Chronos Before The Ashes DEALS
The genre of soulslike video games has seen, over the years, an exponential increase in popularity. This has led it to be, at least in the last years of the last generation of consoles, a leading genre. Just think of titles like Code Vein, Sekiro, and The Surge to make it clear how much the love for these mechanics has taken hold. Dodging, parry, counterattack, a non-generous difficulty, equipment, and death entertain and infuriates many gamers.
To think that the remake of Demon’s Souls, a title from two generations ago, is the first next-gen title from Sony. In 2019, Gunfire Games presented Remnant From The Ashes to the general public. The combination of soulslike and third-person shooter could capture the interest of many. Because of an excessive difficulty and woodiness of the title, the game had a weak start on the sales front. The subsequent patches and the arrival of two well-structured and thought-out DLCs has enormously increased the interest of the public.
Not everyone, however, knows that there is a prequel of Remnant, called Chronos Before The Ashes. This is a game that released in 2016 for VR devices. And not everyone knows that a revised non-VR version of Chronos recently came out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Here is my Chronos Before The Ashes review on PlayStation 4.
SLOW AND TOO SIMPLE
Chronos Before The Ashes is a real prequel to the events narrated in Remnant. This is both for the main story and for the lore of the game world. Chronos tells of a protagonist, whose sex you can initially select, and one of the two starting weapons (sword or axe). Your aim will be to explore the so-called Labyrinth. You will need to find a way to stop the Dragon that rules the monsters that have conquered the world.
Here you will find a world halfway between technology and medieval times. This is a combination that artistically makes everything truly appreciable. From the start of the title, however, I immediately noticed something wrong. Don’t play Chronos Before The Ashes if you’re coming from another fast-paced action-RPG title. The controls of Gunfire Games’ title are slow.
An annoying lag between the command input to the controller and the start of the protagonist’s movement definitely affects the overall gameplay experience of the title. Take note that this is actually something you get used to with the first two or three hours of play. However, some players will dread this type of gameplay. That is why it remains something that I cannot overlook in this Chronos Before The Ashes review. Once you overcome the initial obstacle of getting used to the controls, solid gameplay will unfold in front of you.
However, there are a few things that are perhaps sometimes too simple and lacking in choice. Initially, your warrior will be equipped with a simple wooden shield and a sword or an axe. By grinding enemy kills, you can level up and gain two skill points to spend in the few features present. Take note that there are not a lot of weapons and shields available during the game. This reduces the possibilities of direct customization of your hero to weapon and shield.
THE SECRET TO WISDOM
With each death, your warrior will age by a year. This may initially seem irrelevant for gameplay purposes. However, in the long run you will find that with age the propensity towards some characteristics of your protagonist changes. Your 18-year-old protagonist will prefer strength, vitality, and agility. As you age, the joints ache and you move on to prefer arcane and magical abilities. Thus, a too old protagonist will require more skill points to increase strength, but less for the arcane.
This interesting mechanic does not end here. Every 10 years you can unlock a perk (a passive ability) that is permanent for the protagonist. These vary a lot according to the age of the character. They can range from an increase in life or experience got in the fights, to other much more intriguing. The upgrading of weapons, unfortunately, has not received the same attention. This ultimately results in using a key within the inventory, spending stones dropped by enemies. A bland experience, to say the least!
EXPLORATION AND BOSSES
The exploration of the game world in Chronos Before The Ashes is initially very boring. You will notice a constant reuse of textures, especially in the first areas of the game. However, I must say that, artistically, the title of Gunfire Games works. The developers mixed different styles and color palettes that make everything really pleasant. A pity for the little detail reserved for the interiors that are mostly bare. The VR nature of the title makes itself felt. But never forget that the difficulty of soulslike remains intrinsic.
If you are not careful enough, you will see your life bar dry up in a short time. And since you won’t be able to restore your healing until you die, your attention will have to be at quite high levels. I also noticed a big imbalance between the arrogance and aggression of normal mobs, compared to bosses. The latter, in fact, although all very different from each other and quite inspired in the mechanics, are really simple to beat. This is especially the case if you learn to dodge and counter carefully at a precise manner.
Gunfire Games’ title is littered with environmental puzzles. To be honest, these are all relatively simple and of little challenge. There are certain secrets scattered here and there, useful for finding new weapons or arcane upgrades that you can equip. However, all this does not really affect the longevity of the title that much, which stands at about twenty hours.
Technically, Chronos Before The Ashes is nothing special, which further underlines its nature as a budget title. My review took place on a PlayStation 4 Pro and I didn’t notice any performance drops, or particular bugs or crashes. The low resolution of some textures and the lack of fluidity of the animations makes me sad. I can see that they created the title with a lot of heart and many ideas in mind, but with too little money.
Do you want to try Gunfire Games’ Chronos Before The Ashes? What do you think of my Chronos Before The Ashes review on PlayStation 4? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Are you interested in more games? Check out our reviews for El Hijo – A Wild West Tale, Haven, DOOM Eternal, Super Meat Boy Forever, and Gears 5: Hivebusters.
Chronos Before The Ashes
The ageing mechanics with each death is something particularly suggestive and interesting. However, this is not enough to revive the fate of an overly woody combat system and a little variety in the personalisation of the protagonist. The low-budget nature of the title is very visible on the technical front.
- Artistically inspired
- Ageing mechanics
- Lots of good ideas
- Woody and slow
- Poor customization possibilities
- Low budget in every respect