Century: Age of Ashes looks to bring exciting, adrenaline-fueled dog fighting to an ancient era, one where dragons soar through the skies. This competitive third-person shooter brings together high-octane action and strategic elements together in a completely free-to-play experience. We had the opportunity to dive in and check out a preview of this title’s upcoming Early Access release.
Century: Age of Ashes Preview
Century: Age of Ashes is a lobby-based, competitive multiplayer game that pits two teams of mounted dragons against each other in a battle to the death. While additional modes, maps, and classes are promised in the coming months, the current preview build features three playable classes, two maps, and two different modes of play.
Before diving into a match, players can work through the tutorial. This consists of a series of silent and brief videos introducing the various aspects of attacking, defending, managing stamina, and collecting pickups scattered around the map. While simple and lackluster, it’s enough to bring you into Rookie Mode.
Rookie Mode is played on an open map, with some mountains and rocky terrain to split the teams apart. Each round, only certain abilities are available, allowing players to learn with restrictions in place and giving them time to adapt to each new ability as it’s introduced. The other mode, Simple Match, is on a bigger, more extravagant map that features a huge castle on the shores of a large ocean. Both maps feature intricate tunnels and tough to navigate areas, alongside more open spaces for flat-out fighting.
The gameplay itself is familiar, but it does have a steep learning curve. Dragons aren’t able to stop completely, but the fact that you can speed up, boost, and are slow to turn makes the challenge of flying and controlling each dragon a real art. Whether you’re navigating through caves and tunnels or soaring above the ocean, being able to outwit and outmaneuver your opponents is the key to success.
There are currently three playable classes: Marauder, Windguard, and Phantom. Each class can use fireballs and fire breath – the two main avenues of attack – and has access to a number of class-specific abilities. The Windguard can rush toward a target ally and provide a quick shield boost, while the Phantom can turn itself invisible and lay down devastating mines in close-quarter spaces.
Defeating enemies, collecting power-ups, and winning matches all earn experience points and currency that can be spent on new equipment for both your dragon and class. All unlockables (both free and premium) are purely cosmetic; there is currently no progression system in place. There is a premium shop where you can buy dragon eggs, equipment, icons, and a variety of goodies, but it’s not cheap. A legendary dragon egg will set you back about $20, although currently the premium store doesn’t allow for purchasing items or currency. Each class can unlock and equip new dragons, dragon equipment, and character equipment – again, all purely cosmetic – but it nevertheless allows for a total of 11 different avenues of customization for each class.
So far, Century: Age of Ashes is a good start for an innovative concept. Impressive visuals and highly competitive gameplay stand at the forefront, but the lack of any meaningful progression and rewards will definitely not appeal to everyone. Without some level of skill or level-based matchmaking, new players may find the initial hours difficult and frustrating.
For those looking to check it out themselves, Century: Age of Ashes is scheduled to release under Steam Early Access in February 2021.
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