13 things I wish I knew before I started

I loved Armored Core VI. I’ve also died by the ton. A few boss fights lasted several nights. But in my 45 hours with the game I’ve learned a lot and now things aren’t as brutal.

As a mech action game Armored Core VI is all about customizing your robot to complete the mission ahead. Skill can only take you so far. If you don’t have the right tools for the job, you’re going to have a bad time. Fortunately, Armored Core VI is one of the more accessible entries in FromSoftware’s long-running sci-fi series, and there are plenty of ways to set yourself apart from the competition and survive even the toughest encounters. Here’s what I’ve learned through much trial and error, and through silent cursing of the Rubicon gods.

Save your game before exiting

This seems obvious, however Armored Core VI has a strange limbo on autosave. The game saves after completing a mission, but not when you tinker with it Armored Core a heap and then out again. The only way to save manually is to exit the game and return to the main menu. If you don’t do this before turning it off, a pop-up message will notify you the next time you play.

Always be on the move

screenshot: Kotaku / FromSoftware

Dashing from side to side is the best way to dodge most enemy attacks, but boosting is also the only way to rev up your engines so you slide across the ground instead of running. This robot jet ski mode is the best way to navigate the battlefield.

fly you fool

It’s easy to commit to lateral movement at first, but some attacks can only be avoided by jumping in the air and hovering over an enemy. If you’re having a hard time dodging a boss’s attack by jumping left or right, it’s probably because you have to jump all over them.

fire free

With a few exceptions like certain rocket launchers and melee attacks, you can fire any weapon you have equipped at the same time. If you don’t fire as soon as the enemy is in range and the guns are reloaded, you’re wasting valuable time where you could do damage. Instead of firing one at a time, rest your index and middle fingers on the buffers and triggers and start firing all at once.

Stagger your enemy whenever possible

screenshot: Kotaku / FromSoftware

One of the new additions to Armored Core VI is a stagger system, similar to the poise meter that exists Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and other Soulsborne games. If you break it, the enemy will be stunned for a short time and you can deal critical hit damage. Kinetic weapons are particularly good at this, including high-impact rockets. While it can sometimes be useful to slowly build up the stagger meter over time, you can also break through it instantly if you use the right gear and land all the weapons you hit at once. Exploiting this is key to winning certain tough boss fights.

Aim Lock is super helpful until it’s not

Armored Core VI also gives you the ability to press R3 and engage your opponent. The camera stays on them as long as they’re in sight, making it easy to keep the distance between you and them and target your attacks. However, some weapons can actually aim more effectively when you’re not fixated on them, and occasionally you’ll want to cancel to avoid an extra-wide area-of-effect attack. Ideally, you’d be constantly switching between targeting and non-targeting to maximize these benefits.

Find out your enemy’s weakness

Some bosses are particularly weak against energy weapons. Others easily stagger with kinetic models. Your loadout is determined by the same stat trade-offs as any other armored core, and finding out what those are and targeting those weaknesses will make your life a lot easier. The best way to do this is to simply try out different weapons and see how they affect the boss’s health and stagger bars. Good field research is half the battle.

Don’t skip leg day

A screenshot shows different leg options.

screenshot: Kotaku / FromSoftware

The legs are the most important part of your armored core. They have the most impact on strategy and playstyle, so you should prioritize unlocking at least one archetype. The main ones are armored kicks, double-jointed bipeds, and levitating quadrupeds. The double-jointed legs allow you to jump much faster and much higher. Tank profiles are very strong and super fast. And four-legged friends give you an extra boost so you can float in the air without burning up your energy reserves as quickly.

First, buy different weapons

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screenshot: Kotaku / FromSoftware

Compared to the amount of stuff you can buy, money is tight early on and you don’t want to waste it all on similar versions of the same stuff. Try to have at least one kinetic and one energy weapon for each arm and shoulder. Melee weapons can only be held on the left side, so initially I would prioritize weapons for the other slots as well, as these beam swords are useful in many different types of combat. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a set of MA-J-200 Ransetsu-RF Burst Rifles and Vcc-70VPM Plasma Rocket Launchers. They’re a great combo and easy to use in most encounters.

Treat yourself to a good booster and generator

While each Armored Core part comes with its own set of trade-offs, some cost a lot more than others because they represent good value in that part class. The VP-20C generator offers a great mix of total energy capacity, recovery and recharge, while the FLUEGEL/21Z offers a great mix of thrust and fast boost speed. I also drove the Night Heron/40E Core a lot in the first few hours of the game.

Use the contextual help option to turn on statistic descriptions

A screenshot shows a list of stats in the assembly menu.

screenshot: Kotaku / FromSoftware

The Gathering menu is full of dozens of named stats that aren’t always immediately clear on what they do. Luckily, you can always turn on “Context Help” to learn exactly what each table number does and why you might want to invest in them.

Try everything

There are over a hundred pieces and thousands of different combinations to play around with Armored Core VI. My instinct was to find a build I liked and then stick with it as much as possible. This is exactly the wrong way to play this game. Instead, try to always expand your inventory with weapons and equipment that are completely different from what you already have, and then combine them to see how that changes your possibilities in missions. I’ve beaten several boss fights simply by trying a completely random build.

Max out your arena rank

An arena entrance shows Milk Tooth preparing for battle.

screenshot: Kotaku / FromSoftware

Each chapter unlocks additional arena matches. Here you compete in a simulation against individual enemy tank cores. Not only do you earn extra credits, but you also unlock chips that allow you to continuously boost defense and damage stats, regardless of your loadout. The battles are also pretty basic compared to some others in the game.

Curtis Crabtree

Curtis Crabtree is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Curtis Crabtree joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: curtiscrabtree@24ssports.com.

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