Since the ill-fated Lair on the PlayStation 3, fans of dragon-based games have been waiting for something that would actually make it good on those promises. It’s not a lot to ask, honestly. And the sad truth is that almost nothing has ever really taken on that challenge in a serious and comprehensive way. Well, it seems like all of that might be about to change with the game Century: Age of Ashes. It seems that the folks over at Playwing are hard at work at that exact sort of experience with their upcoming game and if everything pans out the way it’s looking to this could very well be the dragon game that you were waiting for all this time.
Century: Age of Ashes is still weeks away from officially being launched but we do know a pretty decent amount of information about it thanks to it being in early access right now. It’s essentially a multiplayer dog-fighting game with dragons… or I suppose dragon-fighting. It’s looking to bring swift maneuvering with devastating attacks in an interesting cocktail of gameplay elements that should add up to be pretty interesting if everything pans out. if you’ve ever played Panzer Dragoon then you at least have an idea of what this game sort of looks like. although the similarities pretty much end there as this game is anything but on rails and is more about killing other dragons and their Riders than it is about anything else. The game is slated to launch on Microsoft Windows, Steam and Epic Games storefronts.
So far, we know about the game’s three distinct classes and their varying abilities. as with any multiplayer game like this each class of course has its own pros and cons, but the idea is that they’re all balanced out enough so that players of different persuasions can stick with who they like and still be as effective as anybody else at their skill level. Windguards are defensive, helping out teammates with shields and poisonous smoke that forces pursuers to back off. Marauders are better suited for directed combat with the abilities to mark targets and paralyze them with frost bolts. Phantoms can set explosive traps in tunnels or other chokepoints, as well as blow enemies off their trajectory with massive blasts. They can also become invisible for a short time to escape pursuers or sneak past enemies. These three classes seem like the folks over at Playwing have really thought the gameplay through and are doing their level best at creating a solution for every problem any of these classes might have, as well as a counter to every advantage a player might end up with. It’s a similar balancing philosophy that we’ve seen in a game like Overwatch, and if it’s done right it could definitely make a lot of sense for a game like this. However, the issue is it still a 360 degree game in the air it’s not the shooter on the ground so different situations are going to arise and Playwing will not have the luxury of borrowing ideas from other games from start to finish.
That said, my money is on the suspicion that they know this given that they put together some interesting game modes that do not mirror things that we’ve already seen nearly as much. Like Carnage, the bounty-driven team deathmatch mode that makes it’s best players its most sought-after targets. The more enemies you take down, the more they will be rewarded for taking you down. It incentivizes being the best but also has a nice “king of the hill” aspect to it that adds that extra sense of tension. Special items and one-time-use abilities will also be scattered around the map in this mode which could also turn the tables if used to their potential. Another mode is Century’s “survival” which pits three teams against each other in a match to see who can be left standing after all is said and done. This mode might seem simple at first but there is also the added wrinkle of being able to take your fallen comrades’ souls back to your own base to revive them.
This twist on its own could lead to endless possibilities and highly unpredictable outcomes. If you see a teammate fall, do you pick up where they left off and kill their assailant? Or do you grab their soul and take it back for a revival, ultimately ending the exchange in a tie? That, and plenty of other conundrums will likely be scraping around inside your mind as you fly around and make split second decisions in this mode. Gates of fire is another mode that feels more like a race than anything else, as you try to be the first to get through a series of gates without getting killed or knocked off track by opponents. Despite how interesting the other modes seem I could definitely see this one taking off and forming of community of it’s own. The racing aspect to it it’s a genius idea and it could definitely scratch that itch that a lot of kart racing games might normally scratch with combat racing… but with dragons. What’s not to like here? According to the developer, new modes, maps and classes are on the way, so what we see here is just a taste of the entirety of the experience. My only concern with this is that I hope there aren’t too many modes when it’s all said and done. I also hope they aren’t afraid to get rid of modes that might end up far less popular than others. A divided player base is something that Playwing should avoid like the plague.
With these modes, classes, and what appears to be a pretty snappy control scheme, it’s hard to not be at least somewhat interested in Century: Age of Ashes. That said, with it being a multiplayer-focused game, it’s success will largely be determined by us, and whether or not we play the thing. Given that, I’m happy to tell you it’s in a free-to-play early access state right now, so there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a shot (other than your PC’s limitations of course) so if it sounds like something that might interest you, you can certainly find out for yourself.
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