The Ascent, presented by the Neon Giant studio, is a top-down RPG shooter set in a Cyberpunk aesthetic. In fact, this is the first thing that strikes you, the aesthetic of a vibrant city, with lots of colors, movement, and gangs in the mix.
The story is set in the world of Veles and the player plays the role of a low-ranking worker, controlled by the Ascent Group, a mega-corporation that manages everything in this metropolis. One day this corporation collapses without any notice or apparent reason and chaos ensues. Lack of security and basic resources are the main factors that lead to insecurity about the future of the population.
This is where the player comes into play as a sort of errand boy. With a somewhat convulsive story and without much apparent context with the side missions that unfolds through large lines of text. Does any of the text really matter? No, in fact, most of them only serve to somehow spread the intrigue between “factions”. And yes these NPC’s talk way too much, but don’t expect big revelations as the plot is pretty linear.
One of the strengths is the combat and the fun that you can have from the company of friends since it is possible to create a party of up to 4 players. There are no classes, as other titles of the genre, however, there are skill points that allow the player to somehow create the build they prefer. The choice of skills is somewhat important in building the character since, in addition to firearms, the player will have access to special abilities that will be stronger according to more points in the attributes reserved for this purpose.
Although every corner of The Ascent is a delight for the player’s eyes, the possibility of calling a taxi or even riding the subway is a more than welcome mechanism. After 15 hours of gameplay and trying to complete all the side quests the monotony of going from point A to point B becomes quite repetitive. Still, it is possible to wash your eyes between bustling cities filled with neon, bloody tunnels, spaceships, discos, clubs for +18 with a variety of populations of aliens and humans. I have to mention that I was kinda let down by the fact that it’s not possible to choose another kind of character species. Although we have access to a whole plethora of choices from gender, hair, color (etc), the implementation of new species would be a very interesting addition.
The action of this title starts very slowly, however, there is a very interesting learning path. Although enemies do not evolve depending on the player’s level, no counterpart is denoted in this regard. New areas open up as missions progress with increasingly stronger enemies. And yes, it is a somewhat difficult game. As mentioned there is a line of learning, although small, interesting with the introduction of new abilities and a “ducking” mechanic behind walls, cars, etc., which allows the player to avoid enemy bullets but still shoot at them.
The Ascent is vibrant, fun, and has enough elements for a good few hours of fun. Although its story is not memorable, the action and gore elements mixed with the vibrant world surrounding the adventure make this title quite appealing.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for PC, provided Curve Digital]