Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / The Ascent

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/754716_the_ascent_windows_apps_front_cover.jpg
Advertisement:

The Ascent is a mostly-isometric solo and co-op Action RPG developed by Neon Giant and published by Curve Games. It was released on PC and Xbox Series X|S on July 29, 2021 and March 24, 2022 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. It is Neon Giant's first released game after they were founded in 2018, and is built on the Unreal Engine.

In the future, corporations fight each other on the market, affairs run so quickly each corporations have developed advanced Artificial General Intelligences to handle the massive numbers of transactions that keep the corporations afloat. On the planet Veles, many come from various worlds for a new life and opportunity. Instead they find themselves in indentured servitude to the various corporations who paid for their trip to Veles. Forced to work until they work off their debts, inside the massive arcologies set up by each corporation. Your character is one such "indent", working out of Cluster 13 near the bottom of the Ascent Group's arcology as muscle. However one day, suddenly, the AGI running the corporation's affair goes unresponsive, and in a manner of seconds the Ascent Group's business is wiped out and they are bankrupt, leaving the Arcology with no owner, its staff with no more paychecks coming, no one to pay for the resources needed to keep the archology going. Now as gangs, mercenary groups and rival corporations all descend upon the arcology to pick clean the corpse of the Ascent Group, your character now finds themselves in the middle of all this. Stuck between the various powers fighting to claim the arcology and its former owners' wealth, and the residents trying to seize the opportunity to be freed from indentured service. And behind all this remains one major question: What happened to the Ascent Group and its AGI?

Advertisement:

Gameplay trailers can be viewed here and here and here.


The Ascent contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Dismemberer special weapon launches massive ricocheting buzzsaws at the enemies. Digital weapons shoot bad code, and are highly effective against robotic enemies.
  • Achievement Mockery: You get the Suicidal achievement for dying more than 100 times.
  • Action Bomb: Spider mechs, armed with a combined explosive/EMP warhead. You can summon a pack of them using an Aug received after defeating one of the bosses.
  • Action Prologue: The prologue quest sends you on a trek through the arcology's underhive, fighting off waves of Ferals including a nasty Wakeup Call Boss near the exit, all before the title screen even appears.
  • All There in the Manual: The Ascent's lore is fairly comprehensive, but the game itself tells you next to nothing about it. If you want to learn the specifics of the various alien species, locations, and background events, you'll have to look them up in the in-game codex.
  • Advertisement:
  • Always Night: Whether caused by the upper layers completely cutting off sunlight or any other reason, it's night all the time in the entire arcology, lit by neons and industrial lights only. Only the uppermost level(s), the Pinnacle, receive any sunlight.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Kill shots almost always gib the target in some way, usually by blowing off an arm or a leg... or both... or all of them.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Trying to sell the last instance of an item in your inventory brings up a confirmation window to keep you from accidentally selling something you can't easily replace.
  • Apathetic Citizens: People in this setting are so used to crime and random violence that they don't react to large-scale gun battles unless they happen within about ten meters of their position. They also don't give two craps about some weirdo smashing crates, rifling through lockers, pilfering chests, or hacking vending machines or ATMs in plain sight.
  • Arcology: The core setting of the game is the aptly named Ascent Group arcology, from the "deepStink" underbelly all the way to the upper commercial floors, as well as all the abandoned and uninhabited areas you'd expect to find too.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Not so much the enemies, which are pretty hit and miss in terms of intelligent behavior, but the game's Homing Projectile weapons are remarkably smart. For once, they will automatically curve their bullets around Shield-Bearing Mooks to hit them in the back. They're also very good at avoiding overkill - if you fire a burst at something and it goes down before all bullets have hit, the remaining ones will instantly go after a different target if there are any within their Roboteching retargeting angle.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Pretty much all Special weapons fall under this category. They have unique effects and are generally fun to use, but their gimmicks also often give them severely sub-par DPS ratings that will get you killed past the midgame or on higher difficulties. As far as combat effectiveness goes, you're much better off using the Boring, but Practical guns that just kill things dead the old-fashioned way. The one exception to this is the Dealbreaker.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The Rojin, particularly their melee types, favour classy jackets and suit type outfits - unsurprising since they're essentially Yakuza. You can even wear the same outfits if you care to.
  • Badass Longcoat: The high-tier Runner Coat is a permanently-open trenchcoat that nonetheless offers fairly good physical protection.
