Tribes: Ascend Review

This year has seen a large number of free-to-play shooters launch, I’ve spend some time with one of the more exciting titles – a new addition to the popular Tribes series.

What’s The Deal?
Tribes: Ascend is a multi-player FPS from Hi-Rez Studios, known for Sci-fi MMO Global Agenda, which embraces the long-standing series’ roots by providing a fast-paced, large-scale, jet-pack based FPS experience. Pick from a healthy range of classes (though you will have to unlock most of them) and join in 32-player matches of team deathmatch, capture the flag, control point or perhaps 5-on-5 arena matches and make use of the unique ‘skiing’  movement system.
Did I mention jet-packs? Everyone likes jet-packs.

The Good

Wheeeeee – Tribes: Ascend‘s ‘skiing’ movement system is fairly self-explanatory – it’s downhill skiing without the snow or the skis – and  a lot of fun, allowing players to speed along the rolling hills that fill the game’s maps before flying up the inclines with your jet-pack to avoid losing speed. And you really do move quickly – this game makes Unreal Tournament look like Battlefield when you’re in full flight.

Fight Within A Fight – The size of the maps and the speed of movement means that a lot of firefights turn into a kind of laser shooting/ballet recital hybrid between two or three people. It makes a kill very satisfying, indeed.

Rolling green hills – Tribes: Ascend’s graphics are simple but effective. Nothing fancy, but a wide range of clean-looking, if somewhat bare, landscapes and quality character models help bring the game to life.

Free to Pay – Tribes: Ascend is free-to-play, but you will want to drop some money on the game. For starters, the first time you spend  money, no matter how much, you become a VIP member, giving you extra experience points for each match. A starter pack, available for US$20, includes extra classes, weapons, perks and some spending money. It is good value – particularly because you will want to try out as many classes as you can before finding your favourite.

The Not So Good

Vehicles – With the ability to travel at over 100kph on foot, vehicles seen a bit superfluous. Tanks can have their uses, but otherwise you are better of leaving skiing right past them.

Hello… – The the maps are suitably large and hilly, the bigger maps are somewhat too sparse, leaving more inexperienced players out the action for a while.

In Short

If you are looking for a multiplayer shooter that steps away from the modern warfare mold, or a new game on a budget, Tribes: Ascend is the game for you. Fast, frenetic and lots of fun.

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