A giant futuristic city

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What is it? A cyberpunk action role-playing game with guns. Many guns.
Expect to pay 30 USD/25 GBP
Developer Neon Giant
Publisher Curve number
Review date RTX 2080 Super, Intel i7-9700K, 16GB RAM
multiplayer game 1-4
Associate steam

Along with thousands of other galactic immigrants, your role in The Ascent paid a fortune for a ticket to the planet Veles in search of a better life. However, the moment you disembark, the price of the ticket becomes an astronomical figure, so that you may die before it is paid off. Even so, the company that owns the big city you now call home, Ascent Group, wants a pound of it. You are now a slang term for indentured labor-do dirty, dangerous work to get rewarded. Paid so much for a better life. The advertising airships in Blade Runner are all shit.

The setting of The Ascent blends the neon dappled cyberpunk and dirty science fiction of the 80s, which is very spectacular. The story takes place in an Arcology-an independent city squeezed into huge skyscrapers-and its details are obscene. Think of Hong Kong’s notorious Kowloon Walled City, which crosses Akira’s new Tokyo, and is inhabited by cunning aliens from the Mos Eisley Bistro. This is a dazzling city cluster with closely-connected markets, bustling squares, huge concrete valleys filled with the sound of speeding cars, and huge neon billboards that cast colored lights on the cluttered and crowded streets.

(Image source: Neon Giant)

But what really sets this setting apart is the level of detail at the micro level. A place called Coder’s Cove—a hacker’s hideout hidden in a flooded area of ​​the city—is a perfect example. There is a pile of crumbling computer monitors, tangled cables snaking across the floor, and hackers. Tapping the keyboard, graffiti-splattered walls, and shabby leather sofas. Every place you visit, from convenience stores, casinos, nightclubs to gun shops, is full of such intricate and puzzling details.

This is a hellish environment and one of the most compelling cyberpunk worlds on the PC. But what are you actually doing in it?Well, The Ascent is an action role-playing game-emphasizing action-You can play alone or with up to three friends. This is a gorgeous and rugged isometric shooting game. You can sweep and roll in this gorgeous city, blow your enemies away with a shotgun, blow them up with grenades, or stir them with a rattling machine gun Into a dense blood mist. Occasionally, sparkling loot, money, and energy items will spill from their jelly limbs, and scooping them up will provide a steady stream of tiny and pleasant dopamine hits.

This is a hellish environment and one of the most compelling cyberpunk worlds on the PC.

(Image source: Neon Giant)

Trophy comes in the form of weapons and various cyberpunk-themed armors, which can be used to dress up, including glowing goggles and mechanical limbs. You can create characters that look cool (and wild), even though there is not as much loot as Diablo overall. Ascent and Blizzard’s action RPGs have a lot in common, especially the crispness of the battle, the way the characters are continuously enhanced, and the isometric camera. But it has more authors. There are no random dungeons here: every inch of Arcology, and everything you do there, is handmade.

Use the mouse and keyboard to play, the movement is WASD, the mouse is aimed. Using a gamepad, it is a dual joystick shooting game. Both are very useful, but the extra precision of the mouse aiming makes me very satisfied-especially in the late game, when a large number of enemies are throwing at you. You can also install reinforcement devices, including a hydraulic arm, which allows you to slam people hard, and their bodies dissolve into a shimmering cloud of humanoid dust. Another August allows you to mark certain enemies so that they will explode when they die, basically allowing you to create fleshy explosive barrels in flight.

(Image source: Neon Giant)

The cover is also a factor. Squatting behind something, you can use the left trigger or the right mouse button to raise your gun and shoot at the top of any super detailed fragment that you happen to be squatting nearby. If you double-click the space bar (or the A button), you can dodge enemies by scrolling quickly, which works on the cooldown timer. All these elements combine to create a great shooting game that involves more than just pointing and shooting. Enemies are coming on fiercely, and considering your moving position in these dense, messy environments is as important as having a good target.

Don’t be fooled by the existence of the cover system: The relentless rhythm of The Ascent battle forces you to be in a nearly constant state of movement. Large groups of melee fighters armed with katana, pipes, knives, and other painful-looking weapons accompany the enemy armed with guns. They push forward aggressively and never give you a chance to settle down or get too comfortable under cover, which can sometimes be exhausting. I spent most of the game running backwards, kiting enemies. Later, a class of enemies appeared, and they could put down offensive gadgets including mortar launchers, further complicating matters.

(Image source: Neon Giant)

When you start the game, your low-level indentation—the person you created from a fairly limited choice of faces, hairstyles, and tattoos—is working at Deepstink at the bottom of the city. This grim industrial abyss is dark and claustrophobic, full of human-biting creatures called wild. However, when you become famous for yourself and serve as a mercenary for an influential criminal leader, you will find yourself rising to the top-this is literally. The story takes you from the depths of the stench of Arcology to higher and higher levels, more and more magnificent, all of which have completely different aesthetics and atmospheres.

This is basically a game about shooting many people, including gangsters, corporate soldiers, enhanced aliens and bulky mechas. But there are also some quiet moments. In the crowded social center, you can shop, talk to NPCs and claim side quests without worrying about being attacked. The battle is great, but exploring these areas, I hope The Ascent is more like an RPG. Such rich settings will be very suitable for classic radiation style games, with in-depth tasks and dialogue. However, these safe zone visits are evocative, but in the end they are only a short pit stop before the operation starts again.

(Image source: Neon Giant)

I also encountered the problem of sudden, sharp peaks in difficulty, some of which forced me to interrupt the story and hone the side missions to level up. If the side missions have been good, I wouldn’t mind this, but I find them very popular. Some, such as a soft drink company conducting sinister experiments on citizens who are addicted to their products, make you addicted to a good story. But others feel a bit like busy work, requiring long distances between regions to complete fairly mundane tasks. The ability to call a taxi or jump on the subway to move between different parts of Arcology does relieve some of the pain, but there is still quite a lot of backtracking-rebirth of the enemy-which can be very hard.

But whenever The Ascent does something that disappoints me, the world always wins me back. From the luxurious Golden Satori Casino to the desolate and dilapidated Black Lake slum, this is a master class for creating a sense of place and atmosphere. Please note that although the screenshots may make it look similar to a CRPG like Shadowrun, it is above all a fast-paced, challenging, and almost arcade shooting game. A city that is so well-known may be worth more, and I hope that future games can expand the role-playing aspect. But I can still enjoy the essence of The Ascent: an excellent action RPG game enhanced with a special environment.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.