  • Beef Gate: Everywhere. Entering a new area and immediately getting one-shot by enemies ten levels higher than you is a frequent occurrence. The problem (and one of the most frequent criticisms of the game) is that there's often no rhyme or reason to the distribution of overpowered enemies. Low-level sidequests regularly send you to locations that are blocked off by enemies far beyond what you can take on, while high-level quests occasionally have you revisit older locations filled with nothing but cannon fodder. One particularly blatant example is the deepStink once the story lets you return there: first, a bunch of level 10 Ferals (reasonable at that time), then a very small area filled with level 20-24 Ferals (pretty much impossible to survive), and then immediately back to level 1 enemies, all without any warning or justification.
  • BFG: Some of the possible weapons in this run-and-gun shooter look almost as large as the players themselves, and even the smaller ones would be considered absolutely massive in Real Life. The heaviest weapons like miniguns or rocket launchers give a speed penalty to the player while shooting.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Malhorst Gelb, the Ascent Group's primary rival, has a predominantly yellow color scheme. "Gelb" is German for yellow. "Malhorst" also has a somewhat Germanic ring to it (Horst is an old-fashioned yet still relatively common male first name), but this might be coincidence.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Some of the micro DLCs unlock weapons that are vastly more effective than anything else you can normally get until the late midgame, chief among them the Recoil burst-fire rifle. Its huge ballistic DPS, great accuracy and quick reload can easily carry you through much of the game if you keep it properly upgraded.
  • Broken Bridge: Several locations unlock along with advancing the main storyline, being locked away behind force fields, retracted drawbridges and nonfunctional elevators. However, the same locations have to be visited in order to progress side quests received earlier, with no hint as to when that happens.
  • Call A Human A Sapien: Although the game uses both terms pretty haphazardly.
  • CamelCase: The writers seem to be a fan of this, as it pops up on and off throughout the game's setting. inCon = INdependent CONtractor. deepStink = the arcology's waste management sublevels. And so on.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: Whilst the game is predominantly experienced from an Isometric Projection type viewpoint, the camera occasionally shifts into Side View or deep/long Three-Quarters View for dramatic effect or to cover up the glaring lack of attention to detail, even whilst allowing you to move around (and even fight) freely. Cutscenes are all over the place, using whatever perspective is most appropriate, with third-person, tracking/panning, and so on.
  • Camera Screw: That one long narrow corridor in the Cosmodrome, where the camera shifts into Side View to hide how underdeveloped the entire area is. Considering that aiming is aligned to the ground plane, trying to shoot the enemies that unavoidably appear in this area suddenly gets much harder. In other locations, the camera sometimes gets obscured by bits of level geometry, even to the extent of the entire screen going black due to walls going right in front of the camera.
  • Character Customization: You can select gender, face, skin tone, shirt design, and armour colours. You are stuck being a human though.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Inverted. Similar to the Soulsborne games, The Ascent autosaves constantly but doesn't let you save manually, resulting in an all-decisions-final gameplay experience.
  • City of Adventure: The Ascent Group arcology is a massive metropolis teeming with aliens, monsters, mercenaries, and other enslaved workers like the player, known in-universe as indents.
  • Combat Tentacles: In the form of the Tentakill Augment: when used it summons a host of mechanical tentacles that grab and slam enemies around the player.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Javelin Dash module replaces the standard evasive combat roll with a Flash Step that looks spiffy but takes exactly as long as the roll, covers the same distance and has the same recovery time. In other words, it does the exact same thing despite occupying a module slot you could use for something that offers an actual bonus, like more money from pickups or a faster Tactical recovery rate.
  • Crapsack World: With the collapse of the company that owns everything and everyone, the already-grimy city quickly spirals into unchecked violence and chaos. It wasn't too great before that, either.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Ascent Group, as it turns out. One of the biggest plot twists is that yCorp, the corporation that press-gangs you into helping them for much of the game, is actually some sort of sleeper cell corp, a contingency meant to rapidly take over all of the Ascent Group's assets in case the AG should go under for any reason. They even have their own AGI, tech that's repeatedly mentioned to be so stupendously expensive that only the wealthiest corps can afford it. Even Kira, your yCorp handler, seems surprised by the revelation that she was basically working for the Ascent Group all along.
