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Winter Ember - Review - Xbox

The Story:

You are Arthur Artorias – the sole survivor of a massacre that devastated your family’s legacy and tore them out of the history books. Thought to be dead, you emerge from exile 8 years later, the faceless man kindled by the flame and seeking vengeance.

Embark on an adventure unravelling a dark tale filled with twisted characters, centered around a militant religion hell bent on keeping control.

The Features: A True Stealth Experience

As Arthur, you must stick to the shadows, infiltrate homes and explore hidden passageways; but, be careful not to be spotted! Choose your playstyle: knocking out enemies may keep them quiet for some time, but they will eventually wake up; a quick slice to the throat may be a more permanent solution, but the bloodstain you leave on the carpet might be a dead giveaway! Keep your wits about you, dispose of bodies, peek through keyholes and pickpocket unsuspecting victims. Deep Arrow Crafting System

Prepare for your mission by planning your loadout. With over 30 arrows to craft, experimentation is key to your success! Do you craft a smoke arrow to blind your opponent, or do you add on a poison element to create poisonous gas? Use your arrows offensively or defensively: break down weak walls with a blunt arrow to surprise your enemy, or use a rope arrow to reach a higher place and take out your enemies from a distance.

Skill Tree

Customize your playstyle from 3 distinct skill trees – stealth, combat, and utility. Unlock over 70 unique passive and active skills to choose from and seek vengeance your way.

Explore A Dark World

Return home to the cold Victorian town of Anargal, on the verge of technological breakthrough. Infiltrate and explore vast environments brimming with treasure and mystery. From rival gangs to unique characters, approach each scenario in a myriad of ways. Take advantage of the environment, find solutions to every problem, and move past any challenge standing in your way.

Our Thoughts: I love a good stealth game and Winter Ember is an isometric stealth game, so I was looking forward to getting my hands on this. Now I will say this, the stealth sections are pretty good and are the highlight of whats on offer here, with sneaking, hiding in the shadows and extinguishing lights to allow you sneak up on your targets to either take them out or steal from them. I liked that if you do knock an enemy off you need to hide their corpse so other NPC's don't become alerted to your presence. You can drag them away, dump them in boxes or hide them in the long grass - they even notice blood trails you may leave so you always have to plan ahead. Instead of killing enemies you can knock them out but that does lead to them eventually waking up, which isn't ideal if you are still in the area. Whilst I loved the stealth sections of the game, I really disliked to combat. It feels off from the start and never improves, and when you are unfortunate enough to alert guards to yourself you end up dragged into a dire system of trying to dodge, parry and break your opponents guard. Weirdly you need to hit them three times to break their guard but they seem to recover it so quickly it just ends up becoming such a drag. The parry is also hit and miss, with it sometimes needing Mr Miyagi reflexes to pull them off. You also have a bow equipped but this comes in handy with completing puzzles and enabling you to access areas by crafting rope arrows. Unfortunately the writing and voice acting in the story is pretty mediocre and detract from the overall plot. The game starts with a cool animated cutscene, but the lack of information on the parties involved makes its hard to really connect with characters or fully understand whats going on. The sound design is pretty bland as well. Not in the sense that it's bad and impacts the game, but more that it feels very generic and forgettable without any notable places than jump to memory like other game soundtracks. Overall Winter Ember is a decent top-down stealth game when your in the stealth sections. It's a shame its let down by the repetitive and basic combat. If the game had stripped out the combat and focused on stealth sections more and built on them it would have been fantastic as that part was much more immersive.


Winter Ember was released on the 19th April 2022. The game is playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S consoles. The game is optimised for Xbox Series X/S and supports smart delivery. Priced at £18.99 you can buy the game HERE. A copy of the game was provided for this review. Thanks for that!

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