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Game Review: Planetside 2 (PS4)

Updated on August 25, 2015
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What is Planetside 2?

Planetside 2 is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online first-person shooter. I would liken it to playing Star Wars Battlefront (the originals on the Playstation 2) only where every unit you see is controlled by a human player. The game is designed to simulate a futuristic war fought by three different factions, complete with hordes of infantry (of various classes), ground vehicles (tanks, four-wheelers, troop transports, etc), gun emplacements, and aerial vehicles (think fighter jets, scout planes, and airborne troop carriers). Everything (literally everything) is highly customizable and upgradeable with a currency system earned in-game or by purchasing with real world money (although the latter is not at all required).

All of those vehicles are piloted by human players with additional players riding as well.
All of those vehicles are piloted by human players with additional players riding as well. | Source

What's so Special About it?

Remember when I said it was a massive multiplayer? It holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest first-person shooter battle with 1158 players in a single battle. This isn't for the PS4 though, as the game was originally designed for the PC and continues to run on it to this day.

Each server holds a massive amount of players. Each server is then divided into 6 continents, each with their own maps and geographical landscape. Each continent is (usually) divided between the three factions who all fight between themselves to claim map dominance. They do this by capturing command posts and kicking out the occupying force in the region. Factions are further split up by squads, groups you can communicate with and coordinate with to maximum effectiveness on the battlefield (although you can choose to ignore them and do your own thing without real penalty).

A moderately-sized force assaulting a command post
A moderately-sized force assaulting a command post | Source

You said it was a Port? And what does it cost me?

Yes, I did. Originally released in 2012, Planetside 2 required powerful machines to properly run the game. With the PS4, you don't have to worry about the specs (which could be said by anyone who doesn't PC game) and still get the full experience.

As said before, Planetside 2 is a free-to-play game and you can download it for free on the Playstation Store (granted, you've got to be a Playstation Plus member to do so, but there are plenty of other free games available to download every month, and you get to play online which is basically a requirement for this game). If you load it up, play it, and don't like it, all you have to do is uninstall it and it's gone.

As for the free-to-play mechanics, it's a lot like those app games you download to your phone. It doesn't cost you anything to 'purchase' and download it and you can play it pretty easily. With things like Candy Crush, you can fail a couple times in a row and you have to wait a certain amount of time to play again, or you can pay for a new life token and play immediately. Planetside 2 isn't quite that cruel. However, for every class there's two weapon slots with several weapon types for each slots, and each weapon type usually has 7 different guns you can unlock with in-game currency or paying cash. Each of these weapons can be outfitted with gun accessories which may also be purchased. This goes for all the vehicles, as well as cosmetics for your character. The game is a little stingy (if you buy a gun for one class, you still have to buy it again for another class) but I found that I gain in-game currency at a good rate while I play.

All factions have different tracers for their bullets and they really light up during the night cycle of a map
All factions have different tracers for their bullets and they really light up during the night cycle of a map | Source

What is it like to Play?

Well, to be completely honest, the first thirty minutes are the most difficult experience of the game. When I started up the game, I was dropped into a firefight, no different who was on my team and who wasn't, kept receiving warnings that I was shooting teammates, and given no proper tutorial. It was definitely overwhelming to be honest, but I made myself patient and worked through it until I got a hold of it. You'll likely need to adjust the sensitivity, figure out what buttons do what (it takes two shoulder buttons to be hit at the same time to throw a grenade, for instance), and that's all before the really precise vehicle controls (I still can't fly my vehicle without crashing or being unable to turn quickly).

A few tips for playing:

  • Whatever faction your character is (purple, red, or blue), your teammates are as well. Players with green names are members of your squad and are also your teammates. You can team kill and can be punished for it.
  • Each faction has slightly different statistics and vehicles have minor changes, but the differences aren't large enough to really matter (imo).
  • Grenades are activated by L1 and R1 at the same time.
  • Take your time with vehicles and study up on them. It feels more similar trying to drive a new vehicle in real life the first time rather than picking things up easily in Halo or something similar.
  • Also, you can't drive another player's vehicle. You can only drive vehicles you create, but you can ride in turret seats as well.
  • When you buy a new item or weapon for a character, make sure it's equipped in your loadout screen. This won't happen automatically.
  • Death doesn't mean you're playing badly, as everyone else has the same chances as you. That being said, camping really isn't frowned upon but missing your target reveals tracers, allowing other players to quickly locate your position.

A PC screenshot
A PC screenshot | Source

Closing Comments

The game has a bit of a steep learning curve. It's not as bad as the Soul's series of games where you might be punished for the tiniest thing, but you will likely find yourself overwhelmed, especially without a tutorial. However, once you get the hang of things, you'll find yourself stuck in intense environments, spawning from a mobile command post as heavy artillery smashes against the valley you're running up, dodging sniper fire before making it inside, using cover to gun down enemies while you're allies march alongside you, falling as often as the enemy does while dogfights happen overhead.

Nothing is scripted in the game, so everything is human-fueled. While I personally haven't worked with a squad yet, coordinating with a group of people to launch a heavy vehicular assault seems to be thrilling as a convoy of tanks or squadron of fighters surge towards an enemy base, blasting apart the ground forces and changing the face of the battlefield. There is always something to do, a new rank to unlock, guns or attachments to buy, tactics to try out. The game doesn't have an end point and it benefits greatly from it.

This is one of those games that actually captures the feel of playing on a massive battlefield with an unfathomable amount of players. It really is one of the more unique experiences I've had in gaming, and I'd recommend it to anyone with a Playstation Plus account.

Contact Info

If you're already playing it, or you're going to play it, you can always send me a message or friend request! My Online Name is chubbyTravis (it's a long story) and I can make a character to play alongside you in the training area. Just give me a message saying you've found me on HubPages to let me know how I 'know' you!

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© 2015 Travis Wood

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