Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon Review - Mechlike
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Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon Review - Mechlike

Rubicon 3, the setting for Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, is a far cry from the likes of Lordran and The Lands Between, immediately establishing a striking sci-fi aesthetic that's unlike anything From Software has created in the past decade. Lessons learned from the studio's most recent output are evident in Armored Core VI, but don't go in expecting this to be Dark Souls with mechs. The sixth numbered entry in the series is a decidedly Armored Core game, meshing exciting mech-on-mech action with the highly customizable assembly of your giant robot. It's a game for the die-hards but also represents the most approachable game in the series thus far--one that sees From Software return to its roots in triumphant fashion.

Though Rubicon 3 might be able to sustain human life, it's still an incredibly hostile place. Occupying corporations wage war against each other, local resistance fighters, and a governmental space force, for control of the planet and its valuable resources. Dilapidated cities, arid deserts, and frozen wastelands serve as the battlefields for mechanized warfare, as missiles, bullets, and laser cannons frequently collide with steel. Even the planet itself is imposing. Giant metallic structures stretch thousands of feet into the sky and then spread outwards like branches, each one carpeted in blinking lights that replace the stars they're obscuring. When you do catch a glimpse of the sky, you'll notice pockets of the planet's atmosphere burning red like fire.

The reason Rubicon 3 is such a hotbed of action is because it's home to Coral. This mysterious substance is immensely valuable, causing a number of extraplanetary corporations to descend upon the planet in an all-out war to harness it. You enter the fray as an independent mercenary employed by the enigmatic Handler Walter, who orders you to complete jobs on behalf of whichever faction is willing to pay. Referred to only as 621 or your callsign, Raven, the story in Armored Core VI has an oddly impersonal feel. Much of the narrative is delivered through audio on a static screen, with nary a human face in sight. Being a silent protagonist also makes it difficult to escape the feeling that you're a puppet for those pulling the strings. This is seemingly intentional, although the story never quite delves deep enough into this feeling of detachment to say anything meaningful. Most of the characters are fairly cliched, even if the voice acting is generally entertaining, and while there are interesting aspects to the lore, the story is ultimately disappointing without ever being particularly bad.

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