Despite the fact that The Ascent’s camera is suspended in the clouds, there’s something about its universe that will draw you right into the middle of things: violence, corruption, gangs and companies competing for dominance in an atmospheric metropolis, to name a few elements. Neon Giant has created a fantastic environment for the launch of the Xbox Series X. When you watch The Ascent in action, you can’t help but be sucked in by how alive the cyberpunk setting appears to be, as well as the civilians who are just trying to survive in a world of perpetual chaos, most of which is generated by whoever is in control. Alien locals have talks near neon-tinted signage, mumbling about the bloodshed that you have orchestrated, while others go about their business as usual in the surrounding area. Despite the fact that The Ascent is primarily an action-shooter RPG, it is set in a vibrant, living environment.
Graphically, it’s stunning as well, with realistic light effects on the ground and stunning architecture and locations to explore. It’s the absence of any sort of loading screen that stands out as we’re brought through each region and transition between cutscenes and gameplay that stands out the most. “There are no loading screens,” says Tor Frick, co-founder of Neon Giant and creative director of The Ascent. “It’s a completely seamless experience.” “Of course, we offer speedy travel options such as the train and taxi, but the game is absolutely smooth from start to finish.”
This seamless experience takes place in a world controlled by The Ascent Group, a mega-corporation. When the corporation suddenly collapses, you set out to find out what happened. An engaging main campaign, side missions and boss encounters allow you to explore at your own leisure and uncover the cyberpunk setting’s many facets.
The Ascent’s isometric layout allows you to read the area and use the architecture as cover if you happen to run into foes and end up in a gunfight. You can aim high or low, and shoot over cover, depending on your opponent’s height. But how (and whether) you fight is entirely up to you. The Ascent is designed to be flexible, with a variety of customized weapons, gear, and cyberware to choose from. It’s like Cyberpunk 2077 and Diablo made a baby.
Co-founder and creative director Arcade Berg says players can build characters but aren’t “tied in” to their choices. Instead of fixed classes, you can create your character to fit your desired playstyle. From cyberware changes like augmentations and modules that influence your passive and active fighting abilities, to hairstyles and tattoos, you can customize your character at any moment by visiting the Grafter, an NPC. “We’re utterly classless,” Berg says. It’s more enjoyable and intriguing to be able to experiment and play about with it rather than locking yourself into something before you’ve even played the game…”
From what I’ve seen, Neon Giant has put a lot of thought and work into delivering isometric RPG action and building a fully realized environment with their own spin on cyberpunk. “We are inspired by a wide range of works. Movies, literature, comics Inspiration abounds “Frick. “But we wanted to take some of the cyberpunk cliches and give them a twist. Our game has aliens and a far more sci-fi vibe than classic cyberpunk.”