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AusGamers Games
Tribes: Ascend
Tribes: Ascend

PC
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios Official Site: http://www.tribesascend.com
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Release Date:
13th April 2012
Tribes: Ascend

Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Official Site: http://www.tribesasce...
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Release Date:
13th April 2012
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Click To View the Tribes: Ascend Video
Tribes: Ascend Review
Review By @ 02:27pm 18/04/12
PC
While many gamers will point to games like Quake, Unreal or Half-Life as prime catalysts for their current FPS obsession, many others will point at Dynamix 1998 classic Starsiege: Tribes for priming their competitive gaming beginning. One of the more revolutionary games of the day, Tribes (along with DICE’s debut: Codename Eagle) introduced the sprawling team-based shooter, complete with enormous maps, dynamic play and, of course, jetpacks.

Tribes 2 is still considered to this day to be one of the best examples of how to develop a large-scale battle, being the first title to allow for a whopping 128 simultaneous players (still uncommon over 10 years later) extensive modification and hands down delivering some of the best maps of any multiplayer sandbox FPS. Significant hype was ploughed into its sequel, which released three years later to a relatively soft critical and commercial reception.

What Vengeance lacked was the tactical functions, speed and tight precise controls that made its predecessors so popular. With a simpler, more conventional playstyle, traditional tribesmen deserted the game in droves, effectively pushing the series into obscurity as the rising tide of Battlefield and Call of Duty swept in to pick up the pieces. Tribes, to the dismay of thousands, was dead.



So when Hi-Rez Studios, the up and coming developer of a reasonably popular F2P title called Global Agenda, announced they had taken over the IP, many were naturally skeptical. While GA contained a lot of elements that had been obviously influenced by Tribes, including jetpacks, chunky weapons and fast-paced play, it fell short on almost every other level. Things weren’t looking good for a revival.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the early stages of a closed beta for Tribes: Ascend, my confidence boosted prior thanks to some amazing gameplay videos that had been released by the developer. After a long and grueling patch process, I rushed my way through the menus and found, excitedly, that Hi-Rez had Australian servers ready to go, in a beta no-less. It wasn’t long after this point that my head exploded.

Tribes: Ascend is the most pure representation of the Tribes experience since Tribes 2 perfected it back in 2001. Almost every single part of the experience has been tweaked and improved, classes reborn and expanded, maps detailed and sprawling. You can ski like a master within minutes, but perfecting your routes, jumps and jetpack tactics are still the aim of the game.

Hi-Res has spent months poring over the original games, talking to the original developers, and taking notes from the community. It shows. Almost everything, from that noise your spinfusor makes when you launch a disc, to the “SHAZBOT!” people yell in anguish once they lose a match, is all there. All of this would be unbelievable in a conventional title, but it’s the fact that T:A is free that propels this into easily one of the best games launched this year.



But enough dry humping. Tribes: Ascend is not just a remake of a classic, it’s an evolution in every sense of the word. Instead of stripping out and changing what made the original so much fun, the developers have built and improved on things, such as providing completely customisable classes through unlockable weapons, perks and upgrades. Credits earned during a match can be used to drop an aerial strike on top of your enemy, or a mobile inventory kiosk for your teammates.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is the speed. Ascend is one of the fastest games you will ever play, where it’s not unheard of to clock over 200km/hr as you make a calculated dive past turrets to punch through the open flag point, prompting your opponents to start racing behind you at similar speeds. Clever combinations of slope manipulation and jetpack utilisation can be the key between ending up like meatloaf or capping a well earned point for your team.

Playing Ascend reminds you of the days when pinpoint accuracy and anticipating movements trumped spray and pray. The emphasis on aerial combat requires a keen eye and cat like reflexes, as demonstrated in some of the videos on YouTube, where players slit throats during a midair pass, or pass the flag while evading a pursuer. It’s good, then, that the game flows at a tight 60fps and your success is linked entirely to your skill-set, equipment, and ping.

