In 1998, the first Tribes game was released with a framework that ultimately became the future of the first-person shooter genre. As one of the first games to incorporate the use of team-based tactics and vehicles, Tribes soon rose to the level of a cult classic. The series makes its triumphant return as a free-to-play shooter in the form of Tribes: Ascend, and brings back with it the best of what the series has to offer. For starters, the game is completely void of a single-player campaign. With its focus on multiplayer, and more specifically team-based gameplay, Tribes: Ascend gives you a heavy dose of fast-paced shooter action.
Game modes and options
The game offers players a choice of four different modes to engage in, which includes Team Death-match, capture the Flag, 5-on-5 Arena matches, and Capture & Hold. Additionally, there are a total of nine classes to choose from, with only three being available to players at the start of the game. Each new class, weapon, item and perk comes at the cost of experience points (XP) which is accrued through playing the game and accomplishing various feats. There’s also the option to buy these upgrades using real-world currency along with various XP boosters.
With regards to the gameplay, the game does a brilliant job in incorporating a lot of different play-styles for different players. You can use either rush or sneak tactics, or hang back and defend your base from enemy fire. The concept of teamwork also comes into play here, as each base has a generator that, when taken out, renders its defenses completely useless. Performing well on the field also earns you credits for your current game, which you can use to call in supply drops and orbital strikes. The best feature of the game, however, is the ability to use your jetpack and fly within the game. Given to the player at the start of their journey, the jetpack is coupled with the ‘skiing’ mechanic to create an ultra-intense style of gameplay that few others in the genre can match. It essentially turns the game into a great test of speed and skill that is both rewarding and highly satisfying.
Visuals and sound
On the visual side, Tribes: Ascend is designed to support a wide set of rigs and manages to do the job well. Cranking up the effects all the way reveals a highly- appealing game for a free-to-play, and the sense of speed is maintained well. The game certainly doesn’t lack any colors or effects. The sound department could have used a little work, since the game favors preset voice commands as opposed to the now-standard voice chat. The music is fast and intense, setting the mood for some fast- paced action.
With all aspects taken into consideration, Tribes: Ascend performs wonderfully for a free-to-play game, offering loads of content and plenty of incentives to keep players hooked. With an emphasis on team-based tactics, it might not be for everyone. Those who choose to invest their time and effort, however, will find a deeply customizable and truly entertaining experience. Do consider dipping your toes into this amazing title.