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Video Game / Underworld Ascendant

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Underworld Ascendant is a first-person Action RPG/Immersive Sim developed by OtherSide Entertainment, a US-based indie studio comprised of former Looking Glass Studios personnel, and published by 505 Games. It is a Spiritual Successor to the Ultima Underworld series and ties in with Shroud of the Avatar, a Spiritual Successor to Ultima itself. It was Kickstarted in February-March 2015. The game was released on November 15, 2018 on PC.

You play as "the Avatar" (referred to in-game by the legally distinct name "The Ascendant"), a regular shmoe from Earth, and find yourself transported to a massive underground realm called "the Stygian Abyss" through a magical portal called a Rune Gate. Trapped in this magical setting, you have to carve out a place for yourself among rising tensions between the three local factions of the dark elves, dwarves, and mushroom-like shamblers.

Tropes to be found in the game include:

  • Alliance Meter: Each of the three main factions has a global disposition towards the Avatar, shared by all members of said faction.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The default voice set sounds mostly like a young man on the voice select menu, but sounds distinctly more androgynous in the game itself. The game's other two voice sets are distinctly more identifiable as masculine and feminine.
  • Beneath the Earth: The entirety of the game takes place in a massive underground complex
  • Brain Monster: The Mind Cripplers are floating humanoid brains that aggressively attack the unwary with psychic powers.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Ascendant is clearly intended to be the Avatar, but is never referred to as such in the game itself, likely due to the dev teams having the rights to the Underworld name but not to the larger Ultima series. Likewise, there are multiple references to the first Underworld game, but none to the second which was much more closely tied to the Ultima universe lore.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: A two-person co-op was one of the Kickstarter stretch goals.
  • Crossover: The game will have crossovers with Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.
  • Elves Versus Dwarves: ...vs. shamblers comprises the main political conflict of the game. There are humans other than the Avatar in the Abyss but they are much less organized and numerous. On a side note, dark elves are much more at odds with the Shamblers than with the Dwarves, viewing the latter more as The Rival and a Worthy Opponent.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: You start off as one of these templates, but the Game System is flexible enough to create completely unorthodox ability combos as you level up.
  • Giant Spider: A common enemy that can fling sticky webs at you from a distance.
  • Hive Mind: It is believed in-universe that the Shamblers possess one.
  • Level Editor: The Underworld Builder Toolkit was one of the Kickstarter stretch goals.
  • Lockpicking Minigame: You pick locks by solving a ball-in-a-maze puzzle, apparently.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The ripper is a vicious, ambulatory plant whose bark is a prized commodity.
  • The Multiverse: There is Earth, there is the Abyss, and then there are hints that additional worlds may be accessible through the Rune Gates, including New Britannia.
  • Mushroom Man: The mysterious shamblers are essentially humanoid mushrooms with a knack for arcane rituals.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Dwarves are, as usual, the stout and crafty folk who apparently built entire factories to produce the best armor and weapons in the Abyss.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The dark elves are drow-lookalike Proud Warrior Race descended from a dark elf clan that escaped from New Britannia.
  • Our Founder: At least to the humans in the Abyss, the knight-explorer Cabirus is the founder of the very first underworld colony.
  • Portal Network: The Rune Gates act as stationary teleportation network, similar to the Moon Gates in the Ultima series.
  • Setting as a Character: The Stygian Abyss itself is a major character in the game, with its own Hidden Depths (*cough*), quirks, and Character Development.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: As you gain levels, you can improve your basic skills and acquire new perks. Additionally, certain perks are obtained by joining specific factions.
  • Spell Crafting: You can create your own magical effects combos by mix-and-matching different magical runes.
  • Summon Everyman Hero: You are not actually summoned to the Abyss, but the Avatar is technically you, transported from Earth to the Abyss through a Rune Gate.
  • Timed Mission: The Doom Counter ticks down as the game progresses; when it becomes completely full, Typhon escapes from his bonds and destroys the world, ending the game. You need to find a way to stop him before this happens. It's possible to reverse the Doom Counter by a few steps by feeding it the essence of a Lich, the game's boss monster type.
  • Trapped in Another World: You find yourself in a fantasy dungeon, with no easy way back home.
  • Treacherous Quest Giver: The game straight out tells you early on that Cabirus isn't telling you everything and you'll need to do a series of optional side quests to Take a Third Option and avoid a Bad Ending.
  • Trick Arrow: The soaker arrows are used to put out torches, much like the water arrows in Thief.
  • The Undead: Your most common enemies in the game are various undead (mostly skeletons) that form Typhon's army.