Many thought the introduction of a F2P monetisation system would ruin the game, but thankfully, it doesn’t. Progression through the classes and weapon pickups can be expedited with a few dollars, but upgrades to equipment can only be made with experience points accumulated during play. As a result, the edge you are provided by getting quick access to weaponry depends entirely on your ability to use it. Let’s just say that most new players don’t tend to have that advantage.

It’s a testament to the understanding of how a competitive FPS is played that the system is in no way pay-to-win. Experienced “free” players can still wipe the floor with their hard-earned gear, but lobbing the developers $10 will give you an EXP boost that makes progression a lot easier. It’s the first time, after playing many F2P titles, that I’ve felt a game deserved payment, since it never forced or coerced me to do so.



The game is still a work in progress, and I think Hi-Res pushed for an early launch to grow its player-base. Quite a lot is still unavailable, such as full access to custom and ranked servers, a couple of game modes and some of the equipment. There are a few niggling bugs in the menus and the UI could use a little more tweaking. But that’s really just nitpicking, since the pace of updates are almost daily, and new content has been added every couple of weeks.

If you have ever played Tribes, then you need to stop reading right now and download this game. There is no other argument that I, or anyone else for that matter, could make that should prevent you from playing this masterpiece. For everyone else, especially those looking for something different, you also have no excuses. Not only is this game free, but it has local servers, varied and challenging classes, fun maps and a reasonable learning curve.

Welcome back you grizzled, old, amazing bastard.
WHAT WE LIKED
It’s free!
It’s authentic tribes!
Local servers!
WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE
Umm. Llamas?
MORE...
WE GAVE IT:
10.0
OUT OF 10
AusGamers
Latest Comments
Sile
Posted 03:11pm 18/4/12
Another 10? wow!
Tollaz0r!
Posted 03:19pm 18/4/12
It didn't seem that good to me. I played the beta for a few weeks then got over it. It was smooth, the graphics where nothing special. I found it to be a little 'empty'?

I should probably point out that I didn't play the original tribes much either.

last edited by Tollaz0r! at 15:19:55 18/Apr/12
Outlaw
Posted 03:57pm 18/4/12
vgtg
casa
Posted 04:11pm 18/4/12
I found it to be a little 'empty'?

Try playing on a server with people on it then.

F*** I'm funny.
focal
Posted 04:22pm 18/4/12
It's one of the best shooters on PC atm IMO. The learning curve is high so it takes a while for everything to sink in and click. Pulling off clutch plays in CTF are awesome fun.
teq
Posted 04:25pm 18/4/12
GOTY

I was heavily addicted to the first one back in '98, s*** was epic
I did grab the beta for this one and pre-purchased it for $29 or whatever that deal was, but I haven't played it much since so I dunno

hard to believe any game can get a perfect 10, there would be something wrong with it
does it have a dedicated server executable? if not that is instant -5 points
casa
Posted 04:27pm 18/4/12
Afaik they host their own dedicated servers locally and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. Only ever had one server crash in all of the beta playing to level ~17.
teq
Posted 04:32pm 18/4/12
I still dont understand why more people arent upset that we're losing the battle against dedicated servers
look at bf3, you've gotta pay money to get your own

I have a shipload of bandwidth at my disposal in Brisbane, I could have easily thrown up a few 64 player servers which would have only made the BF3 community better, but no, I can't because they don't want anyone running servers

my conspiracy theory on this is that they want the game to die in a not-so-distant future, so they can sell bf4.
if bf3 was still being played in 10+ years like counter-strike, they'd have a lot more trouble selling the latest game every 12 months.
eski
Posted 05:22pm 18/4/12
It's because the battle was lost, and we moved on. You're dead right though, EA retain the right to kill their own games whenever they choose. Makes good business sense, but like so much else that's happening these days it's poo for the consumer. Ahhh, the joys of a free market.

