Tribes Ascend: The future, or past, of fast paced gaming.

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Tribes Ascend might very well be the most important fps game release this year. First, Let us look to the past, specifically the year of 1996. Quake had just been released. The game evolved around jumped around the entire map, and shoot aliens to pieces with a rocket launcher. It was a massive hit. Then the fast paced fps marked boomed with Quake 2, Tribes, Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. All games evolving around being faster, aiming better, and thinking smarter than your opponent.
Then came the future; with better graphics, better AI and slow, slow, realistic shooters. Hiding behind a realistic cover, with a realistic gun, shooting at realistic looking enemies, was suddenly much preferred over jumped around like a demigod with lightning and rockets shooting from your hip. The fast paced fps market grinded to a halt. Oh, it's not that people haven't tried. Unreal Tournament 3 saw its light of day, and vanished just as quickly. Painkiller was widely recognizes as a great game..and no one played it. The game with the biggest playerbase at the moment is Quake Live, which is a browser based rerelease of Quake 3 Arena, a 13 year old game. How sad is that?

And in comes Tribes Ascend.

Tribes Ascend is a futuristic, free to play game, online, fast paced first person shooter, currently in its open beta phase. You control a character who is fitted with several very slow shooting guns, some grenades, a couple of skis and a jetpack. Combine that with the environment, which is mostly made of large hills and slopes, and you have yourself a ski shooting simulator at 200km/h. While this game is more friendly to newer players, compared to its predecessors Tribes 1 and 2, you will often find yourself grinding to a halt at the bottom of a slope, surrounded by very unfriendly enemy soldiers who would just love for you to meet their good friend, the grenade. The skiing tutorial is highly encouraged.

Most weapons in the game are not instant hit. In fact, with the exception of the sniper rifle, some pistols, and the shotguns, every weapon has slow trajectories. This topped with you flying in one direction at 200km/h, and your enemy in the other direction at equal speed, makes it very hard to actually hit anything. The skillcap in this game is very high. Luckily, there is a rank system, so you will not find yourself pitted against any progamers in your first match. This will help you get a grip on the game while playing against enemies who are just as clueless.

I had to take this screenshot with my nose..

When you start out, you have 3 classes to choose from: You have the fast moving, lightly armored Pathfinder, who's general job is to capture and recapture flags. He is fitted with the most iconic weapon in the game: The spinfusor. The spinfusor is a very slow moving, exploding, spinning plate. If hit directly on an enemy, it can very nearly kill them. However, hitting isn't this games easiest trick to learn. You also have the allround soldier, fitted with an assault rifle (still, with slow bullets), and lastly the Juggernaut, who's very slow moving, extremely well armored, and very, very slow, powerful weapons. On top of this you will throughout the game be allowed to unlock a sniper class, an infiltrator class, the Technician; this game's engineer, the Raider; this game's demoman, the Doombringer and the Brute, who both are heavily armored, heavily gunned, slow moving target practice.

You will also be choosing between Team Deathmatch and Capture the flag, with an unlockable Arena mode, and a soon to come Ranked Matches mode. Team Deathmatch is your go to "shoot everything that glows red" type of game. You start out in a hilly area, with up to 15 players on each team, and you shoot at eachother until the other team has run out of lives. The twist is the flag, which while carried, gives the entire team double count for all of their kills. The Capture the Flag mode is exactly that. A large, outdoor, open area, 2 flags on each side, some base defenses to protect it, and lots and lots O' hills. In this mode you will also be able to buy with the in game money system you earn by doing pretty much everything. This mode is the pinnacle of the Tribes series..and it just does not work. The vehicles are just a tad too weak, the base defenses are just a tad too powerful, and funnily enough, you're just a bit too slow. Most games in this matchup ends up with a campout at the flag, with no one daring to try to go for the enemy's flag, because they are doing just the exact same thing. Lastly we have the Arena mode. This mode is a 5 on 5, with 25 lives on each side, focused on smaller maps with a lot less hills, and thus a lot less speed. I personally found the Arena to be the most enjoyable, as every class here is viable. The slow arenas are just enough to make the heavier classes more than just target practice, while the smaller faster classes can still jump around at higher speeds, desperate trying to get in enough hits before they get a spinfusor to the face, which most of the time is enough to outright kill them.

