Armored Core 6: How to beat the Balteus Watchpoint boss

 Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6

While there are a few tough fights in the first chapter of Armored Core 6, all of them pale in comparison to its capstone boss. The fearsome PCA "Balteus" craft will fly in to intercept you right after you meet Ayre, and while she does give you some helpful tips to defeat it, it's still largely a battle that the game expects you to figure out and win by yourself.

The Balteus is extremely deadly, and will kill you very quickly if you're not careful or are struggling to adapt to its capabilities. Don't worry if you're having a hard time battling it, though — we're here to help with some crucial information, tips, and tricks. These include build and loadout suggestions for your Armored Core, a full overview of the Balteus' attacks, details on how the fight changes as it progresses, and more.

Armored Core 6 Balteus: Best build, weapons, and loadout

Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6

The Balteus isn't a particularly fast enemy, meaning that it's pretty easy to hit with most weapons. However, it's also incredibly tough-armored between its pulse shield and its large health pool. In terms of its offensive capabilities, it'll be attacking with hundreds of missiles throughout the fight, along with cannon blasts, shotgun-like bursts, and ferocious flaming melee attacks.

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With these conditions in mind, we found that it was best to use a fast and lightweight Armored Core optimized for lots of evasive maneuvering with evasive dashes and Assault Boosts. In terms of your weapons, there are two approaches that will work well here. If you'd prefer to be more aggressive, pair a well-rounded rifle with an energy blade melee weapon. Alternatively, you can trade the energy blade for a bazooka if you'd rather not get too close. Opting for melee will give you better overall damage, while the bazooka is a safer option. Regardless of which hand weapons you're using, we definitely recommend using missile launchers on your shoulders since they'll be able to consistently hit the Balteus and contribute lots of damage.

Since the Balteus has a pulse shield, using a pulse weapon to disable it quickly is also a good option. However, the issue with these is that they have extremely low ammo reserves, so if you're struggling to deal lots of damage with your other weapons each time the shield goes down, your pulse weapon won't last as long as a regular one. It can work, but in our experience, using a rifle-type weapon is easier since they've got plenty of ammo, while also still doing damage that's good enough to wear down the Balteus' shield reasonably fast.

For your Armored Core's Expansion, we found Pulse Armor to be the best option. It provides you with a powerful on-demand energy shield that can be used a few times throughout the fight if you need one. A good offensive alternative would be Assault Armor, which you can use to damage the Balteus up close with an energy blast while simultaneously vaporizing incoming projectiles.

Armored Core 6: How to beat the Balteus

Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6

The Balteus is quite a difficult boss, but with the right approach and strategy, you'll emerge victorious from this thrilling battle. Here's what you need to know.

  • The boss will begin the fight by shooting a large volley of missiles your way; Assault Boost through them. You can then hit the Balteus with your weapons before it moves to back away from its opening position. This tactic works throughout the rest of the fight whenever missiles are fired directly at you, as well, though not when they come in from the side.

  • From range, the Balteus will continue firing missile volleys, streams of bullets, and shotgun-like blasts. You can dodge the missiles easily by dashing into the direction they're coming from, while the bullets and shotgun blasts can be avoided with basic lateral movement while hovering.

  • Watch out for warning indicators, as they indicate the boss is about to fire a deadly cannon shot at you. You can dodge it with a well-timed evasive boost to the side while you're airborne, though if you do it too early, you'll still get it.

  • Pepper the boss with your arsenal until its pulse shield breaks, at which point it will stagger. Try and make sure your hardest-hitting attacks like bazooka rounds and energy blades swipes are available when this happens, as it's important to maximize damage before the boss recovers and eventually regains its shield.

  • If you are using melee, wait until the boss has moved recently to commit to a strike. If you don't, it may move away as you're trying to hit it, causing you to miss. Assault Boosting directly into it before swinging will help guarantee a hit.

  • Also, try not to melee attack it head on, as it may fire a cannon shot while you're in the animation. You won't be able to dodge it if you're swinging your energy blade, so try and slash at it from one of its flanks where it can't target you.

Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6
  • When you get the Balteus to 50% health, Ayre will give you a warning that "the waves are intensifying." As fast as you can, get away from the boss. It will activate Assault Armor shortly after this, dealing heavy damage to your mech if you're caught in its area-of-effect.

  • Phase two of the fight has now begun, in which the boss gains some new attacks. In addition to the usual ranged attacks, the Balteus will occasionally try to strike you with massive flaming blades as well. It can also clasp them together and use them like a flamethrower.

  • Pay attention to the angle to the boss' melee attacks, and dodge accordingly. Slashes from the side can be avoided by hovering upwards and/or dashing backwards, while you can dodge vertical swipes with dashes to the side.

  • The flamethrower attack can be avoided by hovering high into the air. The area-of-effect of the fire is fairly large, so don't be hesitant with those boosters or you might still take some damage.

  • After dodging a few of these attacks in succession, the boss will be immobile for a second and easy to hit. Use this opportunity to get in melee attacks of your own.

Hammer the Balteus with your weapons constantly while continuing to evade its missiles and melee attacks, and you'll eventually come out on top. This boss is pretty difficult, so don't feel discouraged if you keep dying; every death is a learning opportunity, and once you've got a good grasp of the fight's pace, you'll have a much easier time beating it.

When the Balteus falls, you should celebrate, for not only will you have defeated one of Armored Core 6's toughest early bosses, but you'll also have finished the game's opening chapter. There are many challenging encounters ahead, of course, but you can charge forth with the knowledge that you have what it takes to overcome them.

Armored Core 6 is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, PS5, and PS4. It's one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of 2023, and we can't recommend it enough.

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The long-awaited reboot of FromSoftware's mecha action series is finally here, and it's an absolute triumph. Between its exhilarating combat systems, intriguing story, and excellent presentation, Armored Core 6 is undoubtedly one of the best games of the year.

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