I don't even remember when the domestic gaming industry offered good, high-quality Y8 games. Not from the category “to bury a few thousand rubles for a new skin for your character”, but from the category “sat down in the evening - woke up by lunch the next day”. I am generally silent about originality.
That is, no, there were (and are) Y8 games: the Il-2 Sturmovik series is alive and well, Blitzkrieg 3 was released relatively recently , Eador also shows signs of life. Ice-Pick Lodge is working hard on a remake of their " Pestilence. Utopia ". So yes, you can find good Y8 games, but there are very few of them, and almost all of them are aimed at a rather narrow audience. AurumDust's Ash of Gods : Redemption has roughly the same problems - it's a niche game that is incredibly similar to Stoic's The Banner Saga . But, oddly enough, the game of Russian developers was able to tighten me.
The similarities with The Banner Saga are really visible from a kilometer away: the same RPG genre, a similar style of painting and other little things very clearly indicate the source of inspiration. The authors, however, do not hide this, and the creators of The Banner Saga, apparently, do not see any problems - they even brought AurumDust a certain amount to Kickstarter.
And there are, in general, two ways: either you shout that the new game is a stupid plagiarism of TBS, angrily bet 0/10 and, proudly raising your head, leave, or you play on your own, forgetting about prejudices.
As I mentioned in my first impressions, I liked Ash of Gods. In the 17 hours that I spent on the first playthrough (technically, for 14, because I started anew due to the overrun of strixes), claims, of course, arose, but in general the game worked for me. And there were moments when I wanted to strangle a character, but there weren't many of them.
I'll start with the main thing. As the authors promised, no one is immune from death in Ash of Gods, and each death slightly, but changes the world around. It turned out strange for me: almost all the characters survived (only one died, and I'm not sure if it was my miscalculation or his death was conceived according to the script), but the ending still turned out to be very gloomy. It turned out quite unexpectedly, because I was firmly convinced that I was doing everything right.
In total, there are three main characters in the game and, accordingly, three groups that these characters lead. Moreover, the groups also differ in some gameplay aspects.
So, the group of Thorn Brenin is a completely standard detachment of warriors without any distortions and peculiarities. In the party of the second hero, Lo Feng, there is one insanely imbalanced hero (Feng himself), on the competent use of which all battles are built. The third protagonist, Hopper Ruli, is still more fun - he always fights alone (although he travels in company).
The story of all the heroes revolves around the Harvest - an event that has happened twice in the world of the game and now is happening again. The goals of each of the characters are different: Thorn is trying to protect his daughter from the curse (it is worth noting that he is still a defender), Feng is engaged in self-digging and along the way tries to get to his clan to report on the murder of the Reaper. The most intriguing line came from Hopper - he is not a human, but one of the Umbra (in short, this is the same race to which the Reapers belong), and he wants to understand what is wrong with the current Harvest. And at the same time deal with the spell that hit his hand and slowly but surely kills Hopper himself.
Groups travel on a rather large map, and you can only go forward - from point A to point B. It would be unrealistically boring if not for one "but". The heroes are usually given several paths, from which you can only choose one. Each road is a potential adventure, you can run into another trouble or meet, for example, a merchant and villagers in need of help.
In general, anything can happen to you on the way. We went along one path - we reached the inn, beat off the kidneys and liver of the rowdy there and spent the night for free, at the same time raising the morale of the detachment. We went along the other - ran into a patrol of villains-ances, who instantly rush to the squad in order to tie a garland of your guts. Moreover, the events differ for each of the units. And what's more: reloading the game from save and following the same road, you risk getting a completely different set of encounters and battles.
Each meeting affects the game world and your group in a certain way. Battles provide the experience needed to strengthen the heroes. Meetings with merchants allow you to purchase artifacts, combat map parts, and vital strixes. Sometimes there are events on the map that allow you to take another character into the group. And you may not get anything - just get off with a few wounds and lose a handful of strixes, without which you will not be able to travel normally and heal your comrades. Strix, if anything, is such a mineral, thanks to which the heroes do not go crazy during the Harvest. There are few strixes, and you constantly have to make sure that there are enough of them to move between points.
The only one who does without strix on the global map is Hopper, but in general, everything is much more fun with him. The spell that has been absorbed into his hand constantly creeps to his heart, and in this regard, you regularly need to choose: either the hero will become weaker, succumbing to the curse (and he always fights alone, remember this), or he will fight the curse without losing characteristics. The problem is that if you resist, then the game will become more difficult - more opponents will participate in battles, they will become smarter and stronger. However, if you play carefully and carefully, there is a chance to get to the finale without dying or moving the level of Harvest from the first.
