Review by Protoman

"It's Tribes 1 on steroids."

GAMEPLAY-(9)- They didn't stray too far from the original's game play, but there was nothing wrong with it to begin with.
Like the first one everyone is divided into 2 teams. The goal is to capture the enemy's flag and return it to your flag to gain a point. There are 8 game play modes in all, including ''CTF''(the most common game mode), ''Siege''(one team attacks, one team defends), ''Rabbit''(like playing tag with guns), and standard deathmatch (which nobody plays).
You can also play a Lan game by yourself and battle with up to 16 bots. The bot AI is average- and you're restricted to only a few maps, why? I'm guessing they didn't take the time to program the bots to battle on the other 75% of the maps.

All the old guns return with some tweaks and new looks. Joining them are the shocklance and the missle launcher. The shocklance is an electrical prod like device that requires you to get right up to your victom. If you hit them in the back it's usually an instant kill to any armor class. Use the shocklance with a cloaking pack and you can go play a spy role, backstabbing enemies and destroying base structures undetected.

My personal favorite feature is the new vehicles:
-Shrike- A fast attack scout plane with dual lasers. Used as an air-to-air response, or as light ground support.
-Beowolf-An awesome looking hover tank. A seat for the driver, and another seat for the gunner. The gunner can switch between the tanks machine guns or main cannon.
-Jericho-slow but sturdy, this 4 wheeled vehicle is a mobile inventory station. When deployed it also sets up a sensor jammer and missle turret for self defense.
-Wildcat-A very fast hover cycle with no weapons. Can only be used by light armor.
-Thundersword Bomber-You guessed it, a bomber. Carries 3 people, a pilot, a tailgunner, and a bombardier. The tailgunner's job is to shoot down enemy's in pursuit, and also release flares to confuse missles. The bombardier controls a rotating turret, and also the bomb payload.
-Havoc-A 6 man transport. Carries up to 4 Juggernaut armors, a tailgunner, and a pilot.

The Command menu returns again, this time it has a lot more versatility. The command menu gives you a map of the battlefield with markers of buildings and players. It's suppose to be used by the ''team leader'' to command everyone in an RTS style. But It's just another teamplay feature that collects dust(alot like the targeting-laser/mortar combo that nobody ever used in tribes 1), and when some newbie does try to use it people just ignore their commands.
The vehicles were really aimed toward promoting teamplay as well, and they sound good on paper, but don't work out in practice. Unfortunately it's hard enough to find someone to be a gunner for your beowolf. But it's even more futile trying to pull together a crew for your Thundersword bomber. And good luck getting anyone to jump into your Havoc transport. That would have to be the one flaw in the gameplay of tribes... but it's really not a game design fault, the problem is you just can't force 15 strangers to organize themself's and work as a cordinated team.

GRAPHICS-7- Don't be fooled by the 7 score... The graphics are awesome. The textures and weapon models are all very good. The enviroments are huge, complete with trees, rivers, and other eye candy. A great improvement over tribes 1's bland levels. In fact, the graphics are all around top notch- But unfortunately you'll probably never see them. Tribes 2 is a huge resource cruncher. My 500 mhz PIII, 128 RAM, voodoo 5 5500 machine grinded to an unplayable mess even in single player mode. playing on a Lan is usually ok when I have the graphics at half. But I have to play with most the graphics turned all the way down to play online (I'm 56k, which doesn't help much). I'm not the only one that has this problem either, you'll need a computer with a hell of a lot of horsepower to pull this game off with full graphics.
If you see Tribes 2 in a store and have a 56k... just keep on walking by. Anything less than a DSL or Cable would be pointless considering the unplayable lag you get on 56k. You may notice on the Tribes 2 box there is one requirement missing- It doesnt tell you the required modem type. They couldn't list DSL as required because a lot of people are still on 56k, and they can't say 56k is required because they can't make promises they can't keep.

PRESENTAION-9- Cool box, cool intro, nice manual, decent tutorial (still not good enough for the difficult gameplay of tribes), and easy to use interface. You'll be able to join into games easy and fast.

SOUND-9- The music is tight, as always. But dynamix is trying to milk this cash cow a little farther by selling a Tribes 2 soundtrack that includes 5 whole tracks from T2. That's a cheap move considering Tribes 1 let you listen to the music off the game CD itself. The weapons and vehicles sounds are all as well done as the music. The voices however aren't as good as the first ones, especially the annoying bot voice.

LASTING APPEAL-10- Endless multiplayer fun. Hundreds of servers, and a creative mod community will make this game last a long time.

OVERVIEW-8- It's basically tribes 1 with a lot of cool new features and a HUGE makeover in graphics. It keeps everything that made tribes great and improves on it. But beware the ''minimum required specs'' on the box. If you don't have at least 128 RAM, 400 mhz, DSL or better, and a 3rd generation 3d card (Voodoo 4 or 5, or geforce 2 [geforce is best]) then you might want to settle for the first tribes (Or wait for a tribes 2 demo to come out, and see then if your system can handle it.)

Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/03/01, Updated 04/03/01

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