Lights and shadows
Take control of our “wanderer” and wake up to Ashen’s sunless world, where the only natural light comes from the volcanic eruptions that cover the ash lands. In the (mini) map available in this demo we have the opportunity to admire some animals moving around us, a thick but gray vegetation and a big door guarded by a soldier who seems to know us already. The impression is that it is not the beginning of the game, and it is demonstrated by our equipment boasting two clubs, a spear and some healing fungus.
On the top left, the life bar and the bar of stamina give us an indication of what we can do in combat and as a sprint, but we only have to test two other vagrants resting safely in front of a bonfire and not having hesitated to attack us at first sight.If faced one at a time and with the right timings our character can have the best without too much trouble , at least against these enemies.
We find ourselves shortly there in the company of a character who joins us and finally makes it possible to open the front door, inaccessible to single, and we go into a dungeon where the only light source is our old lantern.
A little farther a shadow depicting a female silhouette seems to indicate the way as if it were flashback, but the absence of dialogues and tutorials keeps us “obscure” of what’s going on.
Our partner continues to go into the dungeon and we follow him until we fall into a circular room where a shadow, apparently one of those that appears in the trailer, begins to absorb the light from our lantern and eliminates us in a few shots. Trying, the result has not changed and we did not seem to dodge or use another approach to make us have the best in some way; rather, we know that the game does not always expect fighting to be the right solution: sometimes you have to escape or find another way, but the little time available did not allow us to deepen in this case.
Passive Multiplayer
One of the most interesting elements of a survival-action-RPG like Ashen is its multiplayer component called “passive multiplayer”, which will allow players to find each other in other games and decide whether to continue on their own or form a team to help in the most demanding challenges.
Our impressions are not the most positive: the combat system seemed tough , while the total lack of narrative background did not allow an interesting story to strike at us, at least in this demo.
The potential might be there but we believe that within the Microsoft Ashen exclusive title park can find a place that is not among the tops. Expecting a closer look at the dynamics of the passive multiplayer can make us change our minds.