I’m a fan of melee oriented games. Anything that emphasizes brutal brawls and flashy martial arts, such as sleeping dogs And SifuIs totally my jam. So I was both curious and excited when my Xbox Series S, the beast that it is, suggested I check out ACE Teams Clash: Artifacts of Chaos. Unfortunately, after about 10 hours of playing this action-adventure soulslike, I left confused and skeptical because of its flawed design and obtuse mechanics. And now I’m wondering if my Xbox even knows me.
Artifacts of Chaos is ACE Team’s third entry in the fighting game series Zeno Clash which made its way to Xbox consoles for the first time in 2009. In this new game, you’ll return to the Zenozoic fantasy world as a pseudo, a martial artist suddenly tasked with protecting some Kuriboh-looking puffball named Boy. This boy is gifted with magical powers that can curse or heal depending on his mood or something else (the story doesn’t fully explain the boy’s powers), making him the object of desire of the tyrannical, many-armed, many-headed Big Bad Gemini and theirs cronies. So similar to 2018 God of War, you go around beating up monstrosities while making sure the boy stays safe in your lanky arms. It’s not the most original narrative, but that’s okay considering how good the combat feels (when it works) and the engrossingly crude visuals on display.
Slapping monsters in their ugly faces
In fact, these two elements – combat and graphics – are the main highlights in Artifacts of Chaos. If you’ve played the first two Zeno Clash games, then you already know the highly saturated, strange world-like aesthetics of the Zenozoic. If not, imagine an interlocking world reminiscent of Team Ninja Wo Long: The Fallen Dynasty (a masterclass in Soulslike game design), which was then lathered liberally in bright yellows and greens, punctuated with bones, rocks, and wooden volumes. Basically, it’s like the developer stuffed the art styles full Earthworm Jim, crazy maxAnd Oddworld: New and delicious into a blender to see how that would look. And the result is disgusting, but not in a pejorative sense. Artifacts of Chaos, while unimaginative in its storytelling, is utterly unique in its perverted beauty. Characters have deformed faces and limbs. Monsters, creatures resembling a massive bull, have jagged teeth and rotting flesh. The game is so gross you can almost smell the stench of grafted bodies wading in the air as you navigate lush terrain and rocky paths. As someone who has never played Zeno Clash Before, Artifacts of Chaos was an exciting introduction to the Zenozoic society. It didn’t matter that I regularly got lost during my travels. I was too busy absorbing the absurd and surreal views anyway.
Besides sunbathing in the ugliness of the world, Artifacts of Chaos also has some crunchy melee combat. As a third-person brawler who occasionally switches to first-person, the game lets you use a variety of martial arts stances (like Blitz, which focuses on faster punches, or Boxing, which emphasizes powerful hits). and learning moves (like a Shoryuken-style uppercut) to create a unique fighting style. When combat works, it’s stylish and satisfying as you smack enemies right in their ugly faces. You can also do cool fighting game shit, including dodge combos to reset your animations so you can keep the pressure up, or perform special moves that can disrupt your opponent’s attacks. Those moments when you attack your enemy and monitor their movements to find the right time to get in throw some bows, absolute rule, especially if you let her corpse fall off a mountainside like a rag doll. It’s incredibly brutal, making for a challenging but satisfying combat experience as you battle giant troll-like eyesores, terrifying three-legged beasts, and other unspeakable horrors.
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This is the dullest Soulslike I’ve ever played
While combat and graphics stand out here, the rest of Artifacts of Chaos‘ package is medium at best and dull at worst. For starters, the map is buried in the game’s rudimentary menus. Also, just showing the names of the locations but not the paths required to get there isn’t as helpful. There’s also no compass or marker, so navigation is more about intuition and memorization than the game leading you to the next location. That might be common for a Soulslike game, but do you know what else is up? Placing nodes on the map to help you get where you want to go. That doesn’t exist here. In addition to the directionless design of the game Artifacts of Chaos ran like total crap on my Series S. It’s no secret that the Series X has the cuter sibling Performance problems, but in the 10 or so hours I put into the game it crashed at least 10 times, stopping me from progressing further in front of a handful of others. This is poorly optimized, with stuttering animations, characters miraculously shooting hundreds of feet into the air, and enough bugs that make Cyberpunk 2077 look competent. It’s a mess of a game marred by a lack of explanations and no real way to relearn the short tutorials that you miss in the heat of battle.
