Tribes Arial Assault
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  • Sierra
  • Sierra
  • Action - Shooter - General, Other
  • 9/25/2002
  • MM
  • memory card
  • 1
  • $5.00
  • Teen
8  |  Tribes: Arial Assault Review
larsoncc , 12/14/2002 11:05:33 AM

Getting the flag back (pic) Tribes: Arial Assault for the PS2 is everything that Unreal Championship (XBox) should have been.  The action is fast, the controls are good, and I played for hours without a single hitch or hiccup in network performance.  Tribes also has the features that were sorely lacking in Unreal, and trumps Unreal with vehicles, jet packs, and seemingly more expansive environments.  The big environments makes sense; the majority of Tribes is played "outdoors", because your jet pack plays such a big role in the game.

There is one area that Unreal Championship kills Tribes in though.  Graphically, Tribes is less than stunning.  I get the distinct impression that the "volumetric fog" is not there as a cool effect, it's there because the entire environment can't be drawn.  The weapon effects are yawn-worthy.  Heck, the weapons themselves induce fatigue.  The character designs are essentially palate swaps of one character (the armor stretches the character design a bit).  I don't mean that the game looks terrible, I just mean that there's PLENTY of room for improvement graphically.

Transports are deadly (pic) What makes Tribes one of the best on-line games out there?  Never mind the graphics, how long are we all supposed to be stunned and amazed by pretty pictures, anyway?  Tribes has a couple of unique features (well, unique on consoles) that set it apart from the other on-line offerings.  The entire "Arial Assault" portion of the Tribes title should give you some indication about it's unique play mechanic.  The jet pack is very easy to get used to.  It adds a lot to the game, because being on higher ground than your opponent is a competitive advantage in nearly all first-person shooters.  Voting: It is seriously cool to be able to vote on game events.  Every once in a while, someone will call a vote - perhaps to suggest a map change, or perhaps to ask if a person should be removed from the game.  Voting is active, quick, and it doesn't interrupt the flow of the game.  Even other games that feature voting (I'm thinking of PC games here) don't really handle it as elegantly as Tribes - it's a click of the start button away.  The way that games are ranked: you can sort the server list based on virtually every factor that is likely to make a difference to you - this makes choosing a game to be much more enjoyable.  The other menu systems are very rich (especially the player config screen), and make it easy to get Tribes to behave exactly the way that you want.  The in-game prompts are fantastic.  There's name of opponent, how much power that opponent has (do I run or fight?!), how far you are away from bases, on-screen "chatter" between players and announcing game events, and more and more and more.  I found the "directional rays" to be very useful - a red line extends from where your opponent is, which gives you an indication of where the player is jet packing to.  Tribes also features a small collection of vehicles.  Vehicles can be a huge boost to the game.  They aren't too powerful, yet they provide an advantage to the players using them.  The game play on-line is nothing short of addictive.  I'd imagine that this game will have a long shelf-life, because it sucked me in and kept me playing for hours.  I love the capture the flag mode.

Nailed the enemy flag carrier (pic) Basically Sierra has done everything right in determining how on-line play should work.  Don't bother with Tribes if you don't have a network adapter, and for the best experience, I'd recommend broadband.  The single-player mode can hardly be described as a game.  If anything, it's a training mode for folks to get used to the on-line version of the game.  In two-player mode, it's not much better.  So there.  Get a network adapter and this game.  Tribes gets an 8/10 (B).

Other Pictures: Guarding the Flag | Combat Just Ahead

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