In addition to traveling across the global map and many dialogues, Ash of Gods offers a tactical combat system with turn-based battles. And combat here is somewhat different from other similar Y8 games. And thanks not so much to the cards that play the role of spells here, but rather to a somewhat strange system of moves.
At first, everything looks standard: your move, the enemy hero's move, then yours again, then the enemy hero's again. It seems to be easy and simple, but as soon as the number of opponents decreases, you will immediately notice an interesting feature.
The fact is that the moves here are not evenly distributed on both teams, but they are individual for each. And if the enemies (or you) have fewer living characters, then the moves will turn faster.
Let me explain. Each character in one turn of the group can go once. In 6 × 6 battles, each will take one action. And in a 6 × 3 battle, a group of three will make two moves in the same time as a group of six will make one. And if you are 6 × 1 left, then the last enemy will walk after EACH of your characters. You yourself understand what will happen if in the end you leave the boss.
In such conditions, you have to constantly think about who to endure last, and who needs to be killed as soon as possible. Sometimes, however, incidents happen. For example, once, when faced with a group of enemies, I knew exactly who should be hit first, and who should be left for later. As a result, it turned out that this very left "for later" character, thanks to his skills, in a couple of moves is able to kill any of my heroes, and even heal while doing so. I had to replay.
To prevent such situations from happening, I strongly advise you to check the skill panels of enemy heroes at the beginning of the battle. So you will find out how painful it can fly to you, and you will understand who needs to be killed in the first place. And you will save yourself from having to replay battles.
Another rather controversial point in the local combat system is maps. You collect them during the game and can use them in battle, but the overwhelming majority of these cards are either extremely narrow in profile, or simply useless. Although, of course, it all depends on your imagination and tactics - so even a card that deals 50 points of damage to your and the enemy unit has the right to life, if used correctly. Although you can win without them - there is even a corresponding achievement.
Also in Ash of Gods, characters have two characteristics that are important for combat. Health (everything is clear with him) and energy, deprived of which, you will receive twice as much damage. The trick is that some of the heroes' abilities consume either energy or health, and very often you have to decide. To fire a simple shot or an enhanced one, sacrificing health? Hit the enemy so as to take HP away from him, or first knock down his energy? The system seems pretty wild at first (an archer taking off 2/3 of his health per shot is really ridiculous), but you will get involved pretty quickly.
However, if you have no desire to understand the intricacies of the combat system (or the idea with almost unlimited moves seems to you complete nonsense), then you can simply turn on the "narrative" game mode. Your heroes will automatically become almost immortal, enemies will inflict 2-3 units of damage, and an "automatic battle" button will appear. Although such a regime, perhaps, should be called "a regime for lazy people."
But even if everything suits you in the combat system, it is difficult not to pay attention to another problem of the game. In my opinion, everyone writes about her, and here the point is not that you want to drown the game, but that this very problem immediately catches your eye. We are talking about one of the key elements of Ash of Gods - dialogue. Almost all heroes communicate with each other in exactly the same way - both kings and peasants, except that the appeal to the hero in the spirit of "you-you" changes.
Not all characters are sensibly spelled out characters (only more or less important in groups and another five or six of those who are found in cutscenes). The main characters speak either in direct speech (and then everything is fine), then in the second person - that is, the narrator ascribes the actions of the characters directly to you. It turns out a kind of collapse of the fourth wall, but it looks very strange and inappropriate here.
And it's also very annoying that, having created a new world with a bunch of countries, races, with historical events that are mentioned in the game, the authors did not bother to make even the simplest code where all this information would be contained. As a result, if you get imbued with the universe, then you will know almost nothing about it, even if you really want to - there is no code, the cat cried information on the map , the authors forgot about the footnotes, as in Tyranny , and therefore bits of information have to be extracted from different dialogues. A strange, and, in my opinion, stupid decision.
And here's the paradox: despite the not very successful performance, I liked Ash of Gods. She has a great visual style, great music (seriously - I ran the Y8 game a couple of times and sat in the main menu for ten minutes, just listening to the topic) and a fascinating storyline. As the creators promised, the characters are mortal, and the ending and the fate of your comrades really depend on your attentiveness, ingenuity and selfishness.
The authors of the Y8 game, by the way, know how to self-irony - for example, they regularly laugh at their own decision to leave Hopper to fight alone (which infuriates him madly). They even joked about the resemblance to TBS - they arranged it all in the form of a meeting with the Stoic team, which first talks about the third part of the "Saga", notes the similarities of the main characters, and then gives money and goes away - a funny easter egg came out.
On the other hand, the local combat system is far from ideal, the dialogues are written mediocre, and the central mechanics of the Y8 game, which is already here, are not original. If you are ready to put up with it, then you are welcome. And everyone else is better off playing something else in order to protect the vulnerable nature.
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