Then you come to the ritual, the “only law” in the world of the game. This little mini is a dice rolling board game initiated at the start of large encountersThe game gives a combat advantage to whoever has the highest score at the end. By placing artifacts and winning the ritual, you can force your opponent to drink a slow-acting poison before the fight begins, make them wear a rotting fish head for humiliation throughout the fight, and the like. The same can happen to you too, so winning is crucial to gain some advantage in the tougher skirmishes, especially when you’re up against two or three gnarly enemies at once. It’s a nice mechanic that becomes completely irrelevant after a few runs as there is a random element (insofar as the number you get after rolling your dice) and the effects don’t make much of a difference because enemies have such massive health pools . You can bypass the ritual entirely to jump right into the melee action, which is what I did after a while. I thought the victories would help me succeed, but in reality they cost me my life. Coupled with the flawedness of the game and the opponent’s cheap antics during the ritual – things like destroying my dice and reducing my score – I ended up off my lanky body and left to explore the spooky night.
Exploring at night is cool but extremely scary
When night falls, Soulslike design really comes full circle. Happens at night when you are either resting in a camp or dying in a fight. See, Pseudo is actually a wooden dummy that’s kind of animated to move and talk. He can equip various body parts in this form, boosting his attack and defense, and now that his skin has been removed, he can traverse thornier paths as well. The world also changes slightly at night, as stronger enemies roam looking for skulls to smash into, and shortcuts open up for easier travel. It’s a bit like that way dying light 2. It is much more difficult to explore at night.
However, since you’re just a wooden shell with no skin, Pseudo is extremely weak even at night, making the game duller and more dangerous than it already was. And when night has fallen because you died, you are forced to return to where your body was last laid out. Unfortunately, since the map isn’t helpful and only shoots a thin golden pillar of light towards the dark sky and shows the approximate location of your body, it’s entirely possible to die again before you even get close to where the enemy has buried your head. This is one of the most innovative designs that can be implemented in a Soulslike, but it’s pointless as the card doesn’t highlight your dead body. You might wander aimlessly before you ever reach it. And in typical Soulslike fashion, if you die in this wooden form, you lose everything. Your skill points, the weapons you’ve collected, whatever ingredients you’ve collected –all gone because they clung to your flesh.
I like the juxtaposition of day versus night exploration as there is an interesting risk-reward system at play here. Stay out late to gain more experience, but rest until morning to get your skin back. It’s just a shame that so much of the game is buggy to the point of being unplayable. I mean, there were several instances where, after returning to my body, I couldn’t re-enter it no matter how many times I pressed the interact button.
So yes, Clash: Artifacts of Chaos is the dullest Soulslike I’ve played so far. There are some compelling ideas at play here, and I’m in love with the powerful, enjoyable melee combat. It’s just that everything else here isn’t that great. ACE Team built a cool exterior with some decent bones. But the lack of polish and the brittle design let the game crumble under its own body weight. I really wanted to like this one, but ultimately I don’t think so Artifacts of Chaos is one you must watch now. Now, excuse me while I’ve been talking for a long time about this recommendation with my Xbox Series S.
https://kotaku.com/clash-artifacts-chaos-review-buggy-soulslike-zeno-ace-1850213994 I played The Next Promising Soulslike so you don’t have to
What does it mean for a game to be Soulslike? ›
Soulslike games are commonly defined by their dark fantasy setting and lack of overt storytelling, as well as their deep worldbuilding, with a captivating world being cited as key to spark players' desire to explore.Are there any good Soulslike games? ›
Nioh / Nioh 2
Nioh is truly the king of all Soulslike games and the ultimate love letter to FromSoftware's design.
