Century: Age of Ashes is a VERY fun game, which is great considering it’s free-to-play. In fact, it is one of the most impressive free-to-play titles that I’ve played, with the stunning airborne dragon-battling action keeping me engrossed for hours on end so far. The one big flaw? It has a lack of content, with the limited game modes and maps potentially hindering players from sticking with it for the long-term.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
If you’re familiar with airborne combat games, you’ll have a basic grasp of how Century: Age of Ashes works. Players play as one of three different classes (Marauder, Windguard and Phantom) and ride a dragon, which they can use to boost through the skies, weave between obstacles in their path, and, of course, blast attacks at rival players. A fairly detailed tutorial takes you through the ins-and-outs of the controls, but nothing about the game feels overly complicated; whilst there are things to learn and get used to, movement is simple and it’s easy to line up both ranged attacks and close-range fire-breathing when pursuing rival players. I’ve played similar titles where the flying mechanics can be over-complicated, but nope, everything feels intuitive here with the full range of 360-degree movement easy to handle and ensuring quick turns are pulled off with ease.
Each of the three classes bring with them different abilities that ensure they feel varied to use. The Marauder is more attack orientated for example, with their Hunters Mark ability allowing them to throw a homing fireball that tracks marked targets and their Frost Bolts providing elemental damage. The Windguard is more of a support class, with their Salvation Surge providing a shield and reducing the ability cooldown timers for allies, whilst their Smoke Trail doesn’t only provide a fog to hide their movement but also damages enemies. Finally, there’s the Phantom, which is able to use its Mystic Shroud to activate an invisibility cloak to hide them from other players, which can be VERY useful in some game modes.
In fairness, each of the three classes really feel like they offer something different, whilst they all provide decent attacking options to ensure they can hold their own when battling rival players. I just wish there were more classes on offer right now, with a lack of diversity felt in battles and often giving the game a bit of a samey feel. You can unlock new cosmetics for these classes, but nothing changes up from a gameplay perspective with them. The game states that more classes are due to arrive in the future, so here’s hoping the team at Playwing bring them to the fray sooner rather than later.
“Players play as one of three different classes (Marauder, Windguard and Phantom) and ride a dragon, which they can use to boost through the skies, weave between obstacles in their path, and, of course, blast attacks at rival players.”
There are three main game modes on offer: Carnage, Spoils of War, and Gates of Fire.
Carnage is your typical team death match, with players battling it out in wide-open arenas where there’s plenty of room to either take the fight straight to the enemy or use distance and your surroundings to play it safe. It’s fast, frantic, and my favourite way to play the game, with nothing more satisfying than racking up your kill count and pursuing foes through intense chases.
Spoils of War is all about collecting gold, with players having to attack patrolling AI dragons to have them drop loot which can then be taken back to your team’s base. More valuable targets will occasionally appear in a match too, with more treasure rewarded to players who grab them. Be warned though: it’s possible for enemies to kill you and steal your loot if you don’t take it back to your base promptly, so you’ve not only got to keep an eye on where the treasure is but also for any enemies that might be on your back.
Finally, there’s Gates of Fire, which essentially acts as the game’s take on Capture the Flag, except players have to take the flag they collect through special gates located around the arena to earn points. Admittedly, this is the mode I’ve played the least, but what I have experienced has been exciting – especially when you’re the one carrying the flag and have a nice big target on your back.
“Age of Ashes offers plenty of different items to purchase with real cash, but it’s not imperative to your success; everything you purchase is cosmetic-based only, so there’s no gross in-game purchases that’ll give players an advantage over others.”
In fairness, all of the game modes are a blast to play, whilst they each offer something different to ensure that Century: Age of Ashes does have some diversity in its gameplay. With just the three modes on offer though, it doesn’t take long before repetition kicks in – especially with the game’s lack of maps. I only actually came across one map when playing Spoils of War, which was something that made the mode feel particularly less exciting to play. Whilst the multiplayer nature of Century: Age of Ashes adds a sense of unpredictability to each match, it really needs to up the ante with its content if it wants to keep players engaged and coming back for more.
It might seem like I’m giving the game a bit of a hard time in this review, but I have to emphasise that I loved playing it. The buzz of the airborne combat is unrivalled, whether that’s when simply soaring through the skies, hitting a tunnel to build up your boost meter, or stalking a foe and unleashing a huge wave of fire to take them out, whilst the game modes bring their own individual thrills too. There’s nothing quite like seeing your bounty raise in Carnage because you’re the most fierce player on the battlefield for example, whilst taking back a stupendous amount of loot or destroying the rival team’s coffer in Spoils of War felt great. The game is packed to the brim with exciting moments that kept me coming back for more, with the core gameplay loop a ridiculously fun one that made for a truly addictive experience.
Levelling up in-game felt rewarding, with it offering the likes of dragon eggs to raise into new mounts (you have to complete challenges to hatch them and raise them to maturity), new cosmetics, and the currency to purchase in-game content. It’s a free-to-play game so it’s only natural that Century: Age of Ashes offers plenty of different items to purchase with real cash, but it’s not imperative to your success; everything you purchase is cosmetic-based only, so there’s no gross in-game purchases that’ll give players an advantage over others. It really does get a lot right and it makes the game all the more rewarding to play, even WITHOUT spending any actual cash on it.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
It looks gorgeous too, with the incredibly detailed environments complemented by the wonderful dragon designs. There’s just an impressive sense of atmosphere to be found across all aspects of its design, whether that’s when seeing the destruction of your attacks as you battle other dragons or simply when taking in the majestic sights when soaring through the skies. I’ve never been biased towards visuals generally, but the fact that Century: Ages of Ashes looks so damn good did make it even more enjoyable to play. The performance is smooth throughout as far as the frame rate is concerned too – whilst I did notice an infrequent frame rate dip in particularly intense sequences, everything would stabilise quickly and wouldn’t affect the gameplay.
Century: Age of Ashes Review
Century: Age of Ashes is a thrilling multiplayer experience that looks gorgeous – it just needs more content to keep players coming back for more. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an excellent game to play in itself and it doesn’t have any gross ‘pay to win’ in-game purchases either, so it’s certainly one of the better free-to-play titles out there. With the small selection of game modes, maps, and classes it has to offer though, repetition has started to kick in a bit for me.
New content is promised though, so the future could be REALLY bright for Century: Age of Ashes. There’s a pretty special game here (and a free one too which is ALWAYS a good thing)… it just needs a bit more content to make the experience an even better one.
Platform(s): Xbox Series X|S (Reviewed), PC