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Planetside 2

  • Genre: MMOFPS
  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Platform: PC
  • Max-Party Size: 10
  • Added on: 2012-12-06 by machvergil


Free to play sequel to Sony Online Entertainment's Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter. Take part in the war over Auraxis as one of three factions battle with different classes, vehicles, and fortifications.

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Viewing Topic: Planetside 2 - Page 1
#0: 12-06-2012 @ 12:01:30 pm
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MachVergil Photo.
  • Real Name:Adam
  • Joined:2010-01-22

So ever since it came out in late November, I'd been itching to try Planetside 2.  The first Planetside was probably the first MMOFPS, but it came out at a time when I refused to pay monthly fees for games and it had a monthly fee.  I heard that eventually lead to the game's downfall anyway since player community shrunk to the point that it didn't feel MMO anymore, and Sony Online Entertainment eventually pulled the plug.

Now in 2012, SoE has brought Planetside back and this time it's free to play, which means now is as good a time as any to try it, so I did, and here's what I thought.

TL;DR: Planetside 2 is a fun game in short or long bursts that has an approach that makes you feel like you're playing with and against a lot of people at any point in time.  Not everything is perfect, and I probably won't feel the full rush without an organized outfit to conquer and crush with, but overall it's a game I enjoy and want to play more of.

Planetside 2 portrays the a future war between three factions, or more specifically the battle over the planet Auraxis in this war.  When you start playing you make a character (in one of the most minimalistic character creators I've ever seen in a game that bothered to include one) of one of the 3 factions and then you are dropped from space into the conflict.  There's no tutorial or training mode - you are immediately sent into player vs player combat.  It probably won't be long before you catch a few bullets and end up dead.  Here's where the choices begin.

You see, while Planetside 2 is definately a shooter at its core, it's really more a game of strategy and logistics than it is shooting.  All players can respawn only a few moments after death, but WHERE they repawn is critical.  You see, Auraxis is broken up into 3 continents, each of them a utterly massive map by the standards of any FPS I've ever played, and not at all fun to try and traverse on foot.   Throughout these maps are objectives (out posts, bases, factories, farms, etc) that can be captured by your faction, turning a chunk of the map's hexagons your color.  When you die, you can respawn at any of base your faction owns.  Depending on the situation though, that base might be far enough away that the enemy can really exploit your death and capture whatever point you were attacking/defending.

That's where vehicles come in.  Sure you can spawn something just to let you get to somewhere faster, like the all-terrain Flash.  However, many vehicles are useful combat tools, like tanks for example.  Even better though is the APC "Sunderer."  This bad boy not only carries up to 10 people and features two turrets, it can also deploy into a forward respawn point and resupply point.  It's a happy day when you die and you see someone planted a Sunderer witihin the same hex as you died.  Likewise, when you find yourself fighting a desperate defense, the urge to go scouting over hills to find that enemy Sunderer they are respawning from gets really high.  Long story short, good use of Sunderers is more important to victory than K-D-A.  There's also aircraft called "Galaxies" which I hear are even bigger and badder transports, though I've yet to personally experience their use (did help shoot one down once though!)

However, spawning vehicles and aircraft expend personal resources.  You, as a player, have a finite amount of vehicle, aircraft and infantry resource. In addition, every time you spawn a particular vehicle, aircraft, or the powerful power armor "MAX" suit it also goes on cool down for something like 10 minutes.  This ensures that while everyone can have a turn in their fun toys, they should treat them with respect and use them wisely since one they're gone, they're gone for a while.  This is a little harsh on new players since learning to fly is kinda hard and it's easy to crash, but for the sake of the overall design it's a good move to keep the same player from spamming tanks over and over.

(Quick note:  Infantry resource is ONLY spent while spawning the MAX unit.  You can spawn in as any of the other 5 classes at no cost other than your respawn timer).

This resource is gained at regular intervals by how much territory your faction controls on that map.  This further encourages you to get out there and take territory, and helps compensate for the fact that the more ground you have, the harder it is to hold all of it.   The goal overall is to "conquer" a map, which happens when your faction controls all the territory on that map (aside from the Nexus bases for the other two factions which I don't think can be captured).  When you do this, your faction enjoys a discount on vehicles for a while as a reward so you can enjoy your faction's victory.  Over time though this will reset, new people will log in, and the war over the map continues anew.

