The image that comes to mind when most people hear "Simulates the physics of a comic-book world" is one of a book that is impossibly complex, full of math that no one would want to use at their table, and reduces the amazing and fantastical worlds to something dull. Almost like a physics textbook. The brilliant mind behind ASCENDANT has managed to make sure that's not the case. Not only is the action as high paced and spectacular as any comic book, the actual play is as smooth of a system as I've ever seen. ASCENDANT addresses the common criticism of effects-based games by grounding every effect in the physical reality of the world, such that a fire blast and a cryoblast are equally easy to run but do distinct things both in the direct resolution of the blast and in what kind of other abilities you can Power Stunt off of them. It's a game where meticulous care was taken when choosing the baseline numbers so that the actual play consideration of things like, "How much damage do I do when I throw a car at an enemy" are effortless to adjudicate, and the tools dedicated to answering various Saving the World questions like "How do I disarm a bomb", "How do I deal with a natural disaster", and the classic, "How do I stop a meteor that's hurtling towards the earth" are robust, easy to follow, and rapidly become second nature for any GM or player. Important to understand is that while there are rules for most things, it is so that if you want a consistent answer that fits into this well crafted system, you don't need to be able to pull the system apart and understand all of the underlying maths to get an answer, Alexander has already done the work for you in most fields that will matter. Your game might never wonder what the relative difference in pungency of wine is versus garlic, but in a courtly intrigue game with someone with supernatural senses, these questions might come up. They say that what you dedicate the most rules space to is what your game is actually about, and with the amount of space dedicated to high quality rules for powers and superheroics, it's plain to see that ASCENDANT is the next best contender in the Super Heroic Gaming legacy.
With half a year to reconsider this review through weeks of playing, I can only say that I'm extremely excited for the future of this game. The community engagement is exceptional, the amount of work done and explanations being written for any questions that come up is fantastic, and gems have been being created in the patreon. I never thought I'd see a time travel power done well, and Ascendant continues to prove me wrong. This game and it's community are amazing and anyone picking it up should also head over to the discord to get to experience it.
[5 of 5 Stars!]