these are many of the points in common between the two

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is making noise on the internet, and many “curious” about FromSoftware’s recent successes —that is, the Souls series plus Bloodborne, Sekiro and Elden Ring— are showing superlative interest in the new project of the japanese If you are among them, you should know that AC is quite different from what you have been playing so far; although there are many thematic or artistic similarities among them that we are going to talk about in this article.

Considering that the Armored Core series was running almost non-stop from 1997 to 2013, it’s not surprising that many of the ideas conceived by the team of talents at Hidetaka Miyazaki end up transferring from one IP to another. So much so that, in a weird way, it’s like you’ve already played AC vicariously. You do not believe it? Well, take a look at all these aspects shared by both types of game: the ancient and the modern.

Difficulty, fixation, equipment weight and more

all calls souls-like they come cut from the same cloth: they’re hard enough to force you to “dance” with the enemy instead of joyfully staying on the offensive, and as a result you have a button to fix the camera on the opponent and orbit around him looking for openings. Rolling until the monstrosity in turn tires is not enough, because you also have a resistance bar that limits the things you can do. You have already lived through all this.

What you may not know is that each of these points that we discuss actually comes from the Armored Core franchise, and even other things that are specific to Dark Souls such as the equipment slots among which to cycle with the right and left arrows also come from the mechas. In those it was done with RB/LB, yes. Naturally, there are some key differences such as that AC’s movement is in 3D and that of souls, only in the horizontal plane.

Equipment full of particularities

Remember how in the original Dark Souls you could only talk to Quelaag’s sister if you had the “witch ring” equipped? And that some items like the “grass emblem shield” provided secondary bonuses that made them much more attractive? The franchise is full of details like these, where the objects —often with expanded text—brought additional meaning to the story or gameplay. Armored Core did the exact same thing.

Or at least very close. For example, some helmets came with special built-in features, such as night vision, improved radar or more detailed map; and others like paws they were extraordinarily important because (for example) tank wheels were the only ones that allowed you to carry a secondary weapon on your back. The reason why it was always exciting to go back to the garage was precisely the possibility of juggling these secrets.

Demon’s Souls Remake. Image: Bluepoint

patches, the hyena

This bald opportunist wears playing tricks on us since time immemorial: defying our patience and trust, he tries to save his own life if we are able to survive his wild machinations. And that’s how it has been in Demon’s Souls (world 2-2), in all Dark Souls and even in Bloodborne (school building) and in Elden Ring (Agualóbrega cave). As you can imagine, if he appears in this special it is because he also comes from Armored Core.

In AC, Patches was not a “Hyena” but a “Lynx”—Lynx, a mecha pilot categorized as NEXTs—and he fought alongside a partner named Buppa Zu Gan in Armored Core: For Answer, which was the first game. Directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki for FromSoftware. By defeating his ally, he was at a disadvantage and surrendered to us pleading for his life. That’s where one of his recurring lines of dialogue comes from, “I don’t want any trouble (I’m not looking for trouble)”.

His vehicle, by the way, also referenced this dishonest behavior. He was named No Count, trying to make a pun: “I’ve fought you, but since I didn’t kill you, it ‘doesn’t count’ and therefore you should forgive me.” The joke was not correctly localized into English, so it took someone to notice it in the original Japanese version and explain it on the internet.

fragmented narrative

This is a pretty self-explanatory one, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock for over ten years, here goes: FromSoftware games aren’t very keen on telling you things like that, for good. The stories in Armored Core, like those in Dark Souls and its surrogates, are somewhat obtuse and require a bit more context – it’s important to read the stories carefully. object descriptionsmission reports and NPC introductions to understand everything.

Elden Ring. Image: Fextralife

More than one ending to the story

Another frequent creative trend of Souls directly rescued from Armored Core is that all their games have more than one ending, and the decisions you make along the way define (roughly) how badly the universe ends after killing the lord on duty. In DS1, for example, you could restart the curse cycle by binding the flame or leaving the location and becoming a Dark Lord; while in DS3 all endings gave way to the end of an era.

The trend has been getting more complex because Elden Ring had multiple endings and just as many “minor” endings, so if we go back in time to Armored Core, we’ll see that not all installments had alternate endings there. But we have had variations often in such a way that depending on how many times you die at certain points, the cinematic that follows is different, or things like that. Hopefully Armored Core 6 will be more ambitious in this regard.

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