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7:58 AM on 10.01.2015

Planetside 2 is an exhilarating, yet strangely relaxing game.

So I was browsing the Playstation store recently only to discover, to my dismay, that Planetside 2 had released whilst I was on holiday (Seriously Sony, would it really have been THAT tricky to send a representative round to the Caribean to personally inform me of the latest FPS announcements? Step up your game). I’d been pretty eagerly anticipating this particular release for the past two years, as Planetside 2 is an immensely appealing concept that I, being a peasant unable to afford a state of the art gaming PC cooled by the tears of dying orphans from ye olde hard drive mine, was unlikely to ever be able to play on anything other than my Playstation created by real, non-metaphorical slave labour to deliver a cheap price.

Fun Fact: Assassins Creed syndicate is actually an accurate depiction of the playstation mines of modern England!

The game is essentially a massively multiplayer FPS that casts YOU (yes, YOU) in a battle between three teams of a couple of hundred players each over a massive alien open world, essentially recreating the weird fever dreams you get when you stay up till 3AM watching sci-fi channel original movies whilst eating grilled sausage of questionable quality. (I’m sure EVERYBODY knows that feeling, right guys?) However, unlike dreams created by cramming large amounts of meaty flesh into a gaping maw, on starting planetside 2, I was hit by an unexpected problem: Realism. Essentially, planetside 2 is an accurate depiction of what it’s like to be cannon fodder in a ghastly endless war. Time to kill is terrifyingly fast, even if you’re playing as a class that gets a deflector shield, or in a tank, or in huge spaceship. If somebody sees you before you see them, you’re going to die, over and over again. This is combined by pretty unbalanced servers (the European server I’m on has 44% of its population taken up by one army, essentially meaning you’re constantly swarmed by blue people). And, because tactical capability is hamstrung by the limitations of PS4. The game takes on a strangely WW1 era atmosphere, with reams of players getting gunned down en-masse, respawning 7 seconds later, and then getting gunned down again.

Not depicted in this shot: 8 year olds talking about Naruto as they run into tanks over and over

Perhaps it’s just my newness to FPS games like this (Call of duty and Battlefield, which Planetside 2 obviously takes inspiration from, passed me by) but this combined with the emphasis of the game on small, interior base defence when I’d rather be leading tank charges across wide open plains, and the fact I’m generally awful at FPS games (which Planetside 2's- hamfisted tutorial didn’t exactly help) left me feeling more than a little miffed. After a while, the game starts to feel less like a futuristic first person shooter and more like the worlds lamest game of pac-man, as I endlessly scanned the map for different coloured dots, only to see them just in time for the dot to shoot me in the back before I could react. Whilst I’m sure a skilled player can no doubt learn the idiosyncrasies’ of these games and turn them into the ultimate balletic laser tag, as an unskilled guy without the time to learn, they have a somewhat difficult and frustrating learning curve.

Call of Duty:Ghosts actually takes place in a dark alternative timeline where Pac man loses the fight at the end of Pac Man:The ghostly Adventure

Whilst Planetside 2 does feature, to a certain extent, many of my frustrations with those franchises, as initially I picked a class and weapon loadout based around fighting people in small, labyrinthine bases where looking at the minimap was paramount, which didn’t allow the level design to make use of the large player count and huge, expansive maps, the game underwent a staggering transformation when I switched from the main soldier class to the stealth/ sniper class. To put it simply, the game has some of the best multiplayer sniper gameplay I’ve ever seen in a game. Because the draw distance is huge, and maps are relatively expansive and lacking cover, when you play the role of a sniper, the game becomes less about capturing and defending bases, and more a game about looking at, and interacting with, tiny people shaped ants controlled by players from around the world. (unlike the huge, ant shaped people that follow me around in real life, and whisper those naughty things to me, a scenario we all relate to, am I right?) The true scale, the sheer enormity of the game, becomes much more apparent when you’re viewing these fairly large groupings of tiny players through a scope against these huge vistas and backdrops.
Finally, someone who really Gets me!

Moreover, it’s a relaxing experience. The setup for Planetside 2, three armies fighting each other over large continents in games that don’t have a time limit, means that, in essence, that the game is the equivalent of a Saturday morning cartoon FPS, in that no matter how much the ‘Good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ seem to be sucking, or succeeding, it doesn’t matter, because no true progress will ever be made. This, whilst not so great if you want to feel like you’ve made some form of long term accomplishment, is great when you just want to boot up the game, and be given an endless stream of mooks to fight. It begins to become an almost hypnotic rhythm as you travel to a mountain in the distance, scan for enemies in the distance, shoot, retreat, rinse and repeat, and because you’re always fighting against living players, you always have a challenge, you're always seeing new foes to duel on the horizon just

Sure, you spend most of your time slowly reloading, but it's damn fun

A different game could make a convincing statement about dehumanisation, as you repeatedly slaughter endless numbers soldiers because they're wearing Blue pajamas rather than purple pajamas, but, let's face it, that's never gonna happen. Some elements of the game also never fail to create an intrinsic thrill, such as seeing a tank charge in the horizon closing in, or seeing a fighter jet crash into your platform inches from you, or the revolver, which has quite possibly one of the sexiest reload animations of all time. A particularly fun metagame challenge I try every now and again I call ‘Realistic Rambo’ where the goal is to drive a quadbike as far as possible into enemy territory, and then attempt to act as a guerrilla fighter, taking down enemies who’ll never suspect it, with diminishing ammo and resources, and almost certainly immediately dying the moment anyone show the slightest bit of resistance. Some elements of the game will always be inherently satisfying though, particularly the revolver, which has one of the sexiest reload animations ever put in a game

Seriously though, this gun is ridiculous fun

So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for an FPS that’s less like high octane adrenaline packed action and more like slipping into a murderous warm bath or a lovely fluffy towel made out of sniper rifles, give planetside 2 a try. It's free on Playstation 4 and PC, and it's Microtransaction elements are relatively lenient.


11:09 AM on 09.29.2015

I'm trying to post my first C-blog, but, once I actually save/publish it, all the youtube embeds screw up. removing the 'Flex video youtube' in the code seemed to work, but it doesn't seem to save over it. Any Advice?


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