Even with its outdated graphics engine, this game is beautiful

Tribes Ascend is, like stated above, a free to play game, which uses the same, basic, business model as everyone else out there: You can play the game for free, and you can unlock every class, weapon, perk, upgrades in the game through grinding. However if you want new skins, and don't want to grind for half a year for a certain upgrade, then you will need to pay, and you will have to pay a lot. Right now the best package in the game sells for 40 euro, which gives you exactly enough gold to completely unlock a whopping 2 of the 9 classes. On top of that, some of the more important upgrades, such as the jet booster for the Pathfinder class (which lets you use up the remainder of your energy to increase speed), costs 42000xp. Considering you will gain around 4- to 500xp during a 10 minute match, if you play well, you have a good 14 to 17,5 hour grind ahead of you..for one item! Granted there are badges, certain perks and some bonuses such as double xp on the first victory a day, which brings this number down somewhat. Yet this is one of those items really necessary for the class, and you will be less than useful without it. Now consider that one of the weapons in this game costs 100'000 xp, and you suddenly know you'll be paying a lot if you want to really bring your ace equipment to the field.

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I might be critical, but only because I've fallen in love with this game. If I could marry it, I would, but in my country there are rules against these things..and the neighbors would look funny at me. This is a fun game. Such fun I haven't found in any fps since Quake 3. Sure battlefield 3 and modern warfare has its own intense moments, but they are both slow, slow games.. Nothing really beats hitting someone mid air with a slow moving spinning electrical blade at 200km/h, on skiis. I will reemphasize that this might very well be one of the most important released this year. If this one doesn't hit, we might very well end up with a bleak future, with nothing but brown, dust, realistic shooters set in the modern era, with emphasis on cover.

Bottom Line: Tribes Ascend is a very fast, very hard, and highly enjoyable shooter.

Recommendation: If you have missed the era of fast paced shooters, or simply missing it, go check this game out. Its free if nothing else, and it is very fun.

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Based on a somewhat buggy beta version. This game will be released on April 12. 2012.

Game: Tribes: Ascend
Genre: Fast Paced FPS
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Platform(s): PC
Available from: https://account.hirezstudios.com/tribesascend

You might like this game if you liked: Halo, Quake, Unreal Tournament, Painkiller.

My first article in a while, cobbled together at 4am. Coupled with English not being my first language, I'm expecting a ton of spelling and grammar errors. Feel free to point them out, or any other mistakes/things I could do better with the review. I love constructive feedback :) Thanks for reading.

Having played the game. I find that, once you start playing well, you can easily get 1-2000 points of experience per game. Now, I personally dropped $30 and got myself some gold and the double exp booster, so I'm popping 6500+ experience a game. As for CTF, I disagree that it ends up around a base camp, at least in the games that I've played. But then again, I'm somewhat high ranked so maybe it's different at low ranked matches.

Berenzen:
Having played the game. I find that, once you start playing well, you can easily get 1-2000 points of experience per game. Now, I personally dropped $30 and got myself some gold and the double exp booster, so I'm popping 6500+ experience a game. As for CTF, I disagree that it ends up around a base camp, at least in the games that I've played. But then again, I'm somewhat high ranked so maybe it's different at low ranked matches.

It could very well end up being different in high ranked matches. Currently I'm only rank 10, and with the exception of people playing a tad better, the different matchups really haven't changed a lot. Theres still 3-4 heavies camping, a ton of mines, and a pathfinder with jetbooster pack for good measure in case you should be lucky enough to grab the flag for half a second.

I have absolutely no idea how you end up getting 1-2k points every match. If I get a badge bonus, I might get up to something like that (like the 1200 xp first win of the day bonus). But in a normal game, even if I play exceptionally well (like 10 kills and one death in a single TDM round), I never get over 500 base points.

I will probably end up paying for this game at some point too. Not because I absolutely need the upgrades, but because I really feel like I should support these guys. I really can't get across how important this game might end up being for the fast paced shooter community.

EXP is primarily based around game length. There is a small bonus for winning, and a small bonus for having a high score. Someone at Hi-Rez said that, assuming they've both been in the game all round, the highest-scoring loser should get about the same EXP as the lowest-scoring winner. CTF typically gives you the most EXP. Plus badges and first win of the day, of course.

After level 5 or 6, there are no ranked matches. Everyone is thrown in together. Rank 10 can play with rank 50.

Base defences are easily cleared with any amount of offensive pressure. Assuming your offence is competent, the single biggest obstacle for a capper is the enemy sniper. Good snipers are damn brutal.

If anyone here plays a half-decent LD/MD (or is interested in becoming a half-decent LD/MD), my chaingun and I would love to talk...

EDIT: Clarifications!

The reason EXP is mostly based on game length is to discourage team-stacking and 5-0 blowouts (which happen a fair bit anyway; it's god damn shocking how many games one team just doesn't defend).

