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Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon Preview - Soulsborne, Transform!

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon Preview - Soulsborne, Transform!

Read our preview of the upcoming Armoured Core IV: Fires of Rubicon by FromSoftware!

Before the likes of Dark Souls, Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro and Elden Ring, there was once a time when few people knew about FromSoftware in the west.

FromSoftware began its life with the Kings Field series on the original PlayStation which spawned a total of three releases. This first-person action fantasy series was the seed that would eventually grow into the FromSoftware we know today.

Following the release of the King’s Field series, FromSoftware would finally make a true stamp in the video game industry worldwide with the release of Armored Core in 1997. A third-person mech shooter with a challenging difficulty that allowed gamers to live out their Gundam fantasies.

The Armored Core series would soon grow into one of FromSoftware’s most popular IPs arriving on multiple console generations each with a varied critical reception. We outsiders will never truly know why the quality of the Armored Core series dwindled. Perhaps it was due to the emergence of Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls? We can only speculate.

It has been a decade since we last saw an entry in this challenging mech shooter series, the last being Armored Core V: Victory Day in 2013. However, following months of speculation and rumour, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon was announced to the world.

Granted, the announcement trailer was only CGI, but it got longtime fans (as well as those that are new) of the series excited nonetheless. Veteran fans would finally see the return of the beloved series and new fans would soon see what all the fuss was about. In April 2023, we were then treated to a gameplay trailer, confirming that the series was not only back, but also looks to be better than ever.

Armored Core IV (FromSoftware)
Armored Core IV (FromSoftware)

Recently it’s all been about the gaming festivities, with the likes of the Summer Game Fest bringing gamers to the party in the absence of E3. One of the guests of honour during the summer festivities is FromSoftware showing off its upcoming Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon.

Sadly, we were unable to go hands-on with a preview demo, but we got to see the game in action for 20 minutes hands-off and it was more than enough to let us know that FromSoftware looks set to have another hit on its hands.

The gameplay demo began with a mission briefing informing the players what tasks lay ahead in the quite sizable three-dimensional map. FromSoftware made it clear that this map is designed for the sole purpose of mech traversal both on foot and in the skies, and such a map design would not be possible to explore with a human avatar.

Rather than having an open world similar to that of Elden Ring, each mission presents a new map with set objectives. How the player chooses to explore the map and approach each mission is totally up to them. Perhaps taking inspiration from Elden Ring. The map will be filled with challenging foes, ranging in difficulty which will ultimately conclude with an epic boss battle.

Armored Core IV (FromSoftware)
Armored Core IV (FromSoftware)

The action was high octane with the player being able to attack from a distance with guns and rockets or if needed, get in close with an impactful melee attack. Some of the enemy onslaughts were relentless and you’re certainly going to need your best reflexes at hand. Something that Bloodborne fans will be used to.

The player can choose to equip a shield, but it seems a well-timed dodge will be just as vital. In some ways, the way in which the player will need to dodge attacks while trying to kill the enemy reminded me somewhat of classic arcade shooters such as R-Type.

With this being a FromSoftware title, you’re going to die a lot. Thankfully, Armored Core VI has a deep customisation feature called ‘Assembly’. This will allow players to not only change firearms such as machine guns, lasers and rockets but also the aforementioned shield, as well as swords for closer-combat melee attacks.

Players will also be able to swap and change other components of their mechs as they, please. Such as the head, body, arms and legs. In terms of legs, this can dramatically impact manoeuvrability offering two legs, four legs and even tank-like wheels. We never got to see all forms of legs in action, but we have no doubts that each will serve a purpose depending on the enemy at hand.

Like most FromSoftware titles, you will be ambushed on a regular basis it seems. When you die, you will have the opportunity to change your mech parts offering a change of strategy. Here you will also be able to replenish ammo as well as repair kits which allow for self-healing when on the battlefield.

During missions, you will also encounter supply points which offer the same benefits as the replenishing after-death menu. As you progress through the game, you’ll also unlock new cosmetics, skills and abilities.

Some may also be pleased to know that Armored Core VI looks to have a fairly generous checkpoint system which auto-saves around halfway through a mission. In other games, this may be considered to be a stingy checkpoint system, but we are talking about FromSoftware here.

Armored Core IV (FromSoftware)
Armored Core IV (FromSoftware)

The demo concluded with a big-ass battle which looked to be every bit as intense and challenging as you would expect from this developer. Sadly, the demo was cut short before the boss was defeated, but FromSoftware made it clear that each boss has a weakness and requires its own unique strategy.

All in all, I was left feeling very impressed by what I saw during the hands-off demo, though it would have been nice to play the game. Another takeaway from the demo presentation, we were also reminded that Armored Core VI will have a single-player campaign as well as online multiplayer. It will also include a new-gen upgrade on PlayStation and Xbox.

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon will be released on 25 August 2023 for PC, PlayStation and Xbox.

Featured Image Credit: Bandai Namco/FromSoftware

Topics: Fromsoftware, Preview, PC, PlayStation, Xbox