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Latest Tribes: Ascend Update Brings Back Disco

RIP

You may have noticed something amiss in the above image. No? Are you sure? Then you might have Synesthesia: Disco Edition. And though that image and its accompanying video seem silly, they’re actually quite touching – given recent incredibly unfortunate events. It is, then, extremely awkward for me to now transition into discussing Cool Guns in a Rad Videogame, but, uh, here I go. Tribes: Ascend‘s “Staying Alive” update – whose name is all at once right and wrong in so very many ways – focuses on the Brute with two guns, a new pack, and more (!).

First up, there’s the Gladiator, which strikes me as an indoor powerhouse with its ability to launch sticky blasts that detonate multiple times. Enemy gunning on your heels right around a hallway corner? Simply fire where he’s going to be, and well, he probably won’t be there for long. The Plasma Cannon secondary weapon, meanwhile, is far more straightforward, providing big stopping power at the expense of a slow fire rate. And then there’s the Survival Pack, which gives a more well-rounded boost to energy and shields than the specialized, er, Energy and Shield packs.

Robust in-game video functionality is this week’s big check mark in the “other” column. It’s handily divided into sections, of which “training” sounds especially nice, given all of Tribes’ learning (and regular) curves compared to other shooters. Players can contribute as they please, so it’ll probably become quite the resource before too long.

So then, all-in-all, it’s another fairly meaty update. I continue to be extremely impressed with the sheer volume of content Hi-Rez fires from its patented Gun-Making Gun, which is – yes – a gun that fires other guns. The functionality features, though – like the aforementioned videos and update three’s personalized sales – are also appreciated. The problem at this point, as I see it, is that it’s already possible to spend more than a full game’s price on unlocks, and that number only stands (or jetpacks, as it were) to grow with time. Perhaps some form of optional subscription or upfront one-size-fits-all fee is in order?

At any rate, the time for talk is over. For the next four minutes, you will view a trailer. Then you may resume previously scheduled speech functions.

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Nathan Grayson

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