Our Rating: 9/10
The Ascent succeeds in bringing together almost everything that Cyberpunk has attempted and failed to do. This new title features an intriguing story, a stunning setting, and an animal soundtrack that soothes the frequent and frantic shootouts.
The galaxy is controlled by mega-corporations that build mega vertical cities to process the natural resources available on the planets, in a universe full of aliens, mutants, interplanetary travel, tokamaks, extreme body modifications, and artificial intelligence. With millions of residents, each city is divided into levels; at the top are the wealthy, who are protected by real armies; at the bottom are the workers, who have a weak “police” force and are constantly at odds with gangs; social ascension is virtually impossible, and many try to improve their lives by signing work contracts with these corporations.
The Planet of Veles
With this information in mind, our story will take place on the planet Veles. Our protagonist is one of those who signed a contract with the group The Ascent, Veles’ largest corporation. He, like every other employee, is forced to work as a slave. Everything was fine until one fine day when it was revealed that The Ascent group had gone bankrupt and there was no more money to pay anyone. Will you stay loyal to the corporation or work for Veles’ parallel powers? You’ll have to play to find out.
The story is captivating, and you should anticipate some plot twists. The characters were well written, and each one has a distinct personality that is reflected in their lines. The most notable of these is our AI companion who accompanies us throughout the game; she is sadistic and enjoys a good shootout with plenty of blood and flying bodies.
The main arc takes about 12 hours to complete on average. However, the ending teases a possible sequel in the form of DLC or a brand new game. If you don’t have much time, don’t worry; the game has a slew of super fun side quests to complete; there are so many that anyone who completes them all will easily spend more than 20 hours playing it.
Cyberpunk but better
The setting is fantastic; with a cyberpunk theme, the developers didn’t miss a beat and nailed it in every way. The human and alien characters are diverse, with different clothes and weapons, and are extremely well detailed, but the map’s details stand out the most. Expect to find labs, sewers, industrial plants, and urban terrain on every level and region of the city; they’re all unique and have their look. Everything here has been given special attention; the lighting is excellent, there are numerous details strewn about the place, from graffiti on the walls to virtual signs, but the best feature is the non-static backgrounds.
Every map and region has a background that depicts what is going on above, below, and to the sides. These are animations that are rarely repeated in inaccessible regions, but they pique the player’s interest, making them wonder what else could be there, and the immersion is incredible.
Soundtrack and Gameplay
The soundtrack is excellent and deserves to be released in its package. The characters’ voices were well-done, but it’s the songs that rock the shootings that steal the show. The music is electronic, and the combination is perfect; the action is fast-paced, and the finger stays on the trigger until the sound stops.
Although the viewpoint is isometric, the gameplay does not revolve solely around shooting and running. To face the dangers of this lawless city, the player has access to a vast arsenal that includes revolvers, machine guns, shotguns, grenade and rocket launchers, various types of armor, and, because we’re talking about a cyberpunk setting, modifications.
It appears to be more of the same, but the big difference here is the addition of a cover system, where you can bend down to seek cover behind elements of the scenery, rather than just running and shooting. That is, you must know when to run, when to protect, and when to retreat better.
Game Flaws and Bugs
Since nothing is perfect, the game has two minor flaws. The first is due to the cover and aim system, which makes it nearly impossible to hit enemies on higher or lower floors, even if the difference is only one ladder step. This also happens when you use high aim while standing, as most shots will miss the target in this position.
The targeting system also makes it nearly impossible to hit small enemies, particularly explosive spider robots. These situations can only be alleviated by the use of weapons with guided projectiles that seek the target, but even then, hitting the explosive robots is difficult.
Another annoyance is the risk of becoming stuck in corners, which occurs frequently. If you roll near a corner, you have a 50% chance of becoming stuck there and having to jump back to unlock. Aside from the jump, it’s common to notice some jammed in corners while covering or running from one end to the other, which isn’t cool when it happens during a fight.
Apart from these two issues, we discovered a third one, which was most likely resolved in the most recent update. This was a problem with enemies that didn’t appear in the mission location, which occurred about ten times at the start of the game, and the solution was to return to the menu and reload the save game.
Finally, The Ascent is certain to be entertaining. The story is engaging, the graphics are stunning, and the soundtrack is incredible. The price is a little high, but it is well worth it. If you want to save money, The Ascent will be released on Xbox Game Pass and will feature crossplay within the Microsoft platform; however, those who purchase through Steam will be left out.