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Possessing the unique distinction of being one of the first PS2 titles designed almost solely for online play, Tribes: Aerial Assault offers console gamers a unique spin on the Tribes franchise that first debuted on the PC. Serving as the foundation for mass armies of players fighting one another, the story tells of the Wilderzone — the 40th century's wild frontier — a place that serves as the backdrop for a conflict against war-bred soldiers known as the Bioderm.
Straying from what's considered the norm in the FPS genre, Tribes: Aerial Assault places an emphasis on cooperation by pitting teams of players against one another (with a maximum of 16 participants per match) in Capture-the-Flag competition. Each player is equipped with a jetpack (in addition to a small cache of customizable weaponry) and let loose in large, open-ended locales. Each team member is given the choice of a light, medium, or heavy character, which in turn dictates the weapons and abilities that player will be capable of wielding. The Bioderm heavy trooper for example, can make use of a chain gun, fusion mortar, grenade launcher, missile launcher, plasma rifle, and spinfusor, though is incapable of utilizing the laser rifle — only light troopers can make use of this weapon. Of course, the lighter troopers are quicker, but more susceptible to damage than are the heavily armored ones.
While each team's base houses the all-important flag, it also comes equipped with inventory and vehicle stations that provide equipment and vehicles, respectively. Additionally, players will need to protect the energy generators that fuel the aforementioned stations. The four vehicles players can commandeer are the Mongoose Grav Cycle, Dingo Fighter, Piltdown Transport, and Hammer Bomber, each of which has inherent strengths and weaknesses in battle. Match types players can choose to participate in include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Capture and Hold, and Hunters. Tribes: Aerial Assault supports both, narrowband and broadband users, with the latter offering optimal performance. Additionally, two players can participate in online matches utilizing a split-screen on only a single console. The single-player mode pits players against AI bots (computer-controlled opponents) in various scenarios, and serve to familiarize newcomers to the nuances of the game before going online. ~ Gavin Frankle, All Game Guide