Tribes: Ascend beta promises great things

THE TECHIE CLASS ATTEMPTS to defend the generator in the base’s basement from an attacking infiltrator (barely visible in stealth mode in the background). The attempt is not going well, as the generator is currently destroyed.

David’s Take

Tribes! When I was just a young pup (still am in some circles, but that’s not the point) Tribes was one of the best, and in fact the only real online multiplayer game; it was in fact the predecessor to games like Counter Strike, and Half-Life Arena. If you go back more than a decade, such powerhouses as Penny Arcade and a lot of other old web comics and video game-based websites found their start with Tribes.

Tribes was the game of the generation before ours, and sadly as such, it is a game most of us never got a chance to really enjoy. Thankfully, there is to be a revival. The Tribes: Ascend beta is in the process of recreating and perfecting that gameplay that we never had the chance to partake in. I’ve never been part of a beta before, and because it’s in beta it predictably has some issues, though that may be because I have a T420. Having said all of that, it’s pretty fun.

In just the little time I have played, it has changed immensely. They’re constantly refining the user interface and readjusting the balance of play. I love what they are doing with it and the game is, as a whole, very fun. It has a class system that makes for an interesting balance structure, and, as usual, there is a techie guy who drops turrets, which is my class of choice in any game. I usually play the CTF mode, which actually gives a techie type a lot of work to do. Each base in CTF has a generator that powers its turrets and radar and so forth, which means I play defense of the flag and the generator, and I spend my time keeping the turrets up and running. I like it. And with the variety of classes available, it is also really easy for me to switch up classes and set off on the offensive, running for the enemy flag and sitting in their proverbial base, killing their proverbial mans. Look into it, it’s a hoot.

James’ Take

Although the Tribes: Ascend beta is technically closed, it seems just about anyone can sign up and get into it. I was able to, and I have negligible previous beta experience. That said, you should definitely join up, because it’s a blast to play. Normally I’m not too big a fan of this type of game, but perhaps being in the beta stage has helped it grow on me. Being able to see the game change and evolve while I play is a unique experience, and one I heartily enjoy.

While you only start off with three basic classes unlocked, as you play you earn experience, which can be used to upgrade your classes or unlock new ones. My personal favorite is the Doombringer; any class with a chaingun usually appeals to me, and this is no exception. With a deployable barrier, frag grenade, heat-seeking rockets, and increased health rounding out the Doombringer’s equipment, how could I resist?

One thing that stands out in Tribes is the movement system. Walking anywhere is just too slow and will instantly mark you as a newbie, because why would you walk when every class has a jetpack and a button that instantly negates friction, allowing you to “skate” over any kind of terrain at increasingly ludicrous speeds? Of course, this makes any kind of bullet-shooting weapon nearly useless in combat, but all classes are also given an area of effect explosive weapon to offset this.

I enjoy playing the beta, especially with a few friends, and I’m sure you will too. Try it out!

Wesley’s Take

I have heard tell of subreddits where old, wise gamers speak around GIFs of campfires in hushed voices of the glory that was Tribes. Now it has returned, in beautiful high-definition graphics for the new generation. I never got to play the original Tribes, so when the opportunity came, I jumped at the chance to experience the update of this piece of PC gaming history.

I am extremely happy that I got the chance. The new beta of Tribes: Ascend is a blast to play. Instead of the boring realism of the recent third installments of the Call of Duty and Battlefield series, Tribes is most akin to Section 8, but adds the aforementioned skiing feature. The standard weapon is a disc launcher with a moderate blast radius, and adapting to using it as a bit of a task. However, it works significantly better than any of the weapons with bullets (with the possible exception of the chaingun, which is my nemesis). The classes are well defined and have specific roles in which each works best.

The one criticism I have for the game in its current form is that there aren’t very many maps, and those that are present are very similar to each other. However, considering it is free to play, it is definitely worth a look.

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