The Ascent is a 3D Isometric cyber punk twin stick shooter RPG. Wow that was a mouthful, but just like the game, it really is more than a mouthful to deal with. Let’s take a deep dive into the world of The Ascent.
The Ascent is the latest game that takes on the 3D Isometric genre. Add to that a world that revolves around a cyberpunk theme with your character being this android that you can customize to your hearts desire. You can even customize the clothes you are wearing or have your character have a tattoo. The options are preset though so you can’t really customize it down to the inch.
You start the game as an “Indent,” a slave tasked to do the lowest job in Veles. You are part of The Ascent group and you were just minding your own business doing your tasks, when you were suddenly ambushed by beasts. You then go on an adventure trying to go up Veles and making a name for yourself.
The tutorial part of the game takes you through the controls and the many things that makes the game tick. This includes how to level up your character stats through skill points earned, how to fight enemies, how to crawl through low spaces, how to open chests and so on. There is a lot going on but you can always go back to the tutorial menu to read up on anything you might have missed. It can get a little overwhelming trying to remember all the controls but once you get used to it, it will become second nature.
There are three ways for you to fight enemies, your weapons, your augments, and your tacticals. Weapons come in three types which are the sidearms, the machine guns and the shotguns. The tacticals can either be something that heals you, shields you or damage enemies. The augments can either be drones that can pick up items for you, drones that kill enemies and powerful abilities that can wipe out enemies. The weapons are your main method of fighting enemies while the tactical and augments can enhance your gameplay but most of the time you will likely just spray the enemies with bullets.
The missions are broken down to the main missions and side missions. Where side missions can be picked up in most towns or people that you talk to and the main mission is automatically updated for you. If you’re a person who would like to complete a side mission right away when you see one, the game may sometimes limit your exploration by blocking certain areas of the game unless you progress the main mission. This can be frustrating at times but it seems they designed the game in a way that you will want to always choose the main mission first before you complete a side mission. The only bad part about this is the game doesn’t really tell you that you can’t go through an area unless you progress your main mission so you might end up being stuck for no reason. Another thing I don’t really like about the exploration is that you can’t really run. Sure you can roll around if you want to but that’s not really running and I wish running was an available option for this game.
The graphics in this game is something that must be appreciated because there are not a lot of games out there that can provide much detail in a 3D isometric environment. I was really impressed by the level of detail that you can tell the developers really spent time to provide the minute details anywhere if possible. Heck I can daresay this has better graphics than the remake for Diablo II and that’s saying something considering this is an indie game.
I also like the little touches they do here and there like how you can move around inside the train when you fast travel or see inside a taxi when you’re riding them or even rolling around inside an elevator. It reminds me a lot of those fast travel rides you do in Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider Man: Miles Morales. It really adds up to the immersive experience this game is giving you.
The sound in this game is actually really good but it could use some debugging. There were times that the sound gets out of sync and loops repeatedly during the co-op experience. This can be annoying especially if you have a headset on because then you’d hear a constant repeated gunshot even though guns aren’t being fired.
The Ascent can be played either in single player or in co-op, which can be played online or locally. In co-op everyone gets an equal share of loot and share the same missions. Clearing a mission together also pops up the corresponding trophy which is cool because this means if you have a friend you’d like to play the game with and still care about trophies, this is actually doable. I also like that the loot is equally shared which means you both get the same items at once and you can also play with up to three other players. In Co-op mode, if one player gets downed, you have the option to revive them and continue playing the game. However, if the timer runs out and you have not revived your ally, all of you die instantly. Which is okay because it really forces you to play co-op and makes the idea of playing co-op makes much more sense because you shouldn’t really leave a player behind. However, this can be really punishing when you’re trying to clear out an area midway to a checkpoint only to die and restart at the previous checkpoint which is usually far away.
Overall, The Ascent is great addition to the ever growing collection of games in the 3D isometric genre. It’s fun, wacky, zany and a bloody good time for you and your friends to play with. I recommend this game for those who wants something fun to do with their friends or those who just want a game where they can vent out by taking it out on a swarm of enemies.