Take the name of Tribes, use the old movement mechanics, but completely butcher the customization by "streamlining" it, add a pinch of the "modern fps" and you get the mess called Tribes Ascend. Basically they took the name of Tribes and some gameplay aspects but completely screwed it up with premade loadouts that can't be changed like you could do in good old Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2. Playing Tribes Ascend might give a hint what the FPS gaming used to be like in the good old days but it will never be the same.
The "modernized weapons" (shotguns, assault rifles) and their magazines are questionable additions as are perks that mainly serve as incentive to keep grinding at the game and clearly only serve as pandering to all the "modern" fps gamers. Combine those with the ♥♥♥♥ poor loadout customization and the stage is set for disaster to any old Tribes veteran.
Devs also have abandoned Tribes for Smite so there are no upcoming changes to the game and it is not being maintained with regular patches.
All in all game has good mechanics, the pace and aesthetics of a Tribes game are there but the restricted loadout customization is what kills the game atleast for me. Might not sound like a lot, but people who haven't played previous iterations just have no idea how much fun the old game was for me. I understand that the devs might just wanted to make something "new" by "streamlining" the gameplay. Some might tell me to go play the old game if I loved it so much, but since Dynamix studio was closed by Sierra, the support for the game was removed and the game died out quickly. Similar fate seems to have fallen onto Tribes Ascend.
The best aspects of T:A are certainly the fact that they managed to capture the feel and flow of the old Tribes games. I just despise the grind aspect they added along with the poor loadout customization options and "modern fps" additions. Instead of just making customizable skins and looks that could be sold so f2p could make some money, they decided to put weapons and loadouts behind paywalls or a grindwalls. Naturally they wanted to add more stuff to the market place and so were born some of the dumbest and uninnovative "alternative" guns that are basically just like the default but with stats slightly changed around.
My verdict? If you haven't played Tribes, give it a go. It is free to play after all and it gives you an idea what it used to be like. If you loved the old Tribes, you might enjoy this one for a while but it will get stale fast. Should you spend money on it? Definitely not. Atleast not until they start supporting it again. Give it a go and see it for yourself. I didn't like it, hence the thumbs down.
I played Tribes Ascend for a while before it came to steam and I had to write this review here because of the love I had with Tribes 1 and Tribes 2 and especially its renegade mod. I grew up with games and instead of chasing girls as teen-early 20's I chased the flag in Tribes 1 and Tribes 2. I have nothing but sweet golden memories of those days. They just screwed it up with Tribes Ascend. I'm so sour and disappointed how it turned out. They just don't make games like they used to. Bittervet out.