Quick Snipe o’ Shite is a quick and easy review series based on imparting as much knowledge in as few words as possible. Today, our quick snipe hovers its crosshairs over Planetside 2, the MMOFPS from Sony Online Entertainment.
Quick Summary: Planetside 2 is probably one of my favourite games at the moment: it has guns, it has death, it has tanks and it has massive fights and massive explosions. What more could you really want?
Well, there’s plenty of other games that have attempted to get the formula right with a similar game: the Battlefield series in particular comes to mind. But there’s something about Planetside 2 that makes it very different from its peers. Is it the futuristic setting? Is it the persistent online world? Is it the fact that it’s free-to-play? I would argue that it’s all of these, and also something that’s not quite tangible. A je ne sais quois for you poncy shits out there.
The massive scale is certainly a factor in its success. When you’re sprinting along with your 12 man squad (along with four other such 12 man squads), knowing that the enemy is about to capture your base if you don’t get to the capture point in 30 seconds, your platoon lead yelling in your ear, bullets flying, comrades dying, grenades coming at you from all directions, and somehow, just somehow, you and the ragged remains of your squad force their way onto the point with half a second to spare and blast away at the opposing team desperately trying to ventilate your skull, and you watch that blinking capture bar and see allied tanks rolling through and routing the enemy, everybody cheering over proximity chat and firing fireworks off into the air in celebration… There’s just no feeling like it, and this happens on a daily basis on Planetside 2. There’s a genuine adrenaline rush and real feeling of accomplishment when you manage to force a tenacious enemy off a base. If you like squadplay and large-scale tactics, Planetside 2 has you covered.
Now, that’s not to say that Planetside 2 doesn’t have its problems. It has been out for quite a while now, and many veterans of the game have little to show for their commitment except some unique guns (some of which are quite subpar) and arbitrary “Directive Points”. There are also several balancing issues, though these are arguable and something that always pops up in non-symmetric faction-based games. Players on one faction are always going to whinge about another faction being too powerful. That’s just life in multiplayer games.
The system requirements are also particularly heavy. A lot of people can play on low, and most play on medium, but in order to get up to the ultra-high levels, your PC has to have some serious grunt. My rig is no lightweight, but I still have to play on medium settings during large 96+ player fights (which are relatively common).
Planetside 2 also manages, as a F2P game, to avoid the dreaded Pay2Win that corrupts so many similarly-run games into essentially becoming a game of throwing as much money as the screen as you can until you win. Planetside 2 instead goes down the sidegrade weaponry route, in which the more expensive weapons are not necessarily the best in every situation, and charging cash mostly for aesthetics. Any gun you can unlock with money you can also unlock through playing the game and earning certifications. They also manage to avoid the feeling of the grind that’s so inherent with a lot of similar games, in which you have to just keep on doing the same thing over and over to get enough points to earn a new gun. There are so many different ways of earning certs in PS2 that if you don’t feel like doing it one way, just switch to a different role. It’s not all just about killing people… though that is certainly the crux of the game.
So, Planetside 2: A f2p game that avoids being grindy, has massive fights and heart-stopping battle-dramas, has a pretty damn good community and frequent patches and updates. Plus one of the factions wears only spandex. What’s not to love?