Tribes: Ascend - a shooting game with 'galactic intrigue'
Latest version of the cult series will impress fans and newcomers alike. And it's free to play
What you need to know
Tribes is a series of first-person shooter games set in a distant future, spanning the 33rd to 40th centuries AD, while the back-story of the games begins in 2471, when a scientist, Solomon Petresun, invents the first "cybrid" - a bio-cybernetic hybrid artificial intelligence robot named Prometheus.
Thousands of cybrids are mass-produced as slaves for mankind, but by 2602 Prometheus grows wary of humans and rallies all cybrids against humanity in a devastating slaughter later named The Fire.
Since 1998 there have been six games in the Tribes series, and Tribes: Ascend is a multi-player only version for PC and is free to play. Gamers can pay for various upgrades if they want to access upgraded weapons and accessories more quickly than the free version. This live format means the game can continue to be "fixed" by developers responding to players' criticisms.
What the critics like
The good news is, you don't need to know anything about previous versions of Tribes to enjoy this one, writes Tom Barfield in The Daily Telegraph. Tribes: Ascend is a "worthy successor to its forebears". Its effects are spectacular and have a backdrop of "galactic intrigue".
The game reminds us why shooters were so much fun in the first place, says Pramath at Gaming Bolt. With its "incredible shooting mechanics, genius movement system, gorgeous visual design and glorious vistas" it is "a breath of fresh air".
Rich Stanton at Eurogamer agrees that it carries the Tribes brand forward with honour. "Tribes: Ascend only really does one thing, but does it pretty much perfectly. The best games never die, remember? They evolve."
What the critics don't like
There are very few negative comments although some minor flak has been aimed at some of the more technical aspects: weapons taking too long to unlock and some weapons causing unwanted peripheral damage, but even these faults have been addressed by developers. You can play the free version of the game here.