- Oct 25, 2017
There is a rumble in the distance, and then a light.
Through leaking eyes you make out a peak on the horizon, choking the land in a cloud of ash.
Nothing ever shone so bright.
Platform(s) Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Epic Store/Xbox One - December 7th, 2018
PS4, Switch, Steam and GOG - December 9th, 2019Genre: Action
Price: $39.99 USD (20% off launch discount on some platforms)
Player(s): 1 to 2 (passive multiplayer)
Format: Digital Only
Game Pass: Yes
Developer: A44 (formerly named Aurora44)
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
What is Ashen?
Ashen is an, exploration focused, action game that includes stamina-based combat in an open world with passive multiplayer.
What is the world structure in Ashen?
The world in Ashen is an open environment consisting of multiple large, interlinked, biomes.
How different is this from a “Souls” game?
Ashen is a shorter (around ~15 hours), more focused experience than other souls-inspired titles. You are given wider areas but also a map, quest markers, streamlined progression and a greater focus on co-op (to name a few).
Yes, there is a fast travel option you will unlock in Ashen.
While your character does not experience growth through leveling you are able to increase your power and change your playstyle through your, upgradeable, equipment.
There’s a town in this game?
Yes, Ashen features an expandable settlement. The options this location offers to you will expand as characters are encountered in the world and offered refuge. From there you will be given quests from those new residents that will increase the services they offer.
Can I customise the appearance of my character?
Yes. You can select your gender and appearance when starting the game.
What happens when I die?
When you die you drop your held currency and respawn at your last checkpoint. Returning to where you died will allow you to recover the dropped coinage.
As you go about the world of Ashen you may be, seamlessly, joined to another user’s game and run into each other as you explore. This other player will appear as a quest giver seen in your town going about their own tasks. You can either join together to accomplish tasks or go about on your way, but there is not formal communication available to you in-game.
Can I play it with friends?
Yes. The game lacks a lobby but you can configure it so that the only other players that can appear in your world supply a matching password. As with strangers your co-op companion will appear as one of your rescued townsfolk on your screen and vice-versa for theirs.
No, Ashen does not feature crossplay between consoles (tba on Steam/Epic however).
Can I play it offline/solo?
Yes and any co-op mandatory areas will be accessible via the ”Lone Wolf” perk. AI will also take over for controlling wondering townsfolk in the world as well. If you prefer you can turn off AI characters appearing in the world.
Where are the swords?
Ashen is a sword free zone. Metals are too rare a resource to spend on something so extravagant when there are more “cost-effective” alternatives like axes and spears.
Ashen launched as a part of Xbox Game Pass on console but is leaving the service on December 13th, 2019. The game was supposed to come to the Windows 10 store and be part of Game Pass through the Play Anywhere program but that version never materialised.
Does the Switch, PS4 and Steam/GOG release include the Nightstorm Isle DLC?
No, the DLC is still a separate $10 USD purchase and is about 2-3 hours of content.
No news on that but other Annapurna Interactive titles have gotten them post-release.
How does the game perform on Switch?
Xbox One X/PlayStation 4 Pro enhancements?
Yes to both but specifics on the PS4 Pro are TBA (XB1X has 4k/30fps and 1080p/30fps output options).
Xbox One | PC | PS4 | Switch
Gamesradar 4/5Ashen does more than enough to differentiate it from other Souls-like games. Although its combat utilizes the same stamina-focused mechanics, the inclusion of features that promote a sense of community with the game's characters makes for a wholly different experience. It's frustrating to spawn and see that your computer-controlled partner has a weapon that doesn't complement the one you're using. However, even when playing with NPCs, your allies' efforts to assist you in battle cause you to care about the fates of the colorful cast of people you meet on your journey. The relationships you forge define your adventure through Ashen, and helping your new friends is a powerful motivator that drives you forward through the game's beautiful world.
Ashen is a faithful homage (for better or worse) to the games that inspired it, and it executes on those existing principles soundly. Ashen's own contributions to the formula waver between exhilarating highs and frustrating lows, but the former greatly outweigh the latter, and even if it's not the most original journey you've ever been on, it's one well worth taking. There's a lot to love about Ashen, even if you've loved it before.