When I say "offence", I basically mean "the capper's support team". One-on-one, cappers should and will usually lose to a single Heavy on Flag (that's my favourite role). So the capper needs a juggernaut to mortar him and clear out his landmines and forcefields and whatnot. So the HoF needs a soldier to go up on the hill and duel the juggernaut so that he can defend his flag. So the capper needs a raider to flashbang the HoF and bounce him around with grenades. So the HoF needs another defender to stay close to him and pin down the raider. So the capper might need an infiltrator to...

Basically, both the core of the offence (the capper) and the core of the defence (the HoF) have vital roles, but they are roles that they can not complete without heavy support from their teammates due to how narrow their focus is and how poorly equipped they are to deal with most threats.

Of course, there are still sentinel snipers; not getting shot down by them is a pain. I mean, dayumn it's unforgiving if you're not pixel-perfect, but good snipers can easily be team MVPs.

Nice review, I find myself agreeing. I found Tribes: ascend to be a breath of fresh air from all the slow "realistic" shooters that are being released.

The Crotch:
EXP is primarily based around game length. There is a small bonus for winning, and a small bonus for having a high score. Someone at Hi-Rez said that, assuming they've both been in the game all round, the highest-scoring loser should get about the same EXP as the lowest-scoring winner. CTF typically gives you the most EXP. Plus badges and first win of the day, of course.

After level 5 or 6, there are no ranked matches. Everyone is thrown in together. Rank 10 can play with rank 50.

Base defences are easily cleared with any amount of offensive pressure. Assuming your offence is competent, the single biggest obstacle for a capper is the enemy sniper. Good snipers are damn brutal.

If anyone here plays a half-decent LD/MD (or is interested in becoming a half-decent LD/MD), my chaingun and I would love to talk...

EDIT: Clarifications!

The reason EXP is mostly based on game length is to discourage team-stacking and 5-0 blowouts (which happen a fair bit anyway; it's god damn shocking how many games one team just doesn't defend).

When I say "offence", I basically mean "the capper's support team". One-on-one, cappers should and will usually lose to a single Heavy on Flag (that's my favourite role). So the capper needs a juggernaut to mortar him and clear out his landmines and forcefields and whatnot. So the HoF needs a soldier to go up on the hill and duel the juggernaut so that he can defend his flag. So the capper needs a raider to flashbang the HoF and bounce him around with grenades. So the HoF needs another defender to stay close to him and pin down the raider. So the capper might need an infiltrator to...

Basically, both the core of the offence (the capper) and the core of the defence (the HoF) have vital roles, but they are roles that they can not complete without heavy support from their teammates due to how narrow their focus is and how poorly equipped they are to deal with most threats.

Of course, there are still sentinel snipers; not getting shot down by them is a pain. I mean, dayumn it's unforgiving if you're not pixel-perfect, but good snipers can easily be team MVPs.

Basically what you're saying is that for CTF mode to work there needs to be teamwork. So I can see why its not really working.. ;) I imagine it would be a lot more fun with stacked teams.

Tribes:Ascend was my introduction to the series but I can already say it is one of my favorite fps's so far this year just because of how different it is than generic military shooter X.

There is just something about going over 200mph and getting that lucky blue plate special that has me more excited about an fps than I have been for awhile.

Although it is a bit of a grind to get the required xp for just one upgrade usually but it is heartening to see that you can't just buy everything in the game, gold purchases are restricted to the first purchase, and all upgrades for it are earned through xp, which doesn't place the game strictly into a pay to win scenario which is a good place to be.

Excludos:
A large, outdoor, open area, 2 flags on each side, some base defenses to protect it, and lots and lots O' hills. In this mode you will also be able to buy with the in game money system you earn by doing pretty much everything. This mode is the pinnacle of the Tribes series..and it just does not work. The vehicles are just a tad too weak, the base defenses are just a tad too powerful, and funnily enough, you're just a bit too slow. Most games in this matchup ends up with a campout at the flag, with no one daring to try to go for the enemy's flag, because they are doing just the exact same thing.

This just isn't the case, only if there are a handful of people on the server and I haven't seen that for a looong while, only I played it for the first time, and that was when it was still well within closed beta.
Though I would imagine that'd be more true with people in lower ranks, assuming the matchmaking service really doesn't throw me together with lower ranked people(I never look at peoples ranks in the tab menu thingy where they show the match stats and so on, so I really don't know here).

This game is very difficult, but EXTREMELY fun. Personally, I am garbage at it, though I have played a lot of it. I'm just not very good at games where I have to compete with other hoomans... but man is it fun.

The XP comes faster than one would think, by the way. Also you get 1200 XP for every first win of the day, which is nice.
But yes some weapons are indeed grossly overpriced, and that's a bit unfortunate. :(

I love this game. Ain't like those other slow ass shooters where you only go like what, 30 mph? PFFFT Come on, step it up.

 

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