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The concept of a robot soldier is nothing new. However, the world of Remnant provides an interesting environment for the Atlesian Knight-200. Having to compete with both human soldiers and Huntresses, how does the AK-200 stand up to the task of defending humanity from the Grimm? With tensions running high, will they make much of an impact should conflict break out? As per my tradition of overthinking the simplest of aspects in this show, let's have a look at the design of this battle bot.
For starters, the humanoid form is absolutely terrible for combat. Anything and everything worth putting a hole in is presented front and center to any potential attackers. Armoring is pretty difficult too. Since a large surface area is presented as a target, more armor is needed to cover everything. Humans put up with it because we can't change our shape (yet), but robots can easily be redesigned to present a smaller cross section to the enemy. Since less armor is needed elsewhere, more armor can be put up front.
Example: this tank is low to the ground, presenting a smaller target to the front, allowing the armor to be focused there to provide maximum protection
One could argue this argument is void, since the Grimm don't use guns like people do, but a humanoid design still sucks. Two legs are far less stable than four. You can easily demonstrate this for yourself! Find a crawling baby and a small walking toddler, and see which is easier to push over!
On second thought, maybe you should ask a friend to help you test this out instead.
Regardless of your preferred method of stability testing, the AK-200 can easily be knocked over by a charging Grimm, and the ground is the last place you want your fancy battle bot.
Well, okay, that's not exactly true. You don't want your robot on the ground if it is meant to stand up. If you were to build your robot to be low to the ground, it would be very difficult to knock over, and would already be presenting a smaller target to the enemy.
Pictured: a superior battle bot design
The next issue is its hands. the good ol' AK-130s had built in guns, but the AK-200 holds an external rifle. The thing about hands is that they are made of joints, and the thing about joints is that they are a potential weakness and are a chance for failure. So on a single hand, there are no fewer than 10 points of failure at the least! Additionally, while one may argue that allowing the AK-200 to use the standard issue rifle would simplify logistics and reduce the number of parts that need to be built, the fact remains that you still need to manufacture incredibly complex robotic hands, as well as all the spare parts for repairs.
So let's assume for a moment that due to the advanced technology seen in Remnant (airships, transforming weapons, etc.), manufacturing these complex machines is no more difficult than mass producing a toaster. An external weapon is still prone to being lost in battle, leaving the AK-200 with nothing but its blade. Remember how I mentioned how easily a two legged battle bot could be toppled? Not only is the AK-200 vulnerable while on the ground, but it could potentially be disarmed as well!
Another more minor note is weapons handling. Longer barrels are prone to bumping into obstacles, which is why in real life SMGs and carbines are preferred for close quarters, since their shorter barrels allow the operator to aim without hindrance. While the longer barrel length may be necessary to get full power out of the cartridges, an integrated gun in the arm would maintain the same barrel length while shortening the overall weapon length, allowing the AK-200 to fire in more crowded environments or while engaged in a wrestling match with a Grimm.
However, their form is not without benefits. While they may not thrive in a pure battlefield setting, they do have some benefits more suited for patrol. For starters, they are "admittedly, a little less scary", and are far more relatable to the average citizen than a mini tank or a Roomba of Doomba.
Additionally, even in our world, legs are a superior option to wheels on uneven terrain. Boston Dynamics is actually building a series of legged robots to walk in a variety of environments. The AK-200 would easily be able to move up stairs, over rocks, up ledges, and anywhere else the average human could go.
The final advantage a humanoid form has is the fact the world is built for humans. Turrets can't open doors or press elevator buttons. Treads can't pull people out of the rubble or open a latch.
"Curses! Foiled again!"
As they are properly suited to operate in our world, the AK-200 could be a force to be reckoned with! With no desire for self preservation, they could perform daring raids into criminal headquarters, or climb above the battlefield to gain a tactical advantage against the Grim...
Only we don't see this level of performance in the AK-200.
They don't seem particularly fast nor clever, behaving more like a glorified sentry gun.
While they do a fine job marching around and looking pretty, they do a poor job in a head on fight, which seems like the only thing they really do. But perhaps this is by design. Ironwood himself stated that his goal was to demonstrate strength. Perhaps a decrease in combat performance was seen as a fair trade for the support of the people and disheartening the enemy. Still, to me it seems like sending a bunch of chiwawas to guard somebody's home: a fine gesture, but not a very effective one.
"Hey Vezeto! Wanna put that statement to the test?"
Considering the poor form both for fighting humans and Grimm, yet appealing appearance of the AK-200s, I can only assume that Atlas was more interested in making a presence than anything else.