Dragons are incredibly popular in various mythologies, yet there aren’t a lot of video games that let you soar around on one, raining destruction on your foes as you majestically roam uncontested across the sky. Century: Age of Ashes is seeking to rectify this. It’s a 6v6 multiplayer game where the players are dragon riders dueling across medieval European skylines.
First of all, the game itself feels fantastic to play. Flying around is fluid and relaxing, but weaving around while in aerial combat provides enough of a skill floor(the basic level of player skill to understand and play the game) for the game to feel like a real challenge to learn and master. The combat and flight mechanics are well-tutorialized, and you’ll get a chance to play smaller-scale 3v3 matches on the tutorial map against other new players in order to become more acquainted with the game. There are, at time of writing, three classes of dragon to play as, each with their own ability set and passive buffs. The Marauder is your typical all-rounder that’s good for being offensive, the Windguard is the healer who can rush in from out of nowhere to save allies, and the Phantom is the stealth one that will be chosen by everyone who wants to forget that this is a team game. There are strengths and weaknesses to different classes, but all of them share basic attacks, giving everyone at least some ability to hold their own in a fight. There are three main gamemodes as well, which are unique in their own right.
There’s your standard deathmatch, known as Carnage, which has the added twist of a bounty mechanic that rewards you more for killing players who are on longer killstreaks. Then there’s a gamemode that plays like a unique twist on capture the flag, called Gates of Fire, where you fight to hold the flag and be the first team to get it through all the gates around the map. The third and final mode, Spoils of War, has teams competing to stash the most gold in their team’s reserve before time expires. You’ll steal gold from carrier NPC dragons and other players, with special modifiers thrown in occasionally to grant teams unique advantages. Of the three, Spoils of War is perhaps the most unique, while Gates of Fire and Carnage make the most of the game’s core mechanics, the flying and combat respectively. All the classes and modes feel well-designed and brimming with possibility, especially for a game that’s recently launched.
One of the great things about PVP multiplayer games is that they don’t have an obligation to tell a good story. Rather, they only need to be fun and encourage healthy competition. That said, every multiplayer game has to have some kind of context to keep the game interesting for casual players, and it is in this department that Century is rather lacking. There aren’t really any characters per se, just a bunch of dragon riders with cool armor. The game is entirely aesthetics and gameplay, which isn’t necessarily a detriment in this case, but it also means that the overall experience can be rather shallow. The only other way to critique the game is in the microtransactions and business model. The game itself is free-to-play, and has an altogether inoffensive in-game store. Different dragons you can buy and hatch are essentially skins, with no real in-game bonuses. Other cosmetics include helmets, armor and weapons for your rider and armor for your dragon. There’s a premium currency purchasable with real money, a regular currency earnable by playing the game, and regular currency can be bought with premium currency. It’s the sort of F2P economy model that you see in a lot of mobile games, minus a blatant pay-to-win aspect. Buying premium currency or other DLC bundles can really be left up to your willingness to support the developers and your enjoyment of the game.
Century has an odd, but unfortunately not unheard of problem for a video game. It has the premise of dragon riding and exciting multiplayer gameplay, but little else. It’s not interesting to talk about beyond the surface-level hook that gets you to download it in the first place. Maybe that’s all the game really needs to draw in its target audience, but compared to other multiplayer offerings on the market, it doesn’t feel like the devs fully fleshed out the concept before publishing the game. Other than that, its actual gameplay is fantastic and unique, so if that’s all you’re looking for in a game, then Century: Age of Ashes is absolutely worth playing. It’s free to play on PC at time of writing, and will be ported to Xbox, PS4/5, and mobile sometime in 2022.
Microtransactions: The store is actually better than a lot of other F2P games out there, but the lure of buying premium currency or the latest cosmetics always remains.
Violence: Not much violence is actually shown aside from your character dying and falling to the ground. You can spew fire on your opponents, but nothing is shown up close and personal.