Well, I'm here to tell you that if you have no or negative Souls experiences, that should not affect your decision to play Elden Ring, a game that I would without question, recommend to more or less everyone so they can experience easily one of the best games of the last ten years, and arguably the best conceived and ...Are Souls games relaxing? ›
The repetition and predictability make for a calming period, but the combat prevents the calm from ever becoming boring. Dark Souls is a challenging and tense game that's also relaxing and cathartic.Are souls like games hard? ›
Souls games are known primarily for brutal difficulty, which is both entirely fair and overly simplistic.What are the hardest bosses in Soulslike games? ›
Depending on which boss is slain first, the survivor will absorb his partner, giving him more damage with lightning or increased range. Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough are arguably the most challenging bosses in Souls-likes history.What is the best Souls game other than Elden Ring? ›
The Dark Souls Series
This is perhaps the closest experience to Elden Ring in terms of gameplay and combat, though it's not nearly as open-world as FromSoftware's latest offering. That said, the worlds offered in the Dark Souls saga are just as dark, foreboding, and vastly imaginative as some of The Lands Between.
In many ways, Dark Souls 3 is the easiest Dark Souls game because FromSoft had ironed out many of the little problems from previous entries. Combat in that game is far more polished and faster than it was in Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2.Is Elden Ring easiest Souls game? ›
In that light, “Elden Ring,” the latest title by From Software, may be the easiest entry point for beginners looking to try a Souls game. It probably has the most on-ramps to continuous, rewarding play of any From Software game since 2009′s “Demon's Souls.”Is Dark Souls harder than Elden Ring? ›
The game becomes a lot easier for the player if they make good use of Spirits, but that doesn't quite drop it beneath DS2's difficulty. Dark Souls 2's overall difficulty is still lower than Elden Ring's thanks to its simple, slow enemies, and Elden Ring's toughest fights take cues from the Fume Knight.
Has someone beaten Elden Ring without dying? ›
One Elden Ring player was not only successful in their attempt but was also able to complete the run without dying even a single time. FromSoftware games are supposed to be difficult, as the director of Elden Ring, Hidetaka Miyazaki has apologized to players that find the game to be too difficult.Is Elden Ring as good as Skyrim? ›
Despite the variety available in Skyrim's Dragon Shouts that make the game tons of fun, Elden Ring triumphs through the sheer number, comprehensiveness, and effectiveness of its spells and magic system. Elden Ring has taken Soulsborne's magic repertoire to the next level.Is Elden Ring hard for beginners? ›
It's pretty safe to say that Elden Ring is a tough game, so to help you get up to speed, we have some tips to help beginners beat even the hardest of Elden Ring bosses and everything new players need to know about Elden Ring's mechanics.Is Dark Souls good for depression? ›
In Dark Souls, this degenerative state is called being Hollow. Strange then, that a growing community of gamers credits Dark Souls with helping them cope with depression. A few even say the brutal game saved their life.Is Dark Souls hard or just annoying? ›
Is Dark Souls really that easy? It's not like some games, such as Return of the Jedi for Super Nintendo, which is so impossibly difficult that it's only frustrating and annoying instead of rewarding. Dark Souls is extremely difficult, but in the best possible way.Are souls games repetitive? ›
I've played every single Souls game and thought all of them were boring. They are well polished games but I just don't think they deserve the praise they get. You hear negativity about repetitiveness in games all the time but Souls games are a prime example of it.What is the hardest game to beat? ›
- Contra. Konami Be prepared to die, die, and die again.
- Sekiro. ...
- Elden Ring, Dark Souls (1-3), Demon's Souls, Bloodborne. ...
- Super Meat Boy. ...
- Ghosts 'n Goblins. ...
- Cuphead. ...
- Sifu. ...
- Ninja Gaiden (Series) ...
1 Elden Ring (56 Hours)
Most of the Soulslike games are pretty linear in structure, which is why Elden Ring had so many fans intrigued going into its launch as it was a FromSoftware Soulslike that was a massive open world. Understandably so, it turned out to be the longest FromSoftware game by a decent amount.