  • Cute and Psycho: Your Virtual Sidekick has a cute female voice. She's also absolutely In Love with Your Carnage, frequently sounding close to orgasming during or after particularly intense bouts of violence.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Near the finale of the Cyber Heist DLC, a cutscene makes the Indent lose the MacGuffin in an ambush from enemies they could've taken on without breaking a sweat while under player control. The DLC's Arc Villain is part of the ambush, but he doesn't lift a finger to fight, and even if he had, he's not that much of a threat when you fight him soon afterwards.
  • Cyberpunk Is Techno: The game's techno soundtrack was composed by Pawel Blaszczak, who is also credited for the OSTs of Dying Light and The Witcher.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: Literally so. The weather and time of day in open areas are either neon-lit night or neon-lit rainy night. Only once you get to the Pinnacle levels do you see sunlight.
  • Cyborg: You are one, as is almost everyone else in the arcology, even if it's just something as simple as a basic interface jack for convenience and work purposes.
  • Deadly Lunge: Many melee-focused enemy types can perform a mid-ranged pounce that deals high damage and inflicts stagger if it connects. Some of these enemies are semi-invisible. Watch your six.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Downplayed but present with melee weapons, especially the ones introduced in the Cyber Heist DLC. They're extremely powerful, most often killing any enemy in one hit, two at most, but they naturally force you to run around in the open while a dozen goons are shooting at you. This in a game built around shooting from cover. It can be a very powerful playstyle, but it requires preparation and adaptation, and screwing up even slightly will most likely end in your death.
  • Degraded Boss: Played with. Most boss enemies make repeat appearances later on, occasionally even appearing two or more at a time. They keep all their initial gimmicks and resilience, but by then you should have access to much better equipment and abilities, making them significantly easier to handle. However, some like the Megarachnoid remain frustratingly dangerous no matter how overleveled you are, often because the level design is stacked in their favor.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: You can either fire at about waist height, or around head height. You cannot aim at any vertical angle. This adds an unnecessary degree of difficulty in certain arenas (particularly when you're placed on the high ground, as enemies can shoot your shins with impunity), and certain smaller enemies can only be hit when firing from the hip.
  • Depth Perplexion: Some of the waist-high barriers you can hide behind block high shots. Of course, they cannot be distinguished from those that don't.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Weirdly, your starting gun is one. The P1 Protector pistol has one of the highest ballistic DPS ratings in the game because it shoots as fast as you can pull the trigger, has near-perfect accuracy and virtually no reload delay. It only starts dropping off in the endgame, but remains powerful even then.
    • The Recoil burst-fire rifle can be purchased at any arms dealer right off the bat if you own the relevant DLC pack. It's fairly expensive for a broke new player, but its DPS will easily carry you through the early and mid-game if you invest a few upgrade components in it.
  • Drop the Hammer:
    • Heavy melee enemies wield gigantic hammers that deal appropriately massive damage if you don't get out of the way.
    • The Cyber Heist DLC introduced melee weapons for the player including the Rockbreaker, a similarly huge hammer that can one-shot most enemies below level 35. Its special attack is a Ground Pound that sends out a linear shockwave with decent range.
  • Elite Mooks: Bounty targets are regular enemy types with a unique name, more health, and occasionally a special ability or two. They drop upgrade components and (indirectly) money when killed, making them largely equivalent to Diablo II-style elite mobs in function.
  • Energy Weapon: Many kinds! Whilst Ballistic weapons are the most common early on, you'll also run into Energy, Fire, and Digital weapons - which essentially shoot bad code at enemies. Harmless, if you don't have any augments - but as the game points out, almost everyone is augmented to at least some degree.
  • Equipment Upgrade: All weapons can be upgraded a total of ten times, with each upgrade improving their damage by 10%. The first five upgrades require basic components (one for level 2, two for level 3, and so on), levels 6 through 8 require advanced components, and finally superior components for levels 9 and 10. Basic and advanced components can be farmed from respawning bosses, but the severely limited amount of superior components in the game means you'll have to think carefully about which weapon you really want to max out and which aren't that important, although the Cyber Heist DLC adds a nice amount of additional superior components, giving you a bit more leeway. New Game Plus then allows you to continue upgrading past level 10 if you have the resources to spare.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Any car-sized parked vehicle in the game will detonate violently once enough damage has been dealt to it. The explosion is powerful enough to One-Hit Kill most enemies and destabilize other vehicles in the blast radius, sometimes leading to spectacular chain reactions.
