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[Ashen] No mouths, everything screams. (Coming to PS4, Switch, GOG, Steam Dec 2019)

tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
edited September 2019 in Games and Technology
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What is Ashen?

Ashen is an action-RPG developed by Aurora44 and published by Annapurna Interactive. It's available on Xbox One and PC via the Epic Game store. It is possible (vaguely hinted via launch blog) that the game is a timed exclusive when it comes to Steam, but at this point is exclusive to the Epic Game store. The game will eventually be available as a Play-Anywhere title should you happen to own the Xbox One version, or access it via Xbox Game Pass. The game was originally announced in 2015, so a lot has changed. This thread focuses on its present state though.

In Ashen, you play the role of a wanderer in search of a place called home. As you do this, you make friends and can add them to the town that serves as your home base. Also, you're on a quest to help save the reborn Ashen
In terms of over all fantasy level, it's Low Fantasy/magic in that while there are obvious fantastical elements, there doesn't seem to be any overtly magical weapons or powers (this may be subject to change). For the most part, you're just a guy/gal, with a sword/club/axe... hanging out with some other guys bashing vagrants, and trying to revive godly entity that once brought light and hope to this forlorn world.

How does it play?

Ashen has the hallmarks of an action RPG, with stamina driven melee/dodge combat. Some parallels have been made to games like Dark Souls, but as I've never played those games I can't confirm that much. You've
got your health, stamina, melee and defenses with a block. A stronger match would be games like Wind Waker, or a Fable . It does not seem to feature the artificial/arbitrary difficulty via obsufucation that is a the hallmark of Dark Souls games. You won't have to "figure it out", is what I'm saying.

In any case, it features gear/upgrade driven progression (as in no direct XP levels, but heart containers (feathers) and stronger armor/weapon stats). It has an (optional) online co-op component that I believe is drop in/out. If you are playing by yourself, you have an AI companion. The AI's damage is not reduced, so they are capable of fighting and not just being deadweight. Should you fall in combat, you do drop your money and have to recover it. If you die along the way, the first drop is lost. Your partner (AI/player) is able to revive you from a DBNO status once within a set period of time, and you're able to do the same. (Note: because this game is a passively online, you cannot pause unless you're offline. You are able to restrict who can join your session by applying a "filter" combination. I haven't engaged the online component so how effective it is I cannot say.) The first fight is kind of challenging with the AI partner.

There are several companions, each with their own quest lines and stories, along with the overarching story of healing/saving the reborn Ashen, and making your town grow and thrive.

More information/Q&A will be added. But, I really like it so I made a thread for it. But there we go!

Your Town and Services:

Spoilered in case spoilers bother people. Services in the town are unlocked by recruiting characters to do those things:
This is a list of services that each NPC provides. You unlock their services by progressing their quest tracks (their journey), and so far these seem to be unmissable. Inventories and availability of things increases as you progress in their journeys.

Bataran: Weapon upgrades. "Builds the town?"
Jokell: "Flask" upgrades (more uses refillable HP potions). You can fill them at shrines and reservoirs of Crimson Sap scattered throughout dungeons and the like. These also refill your HP bar when using them.
Amara: Talisman and Relic upgrades. Talismans are skills that passively improve abilities. Relics are the major upgrades of these two.
Vorsa: Spear (ranged weapon) crafting. Spears can be found in the wild, or just the spearheads. You craft them with her.
Eila: Fast Travel, Crimson Sap Potency (more HP per use) (possibly Storage too)
Silaren: Warp Spear Skill, Potions
Flokir: Lanterns

You can also with trade most generic villagers/npcs. As the town grows/story progresses, more items become available. You need one of the prior item to get the next. The progressions are as follows:

White Sapote (+HP) -> Fire Kelp -> Speckled Mushroom (+HP Regen) -> Sapient Moss (2x Fire Kelp, 2x White Sapote: Crafting Material)
White Sapote (+HP) -> Fire Kelp -> Apple Cricket (+Stamina Regen 1)
Apple Cricket -> Bean Grub -> Lingonberries (+Stamina Regen 2)

Scoria stashes can be crafted using scoria you've collected. This can be helpful if you die a lot and don't want to risk losing Scoria:

300 Scoria -> Small Scoria Stash (+250 Scoria)
3000 Scoria -> Medium Scoria Stash (+3000 Scoria)

Item Storage
You will get storage unlocked once you have added Eila to the town/Bataran's journey hits the fourth box.

