The Appeal of Armored Core: A Dream Game for Mecha Geeks and Gearheads

Written by Allen

December 19, 2022

From Software has recently announced that it will be releasing a new game this 2023, and that game is none other than Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon. Some of you may be wondering ‘what the heck is that?’ or ‘never heard of this title before.’ And that’s not really surprising considering the last installment of this series came out during the PS3 age. So gather around and listen, boys and girls, because I’ve got a bit of a story to tell you.

Armored Core is actually one of the flagship titles of From Software before. It was a launch title for the first two iterations of the PlayStation, and boasted customization that was beyond what any other mecha game could handle before. With over a hundred parts to mix and match, it was easy to come up with many different builds to figure out what worked for you. Armored Core was pretty much digital Lego, but instead of making buildings or planes, your end goal was always to make a machine for mass destruction. Because what better things do you have to do in a post-apocalyptic world?

Seeing this, you’d think that it’s a game where you look at your parts and figure out what’s the best fit, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that.  Even on its first trilogy on the PS1, it already had considered so many technical aspects to putting the parts together. Each part came with its pros and cons, and intended use. All of them also have to contend with the limitations set by other parts. You can’t have your generator overloaded by the demand of all your parts and weapons, your core has to be able to support the arms, and the legs have to be able to support everything else, that’s the basics of it anyway. You’ll also have to look into how well you want your boosters will perform versus how heavy your unit is, even how the robot will seek out targets and more.

Yes, it sounds like an information overload and a ridiculously detailed look into building something that you might use in a mission for 10 to 15 minutes just to go back to the drawing board to do it over. And to be honest, that’s the appeal.

If there’s anything I would commend From Software for, it’s their attention to detail. And it shows here with every dimension you’re asked to mull over as you design your mech. Even during the PS1 age, this has been a focal point of their games. Honestly, these were pretty much otaku gear heads, where instead of spending their days trying to squeeze a bit more performance out of their cars, they would do it with their robotic counterparts in-game.

I could say the same for their control scheme, despite having a lack of analog sticks, they came up with something workable for a third-person shooter. Where flying, strafing, aiming, and shooting all at the same time was actually possible to do despite having to make use of a controller that was not designed for that kind of interface. And new functions, mechanics, and methods of attack and defense were also added to the list of things to think about as the series progressed.

Our last game was Verdict Day, which was on the PlayStation 3, and was tinkering with the idea of team battles and online events. It also kept some legacy enhancements like overboosting, hovering, and added new functions like hopping off walls. While I enjoyed the game when I had it, Verdict Day was perhaps ahead of its time for the innovations it was trying to introduce, as it didn’t really have the longevity that you would expect out of a multiplayer-centric game.

With the PS5 and all the improvements, we’ve had to our network infrastructure, however. It should be more than possible to hold the 3-on-3 team fights that we had sought to experience back in the day. But what truly remains as a question is how they plan to proceed with the series. I doubt there’d be any big changes like applying an open-world formula to it because if they did such massive changes they’d just make a different title completely. We’ve seen them do this for Bloodborne and Sekiro.

For a moment, I feared Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon would fall prey to the ways of live service gaming, as that was more or less the direction that the previous entry leaned to. But I think we can rest easy considering the history of From Software. They tend to finish games and leave them where they are, even though it would be tempting to simply port older games to newer systems for some quick cash, they don’t. They’d rather work on a new title rather than listen to my whining and wailing for them to port Bloodborne to PC. So I’m sure we’ll still be getting the same mission-based game where we can quickly get to the action, a campaign that has maybe 30-50 missions in total, and some additional modes where players can cooperate or compete with each other.

Given recent interviews with Miyazaki, it appears that the game is more or less ready to ship, and will be arriving this 2023. I’m already excited to slave over the many combinations of parts that I can think of. If you guys want to try to be a mechanical mercenary with the new title, I’ll see you in-game!

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