Gonna give Tribes a shot tonight. How large/long does the client take to download?
focal
Posted 05:24pm 18/4/12
I think the client is about 2-3 Gb

Edit by Eorl - No referral links please.

last edited by Eorl at 18:29:19 18/Apr/12
Viper119
Posted 06:06pm 18/4/12
Man I loved the original Tribes, some of the best gaming memories I have are from smashing it out on that late at night. I'll grab this and check it out.

DK
Posted 06:10pm 18/4/12
Lots of fun. Nothing comes to the feeling of killing the flag carrier mid air with a sick spin fuser shot!
casa
Posted 06:13pm 18/4/12
I have a shipload of bandwidth at my disposal in Brisbane, I could have easily thrown up a few 64 player servers which would have only made the BF3 community better, but no, I can't because they don't want anyone running servers

I'm not trying to s*** on you, but seriously as if you could be bothered maintaining said servers when there is barely any beneficial gain anymore? Local dedicated servers in Brisbane were ideal back in the days of s*** network code and dialup... now with phat bandwidth pipes etc I hardly see the need to worry about all that s*** anymore.

They provide lag free, hassle free, cheat free, servers and I am definitely not going to whinge about that.
XandraX
Posted 06:16pm 18/4/12
It's my favourite game at the moment and I've been playing Tribes games constantly for over a decade.

This does not deserve a 10.

-It doesn't have proper dedicated private servers (all run through Hi-Rez) so you can't set up your own rules at the moment.
-It doesn't have a decent tournament mode (even though they're going for the E-Sports angle).
-It doesn't have in-game demoing (you need to run Fraps etc).
-The balance is still off and doesn't work for pub or comp play (snipers and shrikes dominate and there is no reason to kill them as they re-spawn in the same spot 4 seconds later).
-The game is still buggy and the servers crash often (especially PUG and custom servers).
-There aren't enough maps, and all of the maps are similar size except for one.
-There is no public map-making tool.
-The CTF tutorial isn't comprehensive enough so new players (beside being absolutely slaughtered) often do the wrong thing and piss off the whole team while not understanding why.

Still, if they get the server and map-making issues sorted, I can see myself playing this for many years to come, and I only spent $15.
Reality
Posted 06:27pm 18/4/12
the maxplayers limit is too small.. no 32 vs 32?
joerocket10r
Posted 06:53pm 18/4/12
people QQ about a game when its free....wtf?
do0b
Posted 07:04pm 18/4/12
10? lolwut gtfo
DM
Posted 11:13pm 18/4/12
I wanna play this but it's so fast paced I don't think i'd be any good.
DeadlyDav0
Posted 12:19am 19/4/12
I thought it was pretty good although the complexity of CTF im not a fan of. Clan matches sure, but random pub games can be a pain. Id prefer a invulnerable structures mode where its simple CTF, none of this blow up the generator then rape your base f*****ry.

I wanna play this but it's so fast paced I don't think i'd be any good.

If you prefer a slow paced game you will struggle. But if you dont mind fast paced games with jetpacks its pretty damn fun.

Lots of fun. Nothing comes to the feeling of killing the flag carrier mid air with a sick spin fuser shot!

Agreed. I had tonnes of fun just camping about 20m behind our flag on one of the maps and moving to defend against incoming people after the flag/generator. And with a steady stream of enemies coming, it wasnt boring at all.

The TDM with carry the flag was kinda lame though. 1 dude grabs the flag, a few defend him, a few chase after him and the rest just clusterf*** in the middle ignoring the flag.

I should play more tomorrow.
teq
Posted 02:37am 19/4/12
They provide lag free, hassle free, cheat free, servers and I am definitely not going to whinge about that.

I'm a network admin for an ISP, hence heaps of bandwidth available
I was given a task of setting up game servers and making them quota-free for our customers, but that is not possible with a great many games these days
Raven
Posted 07:07am 19/4/12
Played a game of this last night - it was pretty freaking awesome. But the default keybinds *suck*, so that's going to take a lot of work to fix.
DeadlyDav0
Posted 08:56am 19/4/12
Played a game of this last night - it was pretty freaking awesome. But the default keybinds *suck*, so that's going to take a lot of work to fix.