Weapon Info
Once I finish putting the table together for it, it will be posted here. This is based off the 15 weapons I've found so far in the first two or three map sectors of the game.

Weapons in the game can be broken down into two main damage categories: blunt (clubs) and slashing (axes). Blunt weapons are not capable of critical damage, though they have significantly higher stun/stagger values than their slashing counter parts. Both types of damage come in 1-Handed and 2-Handed flavors. You can only use your lantern or shield with a 1-Handed weapon. You can put your lantern down and then switch to a 2-Hander. If you move too far away from your lantern it will get warped to you. Haven't seen the other lanterns yet, but will put a section for them once I get a few. Naturally, 2-Handed weapons are slower and deal more damage than their 1-Handers. Your ranged attack consists of spears, which also have a light attack you can perform. A perk offers a chance to recover thrown spears from defeated opponents, otherwise they're consumed on toss.

These are split further into tiers of damage, though w/o damage numbers on screen in practice for the weapon upgrade levels that I have the difference is preference. There's a light attack (RB) and a charged heavy attack (RT) that you can perform, and three subtypes of weapons based on the distribution of those, so you have a light attack damage focused weapon, a midpoint and a heavy attack damage focused weapon. There is also a crit focused slashing weapon, though the heavy attack focused weapon does have a slightly higher crit than the light/mid damage focused weapons.

So far, enemies haven't appreciably been hurt more by being struck repeatedly with a slashing weapon over a blunt weapon, such that using clubs on armor, and slashing on fleshy doesn't really matter outside of the stagger factor

NEW DLC
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...

We are extremely excited to announce our very first DLC for Ashen “Nightstorm Isle”, available from September 6th on Xbox One and Epic Games Store! It will also be available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, GOG and Steam from December 9th.

The Plot:

You catch up with the eccentric Kol on The Whispers coastline, ready for a voyage to Nightstorm Isle where there is a cryptic promise of rewards to be discovered.
A friend unexpectedly crosses your path, asking for assistance with a desperate matter.

With a pressing and heartfelt mission in mind, you journey together among the vast and uninviting terrain of the Isle. Heading deep into territorial land, you are met with some of the most adaptive and reclusive Bral that you have encountered to date.

It's available now on Xbox One / Epic Games Store.

Source

“I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
tastydonuts on

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Post for additional stuff that may not fit in the OP in the future.

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    Medium DaveMedium Dave Registered User regular
    This game is Good.

    It's like a hopeful, pretty Dark Souls where every NPC isn't a menacing dirtbag with a sinister laugh.

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    DirtyDirty Registered User regular
    Is there an easy way to force this game into offline mode without taking the whole system offline in the settings? I really dislike randoms.

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    3cl1ps33cl1ps3 I will build a labyrinth to house the cheese Registered User regular
    This game is Good.

    It's like a hopeful, pretty Dark Souls where every NPC isn't a menacing dirtbag with a sinister laugh.

    Hey hey hey hey, Siegward is fucking great.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    In the options for multiplayer there's a box to disable it, along with the filter rule thingy. I believe if you fill it in it disables it, but I'll have to recheck when I'm home. It was the first thing I did and the behaviour of the companion didn't really follow what I'd expect a person to do (eg: sit in one place for minutes at a time while I sat in one place for minutes at a time).

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    KamarKamar Registered User regular
    Like I said in the Soulslike thread, I wish this game had more details on the menu screen about weapons since you can't discern much from names or type of weapon.

