E3 2017 Highlights: Ashen

Ashen actually first made an appearance at 2015’s E3 in the Xbox show, but it was only a short trailer. Well, the same is kind of true for this year too, although the trailer was longer and showed a little more of the world of Ashen. We’re still yet to see any proper longer gameplay demos, but I’m most definitely interested in what has been shown and talked about so far.

You play as a wonderer looking for a place to call home in this action RPG from Aurora44. Ashen is described as being about forging relationships, where you’re able to guide people you meet in the world back to your camp to rest or even stay. The people who remain with you will have unique skills that will help with your chances of survival.  There is no sun in Ashen and the only light that exists emanates from eruptions that cover the land in ash.

Explore an open world and discover valuable weapons that will help you face off against twisted creatures of the darkness.

There isn’t a huge amount known about the game, but I’ve been scouring the internet for any interesting titbits I can get my hands on.

One thing that I really like the sound of in Ashen is the passive multiplayer side of it, essentially you can be matched up with anonymous players whilst exploring, who you can then work with to battle your way through areas. If you decide to invite them back to your settlement, once they’re inside they will disconnect and become an NPC that will live with you. There is no PVP in the game though, so you don’t have to worry about them screwing you over somehow. You will be ‘paired’ up with them providing you stay close enough to each other, should you decide to wonder off then you will disconnect from each other’s world. Inviting players back to your town is noted as the primary way to gain settlers permanently.

As I said, the game is an RPG and progression is tracked through something called the Talisman system. Talismans can be earned, crafted or found and will unlock perks and other bonuses as you might expect.

Lots of comparisons are already being made to Dark Souls, not for the visuals but for the gameplay, and there does seem to be some credence in that comparison. Enemies will be tough to beat, although it’s more likely the numbers of enemies will be the problem and not just one, although there will be boss battles that will test your mettle. Dying in Ashen also sounds like it has similarities, there is no permadeath, but you will lose some items if you do fall, similar to how you lose ‘souls’, although I’ve found no mention of being able to track back to your body and pick things up again.

It’s pretty difficult not to notice the aesthetic of Ashen, visually it’s I found it very striking and was instantly drawn in by the way the world and characters looked. The whole dark tone of the game looks really appealing.

Unfortunately we don’t have any real idea on when the game will be coming out, let’s hope it’s not too far away!

Ashen is set to release on PC and Xbox One, and possibly on PS4 later down the line.

-Will

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