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#1 Posted by flameboy84 (883 posts) -

This game has seemingly come out too late to be considered for major publications GOTY.... I think it's something really special. To call it a Dark Souls light is disengenious, it has character of its own that builds up an incredible atmosphere.

You go about the world completing kind of fetch quests, returning to your town. There is a cool town building mechanic as you complete new tasks people join the town.

By far the coolest thing is it has an almost like Journey multiplayer where players just flip in and out of your world replacing an AI Companion, not sure how that works completely but you can turn it off.

All in I feel the release of this is a shame if it was full disc release on PS4 I feel like we'd be hearing a lot more about it. You have to wonder about Microsoft's strategy of revealing these games and then just leaving them till they come out and whether it is the best direction... Anyway try this game don't worry that it's another Recore it's a good game.

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#2 Edited by BrunoTheThird (807 posts) -

I think the combat is really bland compared to other games in the genre, personally; it's loose and doesn't feel tense or dramatic, just a bit dull and a chore. I haven't found a weapon I like the feel of so far, but I'm sure I will eventually. I am really enjoying the people you meet, growing little communities, helping restore peace by linking the radiance stones or whatever they're called. That's where the fun lies for me, and I want to see that through.

As for the Souls comparisons, I usually disagree, but they are completely justified in this game's case, probably more than any other Soulslike by a mile. Let's ignore the mechanics as they're blatantly identical to DS from the flask that can restore your life a limited number of times per run, the currency of souls you absorb, the bones that return you to a rest point, and so on and so on, it doesn't end. There are a couple of unique elements, but that's like covering a song and just changing the gender of the lyrics to me.

Outside of that, the intro cutscene is a blatant ripoff of Dark Souls with some Norse mythology inserted here and there. An event creates light; it's almost extinguished, but it starts an age of light in its death; new species are born in the light, and they are hunted by the species who want it for themselves, the Dark Elder -- or the dark souls, if you will. A new world unfolds; humans fear the dark and worship the light, so huddle around fires. The light dims and they go through an age of darkness *rolls eyes*. After this we are told new life and light will be reborn from the ash and kindle a new age of light *rolls eyes harder*. Some are now turning 'ashen' (like in DS3). I'm sorry, but it's absurd how little effort they put into crafting their own thing in this regard. Its look isn't even original if you compare it to Absolver, but no matter, the game is still good -- how couldn't it be borrowing from such beloved content so heavily -- and I'm not going to dwell on it as I play, but it is a ripoff.

It won't make my top fifty of this year right now, but I may change my opinion when I'm finished, this isn't a set-in-stone take.

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#3 Posted by MerxWorx01 (788 posts) -

I think the combat is really bland compared to other games in the genre, personally; it's loose and doesn't feel tense or dramatic, just a bit dull and a chore. I haven't found a weapon I like the feel of so far, but I'm sure I will eventually. I am really enjoying the people you meet, growing little communities, helping restore peace by linking the radiance stones or whatever they're called. That's where the fun lies for me, and I want to see that through.

As for the Souls comparisons, I usually disagree, but they are completely justified in this game's case, probably more than any other Soulslike by a mile. Let's ignore the mechanics as they're blatantly identical to DS from the flask that can restore your life a limited number of times per run, the currency of souls you absorb, the bones that return you to a rest point, and so on and so on, it doesn't end. There are a couple of unique elements, but that's like covering a song and just changing the gender of the lyrics to me.

Outside of that, the intro cutscene is a blatant ripoff of Dark Souls with some Norse mythology inserted here and there. An event creates light; it's almost extinguished, but it starts an age of light in its death; new species are born in the light, and they are hunted by the species who want it for themselves, the Dark Elder -- or the dark souls, if you will. A new world unfolds; humans fear the dark and worship the light, so huddle around fires. The light dims and they go through an age of darkness *rolls eyes*. After this we are told new life and light will be reborn from the ash and kindle a new age of light *rolls eyes harder*. Some are now turning 'ashen' (like in DS3). I'm sorry, but it's absurd how little effort they put into crafting their own thing in this regard. Its look isn't even original if you compare it to Absolver, but no matter, the game is still good -- how couldn't it be borrowing from such beloved content so heavily -- and I'm not going to dwell on it as I play, but it is a ripoff.