    You can't even assume axes have one of THESE movesets and goes fast and maces have one of THESE movesets and goes slow, because they're intermingled. Attack speed and stamina consumption on the stat screen and some sort of consistent naming scheme that indicated moveset would be helpful.

    Also, even WITH the huge shortcut Seat of the Matriarch might be the most over-tuned main progression dungeon in gaming. JFC.

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    AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    My storage box is completely full. I'm having to drop weapons from back at the beginning to make room and I don't like it.

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    DirtyDirty Registered User regular
    In the options for multiplayer there's a box to disable it, along with the filter rule thingy. I believe if you fill it in it disables it, but I'll have to recheck when I'm home. It was the first thing I did and the behaviour of the companion didn't really follow what I'd expect a person to do (eg: sit in one place for minutes at a time while I sat in one place for minutes at a time).

    I don't really mind if the companion AI is weak. I just have an irrational disgust for being forced to co-op with strangers. In the hierarchy of co-op partners, it goes: real friend, no partner at all (if possible), good AI companion, bad AI companion, cat sleeping on a keyboard and moving around a lot because it's having a weird dream, then random internet people.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    You can turn off multiplayer entirely by going to settings > Multiplayer in-game. You can also lock your session by turning on that filter and putting in a code, so in theory only people that have your code or happen to use the same filter code as you would join your session?

    If you can fill the big storage up completely with unique weapons and gear then I'm in trouble, lol...

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    DirtyDirty Registered User regular
    Word. I'll check it out next time I boot it up. I wasn't planning on renewing game pass, but I might just buy this one. I don't know why, but i like it more than other "Souls" games I've tried

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    AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    That's the game beaten. 22 hours. It was alright I guess. The first half was amazing, but then once you get to the second dungeon the level design and story kind of falls off a lot. Still fun, but nothing really interesting happens.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    how many weapons did you get along the way?

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    More than could fit in my storage, but they never stop being clubs and axes.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Most importantly, did you keep the shovel?

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    Probably. I can't remember what I chucked since honestly if something went in there I never looked at it again. I just put them there to keep them around because that's how I play games.

    There really is a significant dropoff in content in the second half of the game. Progression-wise, at least. Health flask charges max at 8 and I reached that maybe 5 or 6 hours in. Health flask healing amount has a similar number of upgrades and I finished that up many hours ago. There's rarely any good upgrades for relics or talismans so once you get the ones you like you're pretty much set. Weapon upgrading is a big money sink but with the weapon variety being what it is, again, once you get the ones you like upgraded you're pretty much done. There's only two lamp upgrades. Unless you're churning through spears you'll rarely need to buy more. By the end several hours I would just walk around with hundreds of thousands of souls on me because I had nothing I wanted to buy with them.

    I dunno.

    Hard to say i'm disappointed because I forgot that this game was even coming out until the day it released so I didn't have expectations, but in terms of how great the first half is and what an amazing impression it gives the total package is let down a lot by how much it goes downhill.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    IDK, will have to see how the latter half plays out but honestly the latter half of most games turns into "I just want to finish it" after dicking around in the middle for a fair bit of time... so... yeah. I think it also had more of a multiplayer/survival angle to it before? This game did get a fairly long delay...

    All of the weapons seem to use the same animations and speed, difference being the damage on their light/heavy attacks or crit/stagger. I am assuming that the latter tiers of upgrade where you need addl mats will have a sufficiently large enough stat difference between them to dictate preferences outside of cosmetics—I'm using the shovel and the leather feather mace because it's a shovel and a leather feather mace—for my blunt damage, but so far they all seem to be fairly similar: at my current stamina I get 4 heavy swings and 6 light no matter what I used from my inventory. There is actually a reddit for the game, so I'll probably poke around there to see if there really is a difference or whatever.

    Having documented about 20 so far having just reached Hillside, my assumption is that each area has a set of weapons (1 Light damage, 1 Heavy, 1 Crit or stun) and the handed variants in increasing base damage increments, as they've all also started out from "broken" tier. Which is fine, I guess. This game really clicked with me, but presently I'm tired of guns and the like, so it came at a good time.

