My only behind closed doors meeting with Xbox this year was Ashen. I was happy to see this game though as it was different and not at all like the rest of the releases for the console. Ashen is unique with not only its tone, but the way the game is carried. It will be an entirely open world, third person RPG. It features a distinct passive multiplayer where players will be randomly coming across one another. This works well in the sense of making this lifeless place feel alive and to help players with puzzles. While nothing is locked out from those that want to venture within the land alone, it's certainly better to tackle cooperative puzzles as a team.
Ashen will be released on Xbox One with optimization for Xbox One X. The demo we were shown was rendering at 4k 60fps though the final target is not confirmed at this point. Graphics wise I don't see any reason why this mark can't be hit for the final version, but we'll see what happens. There could be some insane battles with creatures or some other factors as we were just given a taste of what to expect. Another neat technical thing is that the game will have no loading screens or prompts to interrupt gameplay, having a smooth play whether that's in single player or the multiplayer integration.
The world of Ashen is dark and depressing. Ash illuminates the sky and it gets darker as you move away from the main source of light. It seems lonely to some degree from the silhouetted people to the many monsters that populate the world. It definitely felt Dark Soulish from what I watched while bringing a simplified version of that and I say that in the context of visuals. The world is filled with secrets as well whether those are ancient tombs that need to be dealt with or fun surprises. As mentioned previously players might need a friend to do a puzzle or if in single player an AI will pop in. The puzzles will vary though I will note some things from what we saw.
There are lanterns for dungeons as it gets pitch black and occasionally Ash Echoes will come to help guide you. The bosses of the world are rather creepy and it seems like there could be some difficulty involved. Death will also send you to the nearest save point and I honestly thought it might be harsher. You can also customize your Ash guy with armor, weapons and other decorative options. I was quite impressed with the distinct look of Ashen, the promise of its world and look forward to seeing how the final version of this game will be after waiting so many years since its announcement.
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