Gritty, moody and more neon than would make the 1980’s blush, Neon Giant’s The Ascent has a story to tell in an RPG style like no other.
After you build and fully customize your character then it’s a slap in the face welcome to Veles City. Like others before you, you’ve come here to seek a better life.
But the reality is that you are just another small cog in the mega machine that is this multi-levelled metropolis run by a corporation called The Ascent Group.
But not long before you begin your degrading career The Ascent Group goes bankrupt.
This causes even more unrest and uncertainty in an otherwise powder keg of your world.
Your immediate boos, a crass -don’t-mess-with chap called Poon sees the fall of The Ascent Group as an opportunity and soon you’re a mercenary, doing gigs for cash and gear all the while taking up side jobs from NPC’s that you randomly find and converse with in what is one of the most playable Diablo-like titles this year.
The Ascent is played from a third-person perspective where your paths are linear but more often than not, expansive.
There’s a lot to do and a lot to be done aswell as many bonuses, gear, loot and more to be discovered with an almost compulsory exploration.
Gear that you either buy or loot can be swapped out via your in-game inventory aswell as spending skill points once you Level up.
Levelling up happens in-game, spontaneously as you get enough kills or complete enough objectives.
The Ascent is not just your run-of-the-mill RPG. It has gore. A lot of necessary bullets and blood.
Playing the game may take getting used to with the controls, for some.
Those that are keen for a cyber-punk romp through a dystopian neon clad visceral world but have not played many RPG’s in their gaming lives will find The Ascent tricky at first.
The twin stick movement however makes absolute logical sense to play effectively and it also aides you in the many (and I do many) combat situations.
You’ll also gear up various weapons, from Grenades through to heavy guns. To a point these can be upgraded. Varying cyber skills come in to play too.
You are able to ‘hack the system’ with your cyber enhancements. The more of these that you get, the more you’ll be able to access in the game, such as overriding the more tricky door switches to get to juicy loot.
The Ascent is designed to share the fun. Up to 4 players co-op on one screen (so, no split-screen multiplayer) or up to 4 online you can forge your way through various missions together, killing hordes and destroying bosses. It’s a team effort. The more of you there are, the higher Level Bosses you are likely to be able to take down.
For a game that has had a quiet release (no huge fanfare during its lead up or even on release) it is one hell of a game that places the more known, similar RPG’s on their ass.
To describe The Ascent would be to say if Diablo and Cyberpunk 2077 had a child and that child turned feral – this is The Ascent.
Released: August 2021
Platforms reviewed: PC
Developer: Neon Giant
Publisher: Curve Digital