After spending years creating games with either the word "Souls" or "Bourne" in the title, From Software excited fans at the end of 2022 by announcing it would return to the Armored Core series. With Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon just months away from release, publisher Bandai Namco was ready to offer a new glimpse of what's to come. Earlier this month, Shacknews was among the outlets who got to check out a hands-off theater demo.
For those unfamiliar with the Armored Core series, this is most definitely not Dark Souls. This is a game about piloting giant mech suits to take on even larger baddies with heavier artillery. Players will engage in tactical combat across linear, yet spacious 3D levels. How players approach these stages depends on their mech builds, which can be customized to fit their style of play. Players can put together something built like an indestructible tank, a smaller suit that can strike hard and fast, or a stealthier build that can aid in sneaking around and avoiding unnecessary battles.
Fires of Rubicon is pushing its mech combat forward with the introduction of a boost mechanic. Boost can be used for various means of traversal, whether it's gliding across a flat surface or flying near the top of a hundred-story factory. It's also helpful in combat, as players can avoid incoming melee strikes or area-of-effect attacks with a well-timed boost. Combining the boost with the quick turn feature that allows for a split-second, 180-degree shift makes combat look buttery smooth.
Of course, this being a From Software product, the principles of their games remain intact. While players aren't outright punished for recklessly seeking out fights, they're encouraged to take a more tactical approach. The Scan function can detect enemies and obstacles around walls, for example. It isn't always possible to see everything, as ambushes happened more than once during this demo, but players are expected to read and learn enemy patterns in order to find openings to strike. While players can strike with shoulder turrets, missiles, plasma cannons, a powerful laser dagger strike, or whatever else they can find over the course of their journey, enemies and bosses will often outsize them and bring their own toys like grinders and flamethrowers into encounters. It's possible to heal with repair kits, but only a limited amount will be allowed for every level, so be ready to use them wisely.
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon looks every bit as flashy and exciting as it did when it was unveiled at The Game Awards. The wait will be over soon, as it comes to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox on August 25.
This preview is based on a hands-off theater demo from Summer Game Fest and may not be representative of the final product. The demo was played live off of a PC build by representatives from From Software. Drinks and snacks were provided by Summer Game Fest.