Posted Fri, Dec 27, 2013 by Lewis B
In a brand new "24 Hour Time Limit" I venture into Planetside 2. According to my Steam account, I've now played 43 hours of it. That's definitely a good sign when I was intending only to play it for 24 hours. Here's how I got on.
Surprisingly, I still know very little about PlanetSide 2. I often haven't a clue where I should be going or what I should be doing (besides shooting the opposition). The premise, if you're unfamiliar with PS2, is relatively simple: three factions over several continents fight it out for world control. Imagine it a bit like Battlefield 4, except that PS2 is a good game where as Battlefield 4 is a terrible one. Anyway, for a free-to-play game, PlanetSide 2 is not only incredible polished but is absolutely enormous in scale and has a level of depth I've barely begun to uncover. It can be intimidating to get started but thankfully there's a tutorial to ease you in.
Deciding which Faction I would play as was surprisingly hard as all 3 are unique in their lore and styling but the Vanu Sovereignty I felt had much punchier weaponry. The fact they're plasma based as opposed to bullets (Christ I'm sick of firing human weapons in videogames) really sold it for me. Unfortunately for me it seems I'm pretty rubbish at firing said plasma weapons because I've only managed to kill two people so far and have spent the majority of my time dead. The tutorial isn't the best I've ever played and it serves only to help with the very basics, but it does provide a reasonable starting point.
The main hurdle for me when playing PS2 was using the map properly and orientating myself towards the action. At times I'd be unsure how to get a vehicle or where from or how to deploy quickly with my team mates. Thankfully after far too long asking in chat, I've now gotten to grips with this aspect of the game and have found myself in plenty of fire fights.
When it comes to combat, PS2 really does differ very little from the likes of Battlefield 4 or Tribes with the exception that many of the loadouts for each specific class are restricted until you've purchased them. With 6 class types (Infiltrator, Light Assault, Combat Medic, Engineer, Heavy Assault and MAX) there really are a wealth of choices, though I'm not sure at this point how many people multi-class. With the cost of items varying from several hundred “Cert Points” (you earn these through play) to 1,000 Station Credits (you buy these from Sony to then spend on items) it seems a waste to spread your expenses over too many classes. Fortunately there is real flexibility in the system that Sony Online Entertainment have devised, as the benefits of subscribing to the game really are good and the longer you subscribe, the more these bonuses increase. But, if you want to just dip in and out of PS2 then purchasing Station Cash really is a viable option. It's only around $10 for 1,000 SC which is enough to get you at least one good weapon upgrade or cosmetic item.
Something that I do like about PS2's free-to-play model is the fact that you do not feel at a disadvantage if you don't subscribe or purchase Station Cash. The majority of all the starting weapons for all the classes are great and you can quickly improve them and your chosen class just by playing and acquiring Cert Points. That isn't to say subscribing isn't a quicker option to amass all currencies and experience because it absolutely is, but not having to is wonderful.
Lastly and having only skimmed over the combat in PS2, it has to be said that it truly feels like a warzone. Not only is each area enormous but it's a genuine rush to storm a base and successfully hold it. With three factions of differing abilities and offering different vehicles, it's a fearsome sight when you see dozens of the opposition coming over the brow of a hill with a stream of vehicles on the ground and in the air. It goes without saying that that is when I quickly die from a stray mortar or pin-point sniper but it's a good feeling while it lasts.
Hopefully on my Time Extended with PlanetSide 2 I'll have much more to say about the vehicles, certificates and Outfits (guilds to you and me) if I can actually stay alive long enough.