Two things can be true: I’m bad at Dark Souls games. I punch Armored Core 6.
To be honest, there were a few moments when I worried that my time with FromSoft’s new mech mayhem simulator would end up the way most of my Soulsborne experiences would end up: I put my weak reflexes to a “skill test” compared and without further ado moved on to something simpler.
In a fit of desperation, I tried a bold strategy that would unlock me Armored Core 6 and make almost every boss fight a breeze: I made the coolest thing there is.
It sounds simple, and yet its effectiveness is undeniable. I think the game wants – without saying it – to force that revelation. The two most difficult boss fights ever Armored Core 6The first few hours of the game (and presumably the entire game, except for the final boss) are the tutorial’s XXXL Helicopter and the already infamous Balteus, and both are easier to overcome if you have a similar “ADTCTP” (Always the coolest thing is possible) chooses ) approach.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco
Less a helicopter and more of a warship, the HC Helicopter fills most of your field of view. My initial strategy was to use the industrial complex that the chopper calls home as makeshift cover, dashing from one building to the next and firing cheap shots whenever the enemy gave me a chance. The strategy only drained the chopper’s health bar before the ship’s load of heavy weapons turned my air conditioner into a pile of embellished paperclips. Worse, it looked silly and wasn’t fun.
Then I remembered that my mech had a sword. Fighting a death machine almost ten times my size with a sword didn’t seem advisable to me, but also, for someone who’s watched a fair amount of anime, it was cool as hell. So I challenged a steel god to a melee duel and readers, I won.
I’m ashamed of how long it took me to approach the Balteus fight with the same mix of courage, exhaustion and sense of drama. After a few hours of testing new weapon combinations on The Embodiment of Frustration and being obliterated by a wall of dozens of missiles in the process, I tried the coolest thing there was. Whenever Balteus fired countless projectiles in my direction, I sped straight into the firestorm at full speed. Of course it worked. Of course, the rockets exploded right behind me. Of course the developers wanted me to try this all the time.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon
“Do the coolest thing possible” doesn’t always mean that you should “rush at anything bigger than you.” Sometimes it literally means putting missiles into a boss’s basketball hoop-shaped head. In other cases, “doing the coolest thing” means converting your mech into a slow-moving, impenetrable tank and patiently rolling down factory corridors, bringing sin and punishment upon all you meet.
Armored Core 6 is to me the most inviting of FromSoftware’s recent games. I think it’s because the creators see the obvious difference between this mecha fantasy and Soulsbornes’ masochistic passion. In AC, you’re not a frail human ready to die. You are the pilot of a mech with enough artillery to create your own nation. Don’t forget that and everything will be fine.