‘Ashen’: Polished and Beautiful Action RPG

Aurora 44 brings gamers a great new action RPG called ASHEN!

It is hard to believe that such a solid game could come out of nowhere that is as polished and affordable as Aurora 44’s Ashen. In an age of buggy incomplete games (I am looking at you, Fallout 76) that cost millions in development I had to ask myself after completing Ashen, “Was there a single glitch in the game?” and, “Did I ever have an FPS slow down?”The answer to both of my questions was simply, no. How could this be in an open world game that owes its spirit to the beloved Dark Souls series? The resolution is a simple one, Ashen is a solid, well designed and complete game experience where the frustrations lie only in survival and not with technical glitches or endless loot box purchases. Ashen is a fabulous game in a far underutilized genre. To put it simply, Ashen is hard, difficult if you will, but it pushes back and walks the line between difficult and impossible just enough to make every success immensely rewarding.

Defending yourself may be a challenge in Ashen!

Story and Background

From the Developers:

The Ashen’s rebirth has restored light to the ash-covered plains and the dark world you’ve always known. You must protect the Ashen at all costs if there is any hope for the new light to survive.

There are those who prefer the darkness and will try to stop you on your quest. You’ll need to be fast on your feet, quick to learn and willing to work with others if you hope to survive against the many threats you’ll encounter on your journey.

At its core, Ashen is about relationships. You will meet people out in the world, perhaps a tinker or huntress, a fortune-hunter or weaver of shadows. Each character has unique knowledge and crafting abilities that will bolster your chances of survival and victory.

You must build a new life in these twilight plains and fight together instead of stumbling alone in the dark.

Gameplay

It may feel like a bit of a cop-out to say that a game plays exactly like another title but for someone who has put 130 hours into Dark Souls 3 (alone, not counting Dark Souls 1, 2 or Bloodborne) I have to say that it was almost identical in its execution of buttons, health, and power management. This is not a knock on Ashen; far from it, the similarities made the learning curve of the game minimal and I was able to jump in and start clubbing enemies right away. The combat system still heavily relies on stamina management, making battles a matter of technique and not just brute force. The animations are smoother and FPS better overall due to the choice of a simpler cell-shaded animation style. This style is less realistic but frankly, I really loved the look. Some of the scenes had a simple beauty that gamers can marvel at.

Thoughts and Recommendation

Ashen is a smooth, powerful, beautiful, well thought out and designed game. At only $40 it is also very affordable and offers as much depth and challenge as any AAA title out there. This style of game is my favorite so as I wait for From Software’s next release I look forward to spending some late nights playing Ashen. So I recommend that you try out the new Epic Megastore and download Ashen today!

You can purchase Ashen for $40 on the Epic Megastore for PC and XboxOne

A copy of Ashen was made available for review by Aurora44.

To read my previous articles click here!

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