    Progression probably suffers from the open-world formula, in that in exploring and doing a bit you get enough currency to effectively max things before the devs expect them to be maxed. I've held off on upgrading the flask too much and really have layered out the weapon upgrades. Though they seem to be gated as the consumable for upgrading them to "Ash Infused" didn't appear until I reached Hillside. Though I wonder if it's a drop from enemies or just found on the map.

    tastydonuts on
    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    KamarKamar Registered User regular
    All of the weapons seem to use the same animations and speed, difference being the damage on their light/heavy attacks or crit/stagger. I am assuming that the latter tiers of upgrade where you need addl mats will have a sufficiently large enough stat difference between them to dictate preferences outside of cosmetics—I'm using the shovel and the leather feather mace because it's a shovel and a leather feather mace—for my blunt damage, but so far they all seem to be fairly similar: at my current stamina I get 4 heavy swings and 6 light no matter what I used from my inventory. There is actually a reddit for the game, so I'll probably poke around there to see if there really is a difference or whatever.

    Weapons have differences in speed, movesets, and stamina consumption. I.e. Toothed Club has a fast leap on its R2 with no follow up that you can combo into after any number of light attacks.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Kamar wrote: »
    All of the weapons seem to use the same animations and speed, difference being the damage on their light/heavy attacks or crit/stagger. I am assuming that the latter tiers of upgrade where you need addl mats will have a sufficiently large enough stat difference between them to dictate preferences outside of cosmetics—I'm using the shovel and the leather feather mace because it's a shovel and a leather feather mace—for my blunt damage, but so far they all seem to be fairly similar: at my current stamina I get 4 heavy swings and 6 light no matter what I used from my inventory. There is actually a reddit for the game, so I'll probably poke around there to see if there really is a difference or whatever.

    Weapons have differences in speed, movesets, and stamina consumption. I.e. Toothed Club has a fast leap on its R2 with no follow up that you can combo into after any number of light attacks.

    That's where the word "seems" comes into play. So, having tested 10 1H weapons (axes and clubs) with 140 stamina, all of my 1H axes gives 7 light swings and 4 heavy swings, and the 1H clubs 6 swings with 4 heavies. Of those, two had a different animation (yay!) of horiz swings x2, then up/down swings until I ran out of stamina. But no additional swings... those were the Spiked Cudgel and the Mauling Axe. Their heavy chain is also different, but still has 4 swings. The odds of a person noticing multiple animations are low.

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    Even Dark Souls itself falls off a cliff quality-wise in the second half.

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    DirtyDirty Registered User regular
    Damn, this thread took a turn. Now I'm leaning towards "maybe get it on a sale, if at all".

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    Dirty wrote: »
    Damn, this thread took a turn. Now I'm leaning towards "maybe get it on a sale, if at all".

    lol... I'd say "it's worth full price" but the price of a game doesn't really dictate its worth to me... so... I dunno. I mean, I liked this game enough to start a thread for it... but at the same time liking a thing doesn't mean you can't have criticisms toward it either. I mean, "the second half goes downhill" isn't something I can speak to as I'm not there yet.

    The animation thing is really just nitpicking nonsense that doesn't really matter.

    edit: also I have a pickaxe to complement the shovel I've been using and I don't think I'm switching to any other weapons anymore

    tastydonuts on
    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    KamarKamar Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    Aistan wrote: »
    Even Dark Souls itself falls off a cliff quality-wise in the second half.

    Yeah, depending on how bad much they want to throw undodgeable nonsense at me on a given run, I'd say Dark Souls 1 quality drops hard either at the O&S fog door or when you get the Lordvessel.

    Though Seath's area isn't bad, per se, just annoying.

