was, for me, one of the standout video games from Microsoft’s very first next-gen showcase precisely one 12 months in the past, after they confirmed off a ton of third-party exclusives like Bright Memory Infinite and Second Extinction. And so I used to be fairly excited to lastly get to play it – which, for transparency, was with mouse and keyboard controls via a PC streaming service. Anyway, it rapidly turned clear that The Ascent is an action-RPG that’s extra like a twin-stick shooter; you’ve received melee particular skills however, from the couple of early missions I performed, you’ll primarily be slaying dangerous guys via a Halo-style two-slot gun system. I’ll discuss extra about gameplay in a second, however one factor is completely sure: The Ascent has its cyberpunk aesthetic nailed to a ‘T’.I’ve received to speak about that cyberpunk vibe first, as a result of The Ascent completely nails it. Bright, oversaturated pinks, purples, and blues are all over the place, and the world has an appropriately soiled and gritty really feel. If the builders had acquired the Blade Runner license for this recreation, they wouldn’t have to alter a factor except for the title. It’s actually, actually potent from a visible standpoint, and I like that about it. It even managed to take me a bit without warning after I dropped into the sport world, as a result of the character creator you begin out in is pretty ho-hum in comparison with the absolutely decked-out cyberpunk world you get dumped into after finalizing your look.
OK, so it’s received the look down, however how’s it play? Well, the primary elevator pitch that I ever heard for The Ascent was “Judge Dredd Meets Diablo,” however after taking part in it, I’d say it’s actually extra like, “Hunter: The Reckoning But Cyberpunk.” Both are good issues. This is an isometric action-RPG, sure, however you’re twin-stick capturing the bulk of the time. It felt good on mouse and keyboard however this is likely to be a case the place I find yourself preferring a gamepad. But that apart, whereas it’s an isometric view, you’re very a lot in a 3D house, which implies you’ll be able to crouch to take cowl behind low partitions and likewise intention excessive (maintain the suitable mouse button on PC) to intention increased to both shoot above your cowl or simply intention for an enemy’s head as an alternative of their chest.
After taking part in it, I’d say it’s actually extra like, “Hunter: The Reckoning But Cyberpunk.”
Furthermore, fast rolls are additionally a key transfer to grasp, because it’s one of the simplest ways to both elude swarms of enemies or dodge highly effective boss assaults.
Naturally, you’ll be able to improve the heck out of your character – you’ll discover new weapons and armor and be capable to unlock particular skills, as much as two of which may be outfitted at a time. The one I received throughout my playtime was Hydraulic Slam, a highly effective melee blast that helped me roast the 4 mini-bosses I battled throughout one mission’s climactic combat.My standout nitpick of The Ascent to this point is that it’s a bit gradual to get going. The first hour or so of the marketing campaign is spent operating via the degrees, attractive as they could be, doing the cyberpunk-RPG equal of killing rats. But I forgot about that ho-hum begin afterwards, as I used to be blasting hordes of dangerous guys, going toe-to-toe with powerful bosses, wandering round densely populated metropolis hub areas the place I may go to shopkeepers, take aspect missions, and extra. This is a very intriguing recreation and I’m wanting to play extra when it hits PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One on July 29 – and it’s on Xbox Game Pass on day one, no much less.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey each time attainable.