The first Silent Hill: Ascension stream went live on Halloween 2023. With more players joining in on the fun, it didn’t take long for the common mobile game question to come up: is Silent Hill: Ascension pay-to-win?
Let’s look at the answer.
Does Silent Hill: Ascension have a pay-to-win model?
Right off the bat, we could say that a definitive answer to whether Silent Hill: Ascension is a pay-to-win game is: no. But it’s not as simple as that. Rather, the game’s model is more complex—somewhat like the model in Ragnarok Origin.
When it comes to mobile games and pay-to-win, the most notorious titles won’t allow you to progress through the main story without whipping out your credit card. Either that or you have to spend money on upgrades to stay on top in a highly competitive MMORPG arena. Silent Hill: Ascension doesn’t fall into that group.
To answer the question more completely, though, we need to have an in-depth look at how the game works.
The gameplay model of Silent Hill: Ascension
The core gameplay in Silent Hill: Ascension revolves around bidding on decisions that impact how the story progresses. To bid, you need to invest a certain amount of Influence Points (IP). Since each decision has three choices, and players can bid freely on any choice, the option with the most accumulated IP wins.
The minimum IP you can bid is 200, which doesn’t seem like much, considering you have about 3K IP when you start a game. However, you will quickly see that many players are bidding tens of thousands of IPs. In other words, investing a couple of hundred points in a choice is only a drop of water in an ocean.
You need to bid big if you want your choice to matter. This, naturally, makes Influence Points a precious resource in the game.
Getting more Influence Points
Players can get Influence Points in several ways. First, you can get them through daily and weekly milestones dubbed Goals. Second, you can purchase IP through the Store. And third, you may earn Influence Points by solving puzzles in the Arcane Library.
Of the three, Goals are the most accessible for F2P. The milestones are easy to reach through regular gameplay, and they award decent amounts of IP and XP, although neither is anything to write home about.
The Store is just as straightforward: You get what you pay for. There are usually three options, each offering more Influence Points for an appropriate sum.
However, the Arcane Library is where Silent Hill: Ascension starts to get a more pay-to-win feel. The library contains four types of puzzles, three of which are locked behind a Season Pass. Furthermore, the later levels of the only freely-available puzzle are also restricted unless you purchase the pass.
Since the Arcane Library is likely a game mode where players will spend most of their time, these restrictions can have a massive impact on how you perceive the game. Again, locking content behind a Season Pass doesn’t necessarily make a game pay-to-win. Yet, it likewise means the game isn’t entirely free to play.
The most important question now is: what does a Season Pass give you? Do Season Pass buyers have an unfair advantage in Silent Hill: Ascension?
What advantages do you get with a Season Pass in Silent Hill: Ascension?
As is the case in many games, the Season Pass in Silent Hill: Ascension grants you primarily cosmetic accessories. After a one-time payment, you get an exclusive frame, sticker, and emoji, plus a special profile frame and profile name icon.
The Season Pass also grants you access to special cosmetics. However, most importantly, all the puzzles in the Arcane Library become available with the pass. Higher-level puzzles could award more Influence Points. And perhaps more importantly, more puzzles simply means more content, which some players may find worth the price.
When everything is considered, we couldn’t say that Silent Hill: Ascension is a pay-to-win game. Some of its elements may indicate that model, like the store and a portion of the secondary content being locked behind the Season Pass. However, that’s not enough to label the game as pay-to-win.
Naturally, Silent Hill: Ascension will go through changes as the game develops. In that sense, the model could change as well, with real money transactions becoming more or less important for the overall experience. For now, though, that is not the case.
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