Preview – Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon

With Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon returns on August 25th not only FromSoftware for the first time since the release of Elden ring back to the big stage, the series has also been dormant for more than 10 years. A lot has happened in the meantime and FromSoftware has stepped out of the niche and into the spotlight. The new Armored Core is therefore exposed to completely different expectations than its predecessors. We were allowed to try out the game a few weeks ago in Frankfurt and are telling you here what to expect and for whom the title could be interesting.

That’s what Armored Core 6 is all about

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon tells a SciFi story in the distant future. The eponymous planet Rubicon is fiercely contested by various factions because a substance believed lost has appeared there. Let’s keep it short and sweet: There is a story full of intrigue and twists, but it primarily serves as a hook for the action-heavy gameplay. During our visit to Frankfurt we saw a few excerpts, but can hardly say anything about how important the plot will become in the further course. In addition, we don’t want to give you spoilers and thus take away the fun of your own experience.

From Software is back with Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon

What you need to know is that in this distant future, alongside tanks and helicopters, there will also be giant battle mechs armed to the teeth. You yourself become the pilot of such a machine of destruction. And that brings us to the real heart of the game and our try-out session: the gameplay!

Full focus on the action

Armored Core 6 is divided into individual missions. After the start, you end up in your garage, where you can tweak your mech (more on that in a moment) and select new orders. There are “simple” mercenary missions that earn you money and parts, and larger contracts that advance the story. Many of the smaller missions only last a few minutes and require you to take out or collect a handful of naturally heavily guarded objectives. The story orders are a bit longer, offer tasks that build on one another and boss fights.

Armored Core 6 - Action is capitalized on every meter
Armored Core 6 – Action is capitalized on every meter

Each mission sends you to different environments. So you’re on the road in a huge industrial facility, the next time you’re exploring an icy research station and in the following mission you’re fighting position battles in a big city. All environments look really chic and give a good sense of the size of the mechs. The combat robots are also stylish and varied. Together with the excellent effects, this creates a really first-class overall technical impression.

However, there is not much time for sightseeing, as you spend most of the time in the missions fighting. These run off very dynamically, but the gameplay is strongly determined by the choice of your weapons and equipment. Basically, you can either run slowly with your mech or glide coolly over the ground. Thrusters on the back allow flight maneuvers, allowing you to reach higher places or dodge attacks on the ground.

Armored Core 6 - Every environment looks unique
Armored Core 6 – Every environment looks unique

Each arm can also carry one weapon each, and each shoulder also offers an additional equipment slot. The controls are pretty intuitive as you simply fire the weapons with R1/R2 and L1/L2. The thrusters are controlled with X, you can dodge with the circle button. As in the Souls games, healing is done via the directional pad.

The fights against individual opponents, against bosses and larger groups of opponents are an absolute force and are a lot of fun. You dodge huge rocket salvos while flying, land on the roof of a high-rise building and unleash various weapons such as rocket launchers, machine guns or tank grenades on your enemies. The mechs control themselves believably (at least to the extent that battle robots weighing tons can feel believable) and each skirmish is a firework of action, sometimes filling the entire screen with explosions, smoke, and muzzle flashes.

Armored Core 6 - Action-packed battles speak for themselves
Armored Core 6 – Action-packed battles speak for themselves

While the smaller battles hardly cause any problems, the level of difficulty with the bosses sometimes increases massively. who at Elden ring or Dark Souls If you enjoyed playing against the same overpowering opponent countless times, learning the attack patterns step by step and eventually defeating him, you will feel right at home here. Players with less tolerance for frustration, on the other hand, should have less fun. Unlike FromSoftware’s action RPGs, you can play in Armored Core 6 but prepare quite extensively for each fight.

Homemade mechs

The mechs can be adapted and individualized in extremely small parts. There are various weapon systems ranging from sniper rifles to pistols and rocket launchers to melee weapons like shotguns and swords. On top of that, you can swap heads, arms, torso, legs, thrusters, and more. That costs all money you have to earn first. Some parts and weapons you unlock only gradually. The highlight is that pretty much everything is simulated.

Armored Core 6 - Mechs of your liking
Armored Core 6 – Mechs to your liking

Each part has a specific weight and its own energy requirements. The light legs, which allow you to quickly change direction and dodge maneuvers, can carry less than the heavily armored ones. Particularly strong weapons have a higher energy requirement, which you have to cover with the right armor. Basically, light parts offer little protection but make you faster and more agile, while thick armor makes you slower but also more robust.

There are also special versions, such as legs that allow you to hover in the air or simply place your robot on a thick tracked vehicle. The possibilities are really diverse and allow very different builds. From the lumbering tank that deals massive damage but is easy to hit, to the extremely fleet-footed robot that flies through the air and shreds enemies with shotguns and swords, your options are endless. The tinkering and trying out is a lot of fun and is clearly arranged. You can also simply sell parts again and create new builds without any problems.

Armored Core 6 - Mechs are killers on the ground and in the air
Armored Core 6 – Mechs are killers on the ground and in the air

The changes also have an extreme impact on gameplay. A heavy tank will use up all of its boost to scale a house and want to be well positioned, while lighter models will fly wildly through the air but only take a few hits. The only question mark here is whether the developers manage to strike a good balance. In the tryout session, the heavy build with a lot of damage quickly emerged as the method of choice for me, since I was able to deal with the bosses relatively well that way.

I hope that in the finished game there isn’t one way that is significantly easier than the others. New bosses should make certain playstyles more difficult with their attacks and rather play into the hands of others. Since this is a FromSoftware game, I’m not too concerned about that. If anyone knows how to create cool and challenging bosses, it’s the Japanese studio.


In the end, the question remains, for whom Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon suitable is. You shouldn’t expect a robo-souls here. FromSoftware takes some elements like the challenging bosses and the gameplay loop from fail, learn, fail, learn and eventually win. Still, the title feels very different than Elden ring, Dark Souls or Bloodborne. The fights are more vertical and a whole lot more action-packed thanks to the guns. The game world is also not nearly as exciting and mysterious, but primarily intended as a chic playground.

Armored Core 6 - From software DNA, but different

If you’re in the mood for big combat robots and full-screen action and don’t give up immediately when faced with difficult bosses, you should definitely give the game a chance. I had a lot of fun in the almost five to six hours and I’m really looking forward to the release. Armored Core 6 wasn’t really on my radar before and is now the title I’m most excited about for the rest of the year.

About Ronan Frost 2297 Articles
Ronan is a self-proclaimed "gaming guru" with a love for all things digital and virtual. He was bitten by the gaming bug at a young age and has been hooked ever since. He studied "Gameology" at the University of Hamburg and received a degree in "Button Mashing" with a minor in "Easter Egg Hunting".