Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ascend: New Gods Overview

Light Caos Warrior

Yesterday I was writing about Skulls of the Shogun and how it was one of the more interesting games we saw at E3, but in that post I also mentioned Ascend: New Gods, both of which are XBLA games. I really wish Microsoft had expanded this section of their floor instead of giving each of these developers only one or two displays to work with. Ascend: New Gods is really unique for a Xbox Live Arcade game and it is quite ambitious. It is an action RPG with some pretty normal mechanics when it comes to combat and controls, but Ascend differentiates itself with it's online interaction system, it's world and the Ascend system. Signal Studios pretty much just announced the game and we saw a playable, but very early version of Ascend at E3. I'm going to go over what makes Ascend really exciting, but first take a look at their E3 gameplay trailer.

Ascend: New Gods is essentially a single player game, but it is similar to Dark Souls/Demon Souls where you constantly see the ghosts of other players in your world. However, unlike Dark Souls you cannot summon people into your game. You play one of three Caos (warriors who serve the gods), all of which are highly customizable with armor, weapons and skills. There is a Caos of light, dark and a neutral (void) alignment. Once you are playing you will see other players wandering around and fighting, but it isn't just for looks, you can greatly affect their worlds and they can do the same to you. You can help other players by using special skills that can heal or boost another player's stats for a short period of time and you can also hurt them.

If you see another player fighting in the same area you can use a limited and quantifiable ability that will let you throw all the enemies around you into the other player's world. When we were shown this ability by a developer from Signal Studios the player he summoned wolves onto used the same ability back and sent even more wolves back onto our side. You could essentially just keep sending enemies back at the other player and they could just keep sending them back at you, but like I said before these kind of abilities have quantities, so unless you have an oddly large amount of them you probably won't be stuck in such a situation. You may also place traps for other players and you will get experience or souls depending on how well it worked, same goes for sending enemies into another players world. There are also towns that can be captured, shrines and many places that make it easy for the player to interact with the world.

Dark Blessing

Our developer guide wasn't entirely sure how the world is going to be, but he did say that it will be fairly open and be filled with places to find and interact with. There will also be some kind of randomized dungeons, but those also weren't fully fleshed out yet, which is to be expected from a game that was just announced and doesn't release until early to mid 2013. The Ascend system seems to be worked out already though and sounds interesting to say the least. If you decide you want to make a new god you can Ascend, which let's you carry a bunch of equipment over to a new character and will let you make your previous character into a boss. You can give your boss a village full of minions and other players will run into this boss in their world. There will be a city in the game that shows the best player bosses, the highest player achievements and many other stats that all will be able to see. Essentially it will be a in-game leaderboard that you can show off and look at with your character.

Curse of Wolves

I haven't even mentioned the main goal of Ascend yet and that is to kill the Titan. You will see this Titan roaming around the world, usually at a distance, but there are several places were you can openly fight it. The Titan isn't a joke though, it is essentially the boss of the game and it is going to be tough to kill. One of the main reasons for Ascending your character and starting a stronger one is so you can eventually kill the Titan. As much as the three gods hate each other they all hate the Titan more and the main goal is kill it. As much as you can mess with other players you can also work together to defeat the Titan.

Ascend will also have mobile integration, so if your off somewhere and your friend needs some help you can send him a treasure or a blessing. You can also be notified if your world is being invaded or if your boss is under attack. They haven't shown exactly what your options will be if you get invaded and your not there, but you will be able to do something about it from your mobile device.

Troll Battle

If you watched the first video I posted, or glanced at the screenshots, you may have noticed the Ascend: New Gods looks a little rough graphically, but there is still a long way to go before they release the game and Signal Studios are not inept developers. You may know them for the great Toy Soldiers games for XBLA. Ascend: New Gods may or may not be Free to Play, but we will be hearing more about as the game develops and I will try to do some updates as it get's closer to it's release in 2013. I am glad developers are starting to break new ground on XBLA and I hope to see some more ambitious games like this show up. Thanks for taking a look and if you would like to check out more on the game take a look at their website.
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-Written by Sean Cargle


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