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Tribes Aerial Assault

Developer: Midway | Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 09/23/02 | Genre: Action

Tribes Aerial Assault had much emphasis placed on it since Sierra was making their first online game for the PS2. In June's issue of Official Playstation Magazine Tribes was described as a game that would surpass Halo in every way imaginable. The Tribes series has had a good reputation on the PC but is Sierra able to make the transition from PC to PS2? Read our review to find out!

There are basically five modes of play which include a single player campaign, single player bot match, multiplayer bot match, one player online play, and two player online play. The single player campaign is very short with a variety of training sessions that help you excel your skill in different areas of the game. The game enables you to play along side AI controlled teammates throughout the single player campaign. The single player campaign is challenging but the small number of missions adds less of a challenge.

Players, who don't have access to a network adapter but purchase this game, will find the most interesting part of the game being the multiplayer modes. The multiplayer modes feature different situations such as capture the flag, death match, team death match, and hunters. The options of bots add a larger challenge to the multiplayer modes in the sense of not just battling your friend but battling the computer controlled opponents as well. The multiplayer mode is the most attractive offline component of this game. If you have a friend along side you will spend countless hours competing or cooperatively working together in the different modes the game has to offer. Sadly enough the game only allows a maximum of two players to play offline

The online play meat of this game. The online play supports both narrowband and broadband connection. Online play consists of the same modes available in offline multiplayer. Broadband allows up to four players to play while broadband supports up to 16 players. Players with a broadband connection will be able to take full advantage of this game. The online play can be fun if you can get into the right game. The game enables you to play split screen online with a friend, which is a blast. The online play does have its share of flaws. The narrowband games tend to lag when there is an excessive amount of players, which leads to disconnection from the game. It is sometimes difficult to find narrowband games, which support less than four players. The more players there are in a narrowband game the more lag there will be. If you want to host game you'd better make sure that you have a very fast connection. The game recommends a T1 connection. The gameplay certainly does not surpass Halo in any way even with the game's online components.

The graphics are nothing great in this game. The character models do not look as detailed as one hoped and some of the gun designs looked like they could have used some more work, though the effect of explosions is done very well. The frame rate is solid during the offline aspect of the game and can be solid during different points when playing online. The environments are very large but are not very rich in detail and seem sometimes similar to one another.

The weapon sounds are great, especially the chain gun. Your characters have some neat voice-overs you will hear during the online and offline play. Sierra could have spent some more time working on the vehicle sounds, which sound bland, unreal. There is menu music, which makes the presentation bland and unprofessional. The speech during the training session is very well done and very straightforward. You shouldn't be struggling too long with the training sessions.

The controls are where the major flaw in the game lies. The game has a very high learning curve. Many gamers will soon get frustrated over the amount of time it takes to learn how to do everything in the game. Don't even bother thinking of playing online without first warming up in the training modes or multiplayer modes unless you want to be humiliated online. The controls are very awkwardly done. The analog uses invert pitch and R2 is to shoot your weapon. One cool feature is the lock-on targeting which can ease some of the pain of figuring out all of the controls. The auto-targeting comes in handy during the online play but will sometimes be disabled because of host options.

With all of the Tribes game modes there will only be two modes that will appeal to everyone which will be the online play and the multiplayer modes. The single player campaign is very short and dull with little plot development. Just make sure that you either have a network adapter with a broadband connection or a friend, which you can play multiplayer with offline as well as online.

Those gamers who want to find a better game than Halo will be sadly disappointed as Tribes lacks the depth Halo did and only contains two modes that are worth playing more than once. To anyone who is thinking about purchasing this game, I would recommend to rent it first, and hopefully if you have a network adapter try the online play out for your self. The high learning curve may shy away gamers from this title but may also attract gamers looking for a challenge.

By Siddharth Masand - 06/01/03
ESRB Details: Violence
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Screenshots for Tribes Aerial Assault

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