game. The game doesn’t reward button bashing but requires a well-thought-out plan for each encounter. The game is fun but has moments of awe when you encounter a huge boss or a new world.
The design, graphics, and intuitive controls make the game a masterpiece. Controls are responsive, and you feel you are always in control. As you take damage, you can become staggered and open for attacks; you must play a clever game when battling foes. The weapon systems and choice of weapons are superb. The controls for using your four-equipped weapons are simple and enjoyable. The controls are spot on.
The use of music, sound effects, and voice-over is superb and fits the heavily narrated world. All these tools are used to build intrigue and develop the story and your attachment and actions in the world. Even though the vast majority of the game is a solo affair, you never feel alone between the constant communications and missions with other allies throughout the game. The mechs and bosses you face aren’t voiceless either; this really helps to develop the story and characters in the world of which you will come across many.
The game has a core main mission game in which you can replay levels as you unlock them and a training mode that unlocks more sections as you progress through the game; I recommend doing the tutorial missions! An Arena battle area will open where you can fight other mechs on a one-on-one basis to gain experience and credits.
There are some downsides; some levels can seem claustrophobic as the levels don’t allow all of the levels to be fully and freely roamed. There is a credit system in place where you need to gain credits to upgrade your mech; if you don’t understand this simple premise, you can underestimate the need to have credits to upgrade to progress further in the game, which can be frustrating. If you are expecting a button-bashing action with very little understanding required of the nuances of the game, this game isn’t for you and will be a tough struggle.
Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon is a stunning mech combat game that has really well-thought-out ideas and gameplay mechanics that reward the players with the techniques and mastering them. There is a real sense of satisfaction as you progress through levels and beat bosses. As a player, you will have to assemble your mech and customise it to your play style and then learn to master that play style. The game is unforgiven, and I can see that players who haven’t played a FromSoftware game may find this game more than challenging, but it’s worth understanding the game and practising. The game is well polished and a joy to play and really brings back the mech style of the game with a bang. It’s one of my favourite games of the year.
Enjoys more than the odd game, long time gamer, somewhat a technologist and everything else in between.
Also enjoys a good solid game of FIFA online. Currently PS4, XBOX 360 and STEAM.