Armored Core 6 recently came out, receiving a positive reception. Naturally, I was among those who played it on its release day, and as I did so, an interesting feeling of familiarity washed over me. It wasn’t long until I realized which connection I was making: Armored Core 6’s story is a lot like Brigador’s.
On the surface, there are many obvious similarities, like how you play as a mercenary who drives a bipedal death machine, but slightly below that, there are shared ideas about being a contract killer and what these messed up individuals do to rationalize such a violent state of living. These rationales range from being down on their luck, resorting to violence out of desperation, to enjoying it unashamedly. The most interesting characters come in the middle of that spectrum. Also, there are snippets of information throughout both games that allude to the immorality of the player character’s position.
But What About the Contrast?
But where it becomes more interesting is in the contrast. If you look at both games, you wouldn’t necessarily say that they are similar. And they’re not, in basically every way, except for a few broad mechanical strokes. So, the fact that they resonated with me in similar ways is interesting.
This may have to do with the general gameplay loop, mainly that you go around a level and fight a plethora of enemies, all of which have a more sympathetic position than your own as the character (arguably). So, there are some similarities on more than just the story level.
But what I want to focus on here is the contrast. We’ll address each separately.
A Closer Look at Armored Core 6
Starting with Armored Core 6, the first obvious difference is that the game is 3D and controlled from a typical third-person shooter perspective. Additionally, you have a dash, jump, and a long-range rocket boost. Many of the levels are wastelands. And in the tradition of FromSoftware games, there is usually a boss coming up.
Both games are hard, but Armored Core 6 is hard in a hair-trigger sense, meaning that your reactions matter. Taking advantage of the movement options is a large part of the game as well, like how you take far less damage while flying in the air.
The way you recover story bits is through wreckages in the level, another difference from Brigador. Usually, this gives you info from the perspective of the wreck.
With Brigador, your movement options are far more limited, relying instead on stealth and choosing your engagements wisely. The difficulty ramps up as you progress, so this principle becomes increasingly important.
The levels are often vibrant cityscapes with a deliberately ugly cyberpunk tinge, but there are many other types as well. And there are no bosses in Brigador really, just larger and tougher enemies.
A few factors determine the difficulty in Brigador. Mainly your mech and pilot choice. The pilot is essentially a difficulty modifier with some lore attached to it, while the mech has tangible differences depending on what you choose. Speed, toughness, weapon mounts, etc.
And as far as the story goes, the lore is recovered by paying for it. Not literally with real life money, but with the money you earn from doing missions, a sound thematic choice for an ultimately cyberpunk game. This doesn’t just go for the direct story bits either. Everything you purchase in the game has a bit of the setting’s history attached to it.
A bonus similarity is the music in both games; don’t sleep on either.
So, What’s the Point of this Comparison?
By showing you these differences, I hope to grow your appreciation for how a shared premise can be taken in wildly different directions. Just by looking at the images above, you can tell that the differences are large, and that’s the point.
You may be able to tell that I am a bit biased towards the side of Brigador as well, since it despairs me that it didn’t get much attention on release, even among other indie games. Armored Core 6 has the obvious advantage of being made by a large studio. So, if you are going to try either of these, I am going to recommend Brigador first.
But the thing is, both of the games are amazing achievements, and the similarities might ultimately be coincidental. So, pick what you want, and your experience will be worthwhile either way.