Planetside 2 Review

Planetside 2 Review

  • over 3 years ago by Jason Magee

Planetside 2 is not a recent release (2012) but word on the grapevine has given me cause to give it a try; I played it briefly when it was released but couldn't get into it. Planetside 2 is a MMOFPS (Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter) which in practical terms means you have a persistent character which you level up, unlock weapons and abilities. The world is made up of three empires: Terrain Republic, New Conglomerate and the Vanu Sovereignty. Each empire has the same infantry classes: Infiltrator, Light Assault, Combat Medic, Engineer, Heavy Assault and MAX; weapon choices differ significantly between empires. Empires have the same vehicles and aircraft with the exception of one aircraft and one tank which are unique to that empire. There are four continents with different terrain types to fight on. Fighting can range from something like 1 vs 1 to 100 vs 100 (in theory more but I've noticed that seems to be the upper bound). Despite it being a MMO, the gunplay is very satisfying; recoil can be controlled so skill does have an impact in combat. The war happens over four continents but the fighting tends to be primary on the continent that has the currently active alert. Alerts are a ‘dynamic, server-controlled alert system’ which are used to draw players together to achieve a specific goal. Goals tend to be either capture more territory on the continent than the other empires or capture more of a specific type of base than the other empires in a specific time period. Each continent is made up of a number of bases which have different purposes, types, resource gain increases and other bonuses.

There is steep learning curve to Planetside 2, although you can dive right in and shoot things in the face if you're good at that, figuring out what to do to be useful is a different story. The bases are difficult to find your way around and map icons are unclear. You need to be on the ball and keeping up with the dynamic of the battlefield, camping outside the opponents spawn isn’t going to help your empire capture the base if there are a bunch of enemy squads still sat on the capture points. Fighting a stand-off is a massive waste of time when you could be flanking your opponents to destroy their Sunderer. The Sunderer is the primary tactical vehicle allowing infantry to spawn once deployed. Battles are won and lost depending on Sunderers.

The game is free to play and has the least offensive implementation I've encountered. You can purchase cosmetics, weapons and weapon add-ons. These can also be unlocked just from earning certificates from playing the game. As an example, a tank comes with a cannon that does equal damage to vehicles, infantry and aircraft but you can unlock a new cannon which does more damage to vehicles but less to aircraft and infantry. In effect you are unlocking more specialised play styles rather than better weapons.

Graphically the game is fantastic, I don't recall it looking so good in 2012. Sound-wise the game is just okay. You hear the distant sounds of combat which is pretty neat but I haven't really noticed aircraft engines, tank rumbling or close quarters infantry footfall which would make it sound just that much atmospheric.

There are a few things that can spoil the game, the first being network issues. For whatever reason, sometimes the server decides you are going to have latency issues. You'll fire your shotgun directly at someone and nothing will happen or your character will start warping about. The second downside is that the game is not nearly as fun played solo or even in a single squad; the best way to have the most fun is to join a platoon which is actively being managed by a group of people. You can either join public platoons or join a large outfit who regularly have a platoon active. If I can't find a platoon I won't play and try again later, it just isn't as fun. On the other side of the spectrum, you could have too many good players in a platoon and end up zerging the other empires which also isn't fun. This means there is a delicate balance to enjoying Planetside 2.

As a warning, I noticed a lot of people complaining about performance issues. That being said, I didn't experience any problems on high and/or low graphics.

When you find yourself in the right conditions, Planetside 2 is an absolute blast. I recommend this game. It's free to try so you can hardly go wrong!