Armored Core 6’s big doofus boss will make you feel like a mech god

Armored Core 6: Fire of the Rubicon is peppered with hard difficulty levels, from the early mission helicopter AH12 HC to the heavily shielded HA-T-102 Juggernaut. Then, of course, there’s Balteus, the mech that will put a quick end to players’ mercenary aspirations. FromSoftware also gives Armored Core 6 Players get their share of relatively easy, straightforward missions that pit mercenaries to mow down inferior machines.

None of these simple steps are as satisfying or as liberating as EC-0804 Smart Cleaner, a big dumb piece of heavy machinery that loves to eat bullets. It’s one of the best boss fights ever Armored Core 6because it’s such a weakling.

[Ed. note: This story contains minor spoilers about an early game boss battle.]

The battle against the Smart Cleaner boss takes place almost immediately after the players defeat Balteus. As players infiltrate Grid 086, “Cinder” Carla and her team of RaD pilots offer little resistance. The only thing to worry about in this mission is really whether you have enough ammo to complete the level. After Carla surrenders and lets you, the “Tourist”, into the facility she controls, she throws the old Smart Cleaner at you. It’s a dirty trick, but also where Armored Core 6 so you can have some fun again.

bear hug!

Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

EC-0804 Smart Cleaner is a significant evolution of Balteus, the fast, missile-slinging mech with a shield that blocks most ordnance you throw at it. The Smart Cleaner is a chunky tank equipped with two incandescent, metal-crushing arms and a large melting bucket. Each of Smart Cleaner’s attacks is heavily signalled, easy to stagger, and has a large, glowing mouth hole at the very front for you to toss bullets, explosives, and plasma fire. (Alternatively, you can just dunk all your ammo in the bucket! Dive in, Smart Cleaner!) Sometimes you have to jump to dodge the bear hug attacks. Oh no. So hard.

FromSoft rarely offers this type of difficulty spike dessert to the players of its games. Rather, the developer tends to reward players who defeat a challenging boss, either by reviving them with a second full health bar or by pairing them up with another tough boss. The purpose of Smart Cleaner is to lower your blood pressure and adrenaline levels. It’s a chance to feel like a really tough guy after Balteus repeatedly gave you ass.

How many Armored Core 6, Smart Cleaner is a welcome change from FromSoftware’s design playbook. It’s a pleasant surprise from the creators of Dark Souls, this time for himself Shortage the challenge.

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Christopher Hill

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