From the creators of the third Person action RPG Remnant From The Ashes comes the prequel Chronos Before the Ashes. The title from Gunfire games and THQ Nordic originally released for oculus rift in 2016, the game now arrives on PS4 and Xbox One as well as Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a look.
Chronos sees you take control of a young hero who has been tasked with slaying a dragon and his minions that brought humanity to their knees, surviving as small tribes. You assume the role of one of the tribes members and with the hopes of your people resting on your shoulders, you set off on a mission that means almost certain death.
The story had me interested due to playing From the Ashes before, with the opening scene only serving to entice me more. As you progress, more of the story comes to light mostly in the form of books or notes of lore. However you do receive some key objectives and dialog that form the main story, it’s not a story heavy game however, with most of the story being optional in the aforementioned lore books. Personally I’ve enjoyed the story and reading the extracts scattered throughout the title.
Visually the game looks quite nice, but it’s the details that made me appreciate the title – such as rats scurrying about or the fact you find a “small area” displayed in detail in the main world (I’ll avoid saying anymore but you’ll know when you see it). Outside of that there isn’t a whole lot of loading and no noticeable frame rate drops to speak of.
The contrast between the games areas makes it a little harder to say much about the visuals, there’s one area that looks like bland stone walls and buildings that didn’t interest me to much, but another area that’s made up of detailed and lush forest zone. It doesn’t look bad by any measure, simply that I appreciated some areas more than others
Chronos has some nice audio in both the BGM and sound effects. Everything works together to set the atmosphere, staying on par with similar titles. I don’t have any issues with anything in terms of sound.
Gameplay is made up of two key areas, combat and exploration, so let’s look at those separately.
Combat in Chronos is different from Remnant despite being a prequel due to the fact it forgoes the shoot it till it stops moving method, instead going for hack, slash, bludgeon and skewer until it stops moving.
Throughout the game you will be able to utilise a range of weapons, each offering their own advantages and disadvantages, though all (so far) have been close combat weapons making your dodge and block extremely valuable. As you progress you will also gain arcane abilities that imbue you or you’re weapons with added effects. One thing of note is your heals are limited to the number of dragon hearts you have collected, and these only refill upon death meaning you’ll have to do your best to avoid damage or risk encountering a boss with no HP.
Each time you die your character will age one year. While this has little effect at the start the more you die and age the cost of upgrading your attributes will change, with some stats become more useful than others. As you age you also unlock perks at age milestones, with a number of different effects to help build your character
Combat can be a bit clunky and frustrating at times, especially when you’re in small areas and enemy’s have a large range of attack. This is most prominent on the first two bosses I encountered, your dodge is too short to actually dodge away unless it’s an overhead attack you can sidestep, and your block needs to be well timed. I did enjoy the combat however, but there are a few times I’ve cursed it for being cheap. This will require you to find your own way of overcoming each foe.
Exploration in Chronos will see you back tracking and exploring places you’d already explored as new areas open or your able to solve puzzles. You may have to go in one direction, only to return to a previous area to unlock a door. The puzzle solving and secrets were a nice addition to the gameplay as I figured out what to do and where to go while gathering new items to aid me or to level up.
Overall I’ve been enjoying my time with Chronos and would recommend it to anyone that’s played Remnant, however expect a different style of gameplay due to the melee focused nature of the combat. The title offers a mix of challenging combat and some brain exercise that should be enjoyable for Remnant fans or fans of the genre as a whole.
Whilst it has some remnants of the previous game, expectations could be left bludgeoned if unaware of new directions in this enjoyable adventure.
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