Developer: Neon Giant
Publisher: Curve Games
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Serise X, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 24/03/2022
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
In The Ascent you work your way through the neon soaked detritus filled streets and inner workings of mega cyberpunk cityscape Beles. You play as an Indent. Indents are owned by corporations and you are owned by The Ascent Group.
Your boss, Poone, tasks you with bringing sanity and stability back to his level. The Ascent Group has gone into bankruptcy after its AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) has gone offline. You are tasked with finding out what has happened to the AGI and get it back up and running.
The story is on the surface not a bad one, but it is also not amazing. Where it shines, however, is in the lore that you can find throughout the game. And there is loads of it.
Neon City Death
The Ascent is on the surface a slick twin stick shooter. Where every turn could lead to a frenzied battle with waves of enemies from all directions. With different types of weapons and cool looking armour, however, this is where it slips.
There are a fair amount of weapons, pistols, machine guns, shotguns and so on. I ended up picking two weapons I liked (machine gun and rocket launcher). In the hub, there is a weapon upgrade shop, so I just leveled up these two weapons that made any other loot drop irrelevant.
The amour is just a pain. Each piece is only viable for specific weapon damage. So in one instance, you are a total tank, whereas ten seconds later your current armour does nothing. OK, it makes it more tactical as you need to make sure you have the best gear for the job, but polarising armour this much just becomes a pain.
The Ascent has also a fairly weak RPG level up system where improving stats does not seem to make a real noticeable difference in the game.
It is a shame, as the shooting and cover system are loads of fun on the whole. Cover by simply crouching and to shoot over the top of said cover. You also get a dodge that will save your life.
The Ascent is all about the co-op where you work as a team to take down the hordes of enemies that are coming after you. The co-op works really well, and I have found no problems at all.
The Ascent takes the neon rich cyberpunk world of Blade Runner, turns the lights up to 11 and blinds you in the process. The hub area I found it really difficult to see past the neon lights. It does not take away much from the game, but God, it is annoying.
I have to say on the whole The Ascent is a beautiful game, with its sprawling cyberpunk mega city scrapes, to the enclosed corridor under this vast behemoth everything looks beautiful. Beautiful and messy; everywhere is litter and rubbish, showing the state of the city and its over packed and cramped living areas. It’s a stunning-looking game.
Overall, The Ascent is a fairly competent twin stick shooter, with fairly poor RPG style mechanics. The world is a joy to look at and there is plenty of lore and things to learn about the world.
The Ascent is a must buy if you play in co-op, as this is where the game shines. Single player, however, wait on a sale as there are other games out there that do it better.