Ahead of it's time
The amount of inspiration developers have taken from Tribes both in gameplay mechanics, art style and community features is so unrecognized it’s absolutely baffling. The game features things you’d find in a lot of popular modern shooters such as large scale battles, vehicles, equipment use such as deployable turrets, sensors and inventory stations, and unique weaponry. You
Players had dedicated positions on the map with defined jobs and
responsibilities. It broke down to offense and defense in capture the flag matches, usually with someone dedicated to playing with Heavy Armor and sitting on your team’s flag as a nice brick wall of defense if an enemy player some how got passed the patrolling Light Defense players around the perimeter of your team’s base. Offense was usually broken down into Light Armored players attacking the enemy flag and covering the flag carrier if a player managed to grab it. Heavy Armored players that were on offense cleared the path with mortars and rockets, taking out enemy assets like base turrets and sensors, allowing the light armored players a quick and safe escape after grabbing the flag. Sometimes dedicated midfield players were necessary depending on the map, usually being light armored for quick and low profile attacks on incoming enemy offense.
Tribes 2 is one of the most influential online multiplayer games ever created. Coming only years after the first in the franchise, it made large improvements over it's predecessor in many ways. From it's unconventional method of movement and travel, to it's vast map designs, weapon and vehicle selections; this game was far ahead of it's time. It offered the most rich competition environment I've seen to date, and it truly saddens me that the franchise is essentially dead and gone. Though Garage Games who is made up of most of the original staff from Dynamix now owns the IP, hopes of another true sequel to this franchise are still low as Garage Games is a small time indie developer. The next few years should offer a better idea of if they'll ever be able to afford to put out a full retail title again.
Although there are many reasons why this game and the franchise itself never really had the huge user-base it deserved, I think that the biggest reason was because it was the type of game where there was a very, very clear cut line between the veterans and the new players.. and it took a lot of time and effort to cross that line from new player into skilled player. That coupled with the fact that the elite pushed so many new players out with an almost cutthroat competitive edge, and of course it doesn't hurt that the developer Dynamix was fired from Sierra shortly after the games release (which reasons still escape me to this day) and you've got a recipe for a moderate to small sized, but incredibly hardcore fan-base. All in all, what this game offers and the franchise has always offered is unmatched gameplay based on unique skills, and not simply knee-jerk reaction times ala Counterstrike.
So to finish my review, here's a glimpse at gameplay footage as I really don't believe you can get an idea for what this game is without seeing it in motion. Enjoy and thanks for reading!