I've tried this game recently and also heard some things about it getting unfair reviews. I don't really know the details about this but 4/10 seems harsh (it's a 6/10) even if going out of your way to pick out the game's flaws. I do however have some constructive criticism.
I've been playing the game a bit, someone called me away very urgently so I ended up leaving it running by mistake. The game went all to hell without me controlling it. I went to load the auto save and to my surprise it was from over an hour back. I don't understand this because I had a similar situation earlier and it was autosaving every through minutes. Issues like that can be annoying for some people once in a while. It also crashes about one in ten times on completing a game and less frequently it crashes on other things such as loading a game (missing free perhaps). I'd say the game crashes too much. It's not only two years old so should have updates but it's also in an era where we'd expect crashes to be rare. It just crashed now in the middle of game play and this is a new but tried and tested stable rig. Many RTS games are more stable on my old ten years old rig that doesn't work unless you turn it upside down, has corrupt VRAM, problems with RAM compatibility, heating issues partly due to being caked with dust, an even older OS with all kinds of things done to it (when I upgraded ten years ago I brought over the old HDD), etc. What's more insane is after the last crash I saved my game manually just in case. I've just started up the game again and it's gone! I've got loads of space, it just seems to stop saving after 1000 (time). Something as basic as this can spoil everything. Imagine you saved your word document after an hour, it said success, you close word, then you open your document and suddenly the last hour is gone. It's crazy, it really is. I just tested this. I saved, checked the list, gone. I didn't even do anything. The game was constantly running and just stopped being able to save.
Bugs are one thing but there are game play issues as well. It's not clear for example how to get engineers to join others when you've already laid out plans. Joining army doesn't seem to work. On the other hand telling a group to do stuff automatically forms an army which can be quite annoying. Occasionally units or armies do weird things or get stuck and there's no so much control I have over this. If my army is headed by an artillery dreadnought then it has this strategy of skirting the enemy and if I want to attack something close in then it's difficult. It's possible at least half the problems I'm having are really about lack of intuitive interface or a wrong balance of manual and automatic. Such as where is area bomb? There appears to be a limit on army size. Grouping planes doesn't work brilliantly. No way to switch armies from full speed to speed of the slowest unit. To be fair at least some of these aren't that common in RTS but this game tends to reach the point where those are strongly desired.
In comparison to other RTS games Ashes has good production quality despite these flaws. Thought it's a bit of a contrast still for Stardock because it ends up about average where are usually Stardock has a record of doing very high quality games or with quite unique combinations of features. This seems like Stardock going a bit out of there territory with standard RTS and while it managed to reach the current standard it seems to have missed out opportunities to push the envelope in sometimes strange ways.
For example the engine is meant to be multithreaded to support huge battles and units but realistically the way the gameplay works it rarely reaches that point. There seems to be a slight mismatch there. Though saying that series such as Sins aren't immune to the old rush tactic. This is a good reason for some lash back because the game was partly carried by the hype of things such as its engine but the game play makes it particularly difficult to leverage that. Even large maps tend to be armpit games of everyone being squashed together. I think more map than you'd know what to do with is under utilised especially surrounding air in games and large battles.
I think I made a mistake also entering this game because I swear I saw somewhere that it's not just a contest of typing speed (if you ever saw Star Craft played very competitively) except it very much is that formula. I'm not sure where I read that but I should have read more closely.
One of the major issues with this game is a lack of decent sides. In the universe it's in you'd expect aliens but nope, humans. There's not much different between the sides either. The game has a look and feel combining Total Annihilation with its offshoots and Star Craft. Though in terms of sides and balance it takes much more from TA where Arm and Core are extremely similar. It's not a bad effort from a new comer to RTS but it does need to be appreciated that it's a deficit.
When it comes to pushing the limits, well TA and it's offshoots really continue to redefine RTS interfaces (things such as queuing commands, zoom, etc). It would have been nice to see more of that with Ashes.
I think a real missed opportunity is multiple windows. I have a huge 4K screen which I'd be happy to divide into four viewports. Very often a problem in the game is that it's hard to focus attention on one thing. An almost idle worker select would be nice as well. Even before 4K this is a problem that would present, wasted screen.
There are a lot of ways this RTS could be improved and could push the limits but it's not there yet. I hope if this engine is as promising as reported we'll see it shine in the next iteration.