  • Evolutionary Stasis: An interesting case with the Horteans. They're an evolutionary cul de sac, with so many things wrong with them that they can't survive without extensive cybernetic and life-support systems (built into their suits), but somehow they managed to exist as a race long enough to create said systems, thus spitting in the face of natural selection.
  • Exploding Barrels: All over the place. To the surprise of exactly no one, they're great for situational crowd control, but can also blow you to smithereens if you aren't careful.
  • Fantastic Racism: Everywhere. There's at least five or six 'common' species you'll see around, basically all of which are happy to take potshots at each other over one thing or another, and one NPC considers humans (referred to as "Sapiens" in-game) as intellectually inferior to their own kind and doesn't hesitate in saying so to your face.
  • Flash Step: The Javelin Dash module replaces your standard Unnecessary Combat Roll with a short-range high-speed dash maneuver.
  • Flunky Boss: Pretty much all of them, really, and in the rare case they start off without flunkies, it's virtually guaranteed that some will join the fight eventually.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: The game just loves putting severely overleveled mobs near the areas that you need to visit early in the game as ill-conceived Beef Gates.
  • Gatling Good: Numerous examples, the most obvious being the rare but incredibly powerful MG1000 Strikebreaker minigun and the even bigger and more ridiculous Dealbreaker, a tri-barreled minigun that shoots shotgun shells. The Fist shotgun has six non-rotating barrels to provide an above-average rate of fire. Siege Mechs carry two enormous Vulcan cannons as part of their arsenal.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The mass of tentacles that erupts from Project Men Shen at the end of the game. You're never given an explanation of what or why but it might have something to do with why teleportation tech hasn't been successful in this universe: the space inbetween is inhabited by very nasty/hungry things. After all, they do mention that all the other attempts to create such gates have ended in failure with little to no record of what actually happened and why.
  • Glass Cannon: Enemy snipers can deal massive amounts of damage, but - being evolutionary challenged Horteans - they go down in one or two hits from almost any weapon.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The environment is full of signs in Japanese, Korean and Russian (and one in Swedish), however some of the Korean is either incorrectly translated or mirrored.
  • Guide Dang It!: The game does not warn you that any sidequests you pick can only be completed after progressing with the main storyline, sometimes requiring several story quests to be completed first. This is confusing, particularly with the side quests "Anabolic Express" and "Lost and Found", in which critical characters are located behind main story-related Broken Bridges. In case of "Lost and Found", completing it requires having to go through several hours of unrelated main story quests. The game also doesn't have a particularly good grasp on the recommended levels for quests, as some lower-level objectives are behind groups of mid to high level enemies which may more or less oneshot you.
  • Hammerspace:
    • There's no limit to the amount of loot you can carry, so you can potentially be lugging around enough weapons and armor to equip a small army.
    • The Player Character's cyberdeck is about the size of a gaming keyboard and gets pulled out of thin air whenever you use it.
    • The Pocket Mech Tactical works like a grenade, but instead of exploding it spawns a Mini-Mecha at the point of impact that's quite a bit bigger than the Indent, who can then enter it to wreak some nice havoc for about 30 seconds. When the timer runs out, the mech despawns in what looks like a cloud of blue voxels.
  • Hand Cannon: Going by sheer size alone, all handguns in the game count, with even the smallest models being bigger than a real-life Desert Eagle. However, there's an actual subcategory of handguns called hand cannons. They're pretty diverse in function, but generally characterized by trading fire rate, clip size and reload speed for high-impact shots (basically filling the niche of magnum revolvers versus semiautos). One model takes it to its logical extreme with literal One Bullet Clips, but that bullet is explosive and deals massive damage.
  • High Turnover Rate: While this hasn't been explicitly confirmed, the Co-op trailer has an overhead female voice announce that indents who do not behave will be "fucking recycled".
  • Hollywood Hacking: Hacking in this game is instantaneous and consists of pressing one button. If your cyberdeck level is sufficient, the hack succeeds; otherwise, it doesn't. Unsurprisingly, players and reviewers alike have critized this mechanic for being too simplistic for a cyberpunk game where hacking should play a much more involved role.
  • Homing Projectile: Comes in two flavors, ballistic and energy burst fire rifles, and that in addition to the Homing MIM Aug. Special props to the homing guns for their bullets being smart and homing enough to curve around Shield-Bearing Mooks and hit them In the Back.
