Yesterday marked the launch of Planetside 2, a game that sets itself apart from the competition by creating a persistent open-world where the tide of battle shifts constantly and the action is always epic.
The basic premise of Planetside 2 is that players are one of three factions vying for control of a planet. This planet has four continents ranging from desert terrain to an arctic biome, and each land mass benefits a particular play style. Players choose between the Vanu, New Conglomerate, or Terran Republic. Each faction has unique weapons that while all functioning similar to each other, have very different effects and sometimes handling.
Each of the three classes have unique aesthetic appearances, and their vehicles while operating in similar fashion have unique mechanics as well. The classes are all balanced against each other quite well and it’s more about your preference of looks and vehicles you want to drive. The only vehicles that are the same between all factions are the Sunderers and the atvs that players can spawn.
The world itself is divided into three continents each with a unique setting, the map is divided in hexagonal chunks and players fight to control various points across the world. The more points a faction holds the more resources they gain to spawn vehicles and such. What makes this game stand out the most from a lot of shooters out there is that unlike a specific map where you have a smaller number of players, this world in completely connected. Fights rage all across the map and if one battle doesn’t suit you, you can climb into a vehicle or go on foot and find a new one to participate in.
Another feature that is new to Planetside 2 is the ability to join units, similar to squads in Battlefield 3, that allow players to work together strategically. The number of players in a unit is much higher than any other grouping mechanic and is vital to playing the game as lone wolves will have a much harder job ahead of them if they don’t attack with their team.
Anyone who is familiar with Battlefield 3 will be able to understand how this game functions almost instantly. Most of the commands are the same most first person shooters, and players choose from five classes as they spawn in. Light Assault, Heavy Assault, Combat Medic, Recon, and Engineer are the classes one can choose from. Players can also opt to climb into a Max suit after they have spawned which makes the player a slow walking dual wielding tank player. As you progress through the gameplay you earn cert points which allow you to unlock better gear or weapons to specialize in one class or another.
The vehicles in this game are fun as hell. Each faction has the Sunderer, Atv, Light tank, and Heavy Tank as well as a Light fighter and Heavy transport flyer, and a heavy duty troop transport that can fly several players into the heat of battle. One of the best things about these vehicles is that unlike most other games, the vehicle you choose to spawn in is yours and no one can take it from you if you’re forced to hop out of the vehicle for any reason. The vehicles and rate at which you can spawn them is also dependent on the resources you gain from capturing and holding territory. Each vehicle has a cool down timer on it to keep some semblance of order on the battlefield and fighting as a tank is a lot of fun. The only complaint I have about vehicles is their tendency to run friendlies over. When you initially spawn the vehicles take off immediately and in the case of ground vehicles charge out over the ground. If another player on your faction happens to be running across its path then they are almost always killed.
As a Free-to-Play title, Planetside 2 is definitely a step above the rest. It has subscription options which give you greater perks and benefits, and a marketplace you can purchase skins, weapons, and more in but it is done in such a way as to be unobtrusive. I imagine I would have gotten a few more kills with a stronger weapon but I didn’t feel powerless with my starter kit as is so often the case in F2P games. Additionally a lot of upgrades can be purchased by earning points in game, so for those who don’t want to spend any money on a fun experience can still earn better weapons over time.
Overall, the game is fun and exciting. It is difficult to play it lone wolf so if you’re going to play I would recommend playing with a team. Vehicles and weapons feel good in your hands and the terrain is some of the most beautiful I’ve seen in a shooter yet. You should definitely give this game a try.