Is Armored Core 6 a Soulslike? Armored Core predates the Souls series by about a decade, but it’s a fair question given the immense popularity of the genre and some of developer FromSoftware’s recent games. Armored Core was popular – for a long time, it was From’s flagship franchise – but it was never ‘sell 20 million copies and make an entire genre’ popular.
A lot of modern FromSoftware fans have never played an Armored Core title – the last one, 2013’s Armored Core: Verdict Day, is nearly a decade old. It would make sense for FromSoftware to try to appeal to Souls players. From what we’ve seen so far, the answer seems to be… kinda? Let us explain.
Is Armored Core 6 a soulslike?
Armored Core 6 isn’t a soulslike, as it has a mission-based structure. However, it retains some aspects of the series like an Estus Flask-esque system, bonfires called Supply Stations, and the challenging tough battles and Armored Core 6 bosses you would expect from FromSoftware games.
Armored Core has traditionally been a mission-based game with self-contained levels, and that’s still true in Armored Core 6, FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed in an interview with IGN. You’re not going to be moving from bonfire to bonfire or exploring a large open world. The campaign will also have multiple endings, and game director Masaru Yamamura confirmed in an interview with Eurogamer that it won’t spin its yarn in a traditional way, – something, believe it or not, Souls probably took from Armored Core, not the other way around.
If you die in Armored Core 6, you don’t lose experience. In older Armored Core games, failing a mission would cost you money because you’d have to repair your mech and resupply your ammo. Even if you completed a mission, you’d have to spend cash to get back into fighting shape. This time, you’re free to retry missions as much as you like, but there will be “subtractions and detriments to the compensation that [players] receive and to their reward,” Yamamura revealed to Eurogamer.
Unlike Soulslikes, Armored Core 6’s campaign is solely single-player. The beloved Arena mode, where you can battle other computer-controlled mechs mano a mano, is still here, but there’s no way to leave other players messages or join their worlds. There is Armored Core 6 multiplayer, which does allow for some PvP combat, but it’s its own separate thing. You won’t be crossing paths or asking for help from others in Armored Core 6’s story.
While Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is still fundamentally an Armored Core game, but there is some Souls DNA here. FromSoftware has used its status as a reboot to make some changes to make the famously difficult and complex series more accessible for From’s newer fans. While there are no bonfires, there seems to be a lenient checkpoint system (older games would force you to restart the entire mission), and if you die, you’ll be able to change your mech’s parts on the fly to better fight whatever took you down.
In addition, Armored Core’s famously complex customization has been streamlined. According to a video by ‘VaatiVidya‘, certain part categories – inside parts, radiators, and hanger weapons – are all gone, so there are fewer parts to worry about, but building an AC is likely still much more complex than nailing down a Souls build.
VaatiVidya’s breakdown also revealed that there’s an Estus Flask equivalent in the form of repair kits, which can be activated instantly and used to restore your Armored Core’s health. You can also replenish them at supply stations in certain missions, along with your ammo – something else that’s new to Armored Core 6.
There’s also a hard lock-on, which has caused quite a stir among the Armored Core faithful. Hard lock-ons are old hat for Souls games, but Armored Core’s skill ceiling has long revolved around your ability to maneuver your Armored Core and keep your enemies in your sights while you do it. Adding a hard lock-on that tracks your enemy and moves the camera – and in some cases, turns your mech for you – feels distinctly Soulslike.
Another thing that feels distinctly Souls-y is the focus on boss fights. Yamamura, who also served as the lead designer on Sekiro, told IGN that “boss battles are the highlight of the game… 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 mech, such as how to assemble the right parts to take on the strongest enemies.” We got a glimpse of this in a gameplay trailer for Armored Core 6, in which a mech fought what looked like the World’s Angriest Roomba.
Finally, the last thing that Armored Core seems to be bringing over from the Souls games is the ability to stagger enemies, which we got a good look at in the VaatiVidya breakdown. Taking too many hits over a short period of time will overload an Armored Core’s Attitude Control System, staggering them and opening them up to big damage. Staggering enemies – and keeping from being staggered yourself – seems to be an important part of Armored Core 6.