Ashen - Analysis

Author: Javier Artero
Date: 2020-07-31 08:49:53
Ashen is becoming one of the most important end of the year phenomena. The Aurora 44 game is now available, and on Xbox One and it can also be enjoyed at a laugh price if we have access to Game Pass, the wonderful service that Microsoft offers (and that this month is loaded with great games like Hellblade, Below or PES 2019). A third-person action RPG that has been compared endlessly to Dark Souls and is even included within a genre that does not really exist as such: souls-like. In fact, the same thing happens with the so-called Metroidvania genus. But leaving that debate - which goes a long way - aside, the truth is that it does serve to give you an idea of where the shots are going. Although, despite the obvious similarities with Souls, Ashen also has its own entity. We will tell you!

The story is based on the eternal fight between light and darkness. After the fall of Ashen , a heavenly bird whose divine qualities had allowed different eras of peace, the world becomes a hopeless, dark and desolate place. Our mission is therefore to be reborn the creature so that the world shines again with light and is not consumed by darkness. Everything in Ashen has a minimalist touch. In fact, the character editor that we are going to meet as soon as we start the game is already a good example of this: the characters can have hair and a beautiful face, but they do not have a face. It is there, in its artistic design where Ashen takes on its own identity and sets itself apart from the other products.

Our first steps through its open world will serve to get hold of the controls and discover a little where the thing is going. We can equip ourselves with a weapon and a shield or with a two-handed weapon, having the classic buttons of weak attack, strong attack (requires more time to hit), one button to cover and another to roll / dodge. Along the way, lots of dungeons, secrets and treasures await us, always well guarded by a wide variety of creatures that will make things difficult for us.

And is that Ashen is a game, as expected, difficult . During the 20-25 hours that his campaign lasts (approximately) we will die countless times at the hands of creatures of all kinds. But not only the Final Bosses will test us, each step we take we must do with care and even the smallest of battles can leave us KO without batting an eye. It all depends on our team, the strategy and the timing when dodging and attacking, the resistance of the character always being an indicator that we cannot lose sight of. If we exhaust the character in the middle of a combat, we will die. That easy.

But there are two aspects that we really liked during our trip. The first is to see how our settlement improves. We will start with a camp of just a few tents but, as our journey progresses, we will see how our home not only receives the characters that we will meet along the way, but it will prosper until it becomes a city with houses, shops, buildings ... And many references to what is happening to us during the adventure. There we will have access to merchants to buy consumables, workshops to improve weapons and acquire powers, etc., resulting in obtaining both active and passive skills. The coins that we carry with us when we die will remain at that point so that we can collect them, if we want ...

And the second aspect that we liked is how the NPCs that we meet during the game manage the title. These characters will join our cause, and will even accompany us during our exploration and battles. And there are two ways to help us: the first is to be controlled by the CPU, which allows us to play the adventure “alone”. In this way Ashen is more difficult and less satisfying than if we allow these NPCs to be controlled by other players - what has been called in this case, passive cooperative multiplayer - who will populate our game. The experience of sharing the world of Ashen with other players is very fun, given that in the absence of ways in which to communicate with them, only cooperation will remain based on the experiences and events that will happen to us. And of course, despite the fact that AI is relatively competent, it is always better to face this type of games with a human at our side, making the complicated path that awaits us a little easier ...

Control is good, but as we have pointed out, the combat is very demanding. One wrong step ... and we will not count it. And it is a title that offers a much greater depth than it appears, of that there is no doubt. At a graphic level it stands out for its artistic design, with a wide variety of scenarios and knowing how to play its cards very well despite not being a triple A. Even each weapon has its own animations, although not everything is perfect and the engine suffers in certain areas of the journey. The music accompanies the action very well and the sound effects are correct, arriving with texts in Spanish . In short, a well-finished product in all its facets and that once again demonstrates that a video game does not necessarily have to be up to date in technological terms to transport the player to other worlds and make him participate in an adventure set in a fantasy world. .