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Parents' Guide to

The Ascent

By Paul Semel, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Mature, bloody cyberpunk shooter exciting, has quirky flaws.

The Ascent Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Fun but Ruiner is better

Its very impressive what a visually stunning world this indie studio created. A fully 3D rendered high-res open world full of bystanders, enemies and mayhem with 4 player LOCAL and online co-op that happens to be in style of Hotline Miami and its cyberpunk cousin Ruiner. Sure the interactivity is quite low (no jumping, no police, etc) but given games like CP77 that have the AAA stamp and still disappoint this is a treat. However the game suffers from serious bloat compared to its leaner (5-6 hour) bretheren. There is just no reason for this game to be as long as it is (20+ hours). The RPG machanics are shallow, the side quests are poorly paced, unimpressive and require too much backtracking in a game where navigation is a cumbersome chore; with no mini-map, a lousy maxi-map, overly spacious areas, limited movement options, "fast travel" where the load times are longer than it takes to walk to your destination (God help you if youre playing on base Xbone). It just makes one appreciate how concise the levels and mechanics of Ruiner were. The game is heavy on blood and gore even with the eleveated perspective, with a slightly upgraded pistol being able to dismember or bisect targets. Civilians will very frequently get in the crossfire with no penalty for collateral damage. Although the color scheme (lots of glowing red and heavy shadows) of many areas somewhat masks it half the time, some areas late in the game; particularly a white office complex; emphasize the carnage. There is lots of profanity although most is in subtitles as alien gibberish often substitutes voice acting.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

Game Details

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