FromSoftware released ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON on August 25 for PC (Steam), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. This latest installment is the first new game in the series in almost 10 years, and players worldwide are eagerly jumping into the experience. But among these players are many who have had a tough time dealing with the boss that you must battle shortly after beginning the game.
Please note that this article discusses the tutorial (first mission) of the game and includes various in-game screenshots.
Armored Core VI is the latest game in the mecha-action series. The game is set on the frontier planet of Rubicon, where a mysterious new substance known as Coral was previously discovered. The hope was that Coral could be utilized as a vital energy source for humanity, but the substance instead caused a catastrophe known as the Fires of Ibis, which engulfed the planet and the surrounding stars in flames. Almost half a century later, the planet is now sealed off and under strict surveillance, and the lives of those who survived the catastrophe hang in a precarious balance. Players take control of Augmented Human C4-621, who has undergone enhancements to boost their piloting skills, and join the fray using combat mechs known as Armored Cores.
The game allows you to construct your own Armored Core by freely customizing its parts and maintains the series’ satisfying feeling of clearing missions with your beloved machine. In addition, the grim atmosphere of the world and story is another aspect that has captured the attention of fans.
It hasn’t been very long since the game was released, but already social media has been abuzz with posts sharing a common opinion: “the boss you fight right after starting the game is way too strong.” On Japanese X/Twitter, the terms “Tutorial helicopter” and “First boss” have begun trending. Players who are lamenting being thrust into a rough battle right after starting the game have been popping up in droves.
After its opening cutscenes, Armored Core VI starts with a tutorial mission. It teaches you the basic controls, with several simple battles interspersed throughout. When you get to the end, however, things take a sudden turn. The menacing AH12 HC Helicopter, which you catch a glimpse of mid-way through the mission, stands in your way as the game’s first boss. And this boss packs quite a punch for one found in a tutorial.
The heavy combat helicopter mercilessly showers rookie pilots with a barrage of missiles that boast a wide blast radius and sweeping machine gun fire that is tough to avoid. To make matters worse, getting hit by these attacks can cause the new Attitude Control System to become overloaded, which results in the player being staggered and left open to a large helping of additional damage. The fact that the boss is a helicopter means that it is always positioned overhead, making it more difficult to fight. Furthermore, at the point you face this boss, it is not yet possible to customize your mech with the Assembly system. This means that you can’t adjust your parts or weaponry to better deal with the boss and must defeat it using only your initial mech and your piloting ability.
Many on social media have mentioned getting beaten up by this boss soon after starting the game. Some players also began to harbor doubts as to whether they will be able to finish the game, considering such strong opponents are already popping up in the tutorial. What’s interesting is that even some series veterans were among those having a tough time of it. This could be due to factors like the 10-year gap since the last Armored Core game or the implementation of the new stagger system. No matter the case, it’s clear that the tutorial helicopter is causing trouble for both newcomers and veterans alike.
Of course, Armored Core is a series that has traditionally been known for being difficult. But the first tutorial missions placed an emphasis on teaching players the controls and could be said to be relatively easy. At the very least, there were no bosses that forced players to gaze upon the game over screen time and time again.
On the other hand, having a powerful boss show up at the beginning of Armored Core VI could be a reflection of the developers’ design philosophy. The game’s initial director was Hidetaka Miyazaki, the lead creator behind FromSoftware’s biggest titles, like Elden Ring and the Dark Souls series. The director position was later taken over by Masaru Yamamura, who was the lead game designer on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
When you consider the fact that the core staff who are developing Armored Core VI are best known for creating the Soulslike titles, there’s certainly the possibility that they decided to take a different approach to difficulty than has been seen previously in the Armored Core series. Having said that, during an interview with IGN last December, Miyazaki noted, “The essential direction of [Armored Core VI] was to go back and take a good look at the core concept of Armored Core and what made that series special.” It appears that they have tried to adopt a new approach and implement new systems while still preserving the aspects that are at the heart of the Armored Core experience.
Armored Core VI also uses a checkpoint system, and there is a checkpoint placed right before the tutorial boss, so you can continue as many times as necessary. There are very few downsides to using the Continue option, so it’s easy to immerse yourself in the fight against the boss while you use trial and error to find a strategy that works for you. In addition to the many social media posts about the fight’s difficulty, there are also posts from players describing the enjoyment of using trial and error to find a good strategy, as well as the sense of accomplishment felt when they were finally victorious.
As the first new Armored Core game in almost 10 years, Armored Core VI has immediately made a splash thanks to its tough yet engaging gameplay. Those who have overcome the first major hurdle in the game have also been seen sharing advice on social media, so those players who are losing motivation might want to take a look at some tips.
Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-08-25 09:15 JST)