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 Ascend: New Gods is Free-to-Play on Xbox That's Still Fun 

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PostSubject: Ascend: New Gods is Free-to-Play on Xbox That's Still Fun   Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:58 pm


Ascend: New Gods is everything that you’d expect from a typical
action-RPG on consoles – it’s fast, smooth, and brutal as hell – but
that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of innovation. It has a strong sense
sense of creativity that isn’t present in most titles of its size, and
that works to its advantage.

Don’t be thrown off by the free-to-play model attached to it either.
It isn’t out to rip you off and isn’t “pay to win”, which it makes
abundantly clear through its “money vs. time” monetization model. Souls
are the only currency here, and there aren’t two kinds to differentiate
between what is paid and what isn’t. This demonstrates the clear focus
of design on being able to play through the entire game without needing
to spend a cent.

You want some better armor right now instead of waiting to earn it
later? That’s something that you’ll spend money on, but it never gets to
a point that you need to spend precious Microsoft Points to advance.
There’s no premium content either – it’s all included for free.


Become a god...in someone else's game.


As you load Ascend, you’re instantly greeted by an in-depth character
creator and given 500 souls to outfit your Chaos Warrior. You don’t
need to use these souls, but if you want some of the better items right
from the beginning, you can spend them right away. From there, you’ll
choose which god you align with (dark, light, or void), but choose
carefully, as it factors into both your individual character and the
world as a whole.

After working your way through a simple tutorial teaching you the
basics of combat, Ascend throws you right into the main story, tasking
you with capturing – and later defending – three shrines in the first
area.

As you defeat the pack of monsters surrounding the shrine and capture
it, a dynamic line appears on the ground. Inside the line, the world
tied to your alignment appears. If you’re aligned dark, the dirt becomes
scorched and the sky turns black, but as soon as you step outside of
the line, your view of the world returns to normal.


Hack. Slash. Rinse. Repeat. For free.


This is where the Demon Souls-style collaborative nature comes into
play. As you capture each of the shrines throughout a level, it shows on
your local world map, but also contributes to the overall Crusade count
for the world displayed through a meter counting how many global Xbox
players of each alignment have captured that point. If your alignment is
currently leading the shrine’s capture, you’ll get a stat buff while in
that area.

That isn’t the only component to the asynchronous multiplayer though,
as you can also bless and curse other players using spells that you’ve
unlocked. While you’re in each area, three other players will also be
exploring there and you can work with or against each other depending on
your alignments. Blessing an opponent might cause them to become
invincible for 15 seconds, but cursing them might warp another group of
enemies into their game to harass them. What’s the point of this? You
get experience for whatever your spell does in the other player’s game.

As you level up, you’ll continue to earn and unlock more gear for
free until you hit the level cap. Once that happens, you have the option
to ”ascend,“ which is best thought of as prestige from Call of Duty. It
differs in that you get to keep more of your items (including whatever
you purchased with Souls) and you can even choose a new alignment, with
each of the gods tempting you with something special if you side with
them.


Putting the "god" in Ascend: New Gods.


If you choose to ascend, your character becomes an NPC in the world
of other players, recapturing their shrines and earning you experience
in the process. You don’t control these scenarios at all, but your hero
has a 50% chance of keeping control of it, so there’s a good chance that
you’ll come out on top at some point.

Dungeons scattered throughout the game world also give you the
opportunity to complete quests and grind in typical RPG fashion, giving
you something to do outside of the metagame of capturing and defending
points.

Perhaps Ascend’s biggest feat is that you don’t even notice that it’s
free-to-play. It doesn’t shove the fact that you didn’t pay for it in
your face, but almost hides it, as if it’s totally OK that you didn’t..
So have your wallet ready. Or don’t. It’s your choice.


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Ascend: New Gods is Free-to-Play on Xbox That's Still Fun 

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