Planetside 2 is one of the main reasons that I got into PC gaming in the first place. Planetside 2, a free to play MMO FPS by Daybreak Game Company, takes place across 4 different continent in battles between thousands of soldiers across 3 different factions. The biggest draw-in to the game is the fact that each and every one of those soldiers is a player. With an impressively low system load and free entry, Planetside 2 is a game that all PC gamers, and soon PS4 players, should add to their libraries. PlanetSide 2 is yet another MMO that’s available on PC and PS4, along with Warframe.
Immediately after loading up the game players are tasked with choosing one of three significantly different factions. There’s the Terran Republic (TR), the Vanu Sovereignty (VS), and the New Conglomerate (NC). The Terran Republic represent a much more formal military and are red and black in color. The arsenal of this faction is balanced, sporting moderately powerful and accurate weapons with average firing rates. The Vanu Sovereignty is much more alien like in appearance and most of their equipment is purple and smoothed. Their weaponry is “advanced” in many ways, using hover technology instead of treads or wheels, and most weapons fire incredibly quickly. Lastly, the New Conglomerate is the most informal of the bunch. Rebelling against the TR, the NC wear tattered blue and yellow and use incredibly weaponry that can be difficult to control. On most every server these three factions are evenly divided, or at least relatively close to 33% of players in each faction on any one server, but the choice you make will affect your gameplay immensely. Each faction has both unique and shared weaponry and vehicles.
Unlike most other MMO FPS games, Planetside 2 puts little focus on the individual player. Across the Risk-like continents that the factions struggle for power over players will encounter entire battalions of infantry, vehicles and aircraft in battles that can include hundreds of players. Individually, I had quite a frustrating time. It seemed that no matter what I was dying, and my actions had little to no effect on the outcome of any one battle. The frustration only grew after I had played for quite some time and had gained little reward. However, after I found my way into a platoon, a larger squad system that includes multiple squads of 12, the fun really began. Receiving orders from our squad leader, who was relaying orders from our platoon leader, our squad aided in a variety of combat scenarios. Moving as one our squad captured bases, eliminated enemy squads and destroyed mobile spawn vehicles. This also solved my issue of small rewards, as the more important tasks we complete the more experience and unlock points I gained. On occasion our platoon hit a wall of enemy forces and we had to throw all of our platoon at another army. These combat scenarios resulted in incredibly dynamic “missions” that were entirely player led. In these, our squads moved tactically and perhaps even stealthily, and often times we ended up in a full-on battle between over 200 players lined up along a territory. With squads of aircraft and vehicles, and command that can communicate effectively one can experience chaos of real battle. Gameplay is vastly different from traditional shooters like Team Fortress 2 and Microvolts.
Planetside 2’s systems are impressively designed. Each of the 4 continents is divided into Risk-like zones, and once a faction overtakes a certain majority of those zones the continent is locked. This is the “win” objective that many open-ended games like this lack, which drives group play to be even more objective-focused. The spawning system is based off of player location, territory control and team spawn beacons. “Instant Action” spawn options allow players to jump straight into the action upon startup for the impatient types.
For how expansive the game is, the details are impressive. Graphically Planetside 2 compares well to other top games of the generation, and individual player actions are fleshed out and well polished. Even low-end PCs can handle Planetside 2’s enormous battles and landscapes. The free-to play model is fair, with most weapons being unlockable with easily obtainable in-game points, and any purchasable weapons are balanced enough for it not to be “pay to win.” Daybreak has been on a tear lately with their awesome game releases. Dragon’s Prophet is another top notch game from them.
As an individual, Planetside 2 can be frustrating and progress without payment is rather slow. But, most flaws and bugs have been ironed out by this point, and the game is only getting better. Planetside 2 rewards players who can think tactically, work as a group and aim to kill. Despite any disbelief, Planetside 2 lives up to its concepts and delivers expansive, player-led battles across huge landscapes that I could not have imagined a few years ago, all for free. Easily one of the best games from Daybreak Game Company. Still looking forward to H1Z1 though!