I easily changed to my ESDF layout although there are more surrounding buttons than normal and im still trying to figure out whats more important to have close by.
Raven
Posted 09:22am 19/4/12
It still baffles me how 'WASD' and similar layouts have become the de-facto standard. And I still fail to understand the criticism of my use of SDFC. Having to extend your middle finger as a normal use key just makes no sense to me.

But what really annoyed me was how one second I'd be aiming a Spinfusor and the next I'd get a close-up of Red teams snatch.
Worse was the external camera keybind that was in the way all the time.
Reverend Evil
Posted 09:31am 19/4/12
Tribes was a fantastic game back in the day so I think I'll give this one a try.
trog
Posted 09:43am 19/4/12
They provide lag free, hassle free, cheat free, servers and I am definitely not going to whinge about that.
See if you feel that way when you've dropped $90 on a game and they decide to shut down the dedicated servers to make you upgrade to the next version, which happens pretty regularly. Or when your platform of choice is having network problems making the game unplayable and noone fixes it for 6 weeks, because you live in Australia and there is only a tiny market so it gets rated way, way down on their list of things to fix.

Your point is totally valid though - most end users simply don't care about not having dedicated servers. The vast majority of noobs out there just want to click play and have it, well, play. But if you care about having games that are accessible for as long as YOU want and under circumstances you can have some control over, you need to be aware that a closed server model is simply another form of DRM that they can wield against you.
jconradr
Posted 10:10am 19/4/12
Will have to try it out!
glynd
Posted 10:50am 19/4/12
It still baffles me how 'WASD' and similar layouts have become the de-facto standard. And I still fail to understand the criticism of my use of SDFC. Having to extend your middle finger as a normal use key just makes no sense to me.


I find SDFC little bit too far away from shift and ctrl. WASD makes Q,E,TAB,Shift,Ctrl and what not all easily accessible imo. your middle finger is longer anyway so you're not exactly "extending" it. each to the own...thank god for key binding


played a bit last night. pretty fun but don't know about 10/10. Once I get playing a bit and get used to the game i think i'll have a lot more fun. It is nice to have a jump in and kill game again.
reso
Posted 11:07am 19/4/12
Saw you on the TDM last night glynd :)

It is nice to have a jump in and kill game again.


Probably one of my favourite things about it as well. It feels really really good too. Just need to nerf all the classes except for Pathfinder ;P
joerocket10r
Posted 06:41pm 19/4/12
had a few rounds last night, blacklight s**** all over this game in free2play genre
HyperJ
Posted 09:24pm 19/4/12
Anybody who played tribes 2 uses esdf, I know i still do for any FPS

There is no way this deserves 10/10 they have dumbed it down way to far, other than grav bike vehicles are useless, no mobile point bases, no bomber, no target painter, no controllable turrets, no remote sensors, no barrels on turrets, no motion sensors.
glynd
Posted 10:01pm 19/4/12
Saw you on the TDM last night glynd :)



haha you would have seen some wicked skiing bra :P god i was terrible.
Raider
Posted 10:10pm 19/4/12
no game should ever get a 10 because there's no such thing as a perfect game.
Taipan
Posted 10:12pm 19/4/12
Tribes to was and still is my all time number 1 favourite FPS. For me personally nothing else has ever come close to it, so many fond memories.
ravn0s
Posted 10:14pm 19/4/12
no game should ever get a 10 because there's no such thing as a perfect game.


a game doesn't need to be perfect to score a 10.
Raider
Posted 12:20am 20/4/12
It should, 10/10 is stating the game is 100% which in reality no game ever is.... and with the way ratings are scored these days compared to the old days where HL was like what a 9? Which is 10x better then what 9 or 10 games are these days.

I honestly think reviews need to go back to what they used to be, too much politics these days to give good reviews even if the game is s***.
skythra
Posted 12:29am 20/4/12
people QQ about a game when its free....wtf?

