There are many games that fall under the category of ‘Video Games are Art’, even if most art critics tend not to believe that statement. Ash of Gods: Redemption absolutely adds to that list. The game is being made by the Moscow-based developer AurumDust and is a turn-based RPG that combines tactical combat, CCG  (Collectable Card Game) elements, and an evolving story in which most of your choices matter and even your main characters can die. Ash of Gods has been in production since 2007 and has finally been launched on Steam Greenlight. I was fortunate enough to get a show demo while the game is in development and I need more of it as soon as possible.

Gorgeous Artwork

Ash of Gods: Redemption is a gorgeously made game that you could stare at for hours. All of the scenes, action, backgrounds, and characters are hand drawn. Although some character animations in the combat scenes are “based on live actors’ motion capture,” it is still an incredible feature and has taken quite a while to procure since they make hand-drawn models after it. Like many great pieces of artwork, the game takes you into a world of violent fantasy. The visual style of Ash of Gods was actually inspired by the work of Ralph Bakshi, for those that don’t know, he was an old-school Disney cartoon animator also part of and the Soviet animation studio “Soyuzmultfilm” of the 60s. You can see the detail that has gone into every aspect of the game. There is some weird feeling you get from some of the panel models, unfortunately, like there are staring into your soul but you soon get over it after the action starts.

Despite what your art teacher has told you writing is just as much art as drawing and painting. The main story is written and created by author Sergey Malitsky, who is a contemporary Russian fantasy author of Polish descent. If you’ve never heard of him that’s ok, but you should know his fantasy series Arban Saesh, The Code of Semideath, Nothing Personal, Stones of Mitutu, Shelter of the Cursed and a whole mess of others. “We hope that our game will mark the beginning of the translation and publication of his books into English.” And yes some of the demo I played was still written in Russian but I’m assuming that will change when the full game hits PC. If it isn’t, well then its time to buy a Russian to English Dictionary.

Get that sense of Soul diving eyes now?

The Action

Ash of Gods: Redemption has a fun mix of turn-based strategy and card RPG, where the cards determine your strategy and the characters’ classes determine your tactics on the battlefield. While I’m terrible at tactic type games and nearly died in every fight I got into I was still willing to play and learned the basics. The game runs smoothly and the idea of HP and MP are equally important. You can’t just go all John Wayne on their HP, you must take out some character MP to survive. Any of a character’s resources can be damaged, and if you attack the MP, the character could lose the ability to use some of his abilities, which could save your character’s life. Taking out MP is smart on your turn too because if a character doesn’t have any MP left, any damage he suffers will cause him to lose double the usual amount of HP. This forces you to keep an eye on both sets of points but also gives you additional tactical opportunities.

Thar card aspect also throws in an interesting element. At the beginning of a fight, you will receive five cards with different amounts of power (although in the demo I played I was only given two), and their effect can help players turn the tide of battle. Depending on the power of a card, it may only come into play in a specific round of the game. Some cards act in a straightforward manner such as healing an ally or wounding an adversary. But others work in more complicated and odd ways. One, for example, gives a very ‘Star Trek Red Shirt’ feel to it, you can sacrifice one of your team members for the sake of improving the strength of all the characters you actually like. In battle, you always need to plan on two different levels—tactically with units on the battlefield, and strategically based on the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s like if someone set up a chess board  but mixed in elements of poker.

Overall

I was terrible at the game but the story and artwork kept me interested. I’m actually excited to see the full product when it comes out. The battle system, while kind of confusing, is rather interesting. The deck system and tactical system forced together is fun and makes you think on your feet. It reminds me of the Game of Thrones board game.

If you are looking for something new to play Ash of Gods: Redemption is due out in March of this year, according to their Steam Page, and according to their website, the game will be coming to all consoles eventually.

About The Author

John D
Chief Operating Officer

I have worked hard to become the COO here at GAW and I love it. I write and stream here and I couldn't be happier. I once had a show that I produced, wrote, and co-hosted called the Wide World of Games. I also co-host a podcast called Party Up! I'm an Action-Adventurer, platformer, RPGer, and FPS kind of gamer. Quick to play any game that has magic, swordplay, and/or stealthy elements. If you can customize a character I'm in it for the long haul. Or just give me your 2D platform and I'm a happy camper. What else do you expect from a gamer with a beard and a bow tie tattoo? Seriously.