Our Rating :

PlanetSide 2 - logoThe sequel to the Massive Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter (MMOFPS) PlanetSide, produced by Sony Online Entertainment, has been in production for approximately 6 months now. This free-to-play shooter features mind-blowing graphics, epic battles of incredible scale, six customizable infantry classes, ground vehicles which can be custom rigged for nearly any purpose, and a robust air vehicle metagame (which is where I spend most of my time). I am currently Battle Rank 94 (out of 100), which means I've played this game far too much!

 

The PROS:

Astonishing Visuals: I cannot count the number of times I’ve stopped what I was doing just to look around and appreciate the beauty of the game. While you do need a very beastly machine to enjoy the scenery at its best without hiccups, there are a number of optimizations available to assist older machines in running this next-gen game.

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Creativity: This game rewards creativity and ingenuity in terms of tackling a number of the challenges presented in-game. You can outfit your infantry classes and vehicles of choice to serve whatever purpose you desire. Need to get behind enemy lines and wreak havoc? No problem: change to your infiltrator class, equip the ejection seat in your Empire Specific Fighter (ESF), cruise on up to the flight ceiling and drop over unsuspecting foes. Hack into a base turret and obliterate an enemy tank column before they know what's hitting them! There is always a solution to any situation you face in game – some of the most rewarding experiences I've enjoyed are from tackling a problem my own way!

Outfit Ops: While I choose to play solo a good percentage of the time, I thoroughly enjoy the operations my Outfit puts together multiple nights each week. With specific goals in mind (defend the Ascent on Amerish at all costs, for example), we regularly have one or two full platoons (48 people each) coordinating strikes on a continent. You really gain a sense of accomplishment when you are able to work together with your squad-mates to overtake a seemingly impossible zerg of enemy troops.

PlanetSide 2 - Terran RepublicResponsive Development Team: The level of engagement demonstrated by SOE's creative/development teams sets the game apart from any other MMO I've ever played. Sure the game has its share of bugs (all MMOs suffer this unfortunately), but SOE does a fairly good job of squashing game-breaking issues and constantly tweaking the game to give people better performance while playing. On top of that, they constantly reach out to the community to provide feedback on gameplay as well as new features we want to be added. You've heard of Build-A-Bear? This is the video game equivalent! Major content patches are released every month or two; generally featuring new weapons, vehicles, and cosmetics.

 

The CONS:

Very High System Requirements: For those with power gaming rigs, disregard this con. If you have a 3-4 year old PC, and don't plan on updating in the very near future, this game will still run for you, but you'll need to optimize your game to run on depreciating parts. This can be a headache, because it will involve tweaking the UserOptions.ini file in your PS2 game folder; there are a number of guides available online to optimize the game on older machines… but make no mistake, you'll definitely be missing out on the full glory of the game.

PlanetSide 2 - vehicle

Learning Curves: Every class, vehicle, gun, and unique ability has a learning curve associated with it. Add to that the complexity of a full continent's battle flow, and new players will often find themselves daunted by how much PS2 has to offer. While the development team is working to better explain the game to newer players in the form of written and in-game tutorials, if you're playing this game by yourself for the first time – prepare to be totally lost. You're going to wind up running 1000m to the next outpost and think to yourself, "Self… this sucks". Only when you understand the flow of the game and all of the tools available to you for rapid combat deployment will these frustrations fade (squad deployment, instant action, spawn beacons, transport aircraft, etc). Looking back, there was a lot to learn – but all of it is used on a daily basis to maximize my survivability and lethality!

Balance Issues: This one is less a con to me, but something I hear a lot of people get flustered about. When newer weapons are released, they are typically not 100% balanced and usually garnish negative attention until they are rounded out. Shotguns, Rocketpods, Player-guided rockets --- all of these have been revised since launch to round out their effectiveness.

 

Our Verdict 

Go download this game and try it out today. PlanetSide 2 is free-to-play, although if you want to play it competitively, you'll need to invest a minimum budget to enjoy the best the game has to offer. I consider this my "subscription" to a great MMO that happens to be in FPS format! This is a game I will play on and off for years. With all that SOE plans to implement, I am very excited about the future of PlanetSide 2.

See you in Auraxis,

General Reflect

BR 94 – Waterson TR – Imperial Reach

 

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2009 Starcraft 2 BlizzCon Poster signed Samwise