Just because it's free doesn't mean it's a perfect game. Just because we're not admitting it's perfect doesn't mean we're QQing. Besides, qqing is a term from the 90's. Grow up.

Secondly to raider; also you should grow up. If you want to run your own review system, start a blog. You might have defined 100% as some kind of unobtainable theory placeholder, but the truth is that isn't how Ausgamers decides things. Stop trying to compare how some run their far more successful business than your bellyaching.

If your reviews were vs ausgamers reviews; i'd have to give them a 10 because in comparison to yours, it's from god.

Edits as i couldn't write coherently.
Khel
Posted 12:26am 20/4/12
It should, 10/10 is stating the game is 100%


Maybe in your mind it is, unfortunately the reality disagrees with you. Its not like the game is trying to pass a test and its scoring points for getting answers right or something. Its just a rating that indicates the quality of the game, same way that you can have a five star motel or a three hat restaurant.
Eorl
Posted 07:52am 20/4/12
If we could never give 10/10's we would have to make a 11/11 system and just give games 10/11's.
Azaria
Posted 08:54am 20/4/12
Or you could read the review and make an informed decision instead of letting an arbitrary number at the end determine everything?
DM
Posted 03:30pm 20/4/12
Playing this now and it's quite fun!. Really enjoying it despite me kind of sucking the fat one at skiing.
ctd
Posted 08:38pm 20/4/12
Downloaded this and heyyy its pretty fun. Free as well.

Nerd weekend this weekend - dota2 and tribes
DM
Posted 09:17pm 20/4/12
I love being the infiltrator, stealthing into an enemy base and blowing up their generator then picking off the people who come to repair it with mines.
DeadlyDav0
Posted 09:25pm 20/4/12
F*****g invisaf*** going after the generator.
XandraX
Posted 09:42pm 20/4/12
I love being the infiltrator, stealthing into an enemy base and blowing up their generator then picking off the people who come to repair it with mines.


You are everything wrong with everything ever.
Raven
Posted 09:47pm 20/4/12
He sounds like the perfect team mate to me. That's exactly what Tribes is about.
DM
Posted 11:35pm 20/4/12
I'd rather be considered a prick who helps out his team by being an annoying bastard to the other side, than being a useless team mate because I can't aim well or ski fantastically.
DeadlyDav0
Posted 11:43pm 20/4/12
Soz Xandrax you're wrong and raven is right. Tribes is about teamwork and disabling the enemy team. Nothing like destroying the generator to disable radar, turrents, inventory station and give your team a better chance of escaping with flag.

Personally, id prefer an invulnerable generator option for servers so that the game would just be a simple CTF with jet packs but i know there are the hardcore tribes fans who love the tactics of structure destruction.

I havent even moved past the initial light armour dude. Having fun upgrading his s*** to better pwn people trying to steal the flag.
Viper119
Posted 05:43am 23/4/12
Just downloaded and started playing this, fricken awesome! Can see it being a total time sink.

So like the original Tribes its way old school! My username is Viper119 if any peeps want to jam.
casa
Posted 07:35am 23/4/12
See if you feel that way when you've dropped $90 on a game and they decide to shut down the dedicated servers to make you upgrade to the next version
I'm not one for caring majorly about s*** like that. Great thing about tribes is I've only sunk $9 into it and wouldn't even fathom spending any more.

Oh ps people should add me to their freinds list, i'm either "Casa" or "casacains" can never remember which one.
groganus
Posted 07:56am 23/4/12
Stoped playing swtor for a few hours to check it out... was looking everywhere for the funny hat system but couldn't find it.
kirkoswald
Posted 01:05am 24/4/12
I almost wished they didnt make it ftp.... i dont usually go for ftp games...
trog
Posted 08:45am 24/4/12
I'm not one for caring majorly about s*** like that. Great thing about tribes is I've only sunk $9 into it and wouldn't even fathom spending any more.