It won't make my top fifty of this year right now, but I may change my opinion when I'm finished, this isn't a set-in-stone take.

Same, the combat feels a bit off. Attacks and actions don't lead like in a good Souls game. Attacks and actions like lifting your shield sort of jut outwards, then the animation quickly resets but your character will remain still for a fraction of a second after the reset which might be a design decision. In terms of combat feel, you would never confuse this as being made by From Software or Team Ninja. It feels like its a few notches above Necropolis another Souls-Like that came out a couple years ago. I think over all the world is beautiful, the voice acting is ok although it sounds a bit like voice overs from 90's adventure games but it gets the job done and the world layout from what I've seen so far is ripe for exploring. Hopefully I will eventually get to see another player which has not happened yet, seems like some places are gated for two players for some friendly cooperation which is what I was looking forward to. Hopefully they will get the PC+Xbox cross-play working soon, based on recent changes to both the Windows and Steam store, player population might be limited to their respective platforms.

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#4 Edited by lifejuice (63 posts) -

I'm not too far in, but I'm having a lot of fun so far. The online element is neat and helpful. I'm not really into Dark Souls games so idk how far I'll get, but this seems more on my level in terms of difficulty. I'm digging the art style and world. Austin posted a cool early moment on twitter if you want a taste of the atmosphere (I'd not watch it if you are planning on playing it).

Gamepass has been killing it lately. I don't really buy new games unless it's a really big release so cheap access to Ashen, Mutant Year Zero and Below (next week) has been great.

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#5 Edited by BrunoTheThird (807 posts) -

@merxworx01: I think it was their intention to make the combat feel a bit different rather than it being an error, but I don't like it. I'm used to these games letting me cancel out of attacks quickly, have more pinpoint accuracy with certain weapons, chain moves elegantly, give me more instant feedback, etc., but this is like being in molasses. Even the standard run speed is starting to infuriate me -- I think it clashes with how agile and zippy your character is in terms of sprinting and jumping, which is something I like about Ashen: it's more interesting vertically than other action RPGs, with lots of opportunities to scale rock faces and temple walls to find treasures, even if what you find at the end of every one seems to be a spear head or small bag of souls early on.

Something else it excels at is the design of its world and its inhabitants, friend or foe. There are some beautiful creatures with Abzu/Journey-esque elegance to their animations and look. Some of the bosses have been really cool, too, even if one of them doesn't let you lock on to make it an artificially difficult fight, but I looked past that.

One of the godly characters I met looks exactly like Gwyndolin/Alrdrich from DS/DS III, which made me roll my eyes again. For every good thing I am finding something that bugs me, but I am enjoying my time with it, overall.

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#6 Posted by Fear_the_Booboo (1047 posts) -

Yeah I dunno, so far I’m not feeling it. Like the others I think the combat feels lifeless and it’s funny just how much of this maps exactly to Dark Souls. What’s different so far (compass and map) isn’t actually good, it just helps navigate in a world that has less landmarks and was necessary.

I’m not far though, got killed on the first boss and stopped there cause it didn’t feel great. The town building aspect seems neat and actually different than a souls game. I like the artstyle a fair bit and I think it’s one point where the game manage to have its own identity. I will give it more time and I hope I turn around. We’ll see.

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#7 Posted by SethMode (1821 posts) -

@lifejuice: I was super excited to see it on Gamepass after how Austin was talking about it. I still think that it seems pretty neat after a very short burst with it, although man, even though I don't care about achievements like I did before, it still makes me a little nuts when they have completely bizarre point totals (17 for my first one!?)