Sunday, 4 January 2015

Review No. 102 Planetside 2 - PC (12+)

Strong Points:
A variety of classes
Three factions to choose from
Four huge maps
Maps are huge
Massive battles are amazing to be in and watch
Lots of vehicles
Virtual Reality training is helpful
Good graphics
Great music
Instant action and respawning helps you get around

Weak Points:
Huge learning curve
Long distances between battles (takes ages to get anywhere)
Anything except for huge battles can be boring
Weapons and class powers don't mix well (for some classes)
Instant action doesn't always get you instantly into the action

Rating: 86%

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide: 20 November, 2012


Big, big, BIG! This appears to be the thoughts that went through the developers of this, frankly massive game. Sadly, with scale comes a lot of balancing (both in terms of players and how long it takes to get around) and this is a bit harder to pull off.

But first of all, let's talk about the scale. There are four maps in the game which represent continents. While this might be a big claim, it is also one of the only times that it's right. These maps are massive. I mean it, they're huge. Right, so now we've got that out of the way, let;s talk about them. Indar is a huge desert, Amerish is a continent full of lush vegetation, Esamir is icy and Hossin is a swamp continent. Inside these continents are many facilities and outposts that the warring factions are trying to capture. In order to attempt to control these places, your faction must hold one of the adjoining areas (which can be seen from the map). You can get to these places through respawns, Instant Action drops (where you hurtle towards the enemy - or an empty piece of land - in a drop pod) or by running/driving really long distances. This is one of the worst parts of the game as it takes so long to get anywhere exciting. Then, all you need to do is hold down 1-3 points (the amount depends on the size of the outpost or facility) and you will control the area and reap the rewards! However, you will then have to decide whether you will defend this area from future attacks or move on to capture another area. Once all of the continent has been captured by one faction, that faction will get extra bonuses until it is taken from them.

But who is it that is fighting? Well, in Planetside 2, you have a choice between three factions (the Terran Republic (the Empire), the New Conglomerate (the Rebels) and the Vanu Sovereignty (alien tech for the win!)) all of which offer different advantages and disadvantages including different weapons and vehicles. The vehicles are also varied and offer a choice of different playstyles such as an army of tanks and heavy aircraft to a light platoon of quadbikes all the way to huge carrier aircraft and armoured vehicles. I would recommend using VR Training to get used to the controls and feel of the different vehicles before taking them out into battle. Vehicles are brought using points that are earned by controlling facilities.

Next up are the weapons and upgrades. Planetside 2 follows a free to play model which means that you can experience the majority of the game for free but will have to pay for any advanced weaponry. While disappointing, you can still have a lot of fun without paying anything. And, anyway, it's not the weapons that will kill you but, instead, the massive learning curve. Luckily, there are some upgrades and powers that can help you. These upgrades vary improved armour and scopes to entirely new weapon options for vehicles and Implants (special powers that take energy to use). They are brought by using Certs (which are earned through killing enemies with the other reward being xp) or Station Cash (which are brought through real money).

Finally, there are classes. These range from Infiltrators (which are snipers that can cloak themselves) to Light Assault (which have jetpacks) to Heavy Assault (who have rocket launchers and a shield) all the way to Combat Medics and Engineers and, finally, MAX's (basically, large mechanical walkers with a lot of HP). One thing that is annoying is that, for example, the Light Assault can't have either the rocket launcher or the sniper rifle and so they can't take full advantage of the tactical positions they can reach. Also, the classes are slightly unbalanced between factions.

Overall, Planetside 2 is a great game when everything that it tries to do works (such as in the massive battles that involve hundreds of soldiers as tanks roll over the hills and aircraft dogfight in the sky - search massive Planetside 2 battles into YouTube and you'll see what I mean) but, sadly, it takes a while for it to get there.

Goodbye for now, Harry

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