Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Old Friend Returns

Way back in the day (something like 1998) PC games really seemed to take off. The rise of 3D graphics add-on cards was in full swing and games were taking advantage of the technology. 28.8k modems were all over the place, opening up new worlds of online gaming for the masses. Yes, 28.8k modems. Broadband was still a few years away.

I was playing the likes of Half-Life and Unreal, immersed in rich worlds the likes of which I had never experienced. Half-Life would go on to spawn Team Fortress, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and my beloved Portal and even more beloved Portal 2. Unreal? Well, I swept that game under the rug and moved on.

But there was another game--a third little gem in the triumvirate that provided me joy for years. It was spawned from another franchise that started with promise but didn't do nearly so well. But this game got it right.

Starsiege: Tribes still holds a place as one of my favorite games--well, franchises. I played the living hell out of Tribes. And when its successor, Tribes 2, came along, I was once again immersed in the large scale battles with jet packs propelling soldiers across the battlefield while they fired their spinfusor discs wildly and with reckless abandon.

I skipped Tribes: Vengeance. It looked like a huge bundle of failure and, apparently, lived up to that assessment. But now...

Now Tribes: Ascend has dropped onto the gaming community like a um...wait, I've got something for this...um...two-ton...er...heavy thing!

Skeptical but hopeful, I downloaded it and fired it up. I had nothing to lose because, well, it's Free 2 Play. Free is good. Even if it is worse than a zombie clown hiding under my bed, it's free so I lost nothing except a little bit of time.

But if it's good...oh man, if it's good...

Is it good? Yes, I say. It was as if I'd never left. I strapped on my jetpack, armed myself, and was immediately flying through the air majestically like an eagle...piloting a blimp! Okay, yeah, I had a few manuevering problems at first but, well, I had those problems in the past. So nothing had changed. Perfect!

There are still some mechanics I am getting used to--vehicles are "bought" with credits (if I remember correctly) which are earned in-game. And many of my weapons are still locked. I assume I can unlock them by leveling--yes, Hi-Rez has added a certain roleplaying element to the game--but only a touch. You won't be assigning stat points to your character but I did see special abilities that you could apparently acquire.

Honestly, I'm fine with just flying through the air, running into stuff, and shooting things. Again--FREE! As far as I'm concerned, I've already gotten my money's worth out of the game. But, yes, I will continue playing. I do not plan on spending any money on the game so we'll see just how "free 2 play" it is.


Matt D said...

Coo, definitely thinking about checking this one out.

Matt said...

Good to hear, I've been curious about this one. I loved Tribes to bits.