Chronos: Before the Ashes from Gunfire Games and THQ Nordic on PS4 is the prequel to Remnant: From the Ashes. Learn more in our Chronos: Before the Ashes review!
In Chronos: Before the Ashes from Gunfire Games and THQ Nordic on PlayStation 4, you’ll be taking on a prequel to action RPG Remnant: From the Ashes, which was released on Sony’s last-gen console in 2019. The game was previously released as Chronos for the Oculus VR headset, but it’s now been overhauled and revamped for its PlayStation 4 run. This is a third-person roleplaying game in which you’ll play as a hero who is on a dangerous quest to slay a dragon inside of a deadly dungeon.
Your journey will start with a tale of the past, when tens of thousands of humans roamed the Earth, unlike the tiny tribes of the present. This was until monsters started to show up, hunting down humans all over the place, all under the order of one particular beast: the mighty and deadly Dragon. Your quest will be to travel through a magical portal that will take you to the Dragon’s lair, where you’ll have one shot at changing the fate of humanity by slaying the Dragon before it’s too late.
The game has an interesting gameplay mechanic to spice things up: every time your hero dies, you will notice that it has actually aged! As you can imagine, the older your character, the bigger the impact it will have on its stats and abilities. You’ll certainly have to compensate by learning from your mistakes before you take another crack at it. Time will pass between each defeat, but you will use this time to hone your skills, growing a bit stronger and wiser while your body becomes weaker.
Since you’ll be taking on a third-person action RPG, in Chronos: Before the Ashes, you’ll be moving your character with the left analog stick, using the right analog stick to swing the camera, as well as to lock-on to enemies by pressing the R3 button. You can switch between targets by pressing left and right as needed so that you can always target the opponent that requires your immediate attention. You’ll be using light attacks with the R1 button and heavy attacks – which are more powerful but slower – with the R2 button. If you press and hold down the R2 button, you can unleash a charge attack. You will also have the option to ignite your weapon by pressing up on the D-Pad, which will play into the combat, as well as during puzzle-solving segments.
You will have a shield to protect your hero, which you can use to block attacks with the L1 button. If you use the L2 button and time your buttons pressing just right, you’ll be able to able to parry incoming attacks, stunning enemies for a brief moment, which will allow you to counterattack. The Circle button will allow you to dodge, and if you press and hold down the button, you’ll be able to sprint. You’ll need to thoroughly explore each area you visit, so you’ll have to interact with objects and points of interest with the X button. There will be Dragon Stones to collect, which can be switched around by pressing left and right on the D-Pad. To activate their abilities, you’ll have to press the Square button. The Options button will allow you to check your inventory,
You’ll get to choose between a male or female avatar, as well as pick between starting with a sword or an axe as your main weapon. A sword will allow you to strike at a faster pace, dodging as needed so that you can chip away at an enemy’s health. An axe favors strength over dexterity, so you’ll be standing your ground, blocking and parrying attacks as you wait for the right window of opportunity to strike with a vengeance. There are also three difficulty settings. There’s Casual, which allows you to focus on the story and puzzles, while combat is a bit dialed back. Adventure is the standard, balanced challenge that the devs want players to take on. And then, there’s Heroic, which dials up the difficulty to 11, which means every mistake you make in combat will cost you dearly!
Experience goes a long way in the world of Chronos: Before the Ashes! You will start your quest as a young adventurer of eighteen years of age, a level 1 warrior with base Strength, Agility, Arcane, and Vitality stats. As you defeat enemies and complete quests, you’ll be rewarded with experience points. Collect enough, and you will level up! As you level up, you will be given attribute points, which you can freely allocate from the main menu to the four aforementioned stats so that your hero can grow stronger.
Strength, as expected, will dictate the damage of weapons that rely on the power of your muscles to strike enemies, affecting damage dealt, the potential of your blocks, and overall defense stats. Agility will allow you to do more damage with weapons that require speed, finesse, and dexterity, while also having an impact on evade and defense. Arcane is tied to the occult, which is why it will boost the effects of Dragon Stones, affecting the arcane damage dealt, as well as your defense stat against arcade abilities. Vitality will be tied to your character’s health points total and defense, making I t a very important stat to boost.
As your character grows older, it will gain access to different traits at set age milestones. The first trait will unlock when your character turns 20 years old, and the rest will open up as it ages an extra ten years at a time. That means you can get up to seven traits during your run once your hero hits 80 years of age, which is far, far down the road. As you grow older, the nature of the traits you can unlock changes, so be sure to choose wisely during each interval!
Chronos: Before the Ashes features a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy, as well as a long list of objectives to complete. The first trophy you’ll probably unlock is for finding a Dragon Heart, which is an item you can consume to recover some of your lost health. After this, you’ll be working on unlocking a bunch of story-related trophies, along with others that pop when you gain new weapons and shields, when you upgrade a weapon, and when you fully upgrade a weapon. Other miscellaneous objectives include putting 30 attribute points into each of the four base stats for your character, reading a bunch of books or scrolls, and finishing the game in any difficulty setting, finishing it in the Adventure difficulty setting, as well as completing it in the Heroic difficulty setting.
Chronos: Before the Ashes was a pleasant surprise on PlayStation 4. After checking out some videos for the Oculus Rift version, I was not very hyped about trying this revamped version since the original release had old-school Resident Evil fixed camera angles for playing this action RPG. The new take on PS4 going for a third-person action RPG camera was a solid choice, giving this adventure a second chance to shine as the prequel to Remnant: From the Ashes. I definitely recommend you check this one out on PS4, and you’ll be able to do so starting tomorrow for only $29.99.
This Chronos: Before the Ashes review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by THQ Nordic.