Ready to get down to business and crush some enemy mechs?
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is here, and with it, FromSoftware has returned to a franchise it hasn't touched in a decade. With the success of titles like Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Elden Ring generating fans of FromSoftware, this is easily the most attention an Armored Core game has seen at launch.
With that in mind, I've put together a beginner's guide so newcomers will feel more prepared as they take on everything this planet and the various factions on it have to offer. Here are 7 tips and tricks in Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon that you need to know.
1. Training mode gets you free parts
Very early on in your journey across Rubicon 3, you'll unlock a Training Mode that teaches you how to operate different kinds of Armored Core setups and use a variety of weapons. In addition to just being helpful information, you'll unlock a handful of parts for free this way! It means the Training Mode is well worth your time, and even veterans who have been chomping at the bit for this series to return should take the time to divert and complete all the Training Missions as they appear.
2. Stagger is your friend
While weaker enemies will fall to machine gun fire or a single hail of missiles, a lot of other metallic foes in Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon aren't quite so frail. For this reason, it's vital that you pay attention to the Stagger gauge, the yellow bar that appears on a target and fills the more you deal damage to them.
After staggering an enemy, they'll take more damage (which you can upgrade even further) but more importantly, they won't be able to move around. This doesn't matter as much for some of the more lumbering bosses in the game, but against agile Armored Core pilots? It's not possible to beat them without locking them down. In many cases, if you have to choose between dealing higher Stagger damage or just pure damage, Stagger is the right choice.
3. Adapt your build to overcome stronger foes
Unlike many other FromSoftware games, which encourage focusing on a handful of particular stats in order to go for a certain build, that's not really the case in Armored Core 6. There may be some general improvements you stick with for a long time — once I got the four-legged walker option, I never looked back — but you need to swap out components and especially weapons in order to counter your enemy.
The most skilled pilots may even fine-tune their Armored Core for every single mission, but to start, if you're having trouble, make sure to try out different weapons from time to time.
4. Going through Arena mode is ESSENTIAL
As you progress through Chapters in Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, you'll unlock targets in the Arena mode, letting you face off against simulations of other pilots. These fights are often challenging. They are also completely essential for two big reasons.
First off, they're a great way to make money. You usually have your repair bill and ammo resupply deducted from your earnings in a mission. That's not the case in Arena mode: Complete a rank, and you'll earn every single credit offered.
The second reason is that completing Arena fights earns you OST chips. These chips are used for OS Tuning, allowing your Armored Core to gain unique abilities or increase the damage dealt by different weapons. You can probably ignore this up through the end of Chapter 1, but getting further than that basically requires having some upgrades.
5. Ammunition costs money. Melee attacks do not
As mentioned above, when taking on missions, the costs of your ammunition and repairing your Armored Core is deducted from your freelance fee. Melee attacks however, don't cost anything. This may seem obvious, but over time, you'll find yourself approaching fights differently in order to extract every last credit.
Do you really need to use your machine gun on those weak mechs? Can you save a few missiles by following up with an energy blade attack instead? It's something to consider.
6. Watch out for branching missions
While most of the missions in Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon have to be played in order to progress the story, there's a tiny handful of exceptions. You'll sometimes see a a fork symbol on a mission alongside the word "Decision."
The game doesn't explain this very well, so it's easy to miss if you aren't paying attention, but that means that you will be choosing to take that mission on and ignore whatever other mission is currently available that is also marked as a Decision. Watch out!
7. Multiplayer isn't available immediately
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon supports multiplayer, but it isn't available from the get-go. In fact, you have to put a fair bit of time in before it unlocks, as it isn't available until you reach Chapter 2 of the game, which will take at least a couple of hours, if not longer.
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Take your time and have fun, and you'll enjoy Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, even if you're not experienced with the series. Things can be overwhelming at first, but stick with it, experiment, and practice. You'll be crushing your opponents before long.
In our review of Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, my colleague Brendan Lowry wrote that "Whether you're an Armored Core veteran or a fan of the developer's Souls games looking to see what else the studio is capable of, you'll absolutely fall in love with Armored Core 6's immensely satisfying gameplay, fascinating story, and immaculate presentation."
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon
New brutal combat is here, with FromSoftware returning to the Armored Core franchise. This standout entry brings the series back in full force, so beginners will benefit from taking a minute to learn the tricks to ensure their survival.