Tribes Ascend is a game about motion. While most modern shooters encourage players to hunker down behind knee-high concrete blocks or camp in corners in order to succeed, Tribes does away with cover and corners altogether.
Indeed it does away with almost all of the peripheral clutter that has built up around first person shooters since the genre shattering success of Call of Duty 4. What’s left? The unadulterated, instinctive and tactile pleasures that made the genre such a success in the first place.
One cannot overstate how important the rhythmic feeling of skiing is to Tribes; it’s simply hypnotic.Skiing makes the player frictionless and means that, with some help from their jetpacks, they can swoop and soar across the game’s accentuated hills and valleys.
This means that battles often resemble dogfights than infantry skirmishes. Encounters become less about shooting at your enemy and more about shooting where you anticipate that they’re going.
Your place in this aerial ballet is up to you and while the speed and unique play style might be difficult to acclimatise to, it’s well worth getting past a few frustrating first rounds.
You can play a Pathfinder, setting the pace and taking up objectives before your enemies even know you’re there. Or maybe a Juggernaut, predicting where the Pathfinder is going and making sure they’re met with your mortar fire. Throw Snipers, Engineers a handful of vehicles into the fray and there’s something for every taste.
Tribes Ascend is a fantastic celebration of everything a PC game can be. Not only is it unafraid to break the mould, it’s also a free-to-play game, embracing a rapidly expanding business model that doesn’t and can’t exist on today’s consoles. Many free to play games are written off as “pay to win” experiences but thanks to a well balanced economy you can still be competitive without paying a dime.
Though a sequel to a game almost a decade old, Tribes Ascend is in many ways a promising glimpse into the future of PC gaming.
Check out Tribes Ascend.