I got to see Armoured Core VI in action last week, and while the game appears to be staying true to the mech action series’ roots — featuring quick combat and lots of customisation — there are also some things that fans of Dark Souls, Sekiro, and FromSoftware’s other, more recent games will be happy to see. I’m talking about giant (and difficult) boss battles.
Fights in Armoured Core games tend to be more about managing gear and gauges than closely watching attack animations and searching for openings. But the boss fight that capped off a recent hands-off demo I saw at Summer Game Fest felt very much like something you might see in a modern FromSoftware game, with a unique design and bespoke attacks.
A hulking machine spitting lava with grinders for arms dashes out of the darkness to try and ram you. What ensues is the mech version of cat and mouse. The giant smelting plant on wheels telegraphs sweeping attacks while the smaller Armoured Core controlled by the player dodges left and right, tries to maintain its distance while firing off missiles, and occasionally rushes in to nip at the hulking enemy robot’s rotors.
“Boss battles are the highlight of the game in this title,” Armoured Core VI director Masaru Yamamura told IGN earlier this year. “The essence of the battles, in which the player reads the enemy’s moves and then plays games with them, is of course provided, as is typical of FromSoftware. In this title, both the enemy and your own machine are aggressive and violent in their attacks. We are developing the game so that players can enjoy the dynamic and intense boss battles that only mechas can offer, along with the unique aspects of AC, such as how to assemble the right parts to take on the strongest enemies.”
What I saw of the game certainly bore that out. Failing to manage the flow of combat meant getting clobbered, while an enemy stagger gauge meant honing in on the right combo of attacks to create space for a more punishing barrage of critical hits. The only thing missing was a massive “YOU DIED” screen popping up upon death. Fortunately, Armoured Core VI looks like it sports checkpoints right before major fights, letting you completely swap out gear for a new strategy if things don’t go your way. It might not make the boss battles themselves any easier, but it’s one way to make them slightly less terrifying.
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