Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon release date on PS5, Steam, PC and Xbox, gameplay - and pre order details

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It's clear the Elden Ring millions have been poured into Armored Core VI

Before it became more famous for its revolutionary Souls-like games, Japanese developer FromSoftware had an extensive history of developing mech games. As the company returns to its Armoured Core series with Fires of Rubicon - the sixth mainline entry in the series - it's clear the Elden Ring millions (it was one of the best-selling games of last year) have been poured into its production.

But what exactly is Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, and how does the gameplay compare to the studio's more famous hits? And most importantly, when can you actually play it? Here is everything you need to know about it.

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What is Armored Core?

(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)
(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.) | FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.

Armored Core is a series of video games focused on mecha combat, developed by FromSoftware, the acclaimed studio behind "Souls" games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Elden Ring. Unlike those games however, the Armored Core series is known for its emphasis on highly customisable mechs, intense battles and a futuristic, dystopian setting.

In the Armored Core games, players take on the role of a "Raven" - a skilled pilot who controls one of the giant, walking robot mechs which give the games their name - and gameplay typically involves completing missions and battling other mechs in various environments. The first game in the series was released in 1997 for the original PlayStation, and over the years, Armored Core has evolved, introducing new features, mechanics and graphical improvements.

The series has built a dedicated fan base due to its unique approach to mecha combat and customisation, allowing players to choose various parts such as weapons, armour, legs, and more, to create a mech suited to their preferred playstyle. That customisation then bleeds back into the gameplay, which is often challenging and strategic, requiring players to carefully manage their energy, ammunition and movement to achieve victory.

(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)
(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.) | FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.

Somewhat infamously, a unique PlayStation 2 controller featuring 48 buttons and switches was released alongside Armored Core 3 in 2002, designed to enhance the game by providing a unique control layout that made it easier to manage the complex controls of the game and quickly access different functions and commands.

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With a combination of regular buttons, toggle switches, and rotary dials, the Armored Core 3 Limited Edition Controller was significantly more complex and feature-rich compared to a standard PlayStation 2 controller, and remains a collector's item for fans.

What's new in Armored Core VI?

In Armored Core VI, a new chemical named "Coral" was found, and was expected to significantly improve humankind's technological and communication capacities.

Instead, it resulted in a catastrophe that formed a Burning Star System, engulfing the planet and the stars in its vicinity in flames and storms.

Now, Coral has reemerged on the damaged and isolated planet nearly 50 years later, with corporations from other planets and resistance organisations battling for its possession. You play as a mercenary who has infiltrated Rubicon, and finds themselves engaged in a conflict over Coral.

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(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.)
(Image: FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.) | FromSoftware Inc./Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.

Armored Core VI will once again place players in intense fights where they must fully utilise offensive and defensive manoeuvres in highly mobile and customisable mechas on both land and in the air to defeat their enemies. You'll have to adapt to fast shifting combat scenarios, use the environment as cover, and become adept at the game's "omni-directional battles" to overcome difficult foes and circumstances in order to be the most effective and profitable mercenary on Rubicon 3.

Armored Core's gameplay differs significantly from other FromSoftware games like Dark Souls, with distinct gameplay mechanics and focuses. In Armored Core, combat centres around piloting your mech, which offers a range of weapons, mobility options and defensive capabilities. The battles often involve targeting enemies from a distance, using ranged weaponry and strategic movement.

In contrast, "Soulslike" games are characterised by up-close and personal combat, where players engage in melee duels with a variety of weapons and rely on precise timing, dodging and blocking to succeed. Both Soulslike games and Armored Core are known for their challenging gameplay, but the nature of the challenges differs.

Armored Core's difficulty often arises from managing mech systems, resource management and precise aiming in combat. The challenge of the Soulslike genre primarily comes from learning enemy patterns, timing attacks and dodges and navigating treacherous environments.

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When can I play Armored Core VI?

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is currently set to be released on Thursday, August 24 2023. It will be available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and PC.

Where is the best place to pre-order Armored Core VI?

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon can be pre-ordered from Game.co.uk, where the Standard Edition of the game is available for £54.99 (£49.99 on PC). A Collector's Edition of the game - which includes the game, an exclusive steelbook, an artbook, pinbadges, stickers, as figurine, and the digital Soundtrack - is also available for £199.99.

Simply click on the relevant link below to be taken to the platform of your choice:

Note: Xbox’s ‘Smart Delivery’ feature means there is just one ‘Xbox’ version of the game to look out for if you’re looking to buy it physically - the game will automatically detect whether you’re using a current or last-gen Xbox console.

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But PlayStation players will need to make sure they buy the correct physical version of Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, and since there is no Smart Delivery feature there, if you one day wish to upgrade the PS4 version to its PS5 counterpart, you may need to buy the game all over again!

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