The Best Games FromSoftware Over the past 30 years or so, paint a divided picture. On the one hand, you have games that apply a fantasy twist to historical time periods, where the forces of light and dark have always clashed and threaten the very existence of humanity. From King’s Field to Tenchu, Otogi, Evil spiritsand, of course, Sheikh’s ringDistinctive themes of honor, valor, revenge, corruption, cursed lands and holy bands run through each of these titles. However, on the other side of the divide, you have Armored Core – a futuristic sci-fi series about giant mechs knocking shit out of each other.
Well, I’m oversimplifying. Even the first armored core – arrived on PSOne in Japan and the US in 1997; SUMMER 1998 IN EUROPE – Had a great personalization group, and dealt with some very complex topics about manufacturing and the corporate system. But at its core (its armored core, if you will), it was about hulking robots firing laser cannons and chain guns into tight spaces. And he absolutely shone in the local multiplayer.
It had wide appeal, and certainly until the launch of Armored Core 4 on PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2006, the series was a driving force for FromSoftware. Things have changed since then, it’s safe to say, which makes for a reveal Armored Core 6: Rubicon fires In The Game Awards 2022 is even more interesting. I mean, what does Armored Core look like in 2023?
Since Armored Core 4 was released 16 years ago, there’s only been one other series entry — Armored Core 5, which landed in 2012 followed by a standalone expansion, Armored Core: Verdict Day, the following year. At the time, FromSoftware had basically rebranded it, after its launch Demon souls in 2009, Evil spirits in 2011 (and its release Prepare to Die in 2012), Dark Souls 2 in 2014 (and the first Sin World remake in 2015), bloodborne in 2015, Dark Souls 3 in 2016, Dark Souls Remastered in 2018, Axe: Shadows die twice in 2019, and Elden Ring earlier this year – all third-person RPGs, with similar mechanics, themes, combat, light-touch narrative, and progression systems.
The steady rise of Soulsborne games over the past decade, culminating in the meteoric success of Elden Ring — and this driven in part by George R.R. Martin’s attachment to the project — has raised FromSoftware’s profile exponentially. In 2022, we now have a clear idea of what FromSoftware’s game will look like. It does not include robots. It seems ironic indeed that the Armored Core series – once one of FromSoftware’s most recognized and lucrative exports – is now being revived on the back of Elden Ring’s success. Once upon a time, Armored Core’s hype and income allowed the developer to work on much more dangerous and secretive projects between the times, such as Chromehounds and Enchanted Arms. But now Elden Ring, a game that evolved from one of the studio’s biggest risks of all time, Demon’s Souls, is in the driving seat.
Headers of the future
It is a very wonderful trip. I played Armored Core at launch at the age of 11, and thus remember the hype around the series in its early days. But after chatting with some of the younger staff at GamesRadar+, those who have grown up alongside the advent of Soulsborne games over the past 13 years, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Armored Core is now considered a relic of the past.
Bringing Armored Core up to speed for the current generation will definitely be a top priority for FromSoftware. Furthermore, the lands sprawled among the Elden Ring’s sandbox set new standards in open-world exploration, so the thought of an Armored Core game potentially using more expansive playing fields is exciting. The latter’s local and online multiplayer quickly became one of Armored Core’s biggest selling points outside of the game – and while the earlier games were praised for their pick-up-and-play design, the later games were criticized for being sterile, punishing, and overly complex. On the other hand, one of Elden Ring’s biggest selling points is how well it simplifies the Dark Souls formula, and how widely accessible it is for new players in turn – something that, for me, will be key to Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon’s success.
It is worth noting Rumors of a return to the Armored Core series It’s been circulating for some time now, and given the fact that it’s due out next year, it’s clearly been in development for a while, too. But it will enter a new world, completely changed due to the previous game of the developer. If that wasn’t the case already, FromSoftware is now a household name among gamers thanks to the Elden Ring, and while fantasy role-playing gamers and mech combat fans represent very different audiences, there’s definitely a new element of expectations and pressure on FromSoftware – from both younger and older gamers across multiple interests – To connect. Whether or not that’s the case, but with the promise of Elden Ring DLC on the horizon as well, it’s certainly an exciting time for FromSoftware and the gamers it aims to serve.
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