Tribes: Ascend

Just recently, I cracked open a beta key for Tribes: Ascend.

For those of you who don’t know, Tribes is a series of FPS titles that have heavily emphasized speed and skill. You have to know what you’re doing to maintain your speed while aiming your shots correctly to kill your opponents.

Ascend is the latest game in the series, currently in closed beta. It sports a high skill ceiling, all the momentum you could want, and my personal favorite, a distinct lack of hitscan weapons. Almost everything in the game is projectile with momentum, flight pattern, arcs, etc.

Anyway, I jumped into the game, went through a basic skiing tutorial (skiing is a mechanic that allows you to maintain momentum when moving over vast landscapes), and then jumped straight into a Deathmatch.

What awaited was far from the simple futuristic looking FPS that I expected. Instead, I was hurled into a wide open map with players engaged in fast paced chases, struggling to defeat their opponent. As soon as I got passed my first few clumsy lives spent getting used to the skiing and jet pack, I immediately started to rain explosives onto an unfortunate Pathfinder. The glorious rush as he skied over hill after hill, trying to hit me with his own weapon until he finally ate enough to fall over was incredible. The kill was unspeakably clumsy, as I spent almost all of my ammo on just one target, but it was incredibly satisfying despite dying soon after. Soon, I was traveling at ludicrous speeds, roaming around the map until I happened upon an ally chasing an opponent (or the other way around), whereby I jumped in and tipped the scales of that skirmish in my favor.

I didn’t care about my K/D ratio or how clumsy I was, I was having an absolute blast.

I left the group of players after a few matches to look into the class upgrades, finding a total of nine classes, each with their own specialty. I looked at the Soldier class, the one that I had been playing so much and spent my gained Experience to upgrade my Thumper DX to have more ammo. I also pumped points into my armor and energy reserves, before diving into some Capture the Flag.

All I can say about my experience with CTF, is that I will never go back to Deathmatch. The frantic rush as you swoop the enemy’s flag from right under their noses, dodging automated turrets to the musical cue that makes you all too aware of the entire enemy team chasing you, trying to get their flag back. And then realizing that your teammates are jumping in and picking them off, distracting them long enough for you to get back to your own base and then making a glorified entrance to your base, capturing that banner. The feeling is incredible, and you know that isn’t all the mode has to offer. You can sneak into the enemy base and destroy their automated defenses and resupply locations, giving openings to your team. You can hang back at your base, taking down enemies who seek to sabotage your defenses, upgrading them and repairing damage done. Or you could even spend earned credits to purchase vehicles so that you can hit the opponent harder.

I have been left stunned by Tribes: Ascend. And to know that the game is still being refined and improved during it’s time in beta makes me all the more excited. I cannot wait to see where the game goes next., but I hope to be there for it.

Go ahead and check out their website, or get your own beta key by heading over to their Facebook page.

And feel free to add me as a friend in game, where I go by Renzar.

Steve, out.