First-person shooters lend themselves incredibly well to vast, open environments, so it's almost criminal that we don't have more games taking that to the level the original PlanetSide did. A normal session of gameplay involved me driving my stealth four-wheeler to the nearest battle, and then sneaking up on unsuspecting snipers as they assassinated my fellow Vanu soldiers from the hills. No points, no timers, and no barriers were involved ... only hundreds of players, fighting for control over a particular base.
When PlanetSide 2 was announced, I first thought to myself, "Thank Christ Sony Online Entertainment is actually doing something." Then I fist-pumped in excitement when I heard it was a sequel to a game I enjoyed a great deal in high school, and was of a genre that I wished would have taken off, but didn't: the MMOFPS.
Then today, at a hands-off preview of PlanetSide 2, they told me the game is going to be free to play. So, after having now seen this sweet-looking game in action, and knowing that my finances (or lack thereof) are no longer a factor, I'm pretty sure this game is 100% confirmed to be a part of my future.
PlanetSide 2 (PC)
I got your disease. The only way I could get my hands on Mass Effect 3 today was by trading in four other games. Honestly, since I've been living the vagrant lifestyle of a college student (though I graduated f*ckin' years ago), the idea of playing a game at no cost has been getting sweeter and sweeter. In fact, free-to-play MOBA games took up more of my time in 2011 than any other genre.
So you can imagine my ecstasy when I learned that PlanetSide 2, a game I actually anticipate, won't take a single dime from me (unless I want it to). The only things that will require cash are the usual experience boosts and custom skins -- that's it. Like a lot of other developers out there, SOE doesn't believe in "pay to win," so any of us poor sods won't be at a disadvantage against the other responsible people with real jobs and a steady income.
If you've ever been curious to experience first-person shooters on a grander scale, or if you're a fan of MMOs and would like to try something a little more persistently chaotic, at least now you know that you won't have to sell your other kidney to do so.
It's tough to say whether or not there's a market for MMOFPS games, because ... well, there technically isn't one. The original PlanetSide didn't do terribly well, so the genre never went anywhere subsequently. What followed was missed opportunity for companies to capitalize on a fairly obvious and brilliant idea. Thankfully, SOE is taking another shot at it (pun intended), and cult fans will be pleased to know that plenty of what made the original game great will be in this follow-up.
Players will pick from one of the original three factions: the authoritative and tyrannical Terran Republic, the rebellious and crafty New Conglomerate, or the tech-savvy and cult-like Vanu Sovereignty (mine). All three groups not only feature their own visual identities, but the hardware they sport provide distinguishable gameplay elements; Conglomerate weapons pack a punch but suffer from bullet drag, whereas the Vanu utilize energy rounds that travel straight to their target, however don't do as much damage as traditional ammo.
Speaking of hardware, vehicles play just as large of a role in PS2 as they did in the original game, if not larger. While infantry are required for the inner-workings of a base or capture point, an entire fleet of tanks can make short work of outer defenses. Believe me when I say "fleet," because players can freely creep up to enemy strongholds with squads of gunships -- dozens of them. Queue "Ride of the Valkyries."
What makes such epic possibilities even more appealing is the fact that PlansetSide 2 features a completely persistent world map. Each continent provides several marked, resource-laden areas for enemy factions to invade, capture and control -- distinguished by the color of the faction that owns them. Attack and defend as you please; nothing is planned or scripted. This made the conflicts in the original game much more personal than most other shooters around today, and I can imagine the same will be said about this upcoming sequel.
I can't completely ignore what other, more confined shooters did right that the original PlanetSide did wrong. Games like the Modern Warfare series ushered in a new standard for online shooters with customization and RPG elements. It added a new degree of depth to online play, and was the main reason so many people kept going back for more. Likewise, such elements have made their way into PlanetSide 2, where they feel even more welcome.
Over the course of the game, you acquire both experience and in-game currency that go towards new weapons, vehicles and upgrades. While the typical additions can be expected (red dot sights, different ammo types), infantry can benefit from varying armor classes, stat-boosting implants, special abilities, and a variety of large and small firearms. I'm anxious to see if roles play as large of a part in PS2's gameplay as they do in other MMOs (i.e. tanks, healers, straight DPS).
Customization also extends to vehicles, as well. Airships can either be outfitted with missiles to make short work of ground targets, or use fast-firing rail guns to help keep the skies clear. Tanks can be equipped with better armor, heavier-hitting shells, or better innards for speed sake. Before you know it, SOE might give players the ability to name their beasts of destruction. I imagine "Bertha" would be a popular pick.
