The Ascent, a game I gave a 9.0 at launch (lowered from 9.7 after finding the Xbox version in far worse shape than Steam’s) has released its first mission DLC. It is titled Cyber Heist and is available for those who have a save set at the end of the game’s main campaign. It’s bombastic, fun, just as janky as everything else in the main game, and features some of the worst difficulty spikes and boss fights seen yet! Let’s break it down in this small, spoiler-free review.
My first issue is that the DLC can only be accessed if you have a save that has been left at the end of the main campaign and you haven’t started a new game plus. I didn’t have a save set for this state, I was in the middle of a new game + run, thankfully my brother did though. So be warned, if you do not have a save that is still at the conclusion of the main campaign you cannot access this $10 mission expansion until you reach it.
The story itself takes place in the “Dark Playground” a greenish-yellow-infused new area that brings with it one new item, melee weapons. There are only a few of them, they’re pretty bad, and quite hard to use without dying. The main thing here is the over-the-top, absolutely gorgeous twin-stick shooter fun. There’s a short story, we got to the end boss in roughly two hours at 15 minutes. It’s all about stealing something called The Ruby. It was forgettable and featured someone with one of the most over-the-top British accents I’ve ever heard, and an attempt at a new main bad guy that fell flat. The Ascent’s story was never the main attraction, the incredible graphics, and fun-as-hell gameplay were.
A Visual Delight
The game shines here graphically, the new areas are as grimey, dank looking, and stunning as ever. Gameplay-wise it’s a mixed bag, mainly due to the massive difficulty spikes. The max level cap is increased and unless you feel like grinding things out and doing the few side stories available you’re going to run into some massive progression blocking walls that kill you in a shot or two multiple times. The bosses also have way too much hp, and even after upgrading appropriate weapons to take them on fights can last 5-10 minutes long. The first time we killed the final boss a few of his far more powerful minions were around and finished us off, requiring us to redo the fight completely.
These multiple issues drag down what otherwise is a worthy follow-up to the main campaign. The music is awesome, and while it doesn’t add anything new in the way of guns or abilities it is a solid excuse to jump back into one of my favorite games from last year. Unfortunately, it felt as buggy as ever on Series X with enemies and use items falling through the ground regularly, though no freezes or progression blocking quest errors happened which is sadly a big improvement over the launch experience.
At only $10 US Cyber Heist is well worth a purchase if you enjoyed The Ascent in either solo or up to 4 player co-op. Graphically it’s still a stunner, the gameplay is fun as hell, and while damned annoying the balancing issues can be “solved” if you are willing to do a little side mission grinding. The base game is still on Xbox Game Pass at the time of this review as well, and at this price, you won’t find many better-looking experiences.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Release Date||August 18th, 2022|
|Available on||Xbox One & Series X|S, Playstation 4&5, PC|
|Rated||M for Mature|