Tribes Vengeance PC DVD-ROM Official Website
by Vivendi Universal Games
Developed by Irrational Games
Release Date: Out Now
Price : £34.99
It's been a long time coming but we finally have the third game in the Tribes series. The first two games, in many way were ahead of their time. In their own ways both were great games and if played correctly were really enjoyable experiences. The problem was that to be enjoyed properly, they required teamwork. The maps were huge and going solo meant you were going to get nowhere fast and also that you would not be able to appreciate the games how they were supposed to be appreciated. Both the first two games were online only (although Tribes 2 did have an offline training mode to help you get used to the game). This time around though there's a full single player game here which can only add to the games appeal.
I'm sure most would have expected the single player campaign that's been included in Tribes Vengeance to have been a rushed effort in order to simply boast of it's presence. This couldn't be further from the truth though and the single player story has been very well done and even if you're not into the multiplayer side of things the game is still worth picking up for the single player game alone. The story revolves around two princesses, a mother and her daughter. The Empire and Tribes are embroiled in what seems like an endless war, a perfect setting for an engaging single player experience. Throughout the game you'll get to play as various characters ranging from a princess to a Phoenix tribesman and even to an assassin. You'll get to play in different moments of time that helps to explain the story in detail. What is particularly impressive is that the single-player game not only manages to keep you interested in the story but also acts as a wonderful showcase for all the game's controls and techniques. Had the game not been released just before the re-appearance of a certain Gordon Freeman, we could have been looking at the best single player FPS experience this year.
Online the game is also very good. The variety in weapons, armour and vehicles (along with the jetpack and skiing mechanics) make this different and more enjoyable than a lot of other online experiences. Games can contain up to 32 players and there are a number of games to participate in. There are five game variants in Tribes Vengeance. Arena, Ball, Fuel, Rabbit and Capture the Flag (explanations of which can be found here clicking on game types). As in previous games good teamwork is essential in most cases and when you all pull together it can be a very satisfying experience. The included multiplayer maps are expansive and perfect for traversing with the included vehicles and the jetpack. Although third party voice communication software will work with Tribes Vengeance the default form of communication is text, so deaf gamers should have no problem at all in enjoying the online experience.
With all the fuss lavished upon Far Cry, Doom III and Half-Life 2 it's easy to forget that other FPS games are quite capable of looking very good. Tribes Vengeance looks very good and on full detail it will manage to put a strain on even the best PCs out there. The game uses an enhanced Unreal engine but to be honest the enhancements must have been extensive as it's almost unrecognisable from the Unreal engine that I remember. Pixel shaders can be enabled and when they are, there are some really nice effects especially on the weapons, armour and water. I really appreciated the way the game allows you to switch to a third person view (using the 'Z' key) as it can make things easier when using the jetpack to traverse awkward terrain.
FPS games have traditionally not been deaf gamer friendly. However the good news is that at last we seem to have developers who really care about deaf gamers. Irrational Games have certainly done a good job of making Tribes Vengeance deaf gamer friendly. The cutscenes are subtitled so you'll be able to enjoy the story as it unfolds. Conversations within the main game itself are displayed in text too but rather than simply have the text appear at the bottom of the screen and there be a possibility of missing something the text has been placed at the top of the screen on a dark overlay. This overlay holds several sentences so even if you don't manage to catch the conversation when it's first spoken you do have a while to read it which is absolutely fantastic. Holding the 'C' key will recall your objectives as well as show you a map of the area that also highlights any checkpoints that need to be reached.
The Tribes games have always been solid, enjoyable online experiences (especially when played properly) and Tribes Vengeance is certainly no exception to this. Whilst a basic single-player experience could have been simply tagged on, Irrational Games have instead created a great single-player experience that alone is worth the asking price and they deserve a lot of credit for doing so and for making the single-player experience deaf gamer friendly. Of course Tribes is mainly known for it's online experience and fans of the series will be happy with this side of Tribes Vengeance because the quality of the online play is exactly what most fans of the series would have been hoping for. This is a game fans of the Tribes series and indeed fans of FPS games should definitely purchase.
Game Rating: 8.8/10
Offline and online Tribes Vengeance is a great game that deserves a lot of attention.
Irrational Games have done a good job in making Tribes Vengeance as deaf gamer friendly as possible.