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Armored Core 6: How to Beat the First Boss: PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter

The first boss of Armoed Core 6, the PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter, is your first real test. Here's how to beat it.

Beating the first boss of Armored Core 6, the PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter, is a true trial by fire. While it doesn’t have many attacks nor much health, you also aren’t likely to have the skills or game knowledge to fight it efficiently. The game even gives you tutorials to help with the fight after you beat it, which is a bit silly. Thankfully, this boss isn’t too hard to beat, even with the basic kit you start with. We’ll go over the strategies you need to beat the PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter easily.

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How to Beat the PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter in Armored Core 6

The first and most important part of beating the PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter is to always be on the move. I’m not going to go through a full attacks section in this guide, as the boss only has three:

  • A constant barrage of bullets.
  • Four sets of four missiles.
  • Two groups of three high-powered rockets.

Avoiding all three of these attacks comes down to always staying on the move, preferably in a strafe parallel to where the helicopter is.

As long as you can keep moving in a rough circle directly facing the PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter, you can avoid most of the damage it puts out from reaching you. The one exception are the rockets. You’ll hear several beeps and see two red squares on your HUD at the base of the helicopter, followed shortly by the salvo. You need to Quick Boost (the dodge in Armored Core 6) forward, particularly while boosting in the air, to avoid them. They have a lingering hitbox, so being anywhere close to their explosion will still see you damaged.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

I also recommend starting the fight by overboosting up to the boss and hitting it twice with your melee attack. That will put its stagger meter at about 85%. You can spend the next twenty seconds or so shooting it with both your missiles and primary weapon to put it into full stagger. By then, your melee will have recharged, and you can hit it twice again.

Whenever your melee is on cooldown, keep the pressure on the helicopter. Practice keeping it in the center of your screen and boosting around to do so. Learn your Repair Kit timings as well (something I’m still working on), as you can’t be taking any other actions while healing. And don’t worry about taking damage. It’s next to impossible to play Armored Core 6 and not take some. The game is less about avoiding damage entirely than keeping the damage you do take to a minimum. Whether you do that through a shield or your mobility will come down to how you play.

Regardless of any of the above, know that what you learn fighting the PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter will carry you through the rest of the game. The fight is a test of the fundamentals. There are no special mechanics, no tricks or gimmicks, no particular strategies at play. Dodge, do damage, make intelligent use of stagger, repeat. Those are the core combat strategies in Armored Core 6, and once you learn them, you can beat the first boss with ease.

That’s all you need to know about how to beat the first boss in Armored Core 6, the PCA Heavy Combat Helicopter. For more Armored Core 6 tips and strategies, check out our AC6 guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.