Lost In Space: PlanetSide 2 Leaves A Scarily Exciting First Impression

PlanetSide 2 is an absolute titan of a game. Having originally launched for the PC almost three years ago, developer Daybreak Game Company (formerly Sony Online Entertainment) has finally brought its massive online shooter to console where it now awaits a new audience. While there might be some early rumours of an Xbox One version now that Daybreak have cut ties with Sony, it’s in the here and now that you can download this free to play game on PlayStation 4.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIy8Tnlbe-Q

Unlike many of the genre’s heavy hitters such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, there are no “matches” or “rounds” in PlanetSide 2. Instead, everything takes place within one persistent world (per server) where three factions are constantly at war, fighting over facilities, compounds, and other waypoints in a never-ending battle to expand their territory.

The thing that will take most players by surprise when they first log into PlanetSide 2 is the sheer scale of it all. Even Koltyr, a base camp continent that only houses low level players, is huge in size, but it’s dwarfed by the vast regions that await those who rank up high enough to emigrate.

Although a continent’s map and its features will almost always stay the same, the patchwork of bases and landmarks scattered on its surface will change ownership by the hour, every hour. Each one of these strongholds is manned by actual real-life players, and no NPCs. To win one for your faction you must mount a tactical offensive, carrying out several critical objectives in order to capture it and force the enemy to retreat.

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At the very narrow end of the spectrum, you’ll play as a grunt, spawning in before locking onto an objective and getting your hands dirty. Aside from capturing and destroying points of interest such as shield generators and control centres, you can aid your team by performing various other actions.

Engineers, for instance, can hang back to repair tanks, ships, and troop carriers whereas the Heavy Assault class can do the opposite, blowing enemy vehicles apart under a hail of rocket fire. No matter which class you select upon spawning, they all have their role to play and, more importantly, can hold their own in a firefight.

When popping off headshots and gaining ground on your enemy, it’s sometimes easy to forget how much your actions can impact PlanetSide’s metagame. Zooming out from each individual skirmish will show an entire world map painted blue, red, and purple, the spread and decline of each colour charting their sustained war effort. Eventually, as players continue to rank up and network with their fellow soldiers, they’ll gain the power to command entire squads, platoons, or even entire armies.

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Despite its initial overwhelming complexity, the game will start to make sense the more you play. By learning and co-ordinating with other players you’ll soon start to pick out which objectives need taking, where support is needed, and how best to outfit each class loadout. Once you’re over that initial curve, you will start to feel less and less like cannon fodder, realising just how much influence you have in both battles and the overarching planetary war itself.

Despite accomplishing an almost impossible feat in game design, PlanetSide 2 isn’t without its problems. Luckily, many of these are fairly small, such as the lack of non-premium appearance options for avatars, more weapon/gadget variety etc.

With much of the groundwork having been finished, we’ll no doubt see Daybreak turn their attention to these blemishes, hopefully working in some of the lore currently found online into the game itself. As much as I enjoyed forging my owning war stories, knowing the different factions and even having a spread of non-functional NPCs would help breath some much needed character into the game, beyond the astonishing scale and the eternal fighting.

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8 Comments

  1. never played a planetside game before and this was initially baffling.

    persevere and do some reading stuff on the internets and you’ll be rewarded.

    it’s taken over from CoD as my go-to shooter.
    PLUS the persistent nature of the game means its great for pickup and play – 10 mins or 2 hours.
    PLUS it’s F-R-E-E.

    • You can’t say it’s great for a quick 10 minutes, surely? The servers aren’t up to the job and it takes almost that long just to get into the game. Unless you pay to skip the queue, obviously.

      And when you do get in, the servers are still struggling and all sorts of weird things are happening.

      As for hunting around on the internet to find out how it all works, that’s a pretty major fail on the part of the developers.

      It’s a neat idea, and when it does work, it’s a lot of fun with that many people running about. It just obviously needs a lot more work. Or just slap a beta label on it and hope everyone forgives the massive problems for now.

      Still, it’s free. If you don’t mind being in a queue for ages.

      • never had a queue issue – although i am still in koltyr.

      • same: never had a queue issue – although i am still in koltyr.

  2. If Daybreak can do the same with H1Z1 I’ll be very happy. The promise was there but it was early days when I dived into Early Access on Steam, PC.

  3. Its good. Played it on Sunday and two hours seems like 20 minutes in the game. Flying is daunting in the game and isn’t very well implemented.

    But the pverall mechanics are solid and the scope of the game is good too. With this and Blacklight Retribution-I have my FPS PvP covered.

  4. I’ll have to go back to see how it’s running now.

  5. Its a good game. And very addictive if it gets its hooks in you (I hit Battle rank 30 over the weekend :P)

    But currently there is no outfit or platoon support. Its those things that really made the game shine for me on PC. Being in a squad of 12 working together is great, but having 48 (or even 96) working together is truly epic. You can have 2 infantry squads, an armour squad and an air cover squad all working together. Basically, anything you attack will fall…..unless you meet an opposing platoon of similar scale. Then (queue Willem Dafoe voice) “there was a fire fight!”

    You can leave Koltyr at any time. I played the first weekend though, so there weren’t that many high level people running around. With previous experience on PC, I wasn’t really at a disadvantage. Not sure how advisable it would be to leave asap as time goes on.

    General advice would be to pick a medic or engineer to start with, and try to find a medium sized fight to support (48 players a side is good). Hang back and give out healing or ammo/repairs. You’ll earn a decent amount of exp in a reasonable time frame. Doing this is actually very helpful to a fight, and often can mean the difference between defeat or victory. If you can ensure your side does not have make their way to a control point from a spawn point (like a sunderer), and that you all have bullets (you spawn with enough ammo for a skirmish by default, but not nearly enough for a sustained battle). You will soon find you have the advantage of numbers so you can push the enemy back and claim the area.

    Earn a few certification points (cert points are used to unlock gear. You get one cert per 250exp) and start upgrading your gear so you can do the above more efficiently to earn more certs in less time.

    Once comfortable with the game, start specialising. You will be more effective if you Make one thing (vehicle/class/weapon) good, rather than a few things being mediocre.

    Also bear in mind when trying to fly or go tanking: some people already have 1000’s of certs invested in their kit, so going up against them solo with a 50 cert tank/plane isn’t going to go well. ALWAYS team up with someone if you can. You’ll live longer.

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