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REVIEW: Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon — Straight Fire at its Core

 
 
Overview
 

Published by: Bandai Namco Entertainment / From Software
 
Developed by: From Software
 
Platform(s): PlayStation 4/5, PC, Xbox One/Series
 
Genre(s): mech combat
 
Mode(s): single-player, some elements of multiplayer
 
Game Type: , , , , , ,
 
FG RATING
80%
80/ 100


User Rating
11 total ratings

 

Raves


great visuals and solid performance, intuitive controls, highly customizable experience

Rants


old-gen story telling, steep difficulty and mastery curve,


Bottom Line

From Software had done nothing but rise since the release of the original Demon’s Souls back in 2009, and with the gargantuan success of Elden Ring, It seems only natural that the studio begin to return to their roots with a new installment to the Armored Core franchise. Does it stray from the original formula, […]

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Posted September 30, 2023 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

ARMORED CORE™ VI FIRES OF RUBICON™_20230825203139

From Software had done nothing but rise since the release of the original Demon’s Souls back in 2009, and with the gargantuan success of Elden Ring, It seems only natural that the studio begin to return to their roots with a new installment to the Armored Core franchise. Does it stray from the original formula, or does it stay true at its core, read on!

Story

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You play as an augmented human working for an infamous handler to do some mercenary work on Rubicon 3. It’s a system that harbors a significantly valuable resource to humanity that many top corporations are fighting over. Soon you’ll discover that there’s more to the system than what it seems and about halfway through the game more meat and twists are flung into story.

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Despite how interesting that sounds, story is no doubt Armored Core Vi’s weakest facet. Your character is not only a silent protagonist but also seems to have no free will of his own, doing literally anything anyone tells him to. Save for some cool stylish mech cutscenes, the entire story is served in the form of walls of texts (with voice over) and mission briefings that is about as boring as it sounds. If you choose to care about the story anyway, it does get a bit compelling towards the end, but it isn’t really much of a loss if you don’t pay attention to the story, it’s not what we’re here for anyway.

Gameplay

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Fast-paced mech combat combined with deep, technical customizations is the heart and soul of Armored Core and the same is fortunately true for AC VI. Controls are super intuitive; It’s easy to pick up regardless whether you’re a veteran, and even if this isn’t your type of game, the tutorial sections do a great job of simplifying what would otherwise be complex systems and mechanics while also helping you get a sense of the different archetypes and their strength & weaknesses. The gameplay loop is pretty straightforward – you accept a contract, complete a mission, earn some currency, purchase new parts. Occasionally, and inevitably, you’ll encounter highly demanding missions that won’t be easily beat without just the right parts, loadouts, and strategies, often requiring you to try new archetypes that you otherwise never would have. These act as a sort of power gate to ensure your mech is up to snuff for the next chapters, however these would require a certain level of patience from the player, and for some, this might not be worth it.

Visuals & Performance

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It’s amazing how AC VI manages to pull off making undersaturated and typically boring biomes (snowy and sandy) into visually stunning and perfectly suited environments. There’s not too many details up close and at times the game gives off an old-gen arcade feel to it, which is perhaps unsurprisingly a welcome feeling considering every Armored Core title that came before all had arcade elements.

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Regardless, you can really see all the same professional work present in all the most recent From Software games. More surprisingly is the stable framerate in performance mode, which doesn’t seem to dip even in the most hectic of combat situations. It’s not the graphical title out there but it all comes together to make every skirmish a cinematic moment.

Verdict

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Armored Core VI brings mech combat games back seemingly overnight. What it lacks for in storytelling is made up in its authentic re-energizing of fast-paced, fully customizable, stylish and explosive mech combat. For core fans, this is a solid 10, for the average joe, this is still a top tier title and a must play for 2023. 

[This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.]


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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