I'm playing both games as a heavily armored melee character. FWIW, I just finished the Cathedral of the Deep and Farron Keep areas in DS3. Coming in as a noob to FromSoft games, my answer (and I'm not saying this as either a good thing or a bad thing) is that DS3 is definitely harder.What is the best Soulsborne game for beginners? ›
Demons Souls was the original game that started the Soulsborne genre. It's also comparatively easier than later Dark Souls games. This makes it a good step towards familiarizing yourself with the slower playstyle, and less developed quality of life features found in these older games.
Is Elden Ring the hardest Souls game? ›
The answer: It's the hardest FromSoftware game so far, harder than Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro – if you play it legit without abusing exploits/cheese methods.What is the easiest boss in Soulsborne? ›
- 1 Soldier of Godrick - Elden Ring.
- 2 Ancient Wyvern - Dark Souls 3. ...
- 3 Witch of Hemwick - Bloodborne. ...
- 4 Covetous Demon - Dark Souls 2. ...
- 5 Moonlight Butterfly - Dark Souls. ...
- 6 Phalanx - Demon's Souls. ...
Not all of the boss fights in the Dark Souls franchise are outstandingly hard — in fact, some of them are pretty easy. These are the easiest of them. When most think about the Dark Souls franchise, boss fights come to mind almost immediately.Should I play the Souls games in order? ›
If you want the “chronological” story aspect, then it's much simpler. DS1 > DS2 > DS3 > Demon's Souls and Bloodborne whenever. To be perfectly honest you could really just start at Demon's Souls and work your way up in numerical order and it wouldn't affect or change all that much.Is Bloodborne better than Elden Ring? ›
Magic is notable mention when it comes to the graphics, as each spell looks eye-catching when cast. Bloodborne is by no means an unattractive game, and the look of its dark victorian streets has stood the test of time. But in a head-to-head comparison, Elden Ring clearly comes out ahead.Is Dark Souls 3 or Elden Ring better? ›
Million dollar question: Which title is better? Regarding the music composition, Dark Souls 3 is noticeably superior to Elden Ring. Nevertheless, both titles contain a number of flaws that prevent them from being the ideal experience. Ultimately, when the two are put side by side, Dark Souls 3 usually emerges on top.Which Souls game is easiest to plat? ›
- elden ring.
- demon's souls.
And become the Elden Lord. How long is Elden Ring? When focusing on the main objectives, Elden Ring is about 57½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 133 Hours to obtain 100% completion.What is harder demon Souls or Elden Ring? ›
Its the second hardest Souls game after Dark Souls 2, so its definitely way harder than Elden Ring since Elden Ring is easier than DS3, DS1 and even Bloodborne.What is the hardest boss in Elden Ring? ›
The list is unsurprisingly topped by the infamously difficult Elden Ring boss Malenia, whose encounter was attempted some 329 million times, thus accounting for 5.5% of all in-game boss fights the players initiated to date.
Which Elden Ring is best for beginners? ›
Confessor. If it's a balanced beginners' class you're after, you won't do better than the Confessor. The Confessor has the highest starting level of any origin and starts the game with a decent shield, which is a valuable tool to have in hand if you're not quite up to speed with FromSoft combat yet.How beginner friendly is Elden Ring? ›
The sheer amount of exploration is overwhelming to start, but slow, methodical exploration is the way to go. Every area contains worthwhile rewards, even if it winds up just being a handful of runes used to level up, so completing side areas is vital to get strong enough to take on the game's harder challenges.Is Bloodborne as hard as Dark Souls? ›
Bloodborne is often touted as one of the hardest games of all time. For that matter, the entire Dark Souls series is bandied as some of the hardest games ever, but Bloodborne is often seen as particularly challenging thanks to its fast-paced combat.Is Sekiro harder than Dark Souls? ›
Short answer: Sekiro, which may prove to be one of the most challenging games ever made. Don't just take our word for it—Forbes, Digital Spy, Gamespot and a bevy of other publications agree: Sekiro is harder than any of the Dark Souls games and Bloodborne .Which is harder Elden Ring or Bloodborne? ›
Question: Which is the harder game, Elden Ring or Bloodborne? Answer: Bloodborne is a bit tougher because of the lack of being able to block, but some challenges in Elden Ring will leave you speechless with how tough they are, so it's a tough choice. FromSoftware has already had to nerf several bosses in Elden Ring.Can you beat Elden Ring without killing Godrick? ›
