A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The player did what they need to in order to get to the planet, and now they're doing everything they need to do in order to survive. The thing is, "everything" includes killing a lot of people, human and otherwise.
Positive Role Models
The player is trying to survive in a world that's falling apart, and doing so not only has them running errands and helping people, but also killing a lot of people, some of whom are just doing their jobs.
Ease of Play
The game's controls will be familiar to players of similar third-person top-down, twin stick shooters. The game has three options when it comes to its difficulty -- "Easy," "Normal," and "Hard" -- but its difficulty can vary mid-mission. The game's systems are complicated, and may confuse people unfamiliar with similar games.
Violence & Scariness
Players use guns and special attacks to kill humans, aliens, and other enemies. But while the game's aerial point of view somewhat lessens the bloodshed, it doesn't always, especially when you use an attack that causes people to explode. There are also graphic images of body modification, as well as the image of a bullet exiting a skull when the player dies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In one mission, the player is tasked with delivering some animal testicles to a medical practitioner.
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The dialog includes numerous curse words, including "apes--t," "ass," f--ktard," and "unf--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are several bars in the city where the game takes place, but no one's shown drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Ascent is a downloadable third-person shooter for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/s, and PC. Playable solo or with a friend, gamers use a variety of guns and lethal gadgets to take out people (both from and not from Earth). While its aerial perspective keeps the bloodshed from being too graphic during gunfights, it doesn't help when you use an attack that causes people to expand and explode. There are also graphic images of body modification, as well as slow-mo footage of a bullet exploding out of a skull when the player dies. There are numerous curse words in the game's dialog ("ass," "apes--t," "f--ktard," and so on), as well as a mission that has you delivering animal testicles to an apothecary. You also go to a race track to bet on the outcome.
Is It Any Good?
While it has some quirky issues, this futuristic gun game still manages to be engaging and exciting in an old school way. Set in the far future, the cyberpunk shooter The Ascent casts you as an "indentured worker" for The Ascent Group on the planet Veles. But when the company suddenly falls apart, sending the planet into disarray, you have to do whatever you must to survive. That "whatever" includes running errands for people, exploring an intricate city, and shooting anyone who looks at you funny. With frantic gun fights against reasonably intelligent enemies, and the ability to enhance yourself with special abilities, this feels like the recent game Cyberpunk 2077 if that game had been made by Housemarque, the studio behind such recent but similarly old school-style shooters as Dead Nation and Alienation.
That said, this game has some rather basic (and, you'd think) easily avoided problems. While it's fun to run and gun, and the taxis are helpful, the subway system is useless. Plus, the map is only accessible in a menu, instead of when you're actually moving, and while you can draw a line to your destination, it disappears way too quickly. It also doesn't help that you can easily make a wrong turn, especially when exploring, and run into a group of ruffians who are way more powerful than you. Also, the text in the Xbox version is super small. But even with these annoyances -- and they are annoying -- this is still a gripping shooter. The controls are fluid, your enemies are reasonably intelligent, there's a lot of role-playing game-esque depth and customization, and it all takes place in a beautifully dirty and intricate Blade Runner-like setting. All of which makes The Ascent one of the year's better gun games.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.