Tagging a mid-air enemy with the Spinfusor is
still one of gaming’s coveted skillshots.
Leaping off a speeder bike at high velocity flings you
for ward—a great maneuver for making a move for the flag.
New looks for Tribes’ sci-fi weaponry
surface of a map, using the downward slope
of hilltops to accelerate, and then sling-shotting yourself over more hills and crests
to chain that momentum.
We load into Dry Dock, a rolling landscape with the occasional conifer, overlooked by elephantine capital ships that
crawl through the skybox. I pick a light-armored loadout, and hum out a wide, flat
bunker embedded in the ground connected
to our base. I make for the first mound I
see, floating to the highest point of the
hill—but not over it—and then letting off
the gas as I sled down the other side. I’m
And it feels natural, more than it has in
any other Tribes game. What Ascend seems
to eliminate is that hidden magic of how to
initiate the technique—starting a ski is relatively easy, but maintaining it isn’t.
There’s no auto-correct or training wheels
that do the work for you—it’s still a balancing act of maintaining momentum and
direction while keeping your speed high.
Todd Harris, COO at Hi-Rez, describes
the studio’s approach to adapting skiing—
once a glitch within Tribes—into a primary
mechanic: “We have certainly embraced
skiing more so than within previous Tribes
titles. We’ve added a UI overlay that clearly
communicates to the player how quickly
they are moving while skiing—that helps
motivate you to ski fast enough to hit the
red-zone. We have no code-enforced
maximum speed, meaning an experienced
player can have a huge movement advantage. We’ve also incorporated ski routes
into our level design process so the playable
maps really take advantage of the ski
OC TOBER 2011
OC TOBER 2011