Preview: Ascendant Infinity has heart, but will it be enough to escape the shadow of the FPS giant?

Not all good games are successful. I’m sure many of you have a game that’s close to your heart, but isn’t hitting the numbers you want. There’s a chance that a game with real charm and merit won’t work, especially now that we find ourselves grappling with this whirlwind of live service tombstones.

biopunk first person shooter unlimited riseThe creators of PlayFusion are trying to carve out a space for themselves in this very uncomfortable time. In this era, new games—especially those that are multiplayer online services—are either going to be big hits or doomed to famine. What’s Playfusion’s answer? This is a PvPvE game, not a trendy extraction shooter, but one with a fun core gameplay mode and a unique comedic tone that does a good job of setting it apart.

In Ascendant Infinity, the humor and overall tone are the elephant in the room. Humor is a tricky thing to nail in games. For one person, an attractive prank can be anything from an eye roll to another person’s ALT+F4 combination. I personally don’t like the “tactical FPS experience with serious balls” approach that PlayFusion promotes. It’s neither overwhelming nor distracting. At worst, it’s a bit cringe-worthy and quickly became background noise during my brief time with the game. Still, it’s a punchline that Ascendant Infinity follows seriously, and I can appreciate that. A joke you don’t tell out of nowhere is a million times better than one told half-heartedly.

The main mode I was able to try out during my preview, and one of the game’s major selling points, is Biocore Battle. This four-team objective-based game mode is a cocktail of Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, and Call of Duty’s search and destruction, thanks to a limited life pool. In it, your team must rush towards three creature cores that appear on the map, capture them, and bring them back to your spawn point. There, you have to lock it down and protect it while the other team rains hell on you.

As far as Ascendant Infinity’s base mode goes, Battle of Biocores (which I now call BotBC) is rock solid. You start with a basic loadout and can pick up upgrades and spendable currency from the world around you, either from the ground or as drops from PvE enemies. The map is large, but vehicles can be easily obtained from forward bases, which when combined with clearly marked objectives makes the action never too far away.

Holding a biological core is always dangerous, which is why carriers get these neat abilities to help even the odds. You can’t jump into a buggy with a creature core, and there’s a huge, uncovered wasteland that separates your base from the center of the map, inviting firefights. PlayFusion knows how to motivate their players to get into the fight – and despite the limited life pool, you’re always encouraged to get involved. They received top marks for balancing risk and reward, punishing absent-minded procrastination. Sure, you can farm PvE enemies in the suburbs, but all the shops that let you cash in while farming are in the middle of the map near all the chaos.

Ascend Infinite Map Shooting

This map is also very bright, which is very important in my book. | Image Source: play fusion

I’m impressed by the number of welcome quality-of-life changes in Ascendant Infinity – many of which don’t appear in bigger games with bigger development teams. For one, PvE enemies can’t attack you when you’re in PvP combat, eliminating the worry of frustrating third-party deaths. Some items you buy from designated shops around the map (like armor or custom guns) can be permanently upgraded, which is awesome! It provides a level of permanent progression in player power in a game type that typically lacks such things.

That’s not to say the game doesn’t have its problems. From the time I played Ascendant Infinity, I felt that it lacked the “Oomph” that is often found in FPS games, that visceral feedback. The guns didn’t quite have the effect I wanted, and breaking enemy shields didn’t have the same audio or visual impact as the game’s competitors. The game is still far from a full release, with a closed beta planned for next month, but when the public is able to play Ascendant Infinity, I’d like to see the game feature brightly colored clothes that can be slapped on.

This is partially related, but frankly I’m not that impressed by it a lot according to Weapons are available too. I emphasize the basics because the game does have what appears to be comprehensive weapon customization, but there’s nothing we can really mess with. I’m keen to keep things positive and hope that by adjusting the attachments on my assault rifle or shotgun I can make them more exciting to use. Otherwise, this may cause the Ascendant Infinity to blow out.

But even with these issues, I think the game still has some real heart. Sadly, I didn’t see too many adaption map events, which seems to be a major USP of Ascendant Infinity. Wait, no. I did see one. As I was driving to our base, I saw a large tank with a flamethrower on top that completely obscured me and my SUV. This is a feature I wish I had been able to experience for longer! But hey, we didn’t encounter any of that in the preview, and I guess that’s the point of these events. You shouldn’t be able to predict them – they should appear suddenly and surprise you.

rising infinite missile strike

It’s a cool idea and offers rewards to those who know the ins and outs of the game. | Image Source: play fusion

When thinking about the game’s prospects, I really have to reach into the world beyond the game – and this is the ferocious environment in which Ascendant Infinity finds itself. It’s a cruel world out there, especially when it comes to multiplayer games. The game originally sold for $29.99, with cosmetic microtransactions – no P2W bullshit*t. It’s honestly pretty good. I think it’s going to be hard to keep momentum going right now, and the initial sales boost will only help keep things going. But with an upfront price point like that, you have to make it an exciting product from day one to attract people who might already be addicted to another online multiplayer shooter.

I don’t think Ascendant Infinity has quite hit that mark yet. That said, community feedback and time to make adjustments and improvements after the upcoming closed beta will be invaluable. As much fun as I had, I still had the same feeling I had with Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodhound, Rumbleverse, and other promising prospects. This game has a great core, and the team deserves credit for that. But I worry that it will have a hard time attracting anyone other than those who crave the aforementioned “serious-ball tactical FPS experience.” I don’t believe there are enough people willing to play with these balls right now! Especially when they’ve been plagued by Apex Legends’ bloated ball capsule for years.

This makes me sad. This whole preview left me a little frustrated, but that’s not the game’s fault. I had a lot of fun playing Ascendant Infinity, especially playing the dedicated Hide and Seek mode in the pre-game hub with other previewers and developers, because you can feel how much attention is paid to the little things in Ascendant Infinity . I love that they had one of the writers put on a wig to record a live-action tutorial video, and I respect their decision to pick a tone and stick with it. I just don’t think it’s going to take off in its current form.

But hey, we live in a new world, baby! Great games at reasonable gamer-first price points are coming out and selling well. The best thing I hope for is to be proven wrong on this one—to see the Ascendant Infinity take off to the stars with the power of a bright pink headband and your dad vibes, man.

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