Tribes Ascend Preview
Tribes has always been one of the more hardcore franchises in the history of FPS games. It had huge varieties of weapons; differing movement speeds and classes, and to be honest, was completely unfair to those learning the game. The newest iteration, Tribes Ascend, seeks to give everyone a fair shot at the game and streamline the process.
The heart of the game is still Capture the Flag with maps that consist of a lot more than two connected flag rooms. Mobility is king as a result. Whether it is using vehicles or by skiing down slopes to build momentum, learning how to move is the first step towards enjoying any Tribes game and this is no different. The learning curve for skiing is still high, and you’re damn near immobile by comparison if you lose your ski path. Losing your momentum via screwing up or getting disrupted by an enemy disc can leave you dead or certainly wishing you were if you’re a heavy class in the open with no way to gain speed!
Or if you can't handle momentum, just get a sweet ride to and from the enemy base
Momentum is also very important when it comes to offense. Very few weapons are hitscan, as in they hit the moment you fire if your enemy is in your cursor. Most weapons are projectiles that are affected by your momentum upon firing, and with the speed of Tribes games, can lead to a lot of horrible whiffs and amazing mid-air disc hits with some practice. Momentum can also lead to some incredibly long range mortar or grenade launcher shots.
While leveling your opposition’s base is a little less effective than in previous games due to things like being able to select your class you spawn as, it’s still one of the most satisfying things in FPS gaming to do. Affectionally called ‘base raping’, it’s the act of disabling the generators of your opponent so that much of their base goes offline. Since turrets are very potent both as anti-vehicle and anti-flag capturing tools, taking the generators offline is often the fastest way to go about making an offensive happen. This leads to a much more different Tribes scenario than usual, one involving close quarters combat with grenades and other explosives that can connect with unseen opponents.
Yes there’s a melee attack now, but its only real use is as an insult kill to snipers you sneak up on. Not only will you never close the gap under normal circumstances, but most weapons are incredibly easy to hit oncoming enemies with. Considering every other shooter has a dominant melee attack these days, color me impressed with not giving in and making it the end-all close range combat tactic, Hi-Rez.
Defenses got you down? Disable them with a quick strike on the enemy generator.
Gushing and glory aside, there are still some key problems with the game that prevent it from being a retail product for some time. While I understand that this is a free to play product in development, it should not be taking payments and the like while in beta! The rate at which you acquire currency that unlocks other classes in-game is pathetic, and it just seems weird to be paying for features on an account that could very well be wiped out before launch, even if they've said no wipes are planned.
A lot of the classes suffer from an identity crisis. Light classes typically involve flag capping, flag chasing, and maybe some sniping duty. As is, some of the light load outs are redundant or just inferior and the same goes for other armor types as well. Removing the inventory system of past Tribes games is well and good, but it would be nice to have these some level of customization to give these lackluster roles some worth. Little perks from Call of Duty don’t cut it to Tribes vets.
The series definitely feels a little different compared to past games—something that has to do with how speed is gained and lost, I think—but the classic feel is there, and the interface/graphics are on a level that new players can get into without the game feeling archaic or confusing. That’s a first for a Tribes game if you ask me. Unfortunately, we’ll never know how many hearts the game will win over until it goes live!