The bots are again on the town
When FromSoftware announced Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon at The Recreation Awards in December, a couple of very predictable issues occurred. Followers of FromSoftware’s newer output puzzled whether or not or not this bizarre mech factor had something to do with Darkish Souls. Followers of Armored Core awoke from their decade-long coma to turn out to be instantly defensive, clarifying that Armored Core is so much older than the Souls superseries, and that the 2 don’t have anything in widespread.
The third predictable factor that occurred was that I acquired . I knew of Armored Core in passing due to a handful of pals who’re very captivated with mechs, however I had by no means truly performed any of the video games. So I set to work trying out a few of the older titles within the franchise, and I nearly instantly seen one thing: Armored Core feels so much like Darkish Souls.
Which got here first, the rooster or the mech?
To be honest, it’s extra correct to say that Darkish Souls feels so much like Armored Core. As many Armored Core fanatics have identified, FromSoftware was within the mech enterprise lengthy earlier than they ventured into the world of gloomy fantasy. The unique Armored Core got here out in 1997, and Demon’s Souls wouldn’t hit the PS3 till 2009. The current could have clouded out the previous a bit – the Souls video games are dramatically extra well-liked than Armored Core ever was – nevertheless it’s price trying to what as soon as was to totally perceive how we acquired to the place we’re.
It’s attention-grabbing to see simply how comparable Armored Core is to its fantastical descendants. Armored Core appears to have laid the inspiration for most of the traditions mostly related to the Souls sequence. You already know the cryptic means NPCs attempt to talk narrative within the Souls sequence? The way in which they spout off correct nouns in a way that makes the world really feel lived-in, even when the plot isn’t fairly coherent? All of that’s proper there in Armored Core.
The sport little bit of the sport
Gameplay-wise, Armored Core appears to have constructed a number of the mechanical framework that FromSoftware has used for the final decade and alter. Armored Core and Darkish Souls are each motion video games targeted on mobility (though motion is a bit easier and extra elegant within the Souls video games). Each titles closely encourage the participant to experiment with varied totally different builds, and so they’re each constructed across the idea of mastering a construct relatively than mastering a particular system.
Within the Souls video games, constructing out your character is as largely a matter of assigning stat factors in particular locations. Gear performs an essential half, however leveling is the primary crux of upward mobility. That’s clearly totally different from Armored Core, the place your construct is completely primarily based on which elements you purchase on your mech. Nonetheless, it’s apparent that the build-oriented motion of video games like Elden Ring has its origins in Armored Core.
Penalties are one other period the place Darkish Souls clearly builds on Armored Core‘s foundations. In case you die in Armored Core, you’re punished by shedding forex – in case you die in a Souls sport, you’re normally punished by shedding souls (or runes, or blood echoes, or sen, relying on how far you’re keen to stretch the phrase Souls). Souls video games are a bit extra forgiving on this regard – most of them embrace some mechanic for regaining your souls, however when you go broke in Armored Core, that cash’s gone for good. Actually, Armored Core will allow you to go into the crimson, and when you accrue sufficient debt, you’ll must restart the sport practically from scratch.
Armored Core shouldn’t be a Souls sport, however deep in its chilly metallic coronary heart, Armored Core harbors most of the concepts that may ultimately construct the fashionable FromSoftware components.
I’m not saying something too revolutionary right here. “Builders iterate on an thought till they discover a successful components” shouldn’t be a radical idea, it’s a basic fact of large-scale sport improvement. However each time I’ve heard somebody discuss Armored Core VI since its announcement, it’s been in proximity to Darkish Souls. Relative newcomers to the FromSoftware household have been interested in whether or not or not Armored Core is “for them,” whereas the ravenous Armored Core followers who’ve waited practically a decade for today have turn out to be desperately protecting of their sport.
I’m simply right here to toss in my two cents. Armored Core VI most likely will really feel a bit like a Darkish Souls sport. That’s not as a result of the parents at FromSoftware try to suit a sq. peg in a spherical gap. Souls could really feel like a style unto itself, and its large recognition could make it troublesome to identify its roots, however on the finish of the day, Darkish Souls has at all times felt a bit like an Armored Core sport.
Sorrel Kerr-Jung has been enjoying video video games for so long as she’s been able to urgent buttons. Her hobbies embrace insisting that she’ll exchange her GBA’s display quickly. Discover her on Twitter: @sorrelkj.