After over a decade’s worth of waiting, OG fans of FromSoftware’s Armor Core series can finally rejoice as the sixth installment of the series was finally released on August 25, 2023 on all platforms. The first installment of the series since 2012 can be purchased for and played on PS5, Xbox One (Series X and S) as well as PC. That’s a big jump from the previous installment, Armored Core 5, only being available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360!
So, what can you actually expect from Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon? Do you need to have played the previous games in order to enjoy this one? We’re going to look more in-depth at the game’s overall gameplay feel as well as its base storyline (no spoilers!) and even take a look at how some of the reviews for the game shaped up so you can decide whether you want to jump in headfirst or not. So let’s get started!
Like many of the previous installments in the series, Fires of Rubicon is a single-player mech fighter and third-person shooter that focuses on building your own mech, called an “Armored Core”, to take on various different obstacles and bosses along your journey. This mech is yours alone and can be altered and empowered at any point throughout the game through the use of upgrades. In fact, you are even incentivized to do so, as for each mission you complete, you will be awarded with the in-game currency, COAM, which can be used to buy and upgrade Units for your Armored Core.
The game, created by the same company as the Dark Souls series, From Software Inc., has been something to look forward to for not only fans of the original series, but also for fans of the company’s other games, like that of the Souls franchise. However, it seems that some people went into purchasing and playing the game expecting Fires of Rubicon to be much more similar to the Souls games than it actually was. And while they are both made by the same company, the games do share some pretty big differences. After all, how similar can a Souls game really be to a third-person shooter?
The developers of the game had said from the outset that Fires of Rubicon would be mainly focused on campaign gameplay and that it would be story-driven. And, to the displeasure of many, it would NOT be an open-world game. Rather, it would be mission/ campaign driven. This is surprising after the broad success of the 2022 Game of the Year, Elden Ring, which was made by the very same company only last year.
But, of course, we know that all games are different, even those made by the same company. In fact, it is pretty safe to assume that many of the people who worked on Fires of Rubicon did not work on Elden Ring in any way. After all, games of this caliber take YEARS of development.. In fact, it has been rumored that both games took about four years of development before they were even ready to be announced, much less released. So that leaves a lot of room for overlap in the development process.
So, as a mission-based game, you can expect to be set with tasks to be completed in a specific order and be given a story-based experience, like in games of old. They were clear that they were not planning to deviate from past Armored Core games in this regard, so fans of the series should be excited to be able to relive the nostalgia of what they enjoyed over a decade ago all over again – with even better graphics of course!
Armored Core VI is a future-based third-person mech shooter set in a distant galaxy, focused around the planet Rubicon 3, in which you play as a mercenary-for-hire named 621 “Raven”, who is paid to do odd jobs for various corporations looking to control the Coral industry on the planet. Throughout the game, you will be in constant contact with your Handler, “Walter”, who will deliver information to you for different jobs that you are on as well as give you advice on how best to proceed or even what jobs to take.
Basically, your job is to complete these tasks and get paid for them. Mission objectives vary from things like stealing survey data from rival corporations to destroying other mechs and even defending spaceports.
Like the rest of the games in the Armored Core series, Fires of Rubicon actually does not have any kind of story connections to previous games in the franchise. It pretty much stands on its own, so you don’t need to have any previous knowledge of other Armored Core games in order to enjoy this one. You can just jump right in and enjoy the fast-paced, skillful movement and aim-based combat and mech customization right away.
As previously confirmed by developers pre-release of the game, the sixth installment of the Armored Core franchise does include several different endings, which change depending on your choices and actions throughout the game. However, it is important to note that the endings available for your first playthrough of the game are quite limited. So you’ll have to play through Fires of Rubicon at least three separate times in order to experience what the game has to offer in its entirety. So it’s good to know that the game offers some pretty decent replayability for those who are looking to get the biggest bang for their buck!
One of the biggest centerpoints of excitement regarding the newest Armor Core game was its inclusion of Multiplayer gameplay, which has become pretty much a must-have for games in recent years. And, of course, what better way to introduce such a feature than to have players fight head-to-head using their very own custom-built mechs? Armored Core VI’s multiplayer features both 1v1 and 3v3 game modes. Want to know more about the game’s multiplayer gameplay? Click here to learn more!
Overall, Fires of Rubicon has received pretty positive reviews. The outliers seem to have been in the boat of expecting a more Souls-like experience and were then disappointed with the lack of an open-world environment, like they got from Elden Ring, or even less than thrilled with the difference in combat styles. But, as mentioned previously, Armored Core has always been advertised as and built to be a mech-based shooter experience. Fans of that style of gameplay are sure to be more than satisfied with the newest installment in the AC franchise.
On top of that, the game has also been reviewed to be pretty difficult, much like the company’s Souls franchise has been known to be. That is, as long as you don’t build a couple of the over-tuned mech builds that have been floating around since the game’s launch.
So, if you like a challenge, as well as big, custom-built mechs fighting to the death, this game may very well be for you. After all, who doesn’t like spending days to weeks grinding hours upon hours trying to defeat an especially difficult boss just to feel that sweet release once they finally do beat it?