Ascendant Infinity is an "adaption shooter" with a flat-top - here's what that means

Ascendant Infinity is an "adaption shooter" with a flat-top - here's what that means
Images via PlayFusion

Written by 

Lloyd Coombes


14th Mar 2024 14:00

There are an awful lot of shooters around these days, aren't there? Whether it's free-to-play shooters, tactical shooters, team-based shooters, hero shooters, extraction shooters, battle royale shooters, or just about anything else, it's tricky to find new ground to break in gaming's most popular genre.

And yet, PlayFusion may have something that blends multiple ideas together into something that really is a little different with Ascendant Infinity.

Improvise, adapt, overcome

The map in Ascendant Infinity
Click to enlarge

I admit, I went into a recent playtest feeling a little hesitant. I play FPS games a lot, and for every one that does something different, there are half a dozen that fail to find an audience. And Ascendant Infinity's generic title didn't inspire a great deal of confidence, either.

While I admit the fun sci-fi/80s mash-up is fun, I was worried the game wouldn't have enough about it to stand on its own outside of its motif - and I'm pleased to say I was wrong.

Ascendant Infinity (iffy name aside) is a blast, and that's largely thanks to none of its matches ever really feeling the same.

The easiest part to explain is how you win: You and your team of two others duke it out to claim Biocores, and extract them from your base on the map. There are only a few available, so each one requires a hefty degree of strategy and gunskill to earn.

Gorlizard in Ascendant Infinity
Click to enlarge

Earn more than your opponents and you win - simple, right? What separates Ascendant Infinity from other similar shooters (and earns it the "adaption shooter" tag) is in its suite of events and map changes that happen from one game to the next.

The sci-fi complex map surrounded by wildlife may initially feel a little restrictive, but it changes drastically. Whole sections of the map can be blocked off, while other sections open up. The Biocore spawning locations can change, too, meaning you may find yourself in completely new firing lines.

Even the creatures around the map will change, so while you may start by killing giant snails for the resources they afford, that same location may hold a terrifying lizard next time.

In the handful of games I played, almost everything panned out differently. One saw an artillery strike open up to bombard enemy teams, while another saw gas traps make platforming above the toxins much more important. Your extraction point is never a guarantee, either.

This is all backed up by solid gunplay and the kind of spring, slide, and scramble mechanics that have made Apex Legends so popular over the last few years.

No I in Team

Combat in Ascendant Infinity
Click to enlarge

Weapons are tiered, and you'll find upgrades available from vending machines. These are purchased with resources earned from killing enemies and wildlife, but you can pool your resources to ensure no one on your team is left outgunned.

Those in-game events are game-changers, too, like having someone on your team transfer their consciousness to one of the aforementioned lizards, or battering their extraction point with an aerial bombardment.

Ascendant Infinity combat with a bubble shield
Click to enlarge

The player carrying the Biocore also gains special abilities, and in my preview, I put that to good use by creating fiery waves to overpower an enemy squad that ambushed us.

However you play, between matches, you'll visit a social lobby where you can walk around and interact with NPCs. It's not as complex as Destiny 2's Tower, but that's for the best - it's a way to anchor you into this neon-tinged world and interact with its larger-than-life personalities. There's also a 'hide and seek' minigame that's almost as fun as the game itself.

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On that note, I must admit the humour didn't land for me just yet, but comedy is subjective and I know many will find it adds a degree of fun you don't get from more po-faced shooters. What I did love, though, was making my character look like what someone in the 80s would have predicted someone from the year 2000 would look like.

The customisation suite is deep, and whether you're looking for a flat top haircut, a tiny leotard, or anything in between, I think Ascendant Infinity does a great job of letting players express themselves.

Final Thoughts

With so much stuff, I do worry Ascendant Infinity may take a few more matches to be able to accurately convey its vision for the future of the multiplayer FPS, but from the time I've spent with it so far, I'm more than willing to invest that time in it.

Regardless of your thoughts on its sense of humour or its name, it's hard to argue it's not a fun time for all.

Previewed on PC.

Lloyd is GGRecon's Editor-in-Chief, having previously worked at Dexerto and Gfinity, and occasionally appears in The Daily Star newspaper. A big fan of loot-based games including Destiny 2 and Diablo 4, when he's not working you'll find him at the gym or trying to play Magic The Gathering.

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