I’ve spent an excessive amount of time musing over the logistics of how one would pilot a mecha: the right way to upscale the automated technique of human motion, translating the locomotor system into the naked minimal configuration of buttons, joysticks, and throttles. Armored Core 6 has completely upended my considering on this essential topic and the hyper superior cockpit tech I as soon as imagined.
Now I feel Armored Core’s pilots are most likely simply utilizing keyboard and mouse.
I grew to become satisfied of the prevalence of Armored Core 6’s KB+M controls throughout a marketing campaign mission just a few hours in, once I made first contact with the Planetary Closure Administration. Deftly evading streams of missiles and sweeping laser beams by fast boosting with the shift key, flicking the mouse to scorching swap between targets with a precision that channeled mecha’s best ace pilots, and punctiliously pacing out my barrage of ranged assaults, all certain to mouse buttons…
I used to be on some psycho-frame shit, sync price ∞, changing into one with the controls in a manner that I so not often do with videogames.
There is a meme within the Japanese Armored Core neighborhood about how the perfect approach to maintain the controller is backwards, all of your digits awkwardly spiderwebbed throughout the face of the pad. At the same time as a joke, the advantages are exhausting to brush off—in prior Armored Core video games, you’d must carry your thumb off the suitable stick or face buttons to succeed in the opposite, dropping valuable milliseconds that begin to add up within the greater bracket of enviornment matches.
Armored Core 6’s controller presets all have some type of tradeoff too: mounting your weapon inputs to the triggers and shoulder buttons leaves leaping and fast boosting remoted on the A and B buttons, and transferring these to the shoulder buttons renders coordinated bombardment with shoulder weapons awkward and tough to tempo.
I discovered that Armored Core 6’s demand that gamers develop a mastery of each motion and assault pacing makes the mouse and keyboard a pure match. For me, all of it got here right down to having all of my assault inputs on the mouse, letting me freely soar, fast increase, circle strafe, and shoot concurrently. Enjoying on a controller, I would be restricted to 2, possibly three concurrent actions.
Leaping between and on prime of buildings, chaining evasive dodges into assault boosts, and following by with an earth-rending drop kick feels nice, too. Having the ability to simply management your mecha’s dealing with with a mouse permits for extra exact motion.
Here is a battle in opposition to two robust ACs that notably highlights controlling the digicam with a mouse.
There is a steadiness From Software program has struck with motion in Armored Core 6 that is an enormous a part of why it feels so good to manage—your AC has momentum, sure, however that momentum might be canceled, immediately reversed by the firing of thrusters that activate with this crushing, air sucking thwump, veering your mecha onto a brand new trajectory with a heft that evokes a freight prepare switching tracks at breakneck tempo. You skate throughout the bottom Armored Trooper VOTOMS-style, kicking up a shrieking inferno of sparks and shrapnel. Adjusting your course in a single route has your AC lean into the flip prefer it’s on curler skates, igniting peripheral thrusters on the other aspect to heave the metal behemoth.
All these visible results make the motion of your individual AC immediately readable within the fevered pitch of battle.
There’s some depth from earlier Armored Core video games misplaced on this replace with the axing of the “flip pace” stat, which signifies that your AC will at all times rotate to face the route of your mouse cursor on the identical lightning fast pace. This compromise does imply that your AC loses a little bit of heft, and may, at occasions, really feel a bit extra like a character and fewer like a warfare machine, however after operating by NG & NG+, I am satisfied the elevated responsiveness is effectively value it.
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One management subject I would wish to see patched in is the power to activate core expansions with a single enter, somewhat than the awkward pinky & index finger cramping default “CTRL+R”. Whereas each keys might be rebound, there is not any approach to bind them to a singular key press. This limitation is according to From’s earlier PC releases, and there is nonetheless no choice to bind one command to a number of key choices. Static enter project for maintain features have been an annoying fixture of Elden Ring’s controls, they usually’re much more annoying in a sport that feels prefer it’s only a few tiny tweaks away from absolutely thriving on KB+M. Whereas Elden Ring was playable with mouse and keyboard, Armored Core 6 is the developer’s first sport to really feel really pure on PC.
All of it got here collectively in a second of unadulterated bliss when the PCA Suppression Ship swung again round for a second move, my ammo and restore kits all however exhausted. My fingers fluttered throughout my keyboard, purging the empty rifle and bottomed out missile pod to get extra pace and extra thrust, empowering me to overboost onto the deck of the charging battleship earlier than it might fan out its community of level protection drones. Touching down and skating throughout the highest deck between anti-air craft weapons like slalom flags to gore a metal rod by the bridge felt so elegant and pure that it was like I had finished it 100 occasions earlier than.
I am unconvinced that I might have pulled this off chained to the tyrannical yoke of a gamepad—a breakthrough for a FromSoftware PC launch, alongside that 120 fps choice and ultrawide monitor assist. It is now exhausting to think about taking part in Armored Core another manner.