Sony Online Entertainments Planetside 2, has finally released and with it a new precedence on what an MMOFPS should be like as a whole. Massive planetary-wide engagements that will forever set the bar for this seamingly new genre, that’s just been waiting to burst onto the scene for what seems like forever in the making. It will do this not only with the normal soldier to soldier FPS action that we all know and love, but with ground and air vehicle strategies as well will now be a part of your everyday tactics, if you want to stay alive. With everything from troop transports on the ground and the air, jet fighters, artillery, and even massive fortress crushing tanks.
Each server or “World”, holds six thousand players total and is then split into two thousand player faction thirds to make a well balanced experience for everyone as there (in theory) will hardly ever be an over abundance of a single faction therefore making map takeover (the main goal of the game) a fun and balanced experience that wont leave you with the feeling of unaccomplishment.
Character creation is your first impression with a seemingly lackluster choice of male or female, then four heads, then nothing else, but then will have you choose which faction you would like to lay your loyalties to: The New Conglomerate which has a solid focus on hard hits and high rates of fire but low accuracy but also wield the best tank in game, The Terran Republic who have a focus on staying balanced in the sense that they have no overpowering stat but excel at rapid deployment, and The Vanu Sovereignty who yield high accuracy and damage, but low rates of fire with a focus on stealth and also yield arguably the best fighter jet in the game. After these choices have been made, you are treated to a small one minute video on why it is you are there, you then choose which class of troop you will be, a Medic, light or heavy assault class type, an engineer, a sniper, or a MAX which is a lumbering juggernaut of guns and pain. When the final choice has been made, you are brought to the planet via the screaming sounds of your drop pod, and thrown into the fray of combat.
Unfortunately now is the time that you realize that there was not any kind of tutorial whatsoever. the mini map is covered in icons and your screen is littered with events that are happening around you, not only locally, but planet-wide and there is no legend or time to find them as you have just been dropped right into combat. The learning curve is quite long as you will spend about half an hour either standing in place looking through anything you can to find this very important knowledge which if in enemy territory, will make you an easy target, or dying and learning via “Tough Love” as it were.
Planetside 2 has a lot going for it gameplay-wise but its extensive micro transaction store has enough to keep you winning day in and day out all while making it look good with not only player skins, but weapon and vehicle skins as well. That being said, the store has a few items that people might tag as “pay to win”, as a better gun and lack of unique skins for them will have you spending somewhere around $7 for an upgrade that looks different then the one you use, as well as rockets and guns for your jet fighter which will put you back another $8 but will also give you the best. A debatable amount, as you would spend about this much for a months worth of game time for most other MMOs, but these will stay with you as long as you have your account. Planetside 2 is now available for free as a PC download directly from www.planetside2.com or via your Steam account.