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Here’s how Elden Ring is influencing gameplay in Armored Core 6

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While Armored Core 6 certainly looks like a successor to the classic mech shooter franchise, Elden Ring and Dark Souls fans are going to instantly grasp many of its mechanics.

When a long-standing entertainment act enjoys a sudden surge in popularity, established fans will try and assert themselves as superior to newcomers. Whether it’s liking a singer before they were cool or brushing off bandwagon sports fans, it’s a seemingly natural phenomenon. That’s been seen recently, with some Armored Core fans bristling over comparisons being made between FromSoftware’s next futuristic mech shooter and its dark fantasy action RPGs.

Armored Core 6 won’t be like Elden Ring, Sekiro, and Bloodborne, but it’s also obvious that some design elements from these games have influenced its development. Here are some of the things that Soulsborne fans can look forward to, and changes that established Armored Core fans should prepare themselves for.

Here’s what’s similar between Armored Core 6, Elden Ring, and other Soulsborne games

The Armored Core series likely influenced the development of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. Core gameplay mechanics like managing an energy or stamina bar and a cost-benefit analysis aspect to picking equipment are things that modern FromSoftware fans will be able to easily wrap their heads around. 

That said, there are a number of new features that are being added to Armored Core 6 that weren’t in previous installments of the series. Some of these are just catching the series up to modern game sensibilities, but others seem to have been pulled directly from Hidetaka Miyazaki’s more recent games.

OST Chips introduce level-ups, ability system

Armored Core hasn’t traditionally worked like other games. Increasing an AC’s firepower, durability, or movement speed adversely impacts energy consumption or weight, which generally forces other changes to be made. Generally speaking, there isn’t a way to just instantly make a mech better than it was previously without some sort of trade-off.

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon changes that by introducing a secondary currency called OST Chips. OST Chips allow players to simply “level up” and unlock new abilities like in Sekiro or a typical action RPG. 

OST Chips let players outright upgrade things like armor and damage dealt. Meanwhile, there is also the ability to learn new techniques and skills. These include new control options like being able to press down and B to turn around 180 degrees, and learning new attacks like Boost Kicks which add a melee attack to boosting. While these concepts certainly aren’t exclusive to Soulsborne games, this marks a departure from the rest of Armored Core.

Boost Kicks let tank builds literally drive through enemies.

Sekiro’s posture bar returns in Armored Core 6

While the posture system has been a part of most modern FromSoftware games, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice essentially built its entire gameplay system around it. Though it’s not a defining part of Armored Core 6, it’s being represented on-screen in a way that resembles Sekiro.

As players land attacks, an on-screen posture bar will fill up. The bar is on top of the aiming reticle in most cases, and is locked to the top of the screen during boss fights. Different weapons deal different amounts of posture damage. When the bar fills up, the enemy stalls, freezes, or otherwise becomes easier to hit. Players don’t get to land a riposte, visceral attack, or Shinobi Deathblow on a staggered enemy, but it does make the flow of prolonged fights feel more akin to recent FromSoftware games.

The red bar above the aiming reticle indicates that the enemy is staggered.

Elden Ring and Dark Souls-style boss battles make more AC builds viable

Past Armored Core games forced players to rebuild their AC to fit the variables of each level. Armored Core 6 will still offer players an incredible number of customizability options and let them create unique mechs, which will make it an interesting multiplayer experience. That said, the developers emphasized that players will be able to defeat bosses by learning their attack patterns.

The initial trailers for Armored Core 6 hinted that bosses in this game were set to be more “Dark Souls” than they were in previous Armored Core games. Bosses come in a number of different shapes and sizes, with many having a set of telegraphed attacks. Though some builds will naturally lend themselves better to the situations certain bosses present, there likely won’t be a situation where a specific build is unviable for a level.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2.

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