The Ascent is the top-down cyberpunk RPG that nobody expected but everyone is loving! It’s exactly what the doctor ordered after Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t live up to expectations. While the gameplay isn’t quite the same, leveling up and allocating skill points is still pretty important. And since you have a limited number of points avaliable, you’re going to have to make them count! So, what are the best skills in The Ascent, and what build should you go for early on? Our guide will help you figure that out!
What are the Best Skills in The Ascent?
There are eight total skills in The Ascent; Tactical Sense, Critical Hit Rate, Weapon Handling, Aiming, Balance, Evasion, Vital Signs, and Body Battery. Each one of these skills applies bonuses to one of four statistics: Cybernetics, Motorics, Biometrics, and Frame. Each of these has some pretty major uses in The Ascent, but some are a bit stronger than the others.
For the purposes of this article, the best skills are Critical Hit Rate for bullet-focused builds, Balance for heavy weapon builds, and Vital Signs to stay alive.
Before we can tell what skills are the best, we should quickly go over each skill to learn why you would put any points into any of them! The statistic in parenthesis next to the name of the skill is the attribute that is improved when you level that skill.
- Tactical Sense (Cybernetics): This buffs how quickly you can throw skills out onto the field. Great for any builds that rely on using your special abilities rather than just shooting your enemies.
- Critical Hit Rate (Cybernetics): This increases your chance to critically hit enemies. Great for SMG, rifle, or other bullet builds. However, rockets, grenades, and cooldowns can’t critically hit.
- Weapon Handling (Motorics): Reload and weapon swap speed is great, especially for weapons with small clips. Improving this will make your damage more consistent, and allow you to have a few weapons in your pocket.
- Aiming (Motorics): Decreases bullet spread as you spam your weapon. More important if you have sniper rifles as part of your build. Not critical otherwise.
- Vital Signs (Biometrics): Boosts Max HP. Critical for late-game, since you can get chunked pretty bad as you run from cover to cover.
- Body Battery (Biometrics): Raises max Energy. Important for boosting and moving quickly, but can be mitigated by efficient use of cover.
- Balance (Frame): This improves your resistance to status effects that stop you from moving, like stuns or staggers. It also decreases the movement penalty for moving while firing heavy weapons. Critical to a heavy weapon build.
- Evasion (Frame): Boosts your Evasion cooldown. Great way to dodge damage in the heat of battle, but can be mitigated by using cover effectively.
What Skills are the Best?
Out of all eight skills in The Ascent, only one of them matters for all characters and all builds: Vital Signs. Health is essential for endgame when you will take a bit of damage even if you take cover. Evasion could be as useful, but you’ll still want to be able to take a big hit in case your dodge is still on cooldown.
Other than Vital Signs, most of the other skills require some build to be important. Critical Hit Rate is our choice for the best skill with bullet-based weapons. Its 20% chance to crit increases your damage by a surprising amount, especially for rapid-fire weapons.
Balance is super useful for heavy weapon builds, since the movement penalty while shooting a heavy weapon is massive. You’ll also feel a lot tankier since you’re resistant to stuns and knockbacks, letting you walk through a battlefield with no remorse.
For Cybertech builds, Tactical Sense will let you get to your grenades and skills faster. Otherwise, Tactical Sense is nearly useless.
Weapon Handling isn’t a bad skill to put a few points into. Reloading during a firefight can be a pain. This is a good, general skill.
Aiming and Evasion are both relatively mediocre. You can improve Aiming with equipment to a pretty good degree, and you don’t need to dodge if you just take cover until your dodge is off cooldown. However, if you want to snipe, it might not be a bad idea to improve Aiming. Evasion also lets you sprint at enemies a bit easier. Still, these two are by far the least important.
Jason Toro-McCue has committed his schooling to the study of the connection between game design and narrative. When he's not working on this bond through writing articles or guides, he's playing Dungeons & Dragons, or just playing games themselves and looking at the story there.