It's been a while since the GameSpot editors played Tribes 2, but the wait for the newest beta was worth it. While we didn't have trouble with the previous beta, a lot of people couldn't play it due to issues with video cards and other reasons, so most servers were empty or had only two people in them. Now, when we search for servers, we're forced to look for ones that aren't full--a testament to how hard Dynamix has worked on the game.
The most obvious difference between betas I and II is that the game runs a lot more smoothly in beta II. On our test system using an ATI Radeon video card, the game maintains a steady frame rate, even in high resolution at 32-bit color. Some textures were changed, but only on minor things like the generators. A couple of menus were also changed, like the inventory screen, which is easier to use and has a lot more options.
Another noticeable change is that the bots are working. In beta I, bots just stood in the same place and never moved. Now, they are moving and definitely fighting back. The AI of the bots can be very humanlike--they will ski, and the highly skilled bots will lead you with their weapons. For example, they will hit you in the air with the spinfusor, a difficult task for anyone. Bots will even use grenades with deadly results. Turrets also lead you, making them much more dangerous than their Starsiege: Tribes counterparts.
There have also been a few major gameplay changes. Vehicles are no longer prone to getting stuck in the terrain. This is very beneficial because you only get a certain number of these vehicles at one time, and if they were all stuck then you couldn't get any more without destroying them. Also, if land vehicles fall off a cliff and land upside down, they will automatically explode. One of the weapons has also been reworked: the rocket launcher. In beta I, you could fire it at any time. Now you need to have a target locked before the weapon will fire.
The new game looks to be right on track to live up to all the hype surrounding it. Once the remaining bugs and tweaks have been made, the game will be a well-polished action game that is deserving of the Tribes name. For more information about Tribes 2, take a look at our extensive collection of screenshots, movies, and previews of the game. Tribes 2 is scheduled for release at the end of March.