  • Humans Are Average: According to the codex, Humans are average in almost every respect compared to other species, and as such are extremely adaptable, becoming the most widespread and populous species in the galaxy. The only thing holding them back is a comparatively short lifespan, even with enhancements.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: The official term for humans is "Sapiens". There are also some among humanity who want to change their classification from Homo sapiens to Homo deus, in light of advances in cybernetics and genetic engineering, but it doesn't seem to have much traction.
  • Humongous Mecha: Siege Mechs are towering bipedal behemoths with a ridiculous arsenal of heavy guns and missile pods. They're considered bosses, have an appropriate array of special abilities and the threat potential to match, but at least they drop a nice amount of cash and upgrade components when destroyed.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Acquired in Silo 86 at the end of the game is The Dealbreaker. Referred to in-game as "Defies classification" and with colorful descriptions like "minishotgun automatic" or "automatic shotminigun", it's a BFG with the rate of fire/magazine size of a minigun and the spread of a shotgun. It's only downside is a slow spin-up time, otherwise it staggers enemies and pumps out more DPS than any other Ballistic weapon.
  • Interspecies Romance: Seems to be not uncommon. You can see a Larkian trying to pick up a Karlan in one ambient conversation, and another Larkian mentions flirting with a Hortean. There are also a few other references here and there as well.
  • Just You and Me and My GUARDS!: Zell, Arc Villain of the Cyber Heist DLC, repeatedly mentions how much he's looking forward to fighting you honorably one-on-one. When you do finally catch up to him, he's just as much of a Flunky Boss as all the others before him, starting the fight with a bunch of powerful henchmen and summoning more and more reinforcements as the battle keeps turning against him.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The second melee weapon introduced with the Cyber Heist DLC is the Guillotine, a double-bladed katana with an energized cutting edge. It's very powerful and has nominally higher DPS than the Rockbreaker hammer, but its shorter range and lack of a ranged special attack makes it Awesome, but Impractical against anything but Ferals.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Although "hero" is a huge stretch, much of your income in the early game will come from looting every crate, locker and corpse you come across. High-level equipment and upgrade components are often found in chests that most definitely aren't yours. Later, once your cyberdeck is sufficiently leveled to hack vending machines, getting back in top shape after a fight becomes trivially easy thanks to the joys of stealing from others. One of the final cyberdeck abilities you unlock is the hacking of ATMs; strangely, this one is the most unimportant example due to its low payout and the fact that by the time it becomes available, you'll be swimming in money, anyway.
  • Klingon Promotion: Turns out the reason behind the fall of the Ascent group was one of their own trying to pull one of these. That someone being their CTO, Dakyne. It didn't really work out all that well for anyone involved.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The game in general and your Imp in particular love to do this every chance they get, poking fun at any video game tropes, plot contrivances and ludicrous events you come across.
  • Lightning Gun: The Disintegrator, which you can purchase after defeating the boss in ExMats Lab (who wields a bigger version, but curiously doesn't drop it as a reward). It works like an energy machine gun with respectable damage and no bullet spread.
  • Limit Break: Tacticals kind of work like this. They're charged by killing enemies, and some of them are so powerful that they can turn the tide of any battle. An early-game modification can be installed to accelerate the Tactical charge rate.
  • Limited Loadout: You're limited to two active weapons, two cybernetic augmentations and two modifications. Weapons and armor can be swapped on the fly without penalties, but switching cybernetics around in the field instantly drains your energy meter.
  • Lost Language: Apparently whilst Korean, Japanese, and English survived, Russian did not - your IMP notes that "tokamak" was borrowed 'from a dead language'. Though there are a few neon cyrillic signs around too, oddly.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: It's pretty much impossible to kill any enemy without blowing them to pieces. Regular ballistic guns just blow off a limb or two, but explosive weapons tend to leave nothing behind but a big red smear on the ground. Special mention goes to the stasis overload mechanic: enemies in stasis accumulate damage on a blue bar instead of the usual red one. If you fill that bar before the stasis runs out, they balloon and explode violently, most likely killing anything in a pretty wide radius around them. This mechanic even has quests and achievements associated with it.
