Tips for Playing Ashen
After a three year wait and multiple teasers, we finally get to play Ashen. Developed by Aurora44, Ashen takes heavy inspiration from the Dark Souls games, so naturally it’s going to be a bit tougher than your average action adventure game. While the companion system may make it a bit easier at times, there are plenty of sections that will beat you up handily. Here are a few tips to help you protect the Ashen and restore the light to your dark world.
Take Your Time
While Dark Souls veterans may feel right at home with the gameplay, for those that have never experienced one of those games, take your time. Don’t be afraid to wait for an opening, hide behind your shield, and circle or back peddle your enemy until an attack opportunity is available.
Use Your Companion as Bait
In Ashen you will always have an AI or human companion with you, so use them for every advantage. Your AI companion for the most part will follow behind you, so if you suspect an ambush is around a corner, just take a step forward and dive back. Your companion will walk up to where you were before you dove back and the enemy will attack him first. Don’t feel bad about letting your companion take the heat, they often have stronger attacks and more defense. You can always revive them if they go down or respawn them at the nearest checkpoint.
Turn Off Multiplayer While Exploring
A unique feature of Ashen is how the game will seamlessly load in a real human player in place of your AI companion. While this can be great for many reasons, having a human player around while you explore is often hit or miss. If you connect with a human player who has already explored that area and just wants to rush the boss, then you’ll need to wait until they run away from you far enough to load in an AI partner. All the while you’ll be alone with no help. Instead, just go into the options and turn off the multiplayer, but keep the AI option on. The AI will keep with you no matter where you explore making sure you always have a companion.
Do Side Quests First
Completing missions is the only way to level up your health, stamina, and unlock new features or crafting opportunities. Side quests will also make you explore more of the regions, increasing your chances of finding a new weapon or set of armor. Ensure you do all available side quests before advancing.
Prioritize Completing Certain Side Quests First
As I mentioned above; completing side quests is how you upgrade, but it will also unlock features like fast travel and being able to upgrade your Crimson Gourd. This is why I suggest doing Jokell and Elia’s missions first. Jokell will unlock the ability to take more swigs from your Gourd and Elia will unlock fast travel as well as increase the healing capacity of each swig from your Gourd.
The only gear you can directly upgrade is your weapons. All the armor has fixed stats and can only be found by exploring. While you will find slightly better weapons as you explore, there is no reason not to upgrade your weapons a few times to make a section easier. Upgrading your base weapons only a couple of times will still out perform new weapons you pick up a couple levels later. So at least upgrade your weapons a couple times to make the next section a bit easier. Once you start getting around the half way point you’ll start acquiring enough Scoria to upgrade quite a lot. Each weapon has base damage indicated by the first circle, critical damage indicated by the second circle, and critical percent. Weapons with a blade will have less base damages, but a greater chance to inflict criticals, while blunt weapons will have higher damage, but little chance for criticals.
Keep Spears on You
Once you unlock the ability to use spears, make sure you always have some on you. Not only are they a good way to hunt animals for resources, but they are a great way to pull enemies from a group. Later on you’ll also have the ability to teleport and you’ll need spears to activate sections. Often times these teleports will provide hidden items and gear, so make sure you keep spears with you at all times.
Be Proficient With All Your Weapons
You are allowed to have equipped a one handed and two handed weapon and instantly be able to swap between them. Make sure you practice with both weapons because there will be enemies and sections that will be better suited for a powerful two handed strike. You’ll need to understand the timing balance between the one handed and two handed weapons.
Put Down Your Lantern
There will be sections of Ashen that are very dark and filled with traps and ambushes galore. One level in particular will find you going down an extremely large dungeon that has a long journey between checkpoints. With how dark it is, you’ll absolutely need to hold your lantern which takes up your left hand slot and it will require removing your shield. This obviously leaves you open to more chances of surprise attacks. While holding the lantern, you have the option to put it on the ground by pressing LB on Xbox or whatever input it is to block with your shield on PC. This allows you to illuminate the area and equip your shield that way you can bait enemies to your lantern and continue the fight with light and a shield. Just make sure you pick up your lantern before continuing.
Manage Your Inventory
There are a ton of items to pick up from a myriad of crafting items to weapons and armor. Back at your settlement there is a storage chest located straight across from the weapon upgrade station. Make sure you leave crafting items and everything you won’t use out on your journey in this box. You won’t want to stumble across new weapons and armor, but need to drop something to grab it. An additional tip that I believe is the cause of a bug is that if your inventory box is full, you’ll need to remove an item from the box before you can deposit an item that stacks. If the box is full it will not let you put in any items ,even if it just stacks. Remove an item, stack the other item, then put the removed item back.
Don’t Hesitate on Talismans and Relics
At the beginning it may seem like a big investment equipping Talismans since they are a thousand per equip and Relics are ten thousand per. However, Talismans and Relics are the only way you can increase additional stats so they are crucial to equip as soon as you can. Save up that ten thousand and equip the first Relic you acquire since it allows you to do great bonus damage.
Pick Armor That Fits Your Play Style
Each armor has different stats that will provide damage reduction, but the higher the damage reduction is, typically the more it will eat your stamina and reduce your stamina regeneration. I always pick a lighter armor as it allows me to dodge more often, absorb more damage with my shield, and attack a lot more. However, this typically means the attacks that land are much more devastating. It’s all about finding the balance that works for your play style and how proficient you’re with dodging attacks.
I absolutely loved Ashen and I hope these tips helped you. Check out my review here! Are there any tips you think I left out? Let me know below in the comments.