Century: Age of Ashes from Playwing Inc. was first revealed last year during The Game Awards. The fast-paced dogfighting game with Dragons was immediately on my radar after watching that reveal trailer (which can be seen below).

Century: Age of Ashes Playtest Preview | Forged in Fire

After spending ample time with the Playtest this weekend, Century has quickly become one of my most anticipated games of 2021.

The game’s fantasy setting mixed with the combat of something reminiscent of Star Wars Squadrons blends together to create something entirely its own. Pick one of three classes that all have their own dragons, combat abilities, and aesthetics.

The Marauder is excellent at dealing severe damage to its targets by marking them for extra damage, while the Phantom can cloak and sneak up on an enemy for extra damage. Building a team composition of varied classes can create synergy, even amongst the chaos in the skies.

Century’s control feels tight and intuitive. Nosedive towards the ground to pick up speed and use the brake button to turn around corners and evade incoming attacks quickly. The Play-test level is filled with tight corridors throughout the city, which makes flying through it at high speeds risky, but rewarding when you give the slip on a pursuing enemy.

The mix of combat abilities like your fire breath light up the skies and help further add to the absolute carnage. Swooping in on an enemy dragon while trying to stay on its tail is difficult, but it truly feels like a high-octane fight between two raging beasts.

Managing your health, cooldowns, and stamina meter can be tricky at first, but after a few games, it becomes second nature, and when all of those systems come together, Century: Age of Ashes truly sings.  

The two-game modes in the Playtest consisted of a 6v6 team-deathmatch mode called Carnage. The twist in this mode is the more kills you rack up, the higher your bounty becomes. Kill an enemy with a high bounty to score more points for your team. While the other mode, Gates of Hell, has teams fighting over a central flag. After picking up the flag, players must fly through gates spread around the map.

The team at the end with the most consecutive gates wins. It adds a new layer of strategy to fights while trying to protect your flag carrier from pursuing targets. 

After each match, you’ll gain experience and level up to unlock new cosmetics for your character and dragons. On occasion, you’ll also receive dragon eggs, which will hatch into a dragon after accruing enough experience from matches.

Watching your dragon egg gain experience waiting for it to hatch is a fun little addition to unlocking items.

The cadence in which I was unlocking new items felt consistent and kept the drip-feed exciting. Of course, this could be tuned before the Early Access release later this year, but it felt consistent as it stands right now.

There is also a mode in the main menu to look at your dragon and rotate the camera. It’s a small touch, but one that is much appreciated, especially when trying to see how new armor looks on your winged beast.  

Century: Age of Ashes will have a few more betas before its Early Access launch later this year. If you like dragons or flight combat, this should be on your radar for 2021.