The Ascent’s big guns and bigger explosions were the perfect cure for a stressful year


Staff Picks

Game of the Year 2021

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to our main Game of the Year Awards 2021, each member of the PC Gamer team is shining a spotlight on a game they loved this year. We’ll post new staff picks, alongside our main awards, throughout the rest of the month.

My long-running obsession with Path of Exile has given me an appetite for big, complex action-RPGs. The Ascent is neither of these. It’s a compact romp that you can polish off in under 20 hours, absent any live service stuff to keep you beholden to it after you finish the story. It doesn’t demand much of your attention or time, so you might assume it doesn’t linger long in the mind, but here I am at the end of the year making it my staff pick.  

See, despite my taste in ARPGs, I’m still a simple man who loves bright lights, obnoxiously huge guns, and stupid clothes—The Ascent gives me all three by the truckload. The vast arcology you have to murder your way through is a dazzling but simultaneously grotty cyberpunk city full of runners, corporate cops, and aliens, where fights break out everywhere and the promise of carnage is ever-present. 

(Image credit: Neon Giant)

An early weapon spews a barrage of rockets like a machine gun, and that sets the tone for the whole thing. When it comes out, the party begins. Even bystanders can get in on the fun, serving themselves up as collateral damage. There’s a lot of exotic gear you can get your hands on, but The Ascent doesn’t force you to muck around with duds before you can earn the really fun stuff.

An early weapon spews a barrage of rockets like a machine gun, and that sets the tone for the whole thing.



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