How to play The Ascent

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Elia Tabuenca GarcĂ­a
The best start, skills, combat tips and more

The cyberpunk world of Ascent it's violent, complete with angry punks, brutal monsters and lots of exploding red barrels. Over the course of the game, you'll be literally fighting your way to the top of an evil company in the midst of its own financial meltdown. Surviving this unforgiving and futuristic world will not be easy. We are here to help.

Polygon's The Ascent Beginner's Guide explains how to upgrade your character's abilities so you can have the best build from the start, as well as tips and tricks about combat, the map, and how to get good loot at the start of The Ascent. .


There are eight skills to upgrade in The Ascent. As you level up by defeating enemies and completing quests, you'll receive points to spend on skills that improve your character.

Skills affect attributes

Each of your abilities falls under one of four attributes bigger: Biometry , Cybernetics , Organization e Engine . These broader stats affect the power of your Augment Skills. For example, increasing Hydraulic Blow deals more damage the higher your Motorics level is.

Below is a list of each skill, what it does and what attributes it affects:


Tactical SenseDetermines how quickly your Tactical Charge Meter accumulates when dealing damageCybernetics
Critical hit rateEach level increases your critical hit rateCybernetics
weapons handlingReload and weapon switching speed increases with each levelMotorics
AimingThe amount of weapon spread decreases with each levelMotorics
balanceIncreases resistance to stun, knockback, somersault and movement speed when using heavy weaponsQuadro
EvasionDecreases evasion cooldown speed at each levelQuadro
Vital signsIncreases maximum health per levelBiometry
body batteryIncreases maximum energy capacity per levelBiometry

One of the first skills worth upgrading is the weapons handling , which increases reload speed and weapon switching. When entering combat, you will have to dodge bullets and melee attacks. Having higher reload speed and weapon switching means you'll have less downtime when trying to dispatch a dozen enemies at once.

Increase your ability to surprise It also helps if you plan on fighting enemies with long-range fire versus short-range weapons like shotguns. The better your aiming talent, the less spread your bullet shot will spread across the map, making it more accurate.

Both skills affect the attribute Motorics , which increases damage from an initial boost you encounter: Knock Hidráulico . This skill allows you to deal a large amount of damage at point-blank range, which is useful when enemies close in on you. Instead of running for cover when surrounded, you can attack multiple enemies at once with Hydraulic Strike.

Following the advice above, you can easily get the Motorics attribute up to level 3 in the first few hours. At this point, Hydraulic Slam became strong enough to take out multiple enemies with a single shot.


The armor in The Ascent doesn't just protect you from all kinds of damage. It can also increase your skills.

When buying armor at a store, pay attention to the type of protection it offers. There are various forms of damage such as digital, energy, fire and physical. Each piece of armor provides varying degrees of protection for each type of damage.

Each piece of equipment can also increase your attributes and abilities.

Equipment also increases skills

Below each piece of armor protection stats is a section that details the improvements they offer. Keep these updates in mind when purchasing new equipment. You can equip three pieces of armor that cover your head, body, and legs. Mix and match armor to not only cover your bases against different types of damage, but also to gain boosts to your stats and abilities.

Choosing the best gear is a matter of deciding whether you want gear to further boost the skills you've put upgrade points into, or use the upgrades to cover any shortfalls you have.


As you travel through the game's cyberpunk world, you will be randomly ambushed by enemies. In most cases, you can run and dodge his shots and melee attacks, but that won't keep you alive for long. You will need the game's cover system.

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Press the crouch button and you'll be able to hide behind cover such as dumpsters or large planters that offer protection from enemy fire. To shoot from cover, hold down the Raise Weapon , which allows you to aim and shoot from cover. When you raise your weapon, you only expose it, so you don't risk taking damage.

Duck behind planters to block bullets and aim at them

You can also raise your weapon to shoot even when you're not hiding, and you should, as it has two benefits:

  1. When aiming high, you can shoot over the heads of smaller enemies to attack larger ones. For example, at the beginning of the game you will face a big boss and smaller minions. Normally, if you tried to shoot the boss, the smaller enemies would get in the way. However, if you aim high, you can shoot them and directly at the boss.
  2. Raising your weapon also applies damage staggering at a much higher rate. Unbalancing large enemies, especially those with melee attacks, is a key tactic. By aiming high and hitting a large enemy with bullets, you can stop their advance when you've dealt enough staggering damage. You can see the amount of staggering damage it is dealing by looking at the yellow bar below an enemy's red health meter. When you fill up the stagger meter, large enemies stagger back for a moment. This causes them to stop attacking for a short time. Use this occasion to reposition if they are getting too close.


Using cover, aiming high, and fighting from a distance are all good battle tactics. However, if you focus too much on a single combat style, you will be punished.

In a deep dive into the gameplay, the game's developers explain that enemies in The Ascent actively learn their tactics and adapt to stop them. If you rely too much on shooting from behind cover, the game sends more melee attackers at you. 

If you fight from a distance too often, you'll soon notice enemies popping up behind you. If you stay in a general area too long, your opponents will start throwing grenades that force you to move.

This design choice encourages you to keep moving and changing your tactics.

Stay hidden too long and melee attackers will come after you

The opposite is also true. Some enemies use tactics that force you to adapt to their fighting style. For example, some enemies will only fight you from behind cover. Like them, you must adapt to defeat their tactics.


Ascent is littered with wreckage, dozens of non-violent NPCs, and electronic hardware in every direction. The world is so dense that it's hard to tell what might be a loot box and what's just a random patch of background. If you look at your map, you can easily spot where the loot is hidden.

New areas are full of loot

The crowded map highlights the loot location in any area with an orange loot icon . When navigating towards a piece of loot, you will see a white loot icon on your minimap. Special items like gear components, which you can use to upgrade weapons, have a colorful glow. Loot boxes are highlighted when you are close enough to interact with them.

As you explore each area, look for loot because nearly every zone in the game is filled with goodies.


After talking to your handler Poone in a seedy bar after the game's intro quest, he'll send you on a new main quest. 

After talking, you will learn about side quests and how to identify who seeks your help. Any character offering a side quest has a yellow diamond-shaped marker above your head. There will also be a yellow icon on your map, which makes them easy to find.

This robot will give you free money.

After learning about side quests, there's a character right next to you in the bar who has a quest for you. 

Don't ignore them. They will give you a side quest called "Gear Up!" which requires you to meet with an armor seller, a weapons dealer, and a graffiti artist who can help you with upgrades. The character also gives you some money to spend.

This side quest is worth doing right away, as all the quests that are moving forward will have you facing hordes of enemies. Getting a new batch of gear early on makes these encounters a lot less challenging.

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