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August 1st, 2021, 16:47
SplatterCatGaming checked out The Ascent:

The Ascent - Dystopian Grimdark Isometric Action RPG

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The Ascent Gameplay with splat! Let's Play The Ascent and check out a game where you'll escape from an evil corporation while blasting guns at every mutant, monster, and manthing that gets in your way.
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August 1st, 2021, 22:47
It sure has some Blade Runner vibes going on, from the intro movie to the game's aesthetics and story elements. Might just give it a try because of that, but shame on them for preying on my Blade Runner addiction like that!
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August 2nd, 2021, 11:10
Also, add the soundtrack to it.
It's at the spotify , by Pawel Blaszczak
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August 2nd, 2021, 12:52
It's a little quirky and rough in places - and I'm not playing it until they solve the stuttering issues, but it's certainly a very interesting game. It's so cheap that I think it's a no-brainer if you're into this kind of game.

That said, I think it does itself a disservice by being such a weird combination of genres.

It presents itself almost immediately as a twin-stick shooter (though it actually reminds me more of the old Crusader games) - but, the more you play, the more it becomes almost a serious CRPG of sorts, with tons of dialogue and endless walking around from place to place.

Then, when you actually get to fight enemies - the twin-stick thing isn't really so central (except it's both cool and a little overly challenging), and it's much more like a straight-up ARPG like Diablo in a sci-fi setting. Lots of powers and items, too.

But items are hand-placed - meaning there's going to be zero replayability incentives - looter ARPGs are focused around the loot-hunt and the character optimization grind.

So, why not just have it be a more traditional RPG?

It's just weird - and I think the designers must have been a little confused as to what game they really wanted to make - or why these various subgenres work and don't work.

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August 2nd, 2021, 16:20
Turn off DirectX 12 and the stuttering should go away.
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August 3rd, 2021, 07:03
Originally Posted by Vaako View Post
Turn off DirectX 12 and the stuttering should go away.
Unfortunately, no. It gets better, but is still very much there.

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August 3rd, 2021, 07:56
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
But items are hand-placed - meaning there's going to be zero replayability incentives - looter ARPGs are focused around the loot-hunt and the character optimization grind.

So, why not just have it be a more traditional RPG?

It's just weird - and I think the designers must have been a little confused as to what game they really wanted to make - or why these various subgenres work and don't work.
I feel like hand-placed items are just as good or maybe even better than random loot.

Whether it's Diablo3 or Dark Souls or Baldurs Gate 2 my main incentive for replaying is to try another class. If you roll a Barbarian in D3 or a Barbarian style STR fighter in DS by the time you're done you've got all the loot and tried all the spells. If it's random then it might take a lot longer and require you to grind a boss and hope to get the best item. In hand-placed it will be more about exploring everywhere to find it.

The random games gambling style clicks with some people but for others, maybe with less spare time to repeat the same boss, it's more tedious than anything else. It's like, you're max level. You've tried all the moves and runes and settled on the optimal build for your playstyle. You've cleared all the content. So, what's better gear really going to do but allow you to attempt a higher rift key or difficulty?

I think getting the knowledge of where a powerful item is makes it fun to replay with a sort of game plan. Like, your second play through Pathfinder you might remember there was a chest of really nice loot that you could get to sneaking past some high level enemies or maybe there's a scroll of dimension door you can use to teleport somewhere.

I mean, it's true that in something like WoW it I wouldn't rerun the same dungeon 50 times if I got all the loot on the first run so you can clearly see the replay value there. But at some point it's going to get boring and I can't even be bothered rerolling to try a new class since I'm sick to death of the content. But WoW is trying to keep people subscribed and really trying to get the most play-time possible out of the content. But I think it's OK to just have a game where everything is available without chance and grinding being involved.

So, yeah, I think, for me, the replay is always about trying another class and the loot system is secondary but there's definitely advantages to both styles. If there's money to be made from subscriptions or item mall like in an MMO then the random gambler style will always be the best option. But in an offline RPG where all the money has been made from the price of the game alone you can pretty much offer the same experience of running through the content and replaying with another class/party with out chance.

Also, It's not like people didn't replay Super Mario Brothers multiple times where everything is always the same. There's a joy to mastering the content, getting a better score, doing it faster or better.
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August 3rd, 2021, 08:47
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
I feel like hand-placed items are just as good or maybe even better than random loot.

Whether it's Diablo3 or Dark Souls or Baldurs Gate 2 my main incentive for replaying is to try another class. If you roll a Barbarian in D3 or a Barbarian style STR fighter in DS by the time you're done you've got all the loot and tried all the spells. If it's random then it might take a lot longer and require you to grind a boss and hope to get the best item. In hand-placed it will be more about exploring everywhere to find it.

The random games gambling style clicks with some people but for others, maybe with less spare time to repeat the same boss, it's more tedious than anything else. It's like, you're max level. You've tried all the moves and runes and settled on the optimal build for your playstyle. You've cleared all the content. So, what's better gear really going to do but allow you to attempt a higher rift key or difficulty?

I think getting the knowledge of where a powerful item is makes it fun to replay with a sort of game plan. Like, your second play through Pathfinder you might remember there was a chest of really nice loot that you could get to sneaking past some high level enemies or maybe there's a scroll of dimension door you can use to teleport somewhere.

