Century: Age of Ashes – Review
Follow Genre: Action game
Developer: Playwing Bordeaux
Publisher: Playwing
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Century: Age of Ashes – Review

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Good: Smooth controls and fun PVP gameplay
Bad: Lag can ruin the fun
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

We imagine that the term ‘free-to-play’ leaves a foul taste in the mouth of most gamers. For the most part, this is deservedly so, as there is an ever-growing plethora of free-to-play titles determined to suck the wallets of their unsuspecting player base dry. There are exceptions of course, and in the gaming world of today, it’s the less predatory games that survive the longest -just look at Fortnite, for example. The subject of today’s review, Century: Age of Ashes, from developer Playwing Bordeaux, is a free-to-play title as well, though as you’ll find out, this might be one of the “good” free-to-play titles. It’s a winning concept: fighting PVP battles from the back of a firebreating dragon, but can it deliver on its premise?


There’s no story present here, which makes sense given that this is essentially a game that is all about fast-paced online matches instead of wanting to immerse you in an epic narrative. It’s a bit of a shame, as there is a lot of potential for worldbuilding here, with the fantastic evocative designs for both the dragons and their riders. Having an opening cutscene or some kind of backstory would help tremendously in explaining how humanity was able to tame these magnificent creatures, and why they are duking it out in deadly aerial battles. We do get short blurbs about the setting on the loading screens, as well as short snippets of text in the bestiary, but these aren’t enough to fully flesh out the game’s backstory.


If there’s one thing Century: Age of Ashes absolutely nails, it’s the visuals -though as you’ll find out, thankfully the game is great in more than just this aspect. The dragons look equally majestic and imposing, with gorgeous animations bringing them to life. Likewise, the environments are jaw-droppingly impressive, which was a necessary feat given that they needed to be large enough for massive dragons to fly through without looking silly. Human character models are less impressive, but that is mainly because they are insignificant compared to everything else going on on-screen at any given time. Despite the fast-paced nature of the game and its reliance on a fast internet connection, Century: Age of Ashes was also surprisingly good at keeping a steady frame rate.


Century: Age of Ashes isn’t just a feast for the eyes but for the ears as well. The orchestral soundtrack by Marcus Hedger sounds like it could’ve come straight out of Game of Thrones and really adds a sense of epicness as you soar around the arena. The various snarls and roars of the dragons are imposing and add a degree of realism to these majestic creatures as well. Unfortunately, the stoic knights that ride the dragons don’t talk, meaning there’s no voice acting present.


As we booted up Century: Age of Ashes for the first time, we couldn’t help but shake the feeling of familiarity, as the tutorial seemed very reminiscent of The Falconeer, which also sees players take to the skies atop sentient creatures rather than spaceships or airplanes. That feeling of familiarity was quickly quelled once we actually got to grips with the game, however, as Century: Age of Ashes is a PVP-focused experience, and a very competitive one at that. Players team up to take on other troupes of dragon riders, with the teams engaging in aerial combat where they attempt to take each other out using the power of fire breath.

Since we’re looking at a game that’s all about multiplayer, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the game wastes no time getting you into the arena. After a brief tutorial, you’re met with a choice of different modes. These range from the classic team-based battles found in the Skirmish (3v3) and Carnage (6v6) modes, which is where the meat of the game seemingly lies, to a capture the flag variant named Gates of Fire. Rounding out the selection of modes is Spoils of War, which sees two opposing teams take on AI-controlled dragons as they try to steal their loot. It’s definitely the more rewarding mode of the game -both in terms of strategic depth as well as in-game loot. Hopefully, new arenas will be added in the future though, as four maps seem on the low side for a game as ambitious as this.

As with every PVP game, a lot of how fun the experience is depends on how skilled you and your teammates are. It’s a team-based experience as well, with different classes that each fulfill a specific role, whether it’s the Windguard, who plays a supporting role, or the Marauder who -as the name implies- is all about wreaking havoc. The most popular class that we encountered by far was the Phantom, who can turn invisible. The game has been out for a little while now, and so we’ve gotten to the point that more experienced players will easily outclass newcomers. We did feel like the matchmaking was a bit unfair at times, though we didn’t get the impression that Century: Age of Ashes was one of those games that stopped newcomers in their tracks before they could properly get started.

One thing we did notice during our time with the game is that it didn’t seem to have dedicated servers for different areas around the world, which inevitably means that lag is an ever-present factor. This is an area we hope to see improved in the future, as the game’s performance is great as long as you’re matched with people on the same continent. Given the fast-paced nature of the matches, and the competitive nature of the game, having a laggy experience is something that will only hurt Century: Age of Ashes in the long run.

Given that Century: Age of Ashes is a free-to-play title, the elephant in the room is of course monetization. Is this a pay-to-win title designed to steal your own gold or don’t you need a dragon’s hoard to enjoy playing? The answer is, of course, not so simple. The majority of where your money will go is in cosmetics, but you’re able to use your gems to buy XP boosts as well, which can help with the early grind, but becomes less important as you level up. If you want to expand your menagerie of dragons, you also have the option to buy dragon eggs -which are essentially loot boxes- or you can buy new adult dragons outright, though the prices for these are on the high side. There are plenty more reasons to get your credit card out, many of which are limited-time only, but none of them felt predatory. While we certainly didn’t get the feeling that players that spend money on the game get any in-game advantages that free-to-play players don’t have, apart from having to grind less XP, we of course don’t know what the future holds for the game.


There is a lot to love about Century: Age of Ashes, from the visual design to the fast-paced gameplay. Just like with other PVP games, we imagine it’s only going to get better as new content is added to keep players engaged. If Playwing Bordeaux can iron out some of the kinks with the lag and matchmaking, then we imagine Century: Age of Ashes has a bright future ahead of it -provided it doesn’t catch dragon sickness and gets greedy for gold. The game is also set to launch on consoles later this year. Since it’s free to play, why not try and take a dragon for a ride? There’s a good chance you’ll be back for more.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Century: Age of Ashes - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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