PlanetSide 2 Review

TinkTink.orgs’ newest reviewer Chris Maddox gets sucked into the warzone of PlanetSide2, releasing Nov. 20th.

I enjoy large games. These are games not with just a large scope, say saving the world, but games that allow you to go out and explore that world in fine detail. Being able to pull out a map screen and take in the sense of scale of your tiny actions as compared to the world brings about a perspective on what’s at stake in a manner that is far more satisfying than traversing some mostly-linear corridors and then being told that there are things at stake. It’s ironic then that despite my joy of former, my favorite type of games are those of the first-person shooter variety, which are not known for expansive worlds or freedom of choice. Imagine my joy when I found my large open-world chocolate got mixed with my first-person peanut butter into a delicious looking game called PlanetSide 2.


PlanetSide 2 is the sequel to the original PlanetSide released way back in 2003. Though it wasn’t the first to mix elements of RPG and FPS together, which belongs to Necron, it was the first real MMOFPS and I was just as excited at the time as I am now at the idea. Thirteen year-old me was unfortunately penniless when it came to games, and a subscription game simply wasn’t on the table of options. Now I’m an adult, and though I’m just as penniless as before, PlanetSide 2 will be free-to-play on November 20th, and I was fortunate enough to get an invite to the beta.

If you’ve played another shooter before, everything will be nice and familiar on the surface for you. The gameplay is reminiscent of Battlefield and other realistic type shooters; You’re not a one man army, so running in alone gets you killed. Likewise, assaulting an entire base alone is a quick way to get frustrated with long scenic drives across the map. You want to group up with friends, or tag along with random strangers like the leech you are, buy a tank or two, take cover and avoid open areas, and use iron-sight aiming as much as possible. Underneath that surface though is the MMO layer with persistent maps and characters. Maps span entire continents with bases dotting their surface with back and forward fights for their control. Players have characters for each server, with individual looks and a faction, with unlockable weapons, vehicles, and abilities to choose from as they progress.

Most shooters rotate through instanced maps on servers, and the matches affect each other very little if at all. Though the individual battles over bases are analogous to an instanced match, the fact that they are part of a wider field of play helps add the feeling of being a part of a war. You can change your angle of approach, come rolling in with a fleet of tanks or gunships, or even attack one point as a distraction while coordinating an assault on other points. With several different continents to work with, the possibilities for higher level strategic play, even generalship through clans or just by corralling a horde of players in voice-chat is bound to provide interesting and varied situations to play out that can’t normally happen on smaller scope instanced maps.

The speed and variety of progression of characters in the game prevents things from getting dull. Playing for an hour or two is likely to result on a dozen certification points that can be used to upgrade your character (provided you happen to be in the vicinity of bases that are being captured). Buying things like scopes and additional ammo capacity generally improve the class of character you like to play, while buying new weapons and armor types gives you more versatility in how you’d like to play that class. There’s not a limit in the way you’re allowed to spend these points, and there’s no limit to how many points you can acquire either, allowing you to have all of the non-skin character content in the game just by playing. While upgrades are expensive, they don’t seem to place veteran players on a higher tier than newer players; the widest gap between players exist only in the number of options they have available to them, not any small upgrades of their equipment. A heavy who can field either a land or air vehicle targeting rocket launcher is at an advantage to a one who can only use one of them, but the situation can be remedied with a few hours of play and a focus on acquiring it.

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