Fires of Rubicon is the primary Armored Core recreation in over a decade. This places it within the awkward place of making an attempt to attraction to sequence followers who’ve been starved for any signal of their favorite mech shooter returning, all whereas FromSoftware made everybody consider that it deserted it in favour of its extra profitable – and critically-acclaimed – Souls video games.
However as a result of it’s been so lengthy, the FromSoftware that made Armored Core 6 can also be fairly totally different from the one which created the originals. Fires of Rubicon has to, then, really feel like a reboot, which it typically does. Sadly, strolling that tight rope of satisfying longtime followers whereas introducing the sequence to a brand new era of gamers was at all times going to be nigh not possible.
The FromSoftware identify to me doesn’t characterize Armored Core, it represents Bloodborne, Darkish Souls, Sekiro, and Elden Ring. Whether or not I wish to or not, any future venture that comes out of the studio is at all times going to be in comparison with these video games, even when it has the Armored Core identify hooked up.
So I'm not solely stunned that Fires of Rubicon will not be actually grabbing me. I anticipated some stage of friction, realizing what I do know in regards to the unique video games and the best way they’re perceived by those that don’t swear by them, however AC6 is a recreation that’s difficult for the incorrect causes.
As a giant fan of mech fiction, I used to be at all times going to have an interest within the recreation, notably contemplating the truth that you spend numerous your time within the storage; constructing, evaluating and customarily enjoying a special type of recreation to the one which unfolds on the battlefield.
However I simply can’t recover from how… previous… Fires of Rubicon feels.
I did not count on Elden Ring's open world in AC6, however I anticipated greater than what we acquired.
Constructing one thing with the requirements (and design limitations) of video games from one or two generations in the past doesn’t mechanically make me recognize a recreation much less; I really like the God of Warfare reboot and its sequel, however for those who strip away the performances, writing, visuals and common presentation, you’re left with a restricted motion journey that might have existed on one thing as previous as a PS2. Evil West is one other (worse) model of that, however that was right down to its price range greater than the expertise behind it.
Armored Core 6 sits someplace within the center. It will get numerous mileage out of FromSoft’s artwork course, however it lacks the presentation a recreation that huge ought to flaunt in 2023. It’s additionally not a narrative price following. Within the few hours I spent with it, I acquired bombarded with company names and the merc teams affiliated with them. I've no historical past with the sequence, so I couldn’t convey myself to care about something, particularly when no different distinctions exist (equivalent to preventing kinds).
All of that finally ends up putting an undue burden on its fight and moment-to-moment.
You may rapidly see how video game-y ranges really feel.
The sport’s fight hasn’t modified a lot from its traditional roots. Greater than that, Fires of Rubicon will not be a recreation that learns any classes from the studio’s newer work. Nearly as if it was developed in a vacuum by a group that toiled away at it for ten years whereas the studio was making a reputation for itself elsewhere, with one of the polished video games we’ve seen within the final decade-plus.
It’s a troublesome expertise, positive, however it feels gimmicky. Each boss I fought appears to be designed for gamers to fail at it on their first run. Relying in your construct, you’re prone to wish to again out and check out a special method to even stand an opportunity. I’m comfortable altering my fashion to suit the event – FromSoft’s non-AC work definitely has educated me for that. However in Fires of Rubicon, it at all times feels such as you’re on the lookout for a form that matches the outlet you’re offered with.
The sport makes you are feeling such as you’re being railroaded into speccing a sure manner, virtually like there’s one resolution to that exact puzzle. It doesn’t assist that a lot of the sport’s environments are as bland as they get. Clearly, you may’t precisely let your creativeness run wild with a post-apocalyptic setting as you'd in Elden Ring’s fantasy land, however I've to but to be left in awe traversing the world.
The construction of AC6’s mission-based design makes that feeling worse. Earlier than FromSoft went open world with Eldern Ring, I by no means felt like stage design from its earlier video games restricted discoverability, fairly the alternative. Right here, it looks like you may instantly grasp the dimensions and scope of the setting two minutes into it. In the event you attempt to search for an alternate method or enterprise off the beating path hoping for any secret, the out-of-bounds barrier can be fast to remind you that you just’re enjoying a online game.
I think about longtime followers are screaming ‘that is how AC has at all times been!’ proper now, however I simply refuse to consider that, after over a decade, all we acquired was a considerably better-looking recreation that sands down a couple of of the rougher edges, however casually ignores FromSoft’s design revolutions elsewhere. It simply looks like a recreation any studio might’ve made.