The Ascent | PS5 Review
Updated: Apr 8, 2022
The Ascent is a twin-stick, isometric shooter set in a cyber-punk world and features single player gameplay along with both local and online co-op. It was developed by the 12 person team at Neon Giant and published by Curve Games. The Ascent was initially released last year as a day one release on XBox Game Pass, however, it is now available on Windows PC and PlayStation, and for the purposes of my review, I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
You play as an indent who works under The Ascent Group Arcology which is a corporately owned metropolis that spans into the sky and across the whole galaxy. I say you’re a worker for the company, but you’re more of a slave caught up in corporate corruption spanning across the entire district. One day as you're going about your business there is suddenly a series of catastrophic events, causing The Ascent Group to shut down for reasons unknown and the survival of the entire district thrown into disarray. It's your job to take up arms and embark on your mission to find out what caused this. Your whole life has been governed by The Ascent Group - can you make it alone? Can you make your own way through the world for yourself?
I was very excited for The Ascent. I was quite sad when it wasn’t released on PlayStation, so for it now to have a wider release was music to my ears and I must say, I really wasn’t disappointed. Initially, The Ascent was certainly met with a mixed bag in terms of reviews 8 months ago when it was released, however with the PlayStation release it appears that the game has come a long way with a variety of updates covering bug fixes, rebalancing of the gameplay. Alongside this, there is now the option for New Game Plus, a transmog system and photo mode. Furthermore, PlayStation 5 players get to enjoy the DualSense controller’s functionality including haptic feedback being implemented throughout which is wonderful for immersion.
First and foremost, the cyberpunk aesthetic has been totally nailed from the beginning. I always feel with top-down games that there is so little room to really pack much personality or life into the game but from the beginning I was very impressed with the environment and the aesthetic. The dystopian world of Veles is exceptionally detailed throughout and is really jam packed with personality and detail, surprising especially for an isometric style game. Alongside this, the definition really is excellent and for a smaller indie developer with a TWELVE-person team, it’s particularly impressive to me.
The gameplay was fun and fluid with little to disturb me from enjoying myself. Everything felt very consistent and responsive, and, in that sense, I have nothing but good things to say however I would say that it became quite repetitive after a while as there was little variation and challenge offered, but for me the consistency is more important so I can’t really criticise The Ascent for this. Initially, I thought the game was going to be quite linear. However, after the initial first mission I was then able to go into a main hub kind of area and visit local merchants, vendors and a variety of NPC’s and get individual missions from them which very much satisfied my need for quests and fun stuff to do at my own free will. Throughout your adventures you'll be able to level up and upgrade your characters skills through an excellent skill tree and you’ll also be able to upgrade weapons and armour too. Alongside this, there is many cosmetic options just to make sure you're looking good whilst blasting your way through the enemies.
Most people will feel familiar with The Ascent, but it will feel fresh and new all at the same time. I think my biggest critique of the game is that everything did start to feel quite repetitive after a few hours, but it made for a nice game to play that didn’t require too much thinking or large amounts of skill. The gameplay loop combined twin stick shooters with some fun RPG elements including a good story and a variety of characters. I look forward to a future playthrough where I hope I’d be able to try my hand at some co-op because The Ascent seems like it would really thrive as a multiplayer experience, so I look forward to having a shot at that!
Lj’s Rating: 4 out of 5.
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