Armored Core Games You Should Try Before Fires of Rubicon

    They may be old, but they're still gold.

    Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is launching very soon and will likely be an exciting release for mech fans everywhere. However, this game will likely be many’s first exposure to the franchise. While Armored Core VI will probably be a great entry point for newcomers, that doesn’t mean the other games aren’t worth checking out. Many games in this series still hold up as memorable experiences. 

    If you want to get an idea of how much Armored Core differs from Soulsborne titles, the best way is to simply jump in and play them. For the best ways to play the Armored Core series, be sure to read that piece here. For this article, I will be going over specific games I recommend new fans play the most.

    Master of Arena

    Master of Arena Box Art

    If there’s only one Armored Core game on the original PlayStation you should check out, it’s Master of Arena. While this game allows players to carry over their save files from the previous two first-generation titles, it isn’t required. In many ways, Master of Arena features the best of what the early days of the franchise had to offer. 

    This title does contain fewer missions to complete than the first game but makes up for that with its variety of content. The game comes on two discs and features several different arenas for the player to conquer. While fewer in number, the missions of Master of Arena are memorable for the most part.

    With a simple but engaging story and one of the most iconic boss fights of the series, you can’t go wrong with Master of Arena. It does feel dated by today’s standards, but overall, it’s still great fun.

    Armored Core 2

    Armored Core 2 Box Art

    Not only is this the first title in the series on the PS2, but it’s also the first to take place on a planet other than Earth. In this game, people have begun colonizing Mars, but existence on the red planet isn’t exactly a peaceful one. The Earth’s government has very little power over the corporations residing there, leaving the window open to violent conflict. 

    While it can often be overlooked by new players, Armored Core 2 is still a worthwhile experience. It contains one of the most unique settings in the franchise and a somewhat memorable narrative. In fact, this game’s story ties in a bit with Master of Arena, but you don’t need to play it to understand what’s going on. 

    If you like that Fires of Rubicon takes place on a planet other than Earth, this game is your best bet. While the next game on this list would mostly improve upon everything introduced in this game, the Mars setting makes the game worthwhile. It isn’t very difficult either, so it should be a somewhat forgiving starting point for newcomers. 

    Armored Core 3

    PlayStation 2 Armored Core 3 Box Art

    With the beginning of the third generation, the series returns to Earth. However, this game acts as a full-on narrative reboot. The world of Armored Core 3 is not connected to the previous two generations and is basically a reimagining of the first game in the series. Humanity is stuck living underground and follows the command of an AI aptly named “The Controller”. 

    This game is likely the best place to jump in if you wish to experience how this series used to play. It refines the classic Armored Core experience by attempting to improve on everything the series did well before with some nice quality-of-life changes. The story isn’t anything groundbreaking, but if you pay close enough attention, you will notice some of the great world-building that FromSoftware is famous for. 

    Armored Core 3 is an easy recommendation for anyone new to the series. I believe it’s the best place to start until Fires of Rubicon releases. It’s a great representation of what the series is all about and it isn’t very difficult either. That’s not to say there is no challenge, but it’s a game that will allow you to learn well. 

    Silent Line

    Silent Line Box Art

    There isn’t too much to say about this one. Silent Line acts as a standalone expansion to Armored Core 3 and is pretty much the epitome of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. If you liked the previous game, this one gives you more of it, and that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a must-play. 

    Silent Line adds a lot more parts to play around with, making mech customization even better than before. There’s also a healthy amount of missions to choose from, many of them being tougher than what came before. It presents an overall satisfying package that’s hard to beat. It very well may be the best PS2 title in the series. 

    For Answer

    Armored Core: For Answer official art

    Do you like piloting mechs at ridiculously fast speeds? For Answer is the game for you. Acting as a sequel to Armored Core 4, For Answer is easily the best out of the two fourth-generation games. For Answer is a good entry point to the series thanks to its modern control scheme, action-packed gameplay, and intriguing story. 

    Players pilot advanced mechs known as NEXTs, which have some pretty extreme abilities. While you do visit many huge, barren landscapes, smaller environments wouldn’t be able to contain the sheer velocity of these machines. There’s a sense of scale here that hasn’t been able to be captured in previous games, likely due to technical limitations. 

    While the game is a narrative sequel to Armored Core 4, you should be fine playing this game by itself. For Answer is widely considered to be one of the best games in the series, as long as you can tolerate how fast it is. While Fires of Rubicon will not be as fast as this game, it does seem to take some significant gameplay inspiration from it, so this game may be worth your time. 

    The One Armored Core Game You Shouldn’t Play Just Yet

    Last Raven Box Art

    If you’re new to the series, be sure to steer clear of Armored Core: Last Raven. This is not because it’s a bad game by any means. The problem with Last Raven is that it is so incredibly difficult. It fully expects that you are very familiar with the mechanics of old Armored Core games and will not forgive you if you go in without prior exposure to the series. 

    If you want to play one of the most difficult FromSoftware games ever made, Last Raven is a great choice. It pushes fans of the series to their limits, as every part of your build matters. If you’re not constantly paying attention to what you are equipping, you’re going to have a very miserable time. It’s a superb challenge for established fans of the series, but you’ll likely want to play a few games in the series before tackling this one. 

    If you need some tips on how to become a better pilot, be sure to check our guide on that.  Otherwise, these games (other than Last Raven, of course) are a great place to start if you wish to experience more of the series. Be sure to keep an eye on Final Weapon for more coverage on Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon!

    Itch has a strong passion for PC gaming and retro consoles (especially the Dreamcast). From Melty Blood: Actress Again to Forza Horizon, he will play just about anything that catches his eye. Ever since playing Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit as a young child, he has been in love with the medium of video games and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

    Latest articles

    Related articles