Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is finally here, but should fans of Dark Souls and Elden Ring bother with it?
These days, FromSoftware is primarily known for its steady stream of challenging action games. Elden Ring took the world by storm in 2022, and much of the hype for it stemmed from the critical and commercial successes of Dark Souls, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Bloodborne. Those games have proven to be so popular that many don’t even realize that FromSoftware was a veteran studio even before those games existed.
Before Demon’s Souls, FromSoftware had a number of notable releases ranging from Xbox-exclusive action game Otogi: Myth of Demons to the GameCube’s TCG-themed RPG Lost Kingdoms. Its biggest franchise was Armored Core. The long-running series of mech shooters was shelved after 2013’s Armored Core 5: Verdict Day but has returned to the fore with its latest installment.
But is Armored Core 6 worth playing for players who are only familiar with FromSoftware for its modern games? While the new game is its own beast, fans can still get a lot out of it if they take the plunge.
Is Armored Core 6 like Elden Ring or Dark Souls?
Armored Core 6 is a very different game from Elden Ring and Dark Souls.
It’s very obvious that Armored Core 6 is made by FromSoftware. Players not only need to throw themselves at enemies repeatedly in order to learn their attack patterns but also need to be disciplined in their button presses. From a gameplay perspective, the Soulsborne standards are in place with stiff difficulty and massive boss battles. The story is also a total bummer, as fans would expect.
While those core concepts overlap, the bottom line is that Soulsborne games are methodical action RPGs while Armored Core 6 is a fast-paced mech shooter. If players want to compare it to another FromSoftware game, Sekiro would be the best comparison. Even that’s a stretch, though.
Armored Core 6 sets itself apart from its sister titles with the sheer scale of some of the boss fights. While Dark Souls and Elden Ring have more than their share of epic battles, Armored Core 6 veers into Shadow of the Colossus territory with players having to take down enemies that feel like they’re the size of an office building.
The experience outside of combat is also very different. Instead of needing to swap around armor, changing up a build to get through a tough area is an involved process. Changing a weapon or part can require a significant overhaul of the entire mech in order to balance maneuverability, firepower, durability, and energy consumption.
Players looking to Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon for an Elden Ring-like experience will ultimately be disappointed. This doesn’t mean the game is bad by any means, however.
Is Armored Core 6 worth getting?
Armored Core 6 is a generally good game that has a unique style. Though it’s dissimilar from what fans might expect, it still has a lot to offer.
Average media scores for Armored Core 6 on review aggregators range from around 80% to 85%, depending on the platform. A powerful gaming PC is the best way to play Armored Core 6, but it’s also optimized well enough to run on Steam Deck.
Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles are preferred to alternatives. The game runs well enough on Xbox Series S, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One but framerates are lower and dips in performance are more frequent and impactful. The game still looks and runs well enough to be enjoyed, but the differences between current-generation and past-generation consoles are becoming more apparent as time passes.
Ultimately, Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is a solid game on its own merits. The steep learning curve and fairly high level of difficulty may chase off many, but it’s not anything that FromSoftware fans haven’t gone through once or twice already.