PlanetSide 2 Review

The views can be quite scenic, but ultimately empty. Wandering around on the desert continent, I was reminded slightly of Pandora from Borderlands. Walking along wide plains of cracked earth gave me that same feeling of lonely desolation in a hostile environment, but it simply lacked so much of the character of Pandora had in it. One dune may as well be another outside of deciding to use it as cover or not. There are surely legitimate reasons for this, with the developers focusing more on facilitating gameplay than screen gazing, but I can’t help but feel maybe a few frightened rabbits or a space bear wouldn’t be amiss. Perhaps they’ve all just been shot and the planet really is a desolate empty place after all the fighting going on. That, or maybe I’m reading too deep into this.


The game has three factions; It has the tech-loving transhumanists the Vanu Sovereignty, the Terran Republic freedom fighters, and the corporate empire the New Conglomerate. Each faction fights over the continents of the planet of Auraxis and the right to press their philosophy on whatever poor inhabitants actually live there. The biggest differences between them are their styles of musical themes and appearance, and that’s honestly about as much as one gets to know these factions without outside reading. Though I can understand the lack of focus on narrative, I can’t help but feel it’s lacking because of it. Some sort of characterization could have been taken, such as installing high generals or other leadership to voice their personalities at you for your wins rather than the rather bland announcements as is. It could be similar to Tribes: Ascend and the marked difference between Blood Eagle generals spartan-like attitude for warfare and Diamond Swords cool and calculating mistress who takes even defeat in stride. As of a few days before launch, there is now a brief audio intro that gives the factions a bit more personality, but I think it’s still a case of just too little done. Maybe they have some time left to add in a few extra audio clips. Though I’d like to care about the factions individually and have an opinion on them outside of their fashion, it’s all currently so much purple Christmas lights and red go-faster stripes to establish teams.

Though at first I noticed a lack of a tutorial mode, the addition of a basic read-me instruction page in-game isn’t quite what I’d hope for if I were a new player. Though I’m familiar with the general game type, the MMOFPS is still a scarce and misunderstood beast. At the very least an indication of what button activates my flashlight without looking through the keys would be helpful, and you couldn’t go wrong having some faction general voicing over the instructions while trying to inspire their recruits with the philosophy of the day they pulled off of their desk calendars, letting the intro video segue gently into it.

If I went ahead and activated my time machine to bring my thirteen year-old self to the future, I think we’d both be rather happy with this game. While my gripes may call out the game on its feel or its character, it feels like the nagging of a mother to put on a sweater before going out. The underlying game is solid enough that you forget about the few things it lacks for fluff and just have fun dropping from space at high speeds into active battle.

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