Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon launched on August 25, and people loved it. If you haven’t tried it yet, you know you can look forward to exciting, explosive combat, great graphics, and the thrill of building your very own mech to earn some business cash. But can you take it with you on the go?
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After almost 30 hours of sinking Armored Core VI All the way on the Steam Deck, on trains, buses, in the park and at the local bar (where people don’t stop asking me questions about what I do) I’m happy to say that Armored Core VI is an awesome, powerful, and immersive experience on the Steam Deck. Since the buttons on the back of the mini PC are typical, I really don’t want to play it on any other device.
But before you head over to Steam to grab a deck and a copy of the latest version of FromSoft, there are a few things to consider. You may have noticed that the game is currently only rated as Playable on the Steam store, and there are a couple of good reasons for that. But overall, expect a great season AC6 on the deck.
Why not Armored Core VI “Verified” on Steam Deck?
There are official and unofficial reasons Armored Core VI Rightly deserves only Playable status on Steam Deck. Unfortunately, the latest version of FromSoft does not offer the possibility to scale the text of the game. And while you’ll probably spend most of your time blowing up crap with your powerful assault vehicle, the in-game menu and text are a bit too small to provide a perfect experience on Valve’s handheld device.
The “unofficial” reason for this AC6 The issue that should be considered “playable” rather than “verified” is that something strange is happening with the controls. I noticed and others too. Users on Reddit have reported that something odd happens when you try to customize the controls to your liking in the usual “Gamepad” submenu of the deck’s controls customization options.
Actually, my first moments with AC6 With “on Deck” I got frustrated trying to get the game to recognize custom control settings. While the game worked on first launch, a quick change I made to the bindings controls resulted in the game not recognizing anything at all unless I plugged in a keyboard and mouse. I reset the controls to the defaults, and then the menus seemed to work again… until suddenly they didn’t.
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The solution? Set the game to use FromSoftware’s official Steam Deck controls. FromSoft’s official Steam deck controls are reasonable, mapping the jump, boost, and dodge buttons to the buttons on the back. I’d make a tweak or two elsewhere, but given the game’s unpredictable control oddities, I had no desire to fiddle with it any further. Now they are good enough.
AC6 Steam Deck Performance: Solid 30 fps, more if you sacrifice battery
Just like your armored core, the Steam Deck only has enough energy to fuel your violent rampages through Rubicon, and Armored Core VI is a power hungry beast. I was able to enjoy about an hour and a half of action before needing to recharge.
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If you are planning to travel with Armored Core VIMake sure you have access to electricity if you’re watching a time span longer than 90 minutes.
However, those 90 minutes will be filled with excellence. You have the best time when you are satisfied with a largely stable 30 frames per second. You might not even need to adjust any settings to achieve this. AC6 Pretty powerful graphics options are available by default, but if you’re willing to get under the hood a bit, you can boost the game to around 40 fps most of the time.
Armored Core VI Graphics settings you should adjust
Let’s start with the resolution. In AC6 The Steam Deck’s max resolution of 1280×800 doesn’t put too much strain on the system. I prefer playing it there for optimal graphics (especially given the small text), but you can also downscale it to a 16 :9 aspect ratio of 1280 x 720 or a 16:10 aspect ratio of 1152 x 720.
This lower resolution allows you to be a little more generous with the graphics options, but the result is a softer image that may not be to your liking.
In my time tweaking the settings, I was able to achieve the following Armored Core VI runs between 30 and 45fps. In some low complexity sequences, 50 may be reached and 60 missed. It’s moments when enemies appear on screen where the game sometimes falls the furthest, but during the action the game maintains a respectable framerate and is consistent bloodbath despite all the explosions and mechanics.
Here are the settings I more or less settled on.
- Texture Quality: Medium
- Antialiasing: High
- SSAO: Medium
- Depth of field: Low
- Motion Blur: Out of
- shadow quality: Medium
- Light quality: Medium
- Effect quality: Medium
- Volumetric fog quality: Medium
- Reflection quality: High
- Water surface quality: High
- Shader quality: Medium
- Raytracing quality: off (of course)
While my testing involved setting the deck’s refresh rate at 40, 45, and 50, I ended up leaving it open at the default 60Hz setting. And I’ve been messing with locking the game to 30fps internally, but felt like I was missing out on some smoother action. With these settings, the game was performing so well that my only performance concerns are how well I’m doing in the game (I die a lot).
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I’ll admit that reducing a few options could get a little more power here, and on the other hand you could maybe increase a few for a nicer game, but be aware that you’re getting closer and closer to one come 30fps experience, maybe less, with every graphic finesse you try.
Despite this, the game looks wonderful and clear on Steam Deck. Nothing seems blurry or compromised when crammed into this tiny form factor.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon makes for an excellent experience on Steam Deck. Despite the small amount of text and some subtleties in the customization of the controls, it feels natural. So far I have no desire to play it on any other platform, apart from maybe wanting to see how it looks on my 4K PC.