An Updated Hands-On Look at PlanetSide 2 - Page 2

Posted Tue, Jul 17, 2012 by Sardu

Day / Night Cycles

If lack of distinguishable on-screen markers is the biggest mark in the cons column from my hands-on experience, the day / night cycles sit squarely at the top of the pros. I absolutely adore everything about the system, and consider it one of the things that make PlanetSide 2 feel not only persistent, but flat out epic. This works on a couple of different levels; the purely cosmetic, and the impactful environment changes on gameplay.

On the cosmetic end of the spectrum, the shift from sunset, to nightfall, to sunrise, to daytime is subtle enough to give you a real sense of time passing while you play. A struggle to take over a key facility goes from being fun to epic in the sense that you really end up feeling like your squad just battled all night to secure critical resources.

The length of the cycle is still be ironed out, but Matt Higby noted that they’re currently targeting somewhere around 4 hours for the full cycle. So it won’t be a case where your geographical location and playtimes will help dictate the in-game time of day, nor will the cycle repeat so often as to never give you proper time to adjust. Instead, it will happen subtly enough that you’ll be able to take note of the sun beginning to set, and adjust your loadout accordingly (which I’ll touch on again briefly in a moment).

Graphically, I was truly impressed by how great the game looks at night. Fighting over the same facility suddenly becomes an all new experience, and was easily one of my favorite things during my afternoon play session.

Nighttime in PlanetSide 2

Of course, this kind of radical environmental change is only as good as the game mechanics that support it, and the PS2 team has absolutely taken this into account. Apart from the obvious need to adjust your tactics at nighttime (hello giant headlights on vehicles!), there are other things players will need to factor in. Here is a pair of examples for your brain monsters to chew on:

First, the infiltrater’s stealth becomes much more effective at night. During the day, it produces a slight shimmering effect that the more keenly eyed players will learn to distinguish from their surroundings. At night, however, stealth is much more difficult to detect. In terms of tactics, you could almost think of nightfall as an opportunity to send in your special ops team to lock down respawn points so that your heavy infantry can muscle forward come daybreak.

The second, and perhaps even more interesting impact worthy of note, is that you’ll be able to switch to using night vision goggles which adds another layer of depth to the overall experience.

While some of my peers flat out hated how radically the nighttime gameplay changed, I found it completely brilliant. I honestly can’t wait to see what happens once weather patterns come into play. Large scale combat at night during a massive thunderstorm? Sign me up!

On the Horizon

So far we’ve really only begun to scratch the surface of what PlanetSide 2 has to offer based on our hands-on time with the game. Be sure to keep your dials turned to the Ten Ton Hammer channel, because we’ve got plenty more exclusive PS2 coverage coming your way. Specifically, we’ll be going more in-depth about our squad play experiences, and also giving our readers a better feel for how overarching gameplay concepts in PS2 compare to more traditional MMOs.

I would have hoped for a bit more "meat" ,and a little less, "hey this is the first FPS I ever played", feeling I got from the article.

cheers for the actual article i have recently been on the lookout with regard to this kind of advice on the net for sum time right now so many thanks

Couldn't agree less about the name tags. Learning how to spot enemies should be a learned skill. Also i read somewhere that you can just press Q to check if something in the distance is an enemy. So there you go.

Although I have yet to play PS2, I will have to disagree entirely with your idea for a marking system. Seeing as this is an FPS first, MMO second, the current player marking system makes sense. I don't think there should be any enemy markings (maybe minimal), as this is an FPS not an RPG.

The colors of the factions and silhouettes should be enough to give away who/what the enemy is. In fact, I'm pretty sure they've explained why the control markers are the colors they are. Green is your own faction because that is the norm, and people got confused during playtests.

Yea with regards to the tags: what about games like BF3? Everyone is in nearly matching camo of all shapes and sizes and you use the silhouette and light/darkness to make out the difference. In the beginning you have no idea. I think it's a bit of a silly point. The shapes / armor styles etc are so distinct that even watching the crappy encoded videos I'm able to tell the difference.
With regards to the day/night cycle I'd have to agree: it's purely awesome and I really hope they do NOT adjust it to make night any lighter. Night/storm battles: YES.
Meh just my $0.02 - Haven't actually played anything myself so who knows, right?

Requiring colored nameplates above everyone's head at all times is a horrible suggestion. It should be challenging to find and shoot the enemy when he gets the drop on you. If, for example, it in nighttime and you are in the dark, it would be pointless for an enemy to try to sneak up near you and hide behind a rock and prepare to shoot you because you would have seen him a mile away with his bright purple nameplate above his head.

It sounds like you need to go back to playing the garbage FPS's: MW3 or BF3.

I understand Sardu's concerned, but his "red/blue/purple" nameplates are simply not viable. Why? Colorblindness. I can't regularly distinguish between blue and purple, meaning I would either be forced to play TR or be shooting my teammates a lot. This was a serious problem with map colors in the original Planetside, and it would be folly to replicate it on a larger scale here.

I'd say players should be able to customize the colors however they want. But, as Jako noted, it would destroy the element of surprised if players had big "HERE I AM" signs above their heads. The problem is not that the enemies are not being marked, it's clearly that friendlies are not being marked enough. The absence of marking should indicate enemies.

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