I mean, it's true that in something like WoW it I wouldn't rerun the same dungeon 50 times if I got all the loot on the first run so you can clearly see the replay value there. But at some point it's going to get boring and I can't even be bothered rerolling to try a new class since I'm sick to death of the content. But WoW is trying to keep people subscribed and really trying to get the most play-time possible out of the content. But I think it's OK to just have a game where everything is available without chance and grinding being involved.

So, yeah, I think, for me, the replay is always about trying another class and the loot system is secondary but there's definitely advantages to both styles. If there's money to be made from subscriptions or item mall like in an MMO then the random gambler style will always be the best option. But in an offline RPG where all the money has been made from the price of the game alone you can pretty much offer the same experience of running through the content and replaying with another class/party with out chance.

Also, It's not like people didn't replay Super Mario Brothers multiple times where everything is always the same. There's a joy to mastering the content, getting a better score, doing it faster or better.
Yeah, no. Dark Souls and Baldur's Gate 2 aren't what I would consider designed around being replayed endlessly and they don't have what is considered an "endgame". Of course they CAN be replayed endlessly - if you so desire.

Lots of modern games implement a New Game+ mode, for instance - because that's become an expectation. But they're not designed around that mode, which is evident in the vast majority of cases - because the experience is way too similar on the second run.

Diablo with hand-placed loot? Yeah - that would go down REAL well with the fans

How exciting rift-running and gear farming would be in that case. Hint: That's what (the vast majority of) Diablo fans enjoy - the endgame of gear farming for your chosen build.

The thing with The Ascent, though, is that it's not adherent to a particular genre - which is confusing for me and many others, as the presentation is very much like certain genres with certain implicit expectations.

Let's see how much people replay it, though. My guess is a LOT less than a Diablo game. Time will tell.

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August 3rd, 2021, 09:08
To put it another way:

The less you intend to replay a game: The better handplaced loot is over random loot.

Obviously, that's all subjective. I know there are people who have dozens of playthroughs of BG2 - but I would like to suggest they're not the norm.

Where as people with hundreds of playthroughs (or rifts) of Diablo is probably ten times higher than that.

Key being that I'd rather have a hand-crafted and lovingly designed experience in a game that's not built for replayability (especially because I'm not much of a replay-guy) - and I'd rather have more unpredictable elements that are randomly influenced in a game that I'm supposed to play over and over and over.

It's about that simple.

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August 3rd, 2021, 10:47
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
To put it another way:

The less you intend to replay a game: The better handplaced loot is over random loot.

Obviously, that's all subjective. I know there are people who have dozens of playthroughs of BG2 - but I would like to suggest they're not the norm.

Where as people with hundreds of playthroughs (or rifts) of Diablo is probably ten times higher than that.

Key being that I'd rather have a hand-crafted and lovingly designed experience in a game that's not built for replayability (especially because I'm not much of a replay-guy) - and I'd rather have more unpredictable elements that are randomly influenced in a game that I'm supposed to play over and over and over.

It's about that simple.
BG2 is the game I've replayed the most of anything, but I also tend to play though dark souls 4 or 5 times. Dex build, Str build, mage build, cleric build, jack of all trades build.

But I've just remembered that the Dark Souls games do have some random elements.

Firstly, you have a chance for monsters to drop the gear they're wearing. The main items, many special items and the boss items always drop, but if you want something that's more rare than common, just to look different, you can actually grind for these items. There's also items that are sort of secrets that might require you to be in a human form for a phantom to appear who drops items unqiue to them.

Second, there's the item upgrade materials. While a lot of them can be found hand-placed, if you want to upgrade a multiple weapons or even have a few flavours of the same weapon (like fire longsword, lightning, etc) then you'd need to find which enemies can drop the materials.

So, you can actually have the best of both worlds and offer hand-placed along side random drops. It is all unique gear, though. But it was horrible in original D3 finding a legendary drop only to have it beaten by a yellow item that rolled better stats.

I think it's sort of as simple as "gambler vs explorer". There's no judgement in that as I'll enjoy and play both styles. But, for me personally, I don't think randomised items are anything special. I prefer unique items. It's pretty tedious to finally find that legendary sword only to be disappointed it rolled rubbish stats. Sure, it means I can find it again and it will be an upgrade but I'd rather just finish my build and play the next new game than grind forever to get the completely unobtainable perfect rolls on all item slots.
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August 3rd, 2021, 11:30
If there was a way to have an endgame with endless replayability AND unique loot, that would be my preference as well

D3 was made by people with limited understanding or insight into how to design a meaningful loot horizon and economy, so it's not like I would argue it's a great example of random loot.

But these differences are sometimes subtle and some genres work better with loot systems that go against expectations, but I still think there's a certain expectation that's reasonable.

For the Ascent, I don't particularly mind the hand-placed loot - as it's obviously not trying to be a replayable game. As such, I would have little other incentive to replay it - and so it's ok.

My point was more that it's a confused design and that people will almost certainly feel some kind of disappointment that could have easily been resolved.

What's more, it's like a 10-15 hour game on average - and they could easily have tripled the playtime with some clever replay incentives.

Oh well, whatever

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