Top Critic Average
Story isn't its strong suit, but the rest of The Ascent delivers a wonderfully realized cyberpunk world mixed with satisfying twin-stick gunplay to create an enjoyable action-RPG.
A lovingly crafted action RPG with challenging, satisfying gunfights and an extraordinary cyberpunk setting.
The Ascent's arcology setting is splendid, if heavily derivative - shame that all you can do here is gun and grind.
A deeply disappointing co-op shooter that squanders its excellent graphics on a bland and repetitive attempt to make a sci-fi Diablo.
While The Ascent is a true visual showcase for the Xbox Series X, it lacks depth and clarity. There's a fun game in here, but it's ultimately overburdened.
The soundtrack is a highlight, with clear inspiration from some of the most iconic sci-fi scores in entertainment
One particular mission ended in a robot boss that was resistant to the types of weapons I had spent all of my upgrade materials on thus far. OK, I told myself, that's on me. I should have been prepared. The problem then became finding the requisite components to upgrade an energy weapon I had neglected. In order to do so, I had to slog back through previous environments and take on side quests that ran the gamut of quality: One sent me on a prolonged fetch quest in search of a suitcase, while another tasked me with gathering testicles from slain enemies. One hour and countless frustrations later, I was ready to once again take on that robot boss.
The Ascent looks and acts like a video game, but mostly feels like work.
Despite my complaints, though, I legitimately love the world Neon Giant has crafted here and would love to see even more of it. There’s loads of potential in this setting for straight-up better stories to be told, and I think The Ascent itself is kept from greatness from a lot of jank, technical issues, and weird design decisions. All that said, I think once I get my hands on a Steam Deck, I’m absolutely going to treat that as an excuse to go back for more. Hopefully, by then, they’ll have a lot of the technical issues addressed.
The Ascent has got all the grimy character that you would want from its sci-fi cyberpunk setting, and there's a great combat system to go with it. Simply put, The Ascent deserves your attention.