Underworld Ascendant – Mini Review

Developed by:OtherSide Entertainment
Published by:505 Games
Format played:PC – Steam

What Is It?


Worth Playing?


(Edd:…Er, could you give me a little more?

Scott: What do you mean?

Edd: Well, your review consisted of one word.

Scott: Alright. It’s really crap. There, three words. Better?

Edd: It’s still a little lacking in detail. Couldn’t you tell the readers a little more about the game. Something about the plot, maybe?

Scott: Oh, sure thing. You know like in Game of Thrones how it has multiple threads, over arching plot lines and deep, nuanced characters? Well Underworld Ascendant is nothing like that. Instead you get the old faithful ‘there’s a big evil and you have to stop him destroying the world’ malarkey.

Edd: Fair dos, but it looks like a corker.

Scott: Except that it doesn’t. Sure it’s dark and creepy like you would expect for a dungeon but it uses cheap tricks to make detail all fuggy, there is little in the way of detail to take in.

Edd: Yeah, well everyone knows looks aren’t important, it’s all about the gameplay!

Scott: *sigh* OK, picture the scene. I load up this new game, excited to take my first foray into this mysterious dungeon. Within moments I find a ledge I need to climb up and to do so, I try to drag a table over so that I can climb on it. So I go to pick it up but it topples over onto its side and gets wedged against the wall. I then have to play a game of twister to get both me and the table into position, along the way constantly losing my grip of it and having to start again. Although as it goes, it turns out I didn’t even need the table, I could just jump up.

Edd: I s…

Scott: And then right, I get to this bit where I have to try and get through a door that’s locked. You can beat your way through with bloody fists but the optimum approach is to burn the thing down. Dotted around the room are bits of wood and a roaring fire. Two plus two equalling four and all, I grab a box and shove it in the fire. Only to watch it burn to a crisp and collapse to nothing on the floor. I try again with another box, wrestling with the damn thing to get it in position, then hurriedly sprinting to the door before it burns my hands off. Then, and get this, the fire doesn’t die down so I have to jump over the flaming ruin to get through.

Edd: Sounds pretty inventive to me. Maybe you just weren’t very good at it.

Scott: Maybe, put it all felt painful to control. It’s like it was trying to be Half Life but wasn’t even half as fun.

Edd: Still, it…

Scott: And what’s with all the loading pauses? What is this, the Amiga? And don’t make the screen go all black when you’re loading, it makes me think my pc has crashed. Give me something interesting to look at, or some background lore to read. And talking of reading, why doesn’t the cheesy speech always match the subtitles? Did it get changed part way through development? Oh and while we’re at it, when I have a gamepad plugged in, don’t give me onscreen control hints about using the mouse and keyboard, they don’t make any sense. And maybe make those hints a bit more helpful. It’s all very well wanting to leave the player to figure things out but in a tutorial level, when I don’t understand what the base controls are, nor the various menu options, a little hand holding to introduce me to basic concepts would be appreciated. It might also be nice to give me a sword before I meet the first set of dungeon goons. And how about restoring some of my inventory items when I die, instead of permanently losing all the arrows I wasted trying to figure out what to do before I plunged off the ledge to my death. Or having a better checkpoint system so that, unless you’ve used the in-game version that only lets you save at key moments, I don’t have to start the level right from the beginning, even though all the tasks I have completed remain completed, meaning that I’m not even replaying a section of the game so much as pointlessly retreading already covered ground just to get back to the point I was at before.

Edd: Um…

Scott: Look, I’ll be honest. I didn’t play it for that long. I spent a couple of hours meandering around samey looking environments, fighting the controls and getting killed by skeletons before I just got thoroughly bored. I appreciate that I’m doing it a mighty injustice trying to sum up my experience of what is likely a 20+ hour game having barely scratched the surface and it may very well get better as you delve into its story and evolve your character. But I just found it dull and irritating and if that’s what I’m looking for, I’ll go to work. Otherwise, I play games to have fun and I didn’t find much here.

Edd: Oh. There must have been something decent.

Scott: The villain had a spooky laugh, I suppose.

Edd: Is that it?

Scott: Pretty much.

Edd: You’re right. That does sound crap.)


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