I just wanted to give you a quick update because right about now my review of The Ascent, the new cyberpunk action-RPG available on Gamepass and Steam, should have been up. I was fortunate to get review code a few days prior to release, but sadly I’ve hit some big problems with the game, including one that has stopped me from getting anywhere near the end.
Basically, during the main storyline you have to head to Cluster 13 and talk to a character called Kira. However, there’s some big bug that stops the quest progressing past this point, and sadly there are a few other unfortunate individuals on Reddit reporting the very same problem. I’ve attempted exhausting every dialogue option, completed all the side-content I can, restarted the game and even tried the PC Gamepass version, all in an effort to find a way around this frustrating issue. Nothing has worked, though, and thus I can’t get any further until its fixed. I contacted the developers prior to launch about the problem and they are working on it, but I have no idea of the time frame.
Since you aren’t going to be getting my review for a while, might I interest you in Skill Up’s awesome video review? He likes the game more than I do and doesn’t seem to have had any problems with the game. As always, he eloquently describes what I would mangle.
I’d like to say this was the only bug I ran into, but it wasn’t. I encountered another example of a mission failing to trigger correctly, but thankfully that one was solved by restarting the game and going back in. I’ve also had some issues with my weapon disappearing, Cyberdeck upgrades not showing, duplicate items not selling correctly, enemies getting locked into place and more. Meanwhile, people on Reddit are reporting that co-op has quite a few issues, too.
I’m pointing this out purely so you guys have some warning. It looks like my specific problem is reasonably rare, but it’s still there and worth keeping in mind if you’re planning on buying The Ascent. Obviously if you have Gamepass it isn’t much of a risk.
But there is good news; the rest of The Ascent is honestly great. And I can’t even begin to tell you how absurdly gorgeous the game is. The grimy streets are strewn with detritus and dirt, bathed in neon signs advertising weapons, VR, drugs and everything else you can imagine. The level of detail is at times utterly staggering, and the game isn’t afraid to shift away from the isometric viewpoint to show off the world. Even the backgrounds have piles of detail. There’s life everywhere, too, hundreds of NPCs walking the streets, chatting to each other and getting in the way during gunfights. Collateral damage isn’t encouraged or punished, but it’d be damn near impossible to play the game without decimating at least a few hundred civilians by accident.
The twin-stick gunplay is plenty of fun and offers a good mix of strafing and taking cover. You can crouch behind walls and aim over them with the left trigger, but you can also raise your gun whenever you like to get better accuracy and a higher chance for criticial shots.
Even the voice performances are surprisingly strong, even if the story itself is fairly meh. Basically you’re an indentured worker, having had the costs of moving planet covered by a giant corporation, and thus you have to work for free for them for years and years. Anyway, the corporation collapses due to weird circumstances and you end up in the middle of the power struggle. Your avatar, though, is annoyingly passive in this whole thing, getting sent from place to place by different people and remaining stubbornly mute throughout.
As for the RPG mechanics, they’re mostly just okay. Nothing special. Not much to talk about, really. Y’know, you whack points into some basic stats, equip armour and pick up guns. The augmentations are quite cool, though, with a nice variety of stuff to pick from. I’m fond of the Stasis Dragon, myself.
I like The Ascent, I really do. And if you have Gamepass it’s going to absolutely be worth playing. But be aware it does have some issues.
Hopefully my full review will be coming soon.