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.