Tribes: Ascend First Impressions
When I first heard that the rights to the storied Tribes gaming franchise had been picked up by Hi-Rez Studios, it was little more than a blip on my radar. Sure, I’ve been a die-hard Tribes fan going on ten plus years (and am still an active member of the community), but what was there left to get excited about?
At this point in the life of a Tribes fan, we’ve been beaten into submission and subdued by mediocrity. From the initial bug riddled launch of Tribes 2 to the console adaptation of Tribes Aerial Assault, there hasn’t been any reason to get excited about a potential reboot of the franchise for over ten years… until today.
Dramatic, right? Good, because this is a game to get excited about.
Alright sure, 5150, [IE], and Sticks (legendary Tribes of old for you noobs out there) aren’t walking through that proverbial “Tribes door”, but this game is still oozing with competitive possibilities.
Don’t get me wrong; Ascend is currently in its infancy and has plenty of kinks to work out. The matchmaking system thus far is very lackluster (and it teases me with that private server option “coming soon”), but the public games are still filled with plenty of teamwork and a unique gaming experience. Much of this can probably be attributed to the Tribes fans of old tending to be the only ones currently in the beta, but one can hope that this will carry over to the full launch. The loadouts and classes leave much to be desired as well, however, there is almost certainly a loadout that any player can enjoy. From cruising around in a Jumper class capping flags or rocking the
Juggernaut and lobbing mortars at foes from afar, there is something for everyone here.
One of the biggest knocks I’ve heard on Tribes was the steep learning curve to be a competent player. Ascend seems to address this very well without making the gameplay overly dumbed down so as to not offend the long time Tribes vets. As a new player, you can still hop in a public game and be a contributing factor to your team
via repairing, dropping turrets, or defending the flag. At no point do you need to feel overwhelmed or even useless to your team – heck, there is even a skiing tutorial you can complete on your own prior to heading into the big bad world of multiplayer matchmaking.
Tribes: Ascend is also being launched under a “pay-2-play” model. This means that if you want to have a good time, you literally don’t have to spend a cent if you don’t want to. The free Soldier and Ranger classes will not leave you at a severe disadvantage to everyone else. You can spend your time getting acclimated to the game, and determine what class might suit you best. Then and only then, you can opt to purchase “Gold” and suit up in the class of your choosing. Being able to choose what YOU pay for…not a bad thing.
If you are looking for a genuinely enjoyable gaming experience that provides you the opportunity to break the Halo/Call of Duty/Battlefield mold, you have to give Tribes: Ascend a fair shot. Tribes defined a generation of PC gaming, and is looking to remind everyone once again that there is more to first person shooters than simply waltzing around a pre-determined area and being the quickest to point and shoot the opponent. If you seek an opportunity to literally fly around a map at high speeds and blast people out of the air, this game is for you.
There is some real gaming to be had here. My personal and overly biased opinion? Don’t pass it up.