  • MacGuffin: The Ruby in the Cyber Heist DLC. The plot revolves around it, but you never find out what it is or does. Your Imp lampshades it upon the questline's conclusion.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Homing MIM Aug unleashes a swarm of missiles at your targeted enemy (indicated by the red crosshair underneath them) and anyone too close to them; higher attributes/stats mean more missiles and more damage.
  • Mana: The energy you need to use your cybernetic abilities is represented by a slowly regenerating blue bar. Weirdly, you can only increase the size of your energy reserves, but not the rate at which it refills.
  • Master of All: The game doesn't seem to have a level cap, meaning that with enough Level Grinding you can eventually max out all your attributes.
  • Mecha-Mooks: There's a variety of robotic enemies in the game, from child-sized melee ankle biters to towering boss-level weapons platforms. They're highly resistant to ballistic damage, but take increased damage from energy and especially digital weapons.
  • Mini-Mecha: One of the more common (mini-)boss types. They come in both bipedal and Spider Tank formats. The player can even acquire one as a Tactical option after a boss fight drop.
  • Minor Major Character: Celine, the member of Ascenders who shows up all of four times in the game: arguing with Poone when you first meet him at the club, talking to the Onyx Void boss on the holophone when you sneak into Onyx Void's base to track down the missing scientists, on the surveillance tape from Laura Lanier's apartment and finally as a boss leading the attack on ExMats lab. She does appear to have some pull in the grand scheme of things, but without much explanation.
  • Neon City: Veles is a shining embodiment of this, with neon signs in Korean, Japanese, English and more blazing from every available space.
  • New Game Plus: Introduced with a later update, NG+ lets you start a new game with all the money, skills and weapon upgrades you acquired in your previous run. It also lets you upgrade your weapons past level 10, but compensates the increased damage output by giving all enemies higher levels and additional abilities.
  • Only Six Faces: Almost literally. The game offers a choice of five faces per gender for your Player Character that all look largely similar. They're also used for human NPCs including plot-relevant characters, making the trope even more obvious.
  • Pinball Projectile: Some enemies have weapons that fire ricocheting bullets. You can pick up a submachine gun called the Crazymaker that can do this, as well as receive a buzzsaw launcher called the Dismemberer as a quest reward. However, nothing protects you against the rounds you fire from hitting you instead. In fact the Crazymaker's description specifically notes that you're sure to hit something - it just might be yourself.
  • Planet of Hats: Each species has some stereotype about them, some of them truer than others - Larkians are big beefy berzerkers, Karlans (or, colloquially, "nugs") are all tiny tinkerers, Keesh are all The Cracker or Playful Hacker, Aphorans are all calmly logical, Humans are dumb and violence prone, and Jachalan are conniving backstabbers.
  • Police Are Useless: corpSec, the arcology's corporate security forces, should be keeping the peace in the giant city, but the only thing they're actually shown doing is blocking off certain parts of the map until the player has progressed the main quest far enough. They never engage in combat with anyone or anything; you can't even antagonize them yourself. Given how often Poone mentions his hope that corpSec will take some time to realize they're no longer being paid following the Ascent Group's collapse, this is most likely a case of Gameplay and Story Integration: they are aware and no longer see a reason to risk their lives for nothing.
  • Powered Armor: The "Quad Ripper" low level upper torso armour adds a big beefy pair of exoskeletal power arms, similar to those seen on the heavy exo suits of XCOM2. On the higher end the "Custom Sec-5 Rig" and "ED-60e Shock Trooper" do the same but combine the aforementioned arms with a high-tech chestpiece. Some leg sets also give additional exoskeletal structure around the, well, legs.
  • Power Fist: One of the very first augmentations you get is a superpowered punch. One of the obtainable special abilities grants players robo-arms to smash their enemies from above.
  • Punch-Packing Pistol: The game offers a wide range of powerful handguns, but what takes the cake aren't the various hand cannons, but the basic P1 Protector and its energy version, the EP4 Pacifier. Both offer very high per-shot damage, a rate of fire as fast as you can pull the trigger, near-perfect accuracy, and a virtually nonexistent reload delay, resulting in massive DPS that outperforms the vast majority of flashier guns in their respective damage classes.
  • Randomly Drops: Enemies may randomly drop the weapon they're using, thus saving you the money for purchasing it from a weapons dealer (and occasionally unlocking a gun early if you're lucky), or giving you a good source of income if you already have an identical gun in your inventory. They might also drop a random piece of armor appropriate to their level and faction, plus bits of cash and healing items. There're only a select few pieces of equipment that will never drop from enemies, such as the Recoil rifle or the Feud line of armor, because DLC content isn't included in any loot table.
