Although Underworld Ascendant is the first game made by OtherSide Entertainment, the rich experience of the developers raised the bar when it comes to expectations. Ultima Underworld and System Shock were impressive and we were looking to try the spiritual sequel to the former. It didn’t take long to realize that we were in for a huge disappointment.
Play a Total of Seven Levels…Again and Again
Players assume the role of the Ascendant in this RPG. Their task is to defeat Typhon, the evil god with equally evil intentions. The main objective is to find seven keys to the abyssal so that you can open a door. As a result, the game features seven levels. The levels are vast and semi-open since portals are used to connect them.
Underworld Ascendant also has a central hub where you get notices from three available in-game factions. This is how you can head on missions. Each level has a couple of primary assignments, as well as side-quests you get from the factions. The problem is that you cannot tackle multiple missions simultaneously. In practice, that means this – finishing a level to complete a single task, returning to the hub, playing the level again to complete the other mission, and so on.
Skill Trees Are Okay, but…
The mission mechanics are apparently poor, but we were looking forward to seeing how you can upgrade your skill trees. There are three different trees focusing on rogue, mage, and warrior skills, and these also influence your physical abilities. The structure works well and you will enjoy upgrading your character, although nothing is exactly innovative.
The idea of the developers was to design a world made almost entirely out of clay. Unfortunately, the graphic designers didn’t do a great job. The environments look kind of blurry and weird, but certainly not pleasant to the eye. The character animation does not look a lot better either – the cartoonish style sometimes doesn’t fit the overall settings and the level of detail is not impressive.
Why Do Not We Know More about the Feats?
Even if we ignore the graphics, Underworld Ascendant has other problems. The controls do not seem natural or responsive. The camera tends to move around too often, which is especially unpleasant when walking up the stairs. Instead of feeling smooth, even the smallest jump takes careful planning and execution.
The mechanics of Feats isn’t the best one either. These are sort of achievements which are a substitute for XP points. The problem is that there are no instructions which means a lot of guesswork and luck in achieving them. The game also seems unfinished overall as it is ridden with bugs and glitches that affect the gameplay, such as the one where the spells you learned disappear for no apparent reason.