Armored Core 6: How to beat the Smart Cleaner boss

 Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6

One of the most notable bosses you'll face in Chapter 2 of Armored Core 6 is the Smart Cleaner, an autonomous demolition mech controlled by the Dosers of Grid 086. In order to "convince" this faction to allow passage through their territory, you'll need to destroy this hulking monster of a machine. Doing so can be pretty tough, though, especially since it hits like an absolute truck and is almost completely covered in thick armor.

Having a hard time sweeping away the Smart Cleaner? We're here to help with some valuable information and suggestions. This includes everything you need to know about its attacks and behavior, where you'll need to hit it in order to effectively deal damage, a look at the type of Armored Core build we used to take it down, and more.

Armored Core 6 Smart Cleaner: Best build, weapons, and loadout

Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6

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The Smart Cleaner has a ton of health and can only be damaged by hitting the weak spots on its front or the exhaust port on its top. However, its attacks, while hard-hitting, are highly telegraphed and very easy to dodge compared to what most other bosses will throw at you.

Because of this, we recommend optimizing your mech for damage over agility. The best way to do this is to put together a heavyweight Armored Core that can support lots of heavy weapons. Ideally, you'll want to give it reverse-jointed legs that make it very easy to get back into the air to hover after recharging your EN, or tetrapod legs that allow you to hover for very long periods of time. For weapons, go with precise and heavy-hitting ones such as burst rifles and bazookas in the hand slots, and grenade launchers or energy cannons in the shoulder slots. You'd also do well with missile launchers, too.

Pulse Armor is generally our preferred Expansion ability, and it works well in this fight, too. With it, you can create an energy shield that absorbs incoming damage until it breaks. You'll likely take several glancing blows in this battle due to the nature of the Smart Cleaner's attacks, and this shield helps ensure that those bits of damage don't whittle your health down.

Armored Core 6: How to beat the Smart Cleaner

Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6

The fight with the Smart Cleaner is a fairly simple one, but it requires some careful positioning. Here's a full overview of your duel with it.

  • The Smart Cleaner begins the fight by immediately trying to ram you; quickly fly up into the air to avoid this. Reverse-jointed legs make this very easy to do since they allow you to leap into the air before your hovering starts.

  • The small red opening on the front of the Smart Cleaner and the exhaust port on top of it are its weak points. To do any damage in this fight, you'll need to hit these spots precisely.

  • We recommend focusing on the exhaust port, as nearly all of the Smart Cleaner's attacks can be avoided by going airborne anyway. Only damage the frontal opening when you have to land to regain your EN.

  • The boss primarily attacks by attempting to swipe at and punch you with its massive red-hot grinders. Go directly upwards with your hover to dodge these moves.

  • Clipping these grinders will deal some chip damage to you, so avoid going near them. Again, staying above the boss is key in this fight.

  • Don't hover directly over the exhaust, however, as the boss will periodically shoot molten rocks out of it. This attack is easy to avoid if you're looking down at the Smart Cleaner from an angle, but impossible to if you're right over it.

  • Unload your arsenal into the exhaust to stagger the boss and deal tons of damage. Try to keep your burst rifle fully loaded before attacking this weak point so you don't have to reload until after you move away to get your EN back.

Armored Core 6
Armored Core 6
  • At around 70% health, the Smart Cleaner will get more aggressive and gain a new attack, signaling the start of phase two. In this phase, the boss tries to ram you more frequently and moves around more.

  • The boss will now occasionally extend its grinders outward and spin them, spraying molten rock everywhere. It's best to simply back away from the boss when it uses this attack, as it's too risky to go for damage while it's being used.

  • Beyond this, the fight mostly plays out the same way, so continue to stay airborne and hammer the exhaust port as much as you can. Make sure you prioritize doing damage when the Smart Cleaner is staggered, as it's helpless and can't fight back in that state.

Keep pounding those weak spots with your heavy weapons, and you'll take down the Smart Cleaner without much trouble. Ultimately, this fight is more about patience than anything else, as its health pool is massive and there are times in the fight where you simply have to wait until you can find a good opening. As long as you're careful and don't get reckless, you'll be fine.

By defeating the Smart Cleaner, you've won over "Cinder" Carla and have her RaD arms dealing Dosers as allies. After doing her a favor in the next mission, you'll have her support and guidance as you attempt to cross the Alean Ocean with the cargo launcher on the edge of her territory.

Armored Core 6 is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, PS5, and PS4. It's one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of 2023, and we can't recommend it enough.

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The long-awaited reboot of FromSoftware's mecha action series is finally here, and it's an absolute triumph. Between its exhilarating combat systems, intriguing story, and excellent presentation, Armored Core 6 is undoubtedly one of the best games of the year.

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