As I mentioned there are 3 maps, each are different in shape, terrain type, and each have their own progress.  It's possible for one faction to be taking one map while horribly losing another.  What this often means is that if you want to play defensive, chances are your faction is losing ground on one of the maps and could use your hand.  On the other hand. if you prefer to play offense, your faction is probably making a push on one of the 3 maps as well, so you could head there.  The 3 faction system also ensures that no one side can gain overpowering dominance for too long since as soon as they do the other two factions will start to gang up on them.

Teamwork is a giant part of the game.  While there are several powerful units, like tanks and MAX armor, they are all squishy enough to fall to concentrated fire.  It is only with the help of other players backing you up that you can succeed at taking points, so the game is at its best when everyone is working in tandem towards a goal, and working together well.  My best run with a MAX armor occurred the time I was besieging and enemy spawn point so they couldn't kill the guys capping a nearby point, and the only reason I was able to do it was because there was a team of engineers nearby healing my armor and deploying turrets to help me gun dudes down.

There are 6 infantry classes to the game, and most of them are predictable.  Light and Heavy assault, one which has a jet pack for close up combat and the other an autocannon and an anti-vehicle gun.  Medic and Engineer heal infantry and armor respectively, though both can still fight with their respectable weapons and other utility as well.  Infiltrator is your sniper and comes standard with a cloaking device and the MAX is there for when you want to be a killing machine with two weapon systems.  You can change class any time you respawn or any time you walk up to an infantry terminal, including the one at deployed APCs.

Overall the game is fun and exciting.  The gun combat is twitchy, sorta like CoD, where you can die before you really know what happened to you, but the lethality I think helps discourage you from one-man-armying things so I like it here in a game that's more about strategy instead of KDA.  Plus certain classes are tougher than others and if you don't like being squishy the Heavy Assault class has an activatable armor buff that can make the difference in a firefight.  The vehicle combat is also fun, if not moreso, though as mentioned I have issues with the flying controls, and i normally kick butt at flying things.  I'm sure once I get it though flying around and gunning things down will be a blast.

So if you're reading this so far and thinking "Yeah this sounds pretty fun!" let me warn you of a few things that might turn you off or at least think twice about the game.

The first is that as you might have noticed I mentioned there's no form of practice or tutorial, and that's 100% true.  There's no bots to shoot, no practice matches, just jump in and start fighting a war.  While I think this is a strength in the game's favor since there's no excuse for cold feet, no practice mode to hide in until you think your "skills are good enough," you just have to hit the ground running. Honestly I think the game can get away with that too since the shooting is at the very least really easy to understand and the game is pretty simple to figure out, at least enough to enjoy yourself anyway.  Still if you don't think you'd enjoy shooter pvp at all, stay away. 

The second is that due to grand scale of the game they made it something you really can't solo.  I've read/heard time and time again that if you go into Planetside 2 hoping to solo it, you're in for a rude awakening.  There's just too many other players, too much ground to cover, and too many potential objectives for one person to handle it all.  Working with others is the name of the game, and, as with any game where that's the case, your milage may vary from day to day.  The game does have a few features to help mitigate that.  First, there's an "autojoin squad" button that you can hit to be assigned to a squad of other nearby players.  Often if you work with them, you can have a pretty good time even if you're not coordinating perfectly.  The game even has built in voice chat and one time I was auto-assigned to a squad where the leader was keeping everyone organized over voice chat, which made for a great time while I was there.   The second mitigation is that at any time you can hit the "M" key to pull up your map and the game will highlight active battles on the map and with a single click allow you to wait 10 seconds to be instantly redeployed there via Drop Pod.  This makes getting into the action and staying in the action much easier.  The one problem I've found with this is that once I auto join a squad, I've yet to figure out how to LEAVE said squad should I choose to move to another combat zone or if the squad I'm in isn't coordinating well.  Still, the game is best if you find an Outfit (guild) and said Outfit works together in training and teamwork during attack and defense.  I've heard it said "Join an outfit, help your outfit, Voice Chat with your Outift, and your enjoyment of the game will improve dramatically."

