Piloting mechs in Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is as realistic as controlling giant robots could be. While you might be up for the challenge to tame the set of commands and systems related to the task, doing it is not easy. To help you start your career as a mercenary as smoothly as possible, we have listed eight beginner tips.
The tips you can find in this list have been chosen to facilitate the initial incursion into Armored Core 6. We have more practical ones, explaining what you should focus on doing in the first hours of the game, as well as more general ones, giving you some guidelines of how to approach the missions you need to complete in the game.
Practice makes perfect — and saves you money
If you’re a FromSoft diehard, you might plan on skipping the tutorials and jumping straight into Armored Core 6. But you shouldn’t. Training missions are great, and you gain a lot by doing them.
The training mode in Armored Core 6 is a good chance for you to familiarize yourself with all the commands related to piloting your mech. From dodging attacks to targeting multiple enemies with missiles, training mode gives you the bread-and-butter of controlling an armored core. In addition to this, the missions run you through some basic strategic concepts, such as scanning enemies to learn their position before engaging in combat.
By completing training missions, you also earn new pieces as well as weapons. Since modifying builds is not cheap, and you don’t have access to all the means to farm money, these free pieces are more than welcome.
There is merit in hiding
Zipping through the enemy lines with heavy artillery is part of the fantasy of mech games. But Armored Core 6 is not this type of game, and it punishes any careless action. That’s why you should first learn to use the environment to conceal your position before attacking enemies.
The levels in Armored Core 6 vary in terms of theme and design, but all of them are designed to give you more than one option when it comes to approaching enemies. Consider using the terrain to hide and find a good position. In case you have been spotted by the enemy, hide behind walls and buildings. Fights in Armored Core 6 are pretty intense, so finding a good hiding spot is vital to reassess the situation and come up with a new strategy.
Slicing enemies is cheaper than shooting them
Right off the bat, the game gives you a pulse blade, a weapon for melee combat with high damage output. Nothing is cooler in Armored Core 6 than flying toward your target and slicing it with a pulse blade. What you quickly learn, though, is that melee is a high-risk-high-reward playstyle. But, when mastered, it will save you money.
Using a pulse blade forces you to get closer to enemies, a difficult spot to be in a fight. However, most blades are capable of instantly destroying regular enemies, or causing a lot of damage to a boss. Depending on the situation, this trade-off is worth the risk.
By using melee attacks, you not only end enemies faster, but you’re also saving resources. Ammunition is limited and you might end up running out of bullets before completing the mission if you don’t manage your ammo correctly. So, to prevent this terrible scenario from happening, you can focus on finishing weaker enemies with melee attacks.
Invest in upgrading your repair kits
Dealing with damage taken during a mission is part of Armored Core 6’s unique challenge factor; having more potent repair kits will make your life easier. In every mission, you only have three repair kits. Their standard potency isn’t enough to fully heal you, though, forcing you to use more than one repair if you don’t want to take risks. The only way to replenish repair kits after using all of them is by either dying or receiving resources from Walter, the handler, which doesn’t happen often. So, the best option is to focus on upgrading the repair kits as soon as possible.
These upgrades are unlocked once you get access to the Arena, a mode where you face 1v1 fights against NPCs. By winning matches, you receive some good rewards, such as money, cosmetics, and OST Chips, which are the ones you need.
Alongside the Arena, the OS Tuning system also becomes available. Access the OS Tuning menu to spend your OST Chips on upgrades for your mech. Besides repair kit optimization, you find Core Expansions. These are items you equip in the Expansion section of your mech to get a special ability.
Fly your way out of trouble
In every mission you run in Armored Core 6, your main goal is to stay alive until the objective is concluded. Avoiding taking unnecessary damage is crucial. To efficiently prevent enemies from hitting your mech, you must use all the spatiality that the game offers.
One of the best strategies to defend yourself from the enemy’s attacks is to stay in the air and constantly move. All builds in the game have the capacity to jump into the air. Although the amount of time they can stay in the air is always limited, some builds can stay longer than others. In any case, by simply gliding briefly and changing position in the air, you become a harder target to hit.
This strategy is pretty basic but it takes some time for you to get used to how long your mech can stay in the air without having to check its fuel every five seconds. Even so, in general, you should avoid spending too much time on the ground, even if your build is less mobile due to weight.
The solution for a problem is usually right in front of you
The path of a pilot is not easy, and you might end up facing enemies that your current build seems incapable of dealing with. In Armored Core 6, to become attached to a build is to make your life extremely difficult, since it restricts the strategies you can try. Changing your build is not easy at the beginning of the game, so if you have no clue about what you need to change in your mech, pay attention to allies’ and enemies’ items.
During a couple of missions, you end up receiving assistance from other mercenaries. Because their presence is only meant to guide you, they usually won’t finish the mission for you. But you can take their loadout as a basis to change your own strategy. Pay attention to the type of missiles they use or how they position themselves, for example.
In other cases, even enemies might give you an idea of how to beat up a boss. Some missions throw at you a miniboss before the final confrontation. They aren’t necessarily easy, but usually minibosses are quite different from the final boss, so you usually fight enemies using weapons and strategies that can be useful further in the mission.
Read the signs to survive
While Armored Core 6 is a third-person game, you can find all the visual elements one would expect to see from the cockpit of a mech. The game’s HUD is much more than an aesthetic element to bring the fantasy of piloting giant robots to life. It’s also a crucial survival tool.
The HUD in Armored Core 6 assists in tracking everything happening around you. It doesn’t matter how tactical you want to be; many fights are usually extremely intense and hectic. Flying units pass overhead, while terrestrial ones send explosive laser beams in your direction. It’s a lot. But if you learn how to read the HUD, you’ll be fine.
The basic elements from Armored Core 6’s HUD that you should pay attention to are the bars around the target. They show not only if your missiles are ready to be launched or if it’s possible to deploy your shield. The central part shows you the enemy’s HP as well as their Staggering Bar. Now, in addition to these, the HUD comes with red alerts that are followed by sounds to warn you that an enemy is setting their target at you. By getting used to the sound and visual alerts, you can start aerial maneuvers to escape from the attack.
Be patient and observe
After spending some time with the game, you learn that getting attached to a build only makes things more difficult for you. So you start adapting. However, the path to victory in Rubicon is a mix of changing your build and learning your enemy’s moves.
While Armored Core 6 is no Dark Souls nor Elden Ring, the game does reward you for studying enemies and understanding their patterns. In Armored Core 6, your build is only a part of the solution. Once you find a build that seems to work on the fight you’re having trouble with, the next step is to practice. The process is quite frustrating initially but eventually the fight becomes easier due to how well you and your mech are prepared for the fight.
The first step is to learn what the enemy does and when. There are enemies with more than one phase, or that become more aggressive if they are close to you. By internalizing the patterns, your responses are quicker. After you memorize the fight and come up with a build that seems optimal for the encounter, finishing the fight will only depend on your reflexes. Good luck!