Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is a very good case of an action title, with a solid script, incredible battles, a very solid technical field and great levels of customization. From Software may have become famous in recent years for developing its Dark Souls and Souls-like games, but that doesn't mean it can only develop those kinds of titles. After all, we are talking about a team with a very rich history at the base of which is, among other things, the first game in the Armored Core series that was released way back in 1997 for the first PlayStation, or PSone if you prefer.
So here we have the return of the franchise a whole ten years after the fifth part that was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In Fires of Rubicon the action is transferred to the planet Rubicon, with the scenario accessible to anyone without having to have played the previous five titles in the series. In the distant future, humanity had discovered on the planet Rubicon 3 an energy source called Coral. It goes without saying that nothing is that easy when it comes to power rallies, so the Rubicon 3 planet exploded making Coral practically unrecoverable. Fifty years later however, various companies have managed to regain access to the Rubicon planet and of course Coral and are eyeing its recovery as an energy source once again. In this whole setting players take on the role of 621, a pilot whose past has left him with serious injuries and his only solution to his medical rehabilitation is mercenary jobs in the remains of Rubicon 3 and of course the money that these they will bring.
Completing the campaign took us about 20 hours and the story of 621 kept us interested in most of them, with its twists of course, without claiming laurels for writing or originality. You see, it is the ideal setting for From Software's main show, which is none other than the action-packed gameplay of Armored Core 6. An ideal ally in the gameplay is the handling of the mech, which is simple and easy for anyone. Even within the first level, the player quickly learns how the large and heavy mech moves in three axes, how it aims, what fire it receives and how it should be avoided. After all, these are the very basic principles since, as a From Software title, Armored Core 6 cannot be considered passable even by the most expert of the genre. Fortunately the difficulty spikes are limited to specific bosses or points of specific missions that require extra concentration on our part, or of course modifying our mech and trying again with upgraded or more suitable features. In addition the checkpoint system is quite generous, usually bringing us back to a point in time close to what we lost.
Our mech has four slots for weapons and shields, either melee or lasers which are used independently of each other, using the four shoulder buttons. We can equip them with whatever weapon suits our playstyle best. In particular, during the game we unlock different abilities and weapons that greatly diversify the gameplay and allow us to make anything the conditions require. Our inventory may fill up at some point, but after we sell any piece of equipment, its buy back has no additional cost, so at any time we can acquire it again. In addition to the equipment and monetary rewards we get from missions, there is also a separate arena mode that pits our mech against specific enemies, completing which rewards us with even more currency and equipment, so it's something we recommend.
It is also worth looking at the completely different style of play that From Software has brought back, both in relation to the last Souls games and their corresponding open world sibling, Elden Ring. Each mech in Rubicon has a bar called load, but loosely translated we could say it works like an opposite stamina. When the load bar is full, then the enemy is immobilized and then we can deal serious damage with our hits. At the same time, however, as long as the enemy does not take hits, the Load bar empties. Therefore, the game challenges us to be constantly on the attack, but also to move in order to avoid the blows of the enemies, which in some bosses proves to be too much difficult. Hence the spikes in difficulty we mentioned earlier. Our great ally in this is the existence of the two targeting modes, since we can choose at any time what suits us, between free targeting and lock on to each enemy. The choice of free aiming gives us more accuracy in our shots, but the lock on locks the camera, a very useful feature with the constant mobility that the gameplay of the title requires.
The missions in Armored Core 6 are given to us through the menu, with the operator of 621 named Handler Walter giving us the basic briefing for each mission. After completing the objectives in each level, we go to the scenario menu and from there we can modify our mech, both in terms of its weapon systems and its visual part, and of course choose our next mission. Although there is usually a choice between two or three missions available, progression through the scenario is linear and plays little role in the progression of which one we choose to undertake first. If anything deserves a special mention, it's none other than the technical side of the title. Despite the loss within the screen, the performance mode of the PlayStation 5 proves to be very stable at 60fps and is an example to follow for any developers who intend to develop and release such games with such frenzied action.