  • The Remnant: The Ascenders, who hope to restore the Ascent Group. Also yCorp, which was set up by the Ascent Group as a contingency disguised as an independent corporation should the company go under.
  • The Rich Have White Stuff: The uppermost levels of the arcology, called the Pinnacle, are all shiny clean, dominated by white and red (and sometimes gold).
  • Romeo and Juliet: Referenced by the Love Kills sidequest in the Cyber Heist DLC that tasks you with uniting two lovers from rivaling Megacorps. The catch is that the woman is actually an assassin that uses you to lure the man into an unobserved spot to kill him, which you only find out when you find his bloody corpse and a thank-you note from her next to it.
  • Scenery Porn: By the freighter-load and then some. The game likes to use tracking Side View shots and deep Three-Quarters View to show off some of the more spectacular scenery during gameplay.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Too many to list, and at least as many Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story examples on top of that. This is a Cyberpunk game after all, a genre not known for handing out happy endings.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: There are a couple of - thankfully fairly rare - flavours, however the shield doesn't protect them from the Megaton Punch you unlock early in the game, explosions from thrown grenades and rocket launchers, or the flamethrower. The DLC-exclusive melee weapons also ignore the shield.
  • Shockwave Stomp: One of the augmentations available early on is a stomp that knocks nearby enemies upwards and freezes them mid-air for several seconds.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: A textbook example - The Ascent's shotguns are devastating point blank, but lose effectiveness after a meter or two thanks to wide projectile spread. The only exception is the Dealbreaker, an Infinity +1 Sword-level minigun/shotgun hybrid that has very tight pellet grouping when it opens fire, making it effective at mid to long range. Its spread blooms quickly once the rate of fire starts ramping up, though, but this can be countered by releasing the trigger for a moment or two.
  • Shoutout:
    • The Runner clothing set is a clear reference to Blade Runner both in looks, name, and description.
    • The game seems to pay homage to The Fifth Element in multiple ways. Quite fitting, considering the movie's numerous cyberpunk elements.
      • The spaceport has a huge pile of trash opposite to the ticket counters, and its general aesthetic and layout match the one in the movie quite well, too.
      • Some of the available assault rifle models bear suspicious similarities to the ones wielded by the Mangalores.
      • The Aphorans' physique closely resembles what the Mondoshawan might look like under their armor.
    • The huge insectoid robots that tend to the arcology's power and computing infrastructure call to mind The Matrix movies.
  • Skyscraper City: Veles, again, with the upper strata of the arcology planned to be further extended into space.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: The robots in the game cover everything from 1 to 5. A lot of the arcology is tended to by robots of low to middling intelligence (referred to in-universe as "monobots"), but superintelligent AGIs are very much a thing in-setting. Apparently humans (aka Sapiens) have yet to create an AGI of their own (not for lack of trying) and they require ridiculous amounts of energy to run though.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Dakyne, the Ascent Group's CTO. You don't even know she exists until the game's final chapter, and she dies about ten minutes after her introduction, but the entire plot was triggered by her actions.
  • Stance System: You can choose between aiming low or high. Low shots don't inhibit movement, but are blocked by waist-high obstacles. High shots slow you down and go right over the heads of small or crouching enemies, but they're somewhat more accurate and also stagger targets much faster than low shots. Shooting high is also the only thing you can do while crouching in cover, making it impossible to hit enemies that are taking cover themselves, and small species like Karlans will mortar you with impunity until you break cover to go after them.
  • The Stinger: Stick around after the credits for a bonus scene. Sounds like Malhorst-Gelb was behind the whole thing from the very beginning, and has been trying to crack wormhole travel for a while now.
  • Super Speed: Downplayed. Keesh naturally do everything faster than other species, including cycle through emotions and die.
  • Supreme Chef: The Jachalan race has superior olfactory and culinary senses, making them popular hires for bars and restaurants. It also makes them excellent at manufacturing drugs.
  • There Was a Door:
    • Cutscene enemies - especially bosses - frequently introduce themselves by bursting through a nearby wall or window. It happens so often that your Imp eventually lampshades it (like so many other things).
