I don’t envy where FromSoftware is located Armored Core VI: Fires of the Rubicon. It is the first title since the release of Elden ring, a monumental, critically acclaimed title considered one of the best studies. He’s also reviving a series not seen in a decade for the modern platforms and gaming audience. Other than those things, why isn’t this a Souls game, a microscope will be on the title as FromSoftware fans examine if it’s as good as other games, while Souls haters will wonder if this is finally a good FromSoftware starting point for them.
ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF THE RUBICON Game Trailer
Well, after getting a hands-on, behind closed doors look at the game during the Summer Game Fest game days, I think Armored core VI it has a very good chance of living up to all those lofty expectations. It looks like a fast-paced, explosive and customization-heavy mecha experience that should serve as a nice change of pace for FromSoftware, where we can see the studios excellent level and boss designs applied in a different game genre context.
A big comeback
My hands out Armored core VI the demo started with FromSoftware detailing the history of this series and its vision for this new game. Essentially, the studio wants to bring the design sensibility for gameplay feel and level building that it gained from working on games like Dark Souls, Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceAND Elden ring to a new Armored core title. This prompted the team to create expansive levels where players can jump into their mechs, give players plenty of gameplay customization options, and design challenging encounters that provide players with a sense of accomplishment after taking down tough enemies.
After that high-level overview and a look at some of the massive map environments, I finally got to see the game being played by a developer in the room. It was set in the Central Ice Field, where the player is trying to take control of the Grid 086 facility. Watching this level, I was impressed by its intimidating scale, with a huge mechanical structure piercing the freezing tundra below. The game then started and I saw the demoist advance at high speed with rockets on his mech, going deeper inside the facility.
If you think Sekiro AND Transmitted by blood are fast, this action was unfolding at a speed unlike any other modern FromSoftware game. Players can power up in any direction, opening up many opportunities for exploration and combat. FromSoftware showed how advantageous it was to attack enemies from above multiple times, but at one point also showed how players’ mobility gives them more options to deal with a situation.
You can fly right into the action, fight from a distance, or maybe fly around until you find a path that puts you in a good starting position for a fight. Armored core VI it’s still level-based, but this way it seems to keep some of the open world spirit of Elden ring. That player-driven variety looks like it will apply during combat as well. The developer playing the game engaged enemies shortly after and showed off the various weapons they had equipped as they quickly dashed around enemies to dodge their attacks and deal a ton of damage, occasionally staggering enemies to do even more damage.
It appears that the FromSoftware formula of analyzing and learning from enemy models will be retained Armored core VI. That said, the way players fight enemies leans completely on its mecha action, with only the occasional melee attack helping depending on what weapons the player has equipped. I found the in-game UI a bit too crowded during this hands-off presentation, but there is a lot of information that the game needs to let the player know. The information displayed includes the player’s health, weapons, and remaining power-up energy, not to mention the scan or target lock system that allows players to scout ahead and see what enemies are present.
After a few more intense battles, the FromSoftware developer who was intentionally playing died due to an enemy. This gave them a chance to highlight the mech’s deep customization system. In this menu I have seen at least 12 different internal and external parts that players can customize to modify the abilities and weapons available to the mechs. After equipping a few new weapons, the developer got back into the fight, won, and continued on.
The short developer-led playthrough culminated in a boss fight, in which a massive, rampaging mech with what looked like a giant furnace on its back attacked the demoist. FromSoftware is the king of boss game and visual design, and that doesn’t look like that’s going to change Armored core VI. Unfortunately, the hands-free presentation of Armored core VI that was the end of it, and I was left wishing it hadn’t. I’m aware of the pressure and high expectations this game will face when it comes out, but I think it has a chance to live up to them all.
It was hard to get a feel for the difficulty of the Souls haters newcomers game because a developer was playing the game and only intentionally died at one point. However, the automatic checkpoints and the ability to change the equipment of the mechs between deaths are certainly useful. It will not be as innovative as Elden ring heartfelt, but will retain some of that sense of player exploration and experimentation.
I can’t wait to play the final version of the game and state all these things for myself as this hands off presentation was impressive. And in the end, that’s what will truly make or break the return of Armored core: What hardcore FromSoftwares fans and other interested gamers think when they finally get to play. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait too long for that.
Armored Core VI: Fires of the Rubicon will be released for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on August 25th.
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