When I first started playing Century: Age of Ashes, my son asked me to describe it. It’s a dogfight game but In most air combat games I have shields, targeting computers, and a basic level of control over my vehicles. In Century: Age of Ashes, I have a dragon that has no fully equipped computers, shields, or abilities. Century is a really fun game but the learning curve is really steep.
Century: Age of Ashes offers several modes to play: an extremely thorough tutorial, a 3v3 skirmish mode and finally unlocking the full 6v6 duel mode. Specifically, the 3v3 mode feels great as it is a great starting point for new players to achieve their goals. With only 6 dragons on the battlefield, it was easier to move around without getting shot instantly. Century did a great job of taking up a relatively small map for these 3v3 skirmishes and making them feel large and expansive. Part of it is from using every part of the battlefield from the ground to the highest point in the sky.
After a few levels, regular 6v6 matches are unlocked with 3 distinct game modes: Loot, Carnage, and Fire Gate.
The loot certainly has the most strategy involved. Players attack NPC’s money mules to collect coins. They are easy to kill and don’t fight back so the real strategy is to keep other players out. If you are holding cash when attacked, you will lose some money each time you are attacked. If you die, you will lose everything you still have and your opponent can claim any amount of cash you lose. The detail here is amazing in that there are a lot of moving parts for this mode.
For example, your group’s account vault might be locked, which makes you feel uncomfortable and happy. Your coffers can be destroyed by the opposing team, which doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose, but it will cause a big loss. It’s the best mode the game has to offer simply because there are so many elements in it that make me very intentional in everything I do. It was exhilarating. I can’t remember an air battle requiring so many tactics.
For example, in one case, a power that allowed a player to destroy an enemy’s treasury appeared and I did. As soon as I grabbed it, I immediately became a target because the other team didn’t want me to blow up their coffers but it wasn’t the best time for this. I’m also holding about 300 gold! Since the winning team is the one with more gold in their coffers, it’s probably not the best time to take a big target behind me. A better strategy would be to spend time with another target player to cash out our coffers.
Every decision I make, whether to attack or defend, spend money or keep collecting and who to attack or not to attack while attacking has to be very intentional. Yes, there are games and modes where this is the normal level of strategy but how cool it is to incorporate this into an air battle!
Carnage is a typical deathmatch style fighting style with a twist. Every time you kill, you will get a bonus. That bonus makes your death worth more points. I’m not a great player, so I don’t accumulate big bonuses very often but there is something really satisfying about killing a player on a killing spree and scoring a big bounty for your team. It gives what is the most exhausting air combat style a photograph of energy and life.
Gates of Fire is a Capture the Flag game but it’s more than just grabbing the flag and bringing it home over and over again. Once you have the flag, you have to go through a series of doors. I have never seen a team completely win a round by maintaining control of the flag through all doors. When the time runs out, the team that controls the most doors wins the round. That provides a certain level of strategy. Unfortunately, with 12 players on the battlefield, it gets really tense and chaotic, which takes away from the overall experience as it feels like the match is incomplete whenever there’s no one completely. win the match.
Unlike other games of the air combat genre, the objective in Century not aloft and inaccessible. Part of strategy is knowing when to fly high or low, when to attack from a distance or at closer range, and when to engage or retreat. Again, game modes like Spoils of War are simply amazing because they require so much attention to detail with every decision made.
Century: Age of Ashes there are 3 types of fighters: Marauder, Windguard and Phantom. All three have different abilities. Personally, I love Windguard’s smoke tracking, it reduces visibility and is harder to track. Unfortunately, there is not enough difference between them.
The intent is that each warrior class plays a unique role, such as the Phantom acting as a stealthy gank, or the Marauder being able to destroy the enemy fireballs that are aimed at them. However, in my playthrough, these differences simply aren’t enough to make a big difference. This can also depend on individual game modes: I feel that some dragon abilities are simply better suited to a particular game mode, rather than being more balanced for each. As a result, I never really felt like I could strategize around a playstyle that a dragon offers, rather than “what playstyle do I want to play today?”
One of the best parts of Century: Age of Ashes is how good the dragons look. Each dragon is beautifully detailed and thankfully more than simply swapping carbon copies of the other.. Each dragon looks unique.
It’s important to note that Century is free to play but dragon unlocking relies on using microtransactions or purchasing one of three founder bundles that have different perks based on spend. It’s possible to unlock everything from scratch with the Behemoth Founders Bundle which costs the same as a full $59.99 USD game. Once you have a dragon, unlocking them is fun and easy but requires more playtime to hatch their eggs. After playing the additional rounds, you will have access to your new dragon. I am not one to learn about microtransactions for a free game. The fact that you can decide to play the entire game without spending any money is amazing. I also like that if you decide you want everything, you can buy it for no more than any other full-priced video game. Even better, you can decide to buy parts of the game at the lower tier or mid tier in between.
Unfortunately, there are other problems with Century: Age of Ashes. My biggest problem is the lack of AI in the game. For example, if I go into a 3v3 teamfight and one of my team members quits, we’re only a third of our team short. Even in a 6v6 battle, the loss of a target, um, teammate, is deeply felt by everyone in the game. Century need more AI for dropped players to keep it more evenly matched when someone disconnects.
Speaking of AI, I really wish there was a player and desktop component to Century. One of the best ways to practice for PVP matches is to play against AI opponents of the same level but after instruction, Century just puts you in with other players of different ability levels. My first 6v6 match I was really a mess because on top of trying to understand the game mode I had players level 12 and up kill me as soon as they saw me. I simply wasn’t prepared for that. Also, I don’t always enjoy playing in PVP matches as I’m not a very good player but AI opponents make a game that can make me feel a lot easier to play.
Finally, I really hope that Century: Age of Ashes expand its content. This is a great start to the show that a game largely thanks to Spoils of War is an incredibly innovative take on the air-to-air combat genre. That said, unless you really enjoy it, it can start to feel repetitive very quickly. I need more reasons to come back than just because the dragons are beautiful and have a great strategy element. Adding more content can only help maintain Century relevant for a long time to come.
I really like Century: Age of Ashes. It’s been a long time since I sat down for a couple of hours with a game of air combat, and this game doesn’t disappoint. Hopefully some changes will come out soon and I’ll be able to continue to enjoy flying dragons and slaying my enemies.
https://www.mmorpg.com/reviews/century-age-of-ashes-review-2000123954 Century: Age of Ashes Review