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Top-down RPG The Ascent looks incredible in first person

See the moles on an NPC's chin

The Ascent’s cyberpunk vistas were made to be seen from above, but there’s a stunning amount of detail in the game when you get down to ground level. YouTuber Griff Griffin unlocked the camera and wandered around the Arcology, the game’s central city. He discovered a fascinating level of fidelity for a top-down RPG and made me crave a first-person game set in the world.

Ed said in his review that The Ascent's world is already a "feast for the robotic eyes", but the detail developers Neon Giant have flooded the world with is astounding when seen in close-up. NPCs you’re only ever meant to see from above and far away have detailed tattoos. All the magazines, screens, and boxes have readable text. You can read stickers that they splattered across vendor booths. No wonder my frame rate dipped from time to time: he got close enough to see that the articles under the magazine titles were filled with lorem ipsum.

On and on Griff goes through The Ascent's packed streets, and every new sight makes me wish that I could do it legitimately, with in-game tools. I’d be happy enough with a photo mode for it, if it lets me zoom around and take in the giant, neon feast for my eyes.

But it's impossible to play the game like this. He used a program called the Universal Unreal Engine 4 Unlocker to gain access to these delightful details. It has a bunch of tools that let you explore Unreal 4 games in free-cam, stop time, remove the HUD, and restore the engine’s console. It runs alongside the game, and injects a DLL to enable some funky, developer-level access. So it’s not the simplest process, but the results give you a whole new reason to load up the game.

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