PlanetSide 2 Review – The MMOFPS To Set The Standard
After quite a lengthy beta period Sony Online Entertainment finally released the highly anticipated MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2. Following the success of the hugely popular Planetside, PlanetSide 2 promises to offer players an intense FPS combat on a scale never before seen in the MMOFPS genre.
PlanetSide 2 features 3 factions fighting for control over the planet of Auraxis. Players get to select their faction during character creation but can play different factions on different servers. The three factions include the Terran Republic, New Conglomerate and Vanu Sovereignty. Each faction shares the same basic concepts such as classes and vehicle access, but each weapon and vehicle does differ slightly depending on faction. This has lead to many players flocking to certain factions as they feel the assault rifles or aerial vehicles are superior, although Sony Online Entertainment weren't shy to make drastic changes during beta so we don't expect this to be an issue for long.
The game also supports the traditional class-based setup of regular FPS titles. Players can select Light Assault, Heavy Assault, Infiltrator, Medic Engineer and the MAX, a mechanized unit that shares many similarities with a mech. As with other popular FPS titles players are not restricted to a class during character creation, instead they can switch freely between lives or at specific ammo locations. Each class brings something else to the battlefield, with the Heavy Assault class specializing in anti-vehicle while the Engineer can repair objects and construct turrets. Although the classes conform to the typical archetypes seen in the genre, they are fined tuned to an art, giving each class enough unique aspects to make them worthwhile.
After creating your character which basically involves a faction and name, as appearance customization is non existent, you're throw right into the thick of it. When I say thrown, you're launched via a drop pod from about 500ft in the air into a local hotspot. Hotspots are usually filled with enemies from each side fighting for control over a certain territory. This doesn't really give you much time to learn the basics but any players familiar with standard FPS settings will feel right at home as the game shares many mechanics and controls with other popular FPS games such as Battlefield and Call of Duty.
Once you hit the ground you're introduced to one of the greatest spectacles ever seen in an MMO game. Large-scale combat unlike anything you've experienced before. Each server can support hundreds of simultaneous players, whether they be infantry, pilots or drivers. Within 30 seconds of hitting the ground I was being fired upon from countless directions, both on the ground and in the air. I could see a vast tank column featuring at least a dozen tanks moving in on my position, with plenty of air support and infantry around them. Armed with an LMB and Rocket Launcher, I wasn't exactly a match for such a strong force so my first life in the official release, was short lived.
However, thanks to an array of systems and mechanics within the game, I was back in the fight in minutes. The respawn timers are 10 seconds long, removing any lengthy down-times and frustration. You can also choose to spawn at a variety of locations such as strongholds held by your team, certain static vehicles and your main base. Spawning back at the main base I was invited into a squad of players and was introduced to another fine aspect of PlanetSide 2, squad play. The squad interface is smooth and easy to use, you're able to join or get invited into a squad with 2-3 seconds of menu navigation.
Supporting the easy-to-use squad based combat system is a variety of communication tools. Players are able to send messages to nearby allies, players in the vicinity or their squad, via both text and voice. Luckily enough the squad I joined was highly organized with a good assortment of classes and all members seemed to be using VOIP. We coordinated our moves and attacks with a variety of other squads and ended up taking control of half of the map. Playing the game solo is great fun but it's not even close to the adrenaline fueled combat provided by coordinated strikes.
I played over 100 hours in the beta period and can honestly say it was the best experience I've ever had with an MMOFPS title, but I was concerned that currently available technologies may limit the enjoyability of the full release after servers were flooded with thousands of new players. I can't say my experience was flawless as I did notice, on a fair few occasions, players teleporting and disapearing due to lag. However other than that I didn't really notice any severe frame rate drops.
Overall, PlanetSide 2 is easily the greatest MMOFPS to hit the genre. Regardless of what FPS games you're playing, there's no reason not to try such a great free to play title.
- Varied and in-depth classes
- Unparalleled large-scale combat
- Plenty of tools to aid communication
- Huge battlefields
- Grindy unlock process
- Reliant upon team mates to progress at a faster rate
Short and sweet. The greatest MMOFPS title to ever grace the internet.