Armored Core VI first look at Summer Game Fest 2023

Armored Core VI first look at Summer Game Fest 2023

Video Transcript

MAT SMITH: "Armored Core," one of the longest running and biggest mech battle series ever hasn't been seen in over 10 years. Now FromSoftware, fresh from glory of "Elden Ring," is returning to its mech battler roots. Yes, "Armored Core 6" is incoming, and I think we're long overdue a mech battle renaissance.


I think the last time I extensively played any kind of mech game, it was "Zone of the Enders," and that was back in 2003. It's been a while. And the company itself says this is a reimagined, remastered take on mech battling, so I'm intrigued by what I've seen so far. In a hands-off demo at Summer Game Fest, I saw roughly 15 minutes of "Armored Core 6" gameplay.

This was set in an early icy stage filled with vertiginous factory structures and tightly packed warehouses. Those dense environments demonstrate how modern consoles can elevate FromSoftware's newest mech game. Since mechs can move around in all three planes, expect to see plenty of levels and architecture that can take advantage of that.

According to producer Yasunori Ogura, he said you'd be able to go anywhere in a level, flying as far as your boost system will allow. He teased that several missions even offer multiple paths and ways to approach your objectives. In the snowy level you see here, he said the player could fly to the top of the structure to make their way into a base, or, and what we saw, you can just rush in guns blazing.

Now at the heart of "Armored Core 6," like all the other "Armored Core" games, your mech loadout takes priority. Alongside components for speed and power output, you'll be able to select up to four weapons, one on each arm, and two on the back. These weapons include multi-lock missiles, laser sabers-- of course, it's a mech-- as well as rifles, and machine guns, and pretty much anything you can imagine a giant robot firing at another giant robot.

Not only will those mech design choices be crucial to beating a level, it also will define how you play the game. You can set up a mech that's lighter and more agile, able to float around midair while raining missiles on opponents, or you can go for a slower, more powerful build with lots of melee combat skills and powerful laser beams. "Armored Core" games always offer at least a mild dose of realism, though, so you'll need to balance out all those weapon choices with exactly how much power your mech can output.

As I mentioned earlier, while you can expect a degree of freedom flying around these levels, it will still follow the typical "Armored Core" mission-based structure. Each stage begins with a briefing about your mission, some backstory, and an outline of what you need to accomplish. If you're here for the story, "Armored Core 6" is set on a distant planet of Rubicon 3. Rubicon 3 is a planet that's home to a new and volatile energy source. So volatile and powerful, in fact, that at one point, it apparently caused a cataclysmic event that engulfed the entire star system in flames. Yeah, that sounds like a mech game to me.

If you're expecting a more "Souls"-style approach to the "Armored Core" series, you'll probably be a little bit disappointed. Going off both the hands-off demo I saw and the comments from FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki in an interview with IGN recently, he said that the studio would stick to what makes the "Armored Core" series special, which he believes is the breadth and depth of mech customization. But like "Dark Souls" and all the games that followed, major fights against big mechs, big boss battles, could prove to be the main highlight.

During the demo I saw, the player was able to dodge around a powerful molten steel-flinging mech, boosting above it eventually to reveal a weak spot. You'll be able to stagger enemies to deal bigger damage. That's another dynamic you'll need to pay attention to when selecting your mech's weaponry. Sadly, the fiery mech soon bested the player in the demo. But this meant that they could go back, make adjustments, and change out their mech, retooling it specifically to take down this boss.

In this instance, they chose more agile legs as well as a stun rifle capable of doing major damage if we were able to hit the target. I think a new "Armored Core" game has long been overdue. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait. Now don't forget to check out all of Engadget's big gaming coverage, including everything from Summer Games Fest last week. And don't forget to like and subscribe. Thanks for watching.