Following a year of Epic Games Store and Xbox One exclusivity, developer Aurora44's brooding co-op action-RPG, Ashen, will be shaking off its shackles and heading to PlayStation 4 and Switch on 9th December - and it'll be arriving on Steam and GOG the same day.
Ashen wonderfully stylish fantasy action blends stamina-based third-person melee combat and open-world exploration, and casts players forth on a journey out across a bleak, time-ravaged world. While on their travels, adventurers can encounter and recruit comrades to help them tackle Ashen's challenges, defeat imposing bosses, and expand their slowly growing settlement. The twist, however, is that these anonymous friends might, at times, be other fellow human players, and not just NPCs.
Despite the fact that Ashen, almost inevitably, sometimes struggles to escape from the shadow of From Software's Souls series, which remains a heavy inspiration throughout, there's still much to appreciate in its solid combat and, sombre, meticulous landscapes.
"In general, Ashen is so in love with the enigmatic workings of From and Thatgamecompany's creations that it neglects to kindle enigmas of its own," said Edwin Evans-Thirlwell in his Recommended Eurogamer review, "Still, it's a robust and often mesmerising piece of craftsmanship that serves as a gentle introduction to the Souls sub-genre... And for a veteran of Lordran, there's genuine satisfaction to unravelling its reinventions and departures - identifying the places where it sheds a little more light on Souls at large, and the places where it lets the darkness close in."
Ashen will be available via the PlayStation Store and Switch eShop from 9th December, and PC players who prefer to make their purchases through GOG and Steam will be able to do so too.