Lucas Di Quinzio is a freelance writer and creative writing student. He writes about music, games, films and other hard-hitting topics at lucasdiquinzio.wordpress.com/
Published October 15th 2012
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.
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 seem a bit superfluous. Tanks can have their uses, but otherwise you are better off leaving skiing right past them.
Hello - The maps are suitably large and hilly, the bigger maps are somewhat too sparse, leaving more inexperienced players out the action for a while.
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. 4/5
Tribes: Ascend is currently available on Steam or the Hi-Rez Studios website for free.