Tribes 2 Hands-On

Tribes 2 sports new graphics, new weapons, bigger environments, faster vehicles and more - see what more we learned when we played it first-hand at E3.


Tribes 2 was playable and looked fairly far along in development when we saw it at E3. Although we didn't get a chance to hear the soundtrack provided by Motley Crüe, we did get a good look at the new graphics engine in action. Like the original, Tribes 2 is an online first-person shooter in which you team up with your allies and storm your enemies' base. You'll once again be able to don varying types of armor and wield a variety of powerful weapons depending on your specific role in the conflict. And as in the original, you'll be able to re-equip yourself back at base whenever you like, in order to account for the constantly shifting battlefield conditions.

The gameplay takes place on a number of different planets that will have their own unique appearances, topography, weather, and in some cases, natural disasters. We didn't get to see all the new weather effects, but were told that the completed game would feature snow, rain, lightning storms, quicksand, and more. Fortunately, we did get to see some of the new weapons in action. The newly-revamped disc thrower packs an even bigger punch than before, while the deadly new rocket launcher can fire a tracking smart missile that skims the terrain with unerring accuracy toward a foe that's hundreds of meters away. The only catch with the smart missile is that you'll need an advance scout to spot your enemy for you, and to keep him in sight while the missile is tracking. We watched as a missile was fired toward a low-flying vehicle that tried to swoop behind a nearby hill for cover - but the missile maneuvered just the same, and smashed the vehicle anyway.

As for the vehicles, Tribes 2 is revamping the various available means of locomotion: The flying craft was shown to move realistically and fluidly - and quickly - across the sky, making it seem highly effective in supporting and transporting the members of the team.

In addition, we got to see the new BioDerm race on the battlefield - they look big and mean, but they're essentially just an alternate set of skins and models. They don't have their own weapons or special abilities. Nevertheless, they should help distinguish the competing sides in battle.

The original Starsiege: Tribes was an excellent multiplayer shooter that quickly earned an avid following that's still playing the game many months later. Fans of the original will find that the sequel is staying true to the formula, and is taking efforts to add to and improve the game rather than to redesign it.


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