Ashen is a Dark Souls-inspired action RPG with Journey-style cooperative multiplayer. The design of Ashen distinguishes itself from other games in the genre by having large open areas full of ambushing bandits. Dark cave sequences forces players to choose between either having a bit of lantern light, or using a shield or a two-handed weapon.
So many cool new games on Xbox Game Pass and so little time to play them! This Dark Souls-inspired game looks super neat.
I have not played a video game for more than a minute or two in 3 weeks. It's about time.
The introduction sets up world creation myth about a giant bird that creates light. The narrative and language has a Lord of the Rings-like style to it.
The combat and traversal feels great, very much a Dark Souls-like, but with the added mechanics of jumping and climbing, which feels very natural, something that the Souls games might have benefited from. The enemy encounters are fun, and are set up to teach you a few basic mechanics and tactics.
The spiders in the dark cave caused me a lot of problems, until I learned to put the lantern on the ground, and throw spears at them. And then I was killed by Ukotto, who seems far to difficult right now. It should be noted that I'm playing offline and without AI companion, possibly making the game harder than it needs to be.
Erik played through the early parts of Ashen, and beat Ukotto on his first try, of course.
After upgrading my Crimson Gourd (Estus Flask) to 6 swigs, I went to the Annex of Light and defeated Ukkoto. I saw Gefn who gave me some heart-based quest. After giving Ukkoto's Faceplate to Bataran, he will upgrade weapons using his anvil. The upgrades are immensely powerful: My Cleaving Axe went from 58 to 150 Damage with 2 upgrades.
I explored the Whispers area, and slowly learned how to deal with the enemies. A shield is really recommended in this area. The hometown has been built, and looks awesome. I climbed the tower to the giant sky-whale thing, which started attacking me in a very distinct Dark Souls-like fashion. This game is super fun, and the environments are beautiful and well-designed.
I gave Seat of the Matriarch another go tonight after leveling up my mace, but no luck. Now that I know the way, I was trying to run through the area, but it seems like a bad idea. My next attempt should be slow and methodical. I can do it.
I was so absorbed by The Seat of the Matriarch, that I wanted to do a quick try in the morning before work. It was all just too much. The combination of the shadow creatures and the blue demons is truly awful.
With Malu at my side, helping my keep my calm and reminding me of when to drink from the Crimson Gourd, a half hour later I was at the next checkpoint. Full of self confidence, I made a huge mistake and warped back to town to spend my Scoria. I don't know why I did that, there is no way to warp back to this area. Now I have to do it again.
A short time before reaching the second checkpoint in The Seat of the Matriarch, I accidentally rolled off a cliff and survived, only to be attacked by two shadow creatures, that I defeated while in full panic mode. It turned out to be a shortcut that skipped the most difficult section of the area, a narrow staircase with multiple shadow creatures and blue demons. I have to do that again, that is brilliant. The shortcut is close to one of the big purple dudes, to the right of a big broken rock.
I used the skip and reached the second checkpoint in The Seat again. Now I carefully prodded forward into the darkness, and ended up in a boss room with the giant Amiren, whom I defeated on my first attempt. Now a lot of quests are unlocked.
I slowly worked my way through The Loom, which is a tricky area with a lot of wooden platforms requiring some spear teleporting. When I reached The Cracked Path, it was an amazing moment. It reminded me of exiting the vault for the first time in Fallout 3.
The game crashed when fast traveling from the Cracked Path, but the save still works fine.
I started exploring The Cracked Path and the large area around it. It's a cool twist that a game about creeping darkness has a final area that is bright and beautiful, yet punishingly difficult. I have finished a couple of questlines, which levels up health and stamina. I'm getting close to the end, I think.
More failed attempts. I think I should try replacing the offensive 'Ukkoto's Guile' relic with the defensive 'Gefn's Blessing', which builds up damage protection against a single hit over time. Seems useful for a more defensive play style.
completed the game (Solo).
I defeated the final boss, Sissna, using extremely defensive tactics. I was playing so defensively that I entered the second stage with 9 health potions. The final fight went bad several times along the way, me getting hit, falling into the water pool in the middle of the arena, and several times I got overzealous and tried one hit too many. But after a grueling 20 minutes, Sissna was dead with 3 health potions to spare.