The third issue has to do with Certification Points and the game's monitization.  See as you play the game you earn XP and Certification points (or Certs) for doing good things (Helping your team, kills, assists, capturing, defending, etc).  The XP raises your battle rank which I think is just an expression of how long you've been playing as opposed to making you any more powerful.  The Certs however are used to for unlocking upgrades to your character.  These include new guns, upgrades for said guns, upgrades to the suits for various classes, upgrades for vehicles, etc.  You then organize these upgrades into loadouts that you choose upon spawning.  What is nice is that this gives you something to work towards earning, and none of it requires you to pay, but some of the items cost a lot of Certs.  For example, I find the Vanu starting sniper rifle to be terrible (way too much sway and recoil, way too little damage per bullet), but to buy a better one is like 500 certs while some are 1000 and I have earned maybe a total of 80 certs from 3 hours of play.  Now granted I'm not exactly great at the game so I'm sure working with an organized outfit increases the rate of cert gain by a lot, but it's still not cheap.  Alternatively I could buy the gun with real money via "Station Cash" and most guns go for between $5 and $10.   I could see myself maybe doing this eventually just to skip the grind, and I'm okay with that, but it kinda bugs me that it feels like some starting guns are intentionally bad just to make you want to spend money.  Of course not all the starting guns are bad, on the contrary I find the Vanu starting Heavy Assault gun and the turret the engineer starts with both to be damn good, and a MAX and most vehicles are killing machines out of the box, even without Certs, so I might be making more of this than it is.

Finally, there's also always friendly fire in the game, so be careful where you shoot!  The game will flash notifications if you accidently kill a teammate, though given this can happen just by accidently running them over the game doesn't punish you unless team damage starts coming from you in consistent and large bursts.  I've heard the punishments for team killing are severe, but I have yet to witness them myself.

I'm also a little worried about faction balance.  See the three factions, the authoritarian Terran Republic (TR - Red team), the High Tech alien loving Vanu Sovereignty (VS - Purple Team), and the freedom loving New Conglomerate (NC - Blue Team), have slightly different themes to their arms and armor and a few unique vehicles.  For example, the TR favor high speed and rate of fire and have lighter armor as a result, while the NC favor high-damage per shot and high armor and end up with slower units.  This makes me think that the TR have an unfair advantage in a firefight since it should take less skill to kill with their rapid firing weapons (you can afford to have more of your shots miss probably), though I've not played the game enough to tell if this is true.  I have spent the most time playing the VS who are more of a balanced faction with cool alien tech so I don't know that I've felt these issues yet.

So that's Planetside 2, or at least as I see it after about 5 or 6 hours of play.  Fun game overall, and I'm looking forward to playing more.  if nothing else I love that the game's way of organizing people actually makes it feel like an MMO unlike the party system of most games.  See as it stands, the Squad Size is 10, which is already twice the size of most game's 5, and then squads can be joined into platoons of up to 4 squads.  And even when you're not in a squad with someone, the lot of you are still fighting a war against the other side, and can help each other regardless of squad.  Really GW2 is the only other game I can think of where I felt this connected to the other players around me and that there were so many of them, and like in GW2 the lack of need to be in the same squad as someone to work together is really helpful.

That's the other thing that's great too:  Every time I've played there's been now shortage of people to shoot or work together with.  I have one character in each faction on 3 different servers and all of them have been able to find conflict when I go looking.  If we're looking to add a shooter to the list of things we do for Game Night, i really think we ought to give this a try.

This post was edited by machvergil on December 6, 2012, 3:13 pm

We set Wednesdays on Fire!
#1: 12-06-2012 @ 01:14:40 pm
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  • Real Name:Ahmad Rasheed
  • Joined:2011-06-29

I played Planetside 2 for about a half hour a while back, not long enough to really figure it out or even give it a "fair" evaluation. I was hoping that the future-angle and just overall beautiful graphics would be enough to get me into it and maybe get me to enjoy it as a shooter.

But I don't like shooters in general, and that ultimately was my big frustration with this game. It reminded me of the experience I'd had playing Battlefield 3 more than anything else. ALso my computer wasn't able to run it super smoothly either. THe load times were incredibly long and even with some changed graphical settings there was a fair amount of lag/load issues while playing. I know that's just my PC showing its edges.

For what it's worth to anyone else interested the bit about wanting some sexy futuristic gunplay action was totally there. It just isn't my flavor.


#2: 12-07-2012 @ 11:48:02 am
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MachVergil Photo.
  • Real Name:Adam
  • Joined:2010-01-22

Yeah I'm running the game on High and aside from a weird glitch on the character select screen that started early this week I pretty much never have lag/frame rate issues and the load times for me are really fast.  Your laptop probably isn't up to the task.

That said yes, if you don't like shooters at all, then no you won't like PlanetSide 2.

We set Wednesdays on Fire!
#3: 12-07-2012 @ 12:02:21 pm
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Dominion Photo.
  • Real Name:Mark
  • Joined:2010-01-22

This sounds interesting and something I'd like to try sometime.

All the games I want to play...

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock and roll." Shigeru Miyamoto