PlanetSide 2 is definitely a game for people who have wanted to take the fast, action-packed gamelpay of first-person shooters onto an even more vast battlefield. As someone who enjoyed the first game, I can say that fighting a war without barriers is something that really can't be replicated in any other genre.
While my thirst for open-world warfare was nary sated over these past several years, it's good to know that SOE decided to provide fans like myself with a tall drink of water. Anyone else with a dry mouth and a desire for something new and refreshing should definitely keep an eye on PlanetSide 2.
|7:00 AM on 05.03.2013|
PlanetSide 2's latest update introduces new assault buggy
Game Update 08 is now live in PlanetSide 2. The update introduces a brand new vehicle called the Harasser Assault Buggy which lets up to three players cruise around on the map. There's a 360 degree turret mounted to the top,...more
|12:30 PM on 01.25.2013|
PlanetSide 2 competition heats up with MLG partnership
Sony Online Entertainment and Major League Gaming have announced a new partnership to bring free-to-play MMO first-person shooter PlanetSide 2 closer to the latter organization's audience of competitive gamers. In the coming ...more
|9:30 PM on 01.11.2013|
PlanetSide 2 getting some good fixes this month
PlanetSide 2 is going to get a little bit sweeter at the end of this month, courtesy of Sony Online Entertainment. The patch will hit January 30 and contain a lot of pleasant fixes for the game. You can read about them a...more
|9:30 PM on 12.11.2012|
All hail PlanetSide 2's Vanu Sovereignty!
It's no secret that Vanu Sovereignty is the best faction in PlanetSide 2. I mean c'mon, they're purple and have energy weapons. You were aware that purple is the color of royalty, right? Meanwhile, red and black are colors a...more
|2:00 PM on 12.07.2012|
Review: PlanetSide 2
There are moments while playing videogames that make you step back and say "Good golly" or "Gee whiz" or even "Hot damn!" Then there are the moments that render you absolutely speechless. PlanetSide 2 offers both of these, an...more
|11:00 PM on 11.26.2012|
Latest PlanetSide 2 trailer asks you one simple question
Well, the new PlanetSide 2 trailer started out well enough. I mean, it showed off some mechs, tanks, and there was even a helicopter sighting. Alright PlanetSide 2, you have my attention. "CAN YOUR FPS DO THIS?," i...more
|8:00 PM on 11.14.2012|
PlanetSide 2 beta drawing to a close
With the launch of PlanetSide 2 close enough so that I can smell it, the beta will lamentably cease on Friday. Don't fret, however, as that's three days of large-scale combat left, and then on November 20 the game itself will...more
|2:30 PM on 11.06.2012|
Black Widow Company featured in new PlanetSide 2 trailer
PlanetSide 2 has a new trailer today, and it's all about Black Widow Company. Who are they? Beats me, but they sure do know how to put on a show. I can't really tell what was going on in the video most of the time, but ...more
|7:30 PM on 11.02.2012|
PlanetSide 2 first game to feature Twitch integration
I can remember ever since I discovered the magic of Xbox Live back in 2004, I always thought, "Man, wouldn't it be cool if my friends could just watch me play games just by clicking on my name or something?" Well, it appears ...more
|1:00 PM on 10.19.2012|
PlanetSide 2 launch set for late November
Some of you have undoubtedly been enjoying the PlanetSide 2 beta for a while now, but there comes a point after the initial wow factor, for any game, when you grow tired of having to deal with the annoyances of unfinished sof...more
|7:00 PM on 05.22.2013|
WildStar's Paths accomodate specific MMO play styles
The new MMO on the block, WildStar, is gearing up for its release this year, and the developers at Carbine Studios are cranking out new details as we near that. As if making choices in MMO games weren’t tough enough, C...more
|9:00 PM on 05.21.2013|
Guild Wars 2 sheds a little off its price
Despite not playing as much Guild Wars 2 as I'd like to, that's okay -- it's not costing me anything. I can continue not playing free of guilt, which is the only way I can do MMO gaming any more, I've realized. ArenaNet has k...more
|7:30 PM on 05.16.2013|
Star Trek Online adds a new preorder ship, goofy clothes
Star Trek Online is less than a week out from its latest big free content update, Legacy of Romulus, which, as may be expected, will introduce the playable Romulan Republic faction and a new line of Romulan Warbirds...more