    My biggest complaint on Ashen is that even if there is some slight variance in weapons, gameplay variance is pretty minor compared to every other Soulslike I can think of. I normally make so many characters I have to delete some in these games, but I struggle to think of why I'd do that in AShen, except maybe if I forced myself to stick to 2H everywhere.

    Kamar on
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    AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    As a Big Fan of Dark Souls games, it's definitely worth playing. It's mainly due to the strength of the first half that the second half was disappointing at all.

    Best thing I can think to say about it as a Dark Souls clone is that they tried to do some different things instead of simply replicating the existing formula, and mostly succeeded.

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    NaphtaliNaphtali Hazy + Flow SeaRegistered User regular
    After playing it for about 90 minutes, the combat feels really weird. I can't quite put my thumb on it, maybe its because it apes so close to the Souls formula but it doesn't feel like it and the dissonance is throwing me off. Got the initial quest done and explored a little bit around in the area, found some feathers.

    Did run into a cave where there was a ghosty guy who disappeared immediately after getting close to him and noped right the fuck out. Do you ever get a torch again for dark areas?

    Steam | Nintendo ID: Naphtali | Wish List
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    TulabelleTulabelle Registered User regular
    You will get a lantern, I can't remember exactly when but I think it is when you walk into the first story dungeon.

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Yeah, you get the lantern in the first dungeon where they tell you to find Gefn.

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Started an expedition into Matriarch's Seat, and it is long indeed. Felt more like a gear check dungeon though. Got to the area with the four platforms with big guys, but my companion like... disappeared on me so I figured I'd come back after strengthening my shovel.

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    KamarKamar Registered User regular
    If you run out of will to live steam on the Seat of the Matriarch, this makes it much, much more tolerable

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    I upgraded my shovel to a +1 level and made it to the bottom. unless that shrine was just the halfway mark, lol...

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    cursedkingcursedking Registered User regular
    The last boss of this game is....very hard

    Types: Boom + Robo | Food: Sweet | Habitat: Plains
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    KamarKamar Registered User regular
    cursedking wrote: »
    The last boss of this game is....very hard

    Very hard like 'requires mastery', very hard like 'stat check', or very hard like 'bullshit'?

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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    More information on the movesets and some builds.

    tastydonuts on
    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    The last boss of this game... is obnoxious. A little bit of all three of those, @Kamar
    Firstly, if you die you have to go through the entire last area to get to it again.

    then there's a cutscene (skippable).

    then the boss has two phases and it's a dodge-and-chip fight.

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    The worst part about the final boss
    Is that it ruined Silaren. She was my giant girlfriend and was strong and good, and then it turns out she's just that stupid spider lady the whole time. Booooooooooooooo.

    At least FishMom stays cool as heck throughout it.

    Aistan on
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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    though, in the end... Dwale potions are broken.

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    Aw yeah, NG+

    In Children of Sissna mode your maximum HP and Stamina are 1/3rd of what they are in normal. This made fighting Ukkoto (the first boss) hilarious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmkKCQf22SQ

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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    tastydonutstastydonuts Registered User regular
    While I was pretty sure that they said they felt they told the story they wanted to tell or something...

    uh...Ashen is getting DLC.


    57nwh7z8kloo.png
    ...

    We are extremely excited to announce our very first DLC for Ashen “Nightstorm Isle”, available from September 6th on Xbox One and Epic Games Store! It will also be available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, GOG and Steam from December 9th.

    The Plot:

    You catch up with the eccentric Kol on The Whispers coastline, ready for a voyage to Nightstorm Isle where there is a cryptic promise of rewards to be discovered.
    A friend unexpectedly crosses your path, asking for assistance with a desperate matter.

    With a pressing and heartfelt mission in mind, you journey together among the vast and uninviting terrain of the Isle. Heading deep into territorial land, you are met with some of the most adaptive and reclusive Bral that you have encountered to date.

    It's available now on Xbox One / Epic Games Store.

    Per above, Ashen will also release on other platforms come December.

    Source

    “I used to draw, hard to admit that I used to draw...”
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