Oh ps people should add me to their freinds list, i'm either "Casa" or "casacains" can never remember which one.
I guess one of the big differences between "now" and "then" is that back in the old days, games were fewer and further between. Now you don't even have time to blink before there's a new game out that people are playing, so you can afford to have a much short attention span. Games don't need to have a longer lifecycle because chances are you'll stop playing them naturally anyway and move on to other games.

Of course, this is 100% the exact opposite thing to do if you want to make money from your games over a long time period, as the freemium industry has demonstrated - it generates all that cash and results in massive revenue increases by keeping players interested enough to keep playing to the point that they are prepared to dump money into the game to enhance the ecosystem for them in various ways (like.... hats?).

last edited by trog at 08:45:48 24/Apr/12
focal
Posted 10:05am 24/4/12
Phooks
Posted 09:06pm 25/4/12
Just getting into this and... jesus guys seriously DL this game. It's amazing

There's nothing like getting you and a mate to singlehandedly decimate the enemy team. Like flying at 200km/h and grabbing the flag MILLISECONDS after your mate did an orbital bombardment.

There's so many skillshots in this game that will make you jizz. 10/10 will probably be spending some $$ on this
Viper119
Posted 10:08pm 25/4/12
I'm starting to get my disk (spinfuser) accuracy up and am nailing peeps!

I also like how they made skiing a button feature, rather then the old school repeat jumping.

I do hope they fix some of the minor buggyness in future updates. It'd also be good if they reverted to a bit more traditional Tribes-esque stuff in relation to the vehicles and inventory/class management.

Does anyone know if there's visibility of their development roadmap for stuff like the above?

Best fun I've had playing online multiplayer in years!





Raven
Posted 09:51am 26/4/12
Oh wow. I'm not at all ashamed to admit I spent all of ANZAC day playing this. Seems a little odd though :P

The biggest mistake I made was not paying for a booster before staring playing. The unlocks are the biggest pain in the ass in this game - I haven't yet accumulated enough XP to unlock the raider.
However I've spent a bit of XP upgrading the Pathfinder (35%), which I have to say makes a massive difference to your survival; when you're playing at the pointy end of the rankings on a public server, an extra shotgun shot in a clip makes all the difference; 4% regen makes the difference between a 228km/h ski and a 245km/h ski (or it could just be me getting better at it, but I'm not convinced that's it).

One thing I haven't quite nailed yet is how lag and latency affect hit zones. Ie server vs client calculated. An ITTS mod would be awesome, though maybe cheating a little (lot), but my accuracy is getting back up there after what, 7+ (?)* years of having never played an FPS outside Portal.

Is buying the 49.99 gold pack enough to unlock everything?
That seems to be roughly the equivalent of buying an off-the-shelf game.


* = Note that no, this is not a regular expression.
focal
Posted 10:38am 26/4/12
I don't think you can unlock everything with the $50 gold pack. But you can unlock almost everything worth unlocking. Some unlocks are really needed for some classes, some unlocks are sidegrades/personal preference and some are pointless. At this stage you should save some/a lot of your gold for future updates and gold only purchases (skins, your own server, class packs, boosters). The xp booster you get in the pack can give you 10k xp a game in some cases, maybe 3k average.

how to spend your xp/gold

Don't unlock any classes or perks with gold, use xp.
Don't unlock Sentinel if you don't like sniping
Go to target practice to try out all weapons before unlocking them.

last edited by focal at 10:38:17 26/Apr/12
DeadlyDav0
Posted 12:26pm 26/4/12
One thing I haven't quite nailed yet is how lag and latency affect hit zones. .

I had issue with that. A few times i flew head on @ an enemy and fired shotgun @ near point blank range and found hitting was difficult. Not sure if i have to aim ahead to take lag into consideration.

Nailing a spinfusor long range shot on the enemy flag carrier is still awesome though although i had a dude raging that it was the noob tube of the game. WTF.
Outlaw
Posted 11:10am 01/5/12
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