The Ascent guide to the best weapons

The Ascent is out this weekend and we’ve spent dozens of hours in the days leading up to its release to bring you a guide to the weapons available to you in the game. Our guide should help you decide what loadout is best for you and your playstyle.

If you want to make the most out of The Ascent’s underappreciated cover mechanics, you might want to go with a long-range rifle. If you prefer to get close and ugly, a shotgun will do you better. And if you want to run and gun a little indiscriminately a rapid-fire automatic weapon should serve you well.

The best weapons in The Ascent

Before we begin our Ascent guide to the best weapons, there are few interesting things to note about how weapons work in the game.

First of all, every version of a gun you find is identical. They don’t get randomly generated variations in effects and stats. A Habdefender PPW will always be a Habdefender PPW, it won’t be “Mighty” or “deal Vicious damage.” Once you pick it up, you’ve effectively ‘unlocked’ it.

Second, you can upgrade weapons with components and those upgrades are permanent across all versions of the weapon you find. Spend your components on a Riot Gun to bring it up to Mark 4? Well now every Riot Gun you find is at that upgrade tier. This also means you can sell your guns without much worry, as the upgrades are no longer unique to one.

Towards the end of the game you should have found enough components to upgrade a few weapons to their highest tier. Choose wisely with your upgrades but be aware that there’s some wiggle room. You won’t be able to max out all your weapons but you won’t be committed to just one either.

HFC Heat

  • Damage per shot: 30-45
  • Damage per second: 170
  • Damage type: Fire
  • Fire mode: Single
  • Rounds per second: 4.5
  • Clip size: 8
  • Reload time: 3.2
  • Knockback: 300

The HCF Heat was one of my first favorites because it sets enemies on fire. Doing so will deal damage over time which makes it’s great when you’re in a skirmish with enemies with bigger health bars or at the edge of the screen where they’re likely thinking about retreating. You can find the HCF Heat early in the game in an abandoned building in the Gratitude, a temple north of the Metro station at Nitroad.


  • Damage per shot: 7-11
  • Damage per second: 108
  • Damage type: Ballistic
  • Fire mode: Auto
  • Rounds per second: 12.0
  • Clip size: 45
  • Reload time: 1.0
  • Knockback: 40

Dread is a pretty bog standard video game assault rifle, but by that measure it suits a strafe-heavy run and gun approach that works so well in The Ascent. It can easily serve as your go-to weapon for most enemies, especially non-robotic ones without any armor to get in the way of your bullets. When upgraded, Dread becomes incredibly reliable and pairs well with an energy weapon for other situations.

Ascent guide to weapons

EBR Enforcer

  • Damage per shot: 32-42
  • Damage per second: 523
  • Damage type: Energy
  • Fire mode: Burst
  • Rounds per second: 14.1
  • Clip size: 45
  • Reload time: 0.6
  • Knockback: 60

Described as “a standard rifle for many interstellar drop infantries,” and favored by Corpsec for a number of features and “zero maintenance requirements,” the EBR Enforcer is an energy burst rifle that can make short work of mecha, robots and other physically resistant armored foes. Its projectiles home in on enemies and it has a large clip size making it pretty wicked. Arguably The Ascent’s best weapon.


  • Damage per shot: 28-55
  • Damage per second: 280
  • Damage type: Ballistic
  • Fire Mode: Auto
  • Rounds Per Second: 6.0
  • Clip Size: 30
  • Reload Time: 4.0
  • Knockback: 400

Already a favorite among players, the Atomsmasher is described as an industrial tool that was used for deep space asteroid mining and keeping incoming meteoroids at bay. The Atomsmasher is effectively an automatic rocket launcher with powerful knockback and a heavy wait for reload. You’ll find the Atomsmasher after defeating the Siege Mech boss at the end of the story mission ‘Trading Places.’

The Ascent is currently available at the Xbox Store for Windows 10 PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. It also launched day one on Xbox Game Pass so you can play it now if you have a subscription.