Playing “The Ascent”

I work in the gaming industry, but normally don’t talk about games much because a) I work on the technical side and b) there are so many other blogs, outlets, news and review sites that do this every day that I don’t feel I can add a perspective that is unique (and there is no sense in writing redundant blog posts).

That being said, I really enjoyed one of the games I recently played, so I decided to write about it anyway. The game is called The Ascent and it’s an isometric top-down shooter in a cyberpunk setting.

There is a wide variety of weapons that you can level-up throughout the game (although the resources required to level up weapons are scarce at higher levels, so you can only bring a few of the weapons to max level). A few different weapon damage types are available, that work better or worse against different enemies. And to further customize your character, there are a few abilities and skills available.

The story was engaging, kept me busy with both main missions and side missions. Missions always have a suggested level with is useful because if you head into an area you aren’t ready for you will be killed swiftly 😉 Aside from the story, I also enjoyed the graphical level of detail. No obvious repeating of elements, each area/level had a very distinct feeling to it, even backgrounds or parts of the map where players can’t navigate to were very detailed. Music was also very well picked for the different game areas.

Difficulty scales fairly moderate. The beginning can be tough at times, but as long as you keep leveling up your weapons, and making sure you have the right gear equipped, it’s pretty smooth sailing. Also, remember to match up weapon type with enemy type.

A recent update introduced a “Game+” mode with tougher enemies that allows you to re-play the game with you character from the normal playthrough (i.e. keep your stats/skills/inventory, but the enemies also start out at around level 30). Game+ mode is nice if you really want to max out all the skills or level up a few more weapons.

There were a few cons too, in coop multiplayer mode we had a few crashes and quests getting stuck (requiring us to restart the game). But all in all it was playable and we mad it through the whole game. Multiplayer had a very “added in later” feel to it, not something designed to be a integral feature of the game (e.g. “guests” don’t see any of the useful mini-map markers).
Also, there is little to no replay value in the game. I did a second playthrough in Game+ mode, and it felt more like a speedrun focusing on the main mission and picking up side missions in the same area for extra EXP.

All in all I really enjoyed the game, it wasn’t too difficult or grindy, and travel times not too bad as long as you kept an eye on your missions and made liberal use of the taxi and subway system. I got all the achievements in the game, and the one that took the longest was “Die 100 times”.