    • The Cyber Heist DLC allows you to do this yourself by demolishing thin building walls with weapons fire. Several treasures can only be reached this way.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • The frequent level geometry-dependent instances of Camera Screw can suddenly turn the game into a top-down or side-scrolling shooter. If you don't expect it and fail to adapt quickly, you'll be in for a painful lesson.
    • Unlike the baseball bat, the DLC-exclusive melee weapons are powerful enough to enable a high-risk close combat playstyle that drops the usual cover-based twin stick shooter mechanics for something much closer to a Diablo-style Hack and Slash game.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Serves as a means to dodge attacks and otherwise escape nasty situations. No faster than running normally though.
  • Urban Hellscape: Several parts of the arcology have fallen into decay, particularly in the Warrens level. Few, if any, official residents are there, with piled up trash, shuttered storefronts, and abandoned buildings. Gangers fight over this territory, illicit deals happen in back allies, and ferals prowl the deeper and most damp areas.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Not much to be found in this game, but you can try your best to avoid civilian casualties during shootouts even though it makes your life harder. You can also walk around civilians instead of rudely shoving them out of your way.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: On the other hand, you can also just go "screw it" and gun down everything and everyone in your line of sight, whether it be in or out of combat. There's no penalty for massacring defenseless civilians except for the occasional (but consequence-free) admonishment from your handler.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Averted. The flamethrower not only has a massive range advantage over the shotguns, being able to cover a considerable part of the screen, but deals lots of upfront damage in addition to damage over time.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Player Character hews closer to this than being an Anti-Hero. They don't have a noble agenda, caring only about their own survival, freedom and prosperity, and they use any means necessary to achieve their goals regardless of collateral damage. Unless you really go out of your way to avoid civilian casualties, you'll have killed hundreds of innocents in the crossfire alone by the time the credits roll. That said, your enemies are no better, making the setting something of a Villain World.
  • Virtual Sidekick: Your IMP serves in this role, with all the idiosyncrasies you'd expect from a virtual sidekick in a crapsack cyberpunk-esque future. Once linked to the yCorp AGI she picks up a bit of an attitude, starts calling you "flesh", and seems to enjoy ultraviolence perhaps a little too much.
  • Visible Invisibility: Once you start dealing with the Rojin, some melee enemies use a cloaking device of sorts that makes them semi-invisible by turning their outline into a faint digital distortion. They're still fairly easy to spot, but can slip through unnoticed if too much is happening on screen at once. Late-game enemy snipers are also occasionally cloaked. Thankfully, Horteans are so large that they're very hard to miss even so.
  • Wakeup Call Boss: After shooting your way through several waves of largely harmless Ferals, the prologue mission suddenly confronts you with your first Papa Feral near the dungeon exit. Unlike its lesser melee-only peers, Papas have a Deadly Lunge with considerable range and a mortar barrage attack that can blanket much of the screen in powerful explosions, both of which deal massive damage. Also, like most bosses, Papas are both a Damage-Sponge Boss and a Flunky Boss, and you have nothing but your basic starter pistol at this point. You better learn to dodge fast or else.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Have you ever wanted a personal-scale wave-motion gun? Look no further than the Neutron Beam Aug; unleash a searing beam of energy to devastate anything caught in the (relatively short) path.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: More like "what measure is a non-indent/non-incon?" - the lower levels of the arcology are host to "ferals", the various failed experiments of the corporations above. They are regularly abducted and used for testing purposes - invasive wetware, cosmetics, whatever the corporation needs tested. Hell, even high-ranking indents are at risk of being scooped up and shipped off by a rival corporation if they think they can get away with it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Later in the game, after you get conscripted by yCorp, Kira will occasionally complain whenever you kill civilians. Gets grating after a while, given how many areas have tons of civilians who will invariably stumble into your line of fire or otherwise catch a stray bullet and instantly die on account of being a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • Where It All Began: The final level is in the depths of the deepStink, directly beneath where you started the game. Your IMP even lampshades this, pointing out that you could have saved a lot of time by just taking the short route to there to begin with.
  • Zerg Rush: Ferals are, pound for pound, the weakest enemy in the game, but they compensate for this by attacking in swarms that can grow absolutely enormous in later game stages. Dealing out One-Hit Kills against them can still be not enough to stop the onslaught when there's several dozen Ferals rushing you at once from all directions. Hope you brought a minigun, or a flamethrower.


Top