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Tribes: Ascend Review

Sara Lau
Apr 17,2012  01:04 by

Released by Hi-Rez Studios, Tribes: Ascend is a free-to-play online first-person shooter spin-off of the original Ascend series. Although it is not the sequel to Tribes franchise but the core game play still remains the same. The backstory of the game is set in an imaginary future world revolving around betrayal and warfare. Humans get to fight through the horde of invading alien race in order to liberate their planet.

For people who are not very familiar with Tribes series before, the game puts emphasis on one feature: skiing. When you go down a slope you press and hold spacebar to use the jetpack to gain speed; you press and hold the right mouse button to ascend to the sky. The jetpack has a limited amount of energy which is indicated alongside your HP gauge, so you cannot fly with it indefinitely. But the energy gauge replenishes over time on landing. This is a key feature making you get across the map fast.

As a first-person shooter, Tribes: Ascend has what many other shooters offer. It offers a standard team Deathmatch mode and the Capture the Flag mode. Capture the Flag pits two factions of up to 16 VS 16 on a series of large maps. In order to score team points, you must kill the flag carrier to reclaim the flag, and return it to your base. Either side who capture its opponent’s flag a certain times wins; while the Deathmatch mode is just exactly like it sounds:The first team that kills a total number of 100 players from opposing faction wins.

Unlike those old-school multiplayer shooters like Quake 3 or Counter Striker, in which you can choose what weapons and gears you want. In stead, the game features the MMORPG-esque class system. Each class comes with a prebuilt gear and weapon combination: for example, juggernauts excel at long range bombardment with their motars, but they are slower and heavier, which results in more engery consumption when using jetpack; and pathfinders are just the opposite.

Besides, as the signature feature of the series, a future warfare background plus the introduction of jetpack booster means that gunfights play out much more differently than 90’s old-school shooters may have conditioned you to think. Newbies may have a hard time trying to familiarize with the control of movement. Combat is usually carried out at such insane high speed and it tends to distance you from your enemies. So newbiews may find they cannot even hit their targets, not to mention kill them. Besides the jetpack booster, there are also some other high-tech nifty add-ons like motorcycles and aircrafts. Learning to utilize the difference between these combat machines is just as important as learning the various weapons, a veteran player with the right knowledge can even tip the game in their favor.

For the downside of the game, it’s just a bit disappointing that only 3 classes are available for freemium players, you will have to pay to unlock others. Besides, real world currency can also be used during gamplay to give your team an edge. They can be either spent on upgrading for your base defense, mounting automated laser turrets, or enhancing the armor and fire power of the vehicles. They can even be used in “desperate call-ins” allowing you to summon air forces to target-bomb targets or bring down supply drops for re-arm.

Overall, Hi-Rez Studios has polished up Tribes: Ascend nicely. The vibrant colors make the game stand out from a lot of most recent shooters. When you get shot your screen temporarily cracks as if you were in a mechanical suit that is being torn apart. It only lasts a split second and does not distract from the game. A nice touch out there is that every singe weapon in the game has a small indicator showing how much ammo is left, which is a neat detail. Besides, when you are taken hit, your screen temporarily has some “crack” effects, as if the visual zone of your protection helm is being torn apart. Anyway, Tribes: Ascend is a nice game that you can not miss.

13 Comments on Tribes: Ascend Review


  1. hobs5k says:

    Just like to point out that base upgrades, call-in air-strikes/inventories etc are all bought with in-game credits earned specifically during that match. Those in-game credits come solely from kills, repairing, flag grabs, flag captures etc. In-game credits can not be bought with real world currency.

    Unlocking other classes is bought via real world currency or with 'experience' earned via playing matches.

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    Unlocking other classes is bought via real world currency or with 'experience' earned via playing matches.

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