Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tribes: Ascend (2012)

Genre: First Person Shooter | Players: Multi only | Developer: High-Rez Studios

Tribes Ascend is a Free-to-Play, multiplayer-only sequel in the Tribes series. The titular tribes, Diamond Sword and Blood Eagle, hate each other and do battle which players can do with a multitude of game-types and job classes. There is a story behind the gameplay, but it doesn't matter here.

The job classes are interesting in that they can result in widely varying playstyles. There are nine total, each with a particular use in mind. Light armor Pathfinders are quick and nimble, perfect for capturing flags and chasing fleeing enemies while heavy armor Juggernauts are slow, but deal huge damage, often one-hit kills on anything other than another heavy armor type. I chose a medium armor Technician because I have terrible aim so I got credits for completing objectives rather than kills as they were hard to come by without using my automatic turrets. Which brings me to the weapons.
Each class starts with its own default loadout and new weapons, items, grenades and perks can be unlocked by using Experience gained by playing the game, or by using gold purchased with real money in the store. Though to prevent players simply paying to win, gold can only be used to unlock while upgrades to power and ammo can only be earned through gameplay and great care has been taken to make every weapon viable rather than new ones making the defaults obsolete (with varying success). The variety of weapons also makes the game standout as the Sci-fi weapons are wildly different in application from standard bullet guns.

The maps are huge compared to other shooters, but they need to be as Tribes games have always had mobility as a core part of the game. Here it is jetpacks and little jetboots that let players fly in the air and ski at incredible speeds respectively. Jetpacks have limited energy that constantly regenerates which limits how long players are airborne and skiing is at the mercy of gravity and momentum, but using both in conjunction makes zipping around great fun and makes aiming quite a task as even the most eagle-eyed shooters may have a problem tagging a target going 200mph especially with the slower ammunition of a lot of the weapons. Leading the target is essential. Thank God for splash-damage.

Overall, the game is highly customizable and great fun, but the learning curve is steep which may be daunting to some players. But it's free so there isn't anything to lose by giving it a try.

Buyer's Guide:
The game itself can be downloaded for free from the High-Rez website.
Give it a try.
Real money can be used to buy gold that unlocks weapons and classes or buy boosts that expand experience gained for a set amount of time. Though you can play the whole game without spending a dime there are a few perks to spending money like bonuses to experience gain and something that costs 100,000 experience points to unlock will cost much less in gold.

4 Infiltrators are all fucking cocksucking cowards out of 5

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