Godrick is an optional boss, and doesn't need to be defeated in order to advance in Elden Ring.How bad is dying in Elden Ring? ›
You are a contemptible little worm that just disrupted every enemy's nap and they want to make you pay for it. That means you'll die a lot in Elden Ring, but unlike a lot of video games, this doesn't have to be frustrating. It's actually one of the best parts of the game because so many deaths are downright hilarious.What percentage of people have beaten Elden Ring? ›
The data shows a whopping 25.9% of players have achieved The Age of Stars achievement, while the Elden Lord achievement has a completion rate of 19.6%. The Age of Stars is considered a secret ending, as the requirements are numerous and easy to miss.Which map is bigger Skyrim or Elden Ring? ›
Meanwhile, however, Elden Ring has been determined by Reddit user Lusty-Batch to weigh in at a whopping 79 square kilometers, or 30.5 square miles, making it more than twice the size of Skyrim.Is Elden Ring a bigger game than Skyrim? ›
Map size. If you crave a truly massive game world, we've got good news! Elden Ring features a much larger map than Skyrim, providing many varied locations filled with potential enemies and quests to complete.
Will there be an Elden Ring 2? ›
Obviously, it's worth stressing that this mystery game is by no means guaranteed to be Elden Ring 2. Even though a sequel seems quite probable, FromSoftware has shown in recent years that it's open to working on a variety of different games.What is the hardest class to start with in Elden Ring? ›
In terms of just the early-game experience, there is no questioning that the Wretch is by far the hardest. It continues the tradition of the 'Deprived' class from Dark Souls: a half-naked warrior with low, balanced stats wielding a club. With a low level, low stats, and poor equipment, the Wretch is a rough experience.Are there cheats for Elden Ring? ›
Elden Rings cheats aren't in-game options, so any cheats you use are going to have to be mods created by other players.How long to beat Elden? ›
IGN: 87 hours. GameSpot: More than 50 hours (review in progress). Video Games Chronicle: “Elden Ring is also a ridiculously long game. This will obviously vary if you happen to be the greatest Souls player to ever live, but there's genuinely so much to do that a player could spend 50 hours in the opening few areas.”What are Souls video games? ›
From Software have said that Elden Ring is a spiritual successor to Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne. This means it fits the classification of a 'SoulsBorne' game, but Elden Ring is a new IP within the subgenre.Is Elden Ring a Soulslike game? ›
The plot of Dark Souls is primarily told through environmental details, in-game item flavor text, and dialogue with non-playable characters (NPCs). Players must piece together clues in order to understand the story, rather than being told the story through more traditional means, such as through cutscenes.Are souls games for everyone? ›
Whatever your gaming skill level is, don't get discouraged, Souls genre is for everyone.
Is Dark Souls masochistic? ›
Elden Ring is the latest title from the makers of Demon Souls, the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne and Sekiro – a company that's become both famous and infamous for its exquisitely-crafted, inscrutable, masochistic titles that force players to become intimately acquainted with its labyrinthine systems through sheer, ...Is there an order to play the Souls games? ›
From a gameplay perspective, there is no official order to play them. However, as someone new to the genre, you will want to play certain entries first to ease yourself into a series known for a steep learning curve.Is Elden Ring hard? ›
Compared to games like that, Elden Ring just isn't very mechanically difficult. Most enemies telegraph their attacks with massive, seconds-long animations that give players plenty of time to react with a well-timed dodge, block, or parry.Which is harder Dark Souls or Elden Ring? ›
Elden Ring is a More Advanced Form of Soulslike
The game takes after the enemy speed and complexity present in Dark Souls 3 and Sekiro, so one would assume it is more difficult than the oldest Souls titles.
Although Elden Ring does take inspiration from the infamously difficult Dark Souls series, it takes place in a completely different universe and features a plethora of features foreign to FromSoftware's classic franchise. That's not to say the games are more different than similar, though.