The Ascent: Cyberpunk Shooter RPG Action is Elevating

The Ascent the video game
Ascend this!

The Ascent takes its Blade Runner (1982) influences seriously, with a Vangelis-styled soundtrack and a stunning realisation of a cyberpunk world.

Man alive, this thing looks incredible! The atmospherics are astonishing—it’s a staggering achievement in bringing a future dystopian society to life. But… is the game any good!? We shall sea shells.

The Ascent is All About Shooting Stuff

From Swedish developer Neon Giant, The Ascent is an indie game. But its production values hint towards more ambitious AAA territory.

It’s out now on Xbox One, PS4/5, Steam, and the Commodore 64 (jokes!).

As with many innovative indie romps (nodding here to Loop Hero), it merges genres into a heady mix of mayhem.

With The Ascent we have: RPG, action shooter, action RPG, and hack-and-slash themes nodding heavily towards Diablo II.

But overriding all of that is the game’s spectacle.

We have to say, hats off to Neon Giant. It’s an astonishing achievement the world they’ve created—a cyberpunk city that’s living, breathing, and very much like stepping into Blade Runner.

You take control of a grunt on the planet Veles, very distant to Earth that’s enticed many people there with the promise of a better life.

But the mega-corporation that enticed you out there collapses in economic turmoil… with a new order emerging, can you survive!?

That’s where all the action kind of kicks off, after a measured start that really goes out of its way to ramp up the atmospherics. Behold this thing in action!

Yes, then, the game is a technical triumph. And considering Neon Giant consists of 11 employees, you can see the talent on show. Plus, how brilliant the indie scene is to let small teams create something like The Ascent.

Thankfully, the game is also enjoyable in its crazy mix of shooting and neon lit city streets.

But it does have its issues. This type of genre can get repetitive over long periods, as all you’re really doing is shooting stuff. And its closing act gets pretty tedious.

Plus, we found the loading speeds bloody HORRENDOUS. Seriously… like, Sega Worldwide Soccer Euro 2000 Edition levels bad. Just worse.

Sometimes the loading screen didn’t seem to work and would just sit there, leaving us wondering if the game was broken.

But, no. No. Just godawful, inexplicably bad loading times. And the problem with that is it ruins the idea of having a quick pick-up-and-play type thing. “Oh, I’ll just have a quick go!” No! No, you won’t.

Anyway, once you do get started the mix of RPG elements and just the scale of the title, and getting around in the world of Veles, is great fun.

At around 12 hours of gameplay, you can’t argue with what it has to offer.

It’s a cinematic experience and the atmospherics play a huge part in its appeal, but at its heart you can just get stuck in with the action shooting, boss battles, and outright ridiculousness of it all.

Plus, if you love Blade Runner you’ll just dig the whole vibe.

If you think we’re lying about that, have a listen to the Vangelis influence in the main theme from the soundtrack.

The soundtrack is by games composer Paweł Błaszczak. It’s a brilliant piece of work, to be honest, and really complements the action.

It has the habit of sitting behind the action without being intrusive, washing over you as everything ramps up. Bravo to Mr. Błaszczak on this one.

Yes, then! The Ascent isn’t perfect. But not many things are. It’s free on Xbox Games Pass right now and it’s not too pricy if you want to buy it for some high-octane thrills.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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