The Ascent’s Most Fun And Addicting Feature Is Its Combat

Normally, I wouldn’t spend my time specifically writing an entire article about the combat mechanics of a game. This is even truer when the game is a top-down shooter – a genre that I don’t generally tend to gravitate towards. However, I recently had the opportunity to check out the first couple of hours of The Ascent, an upcoming solo and co-op action-shooter RPG set in a dystopian cyberpunk world from indie developer Neon Giant. And, to be frank, the fast-paced and chaotic nature of The Ascent’s top-down combat is its best feature. It is truly fun and addicting.

Given the limited amount of time I had with an early build of the game, I wasn’t able to get in nearly as deep as I would have liked in terms of everything that you can do during combat later in the game. My time was spent in the introductory levels (along with my character who started at level one), so I only got a taste of what’s to come when the game releases on July 29 for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC. If the early levels are anything to go by, though, we players are in for an absolute treat.

Check out the video below, which shows off some of the battles that you can expect in The Ascent:

Let’s start with the basics. You begin with a standard pistol, which I find to be more than capable of holding its own during a fight. So long as you have enough ammo, which is pretty easy to come by, you should have no issue with taking out the lower-level mobs. As you level-up, your gun will level-up as well, giving it even more firepower to take on the crowds of enemies that you’re going to encounter.

Eventually, you’ll be lucky enough to come across other weapons that get dropped by slain enemies or found in various loot containers around the city. Automatic rifles, uzis, and shotguns await, as do grenades and other throwables that will put off AoE damage. Actual weapon drops were rare in my preview session, but when they dropped, it was a no-brainer to equip them immediately.

Your character also packs a punch or two (literally), as you’ll be able to utilize special abilities that you can use when in a pinch or to turn the tide of a fight in your favor. I started off with a “force push”-like ability that was super effective in taking out enemies while also being a great option for crowd control. Kiting enemies around a room can only go so far, after all. Your character can also dive-roll out of the way of enemy attacks, which is especially useful when avoiding their AoE attacks.

All of this said, stringing everything together is a lot easier said than done. This is especially true during boss battles when you not only have to deal with a massive boss or two, but the mob of enemies who are attacking you as well.

During my preview session, I was able to take down the first boss and mob that I encountered after a few deaths, but the next one truly threw me for a loop. The second boss involved taking out two giant monstrosities who were chasing me around with massive war hammers, all while a huge group of cyberpunk thugs were attacking me from every angle. Unfortunately, I never was able to beat this part of the game during my session. However, each time I died, I came back that much more determined and excited to do so.

Learning how the mobs moved and the attack patterns of the big baddies was actually fun. So much so, that as I write this article, I’m actually wishing that I could hop back into the game and play right now. Not many games have that kind of hold on me, especially after only playing for a couple of hours.

I will say that I ran into some technical issues while playing the preview of the game which led me to having to play with a DualShock 4 controller instead of my keyboard (which would have definitely been my preferred method). I think it had to do with my Parsec connection, though, so you can bet that I’m looking forward to playing The Ascent with my keyboard when it launches later this summer – likely making my combat experience in the game that much more fun and addicting than it already was.

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