Thursday, January 10, 2013

Planetside 2 - an MMOFPS

Happy new year everyone! (And I do probably mean "one," literally)

It's hard to believe (no it isn't) that we haven't had a post on here since June of last year! But that is going to change, because as part of my new year's resolutions, I've decided to post more stuff...and the blog. So here is some stuff! (Things to come later)

Today I'm going to be talking about the newest child of Sony Online Entertainment, a MMOFPS called Planetside 2, the long awaited sequel to Planetside.

I haven't played a lot of the recent FPS titles for PC since I just got back into the PC I did use to play the old Battlefield series back in the day, so I got an early taste for multiplayer firefights on a massive scale. Of course, anyone who played those games knows that "massive" really meant running around by yourself a lot and maybe encountering base fights with around 30-40 people, not a far cry from the typical multiplayer FPS game, ala Counter-strike, etc.

However in Planetside 2, SOE has changed the game - we're talking 3 different continents of sandbox style fighting, with up to 2000 people on each continent. This can and does make for some very epic battles, with hundreds of people fighting to capture or control small territories at a time. And as for running around alone? Sure you can if you want to - be a lone wolf  or go as an infiltrator and get behind enemy lines to help destroy strategic targets for your faction. But team play is where it's at in Planetside 2. SOE has done an exquisite job of encouraging this aspect of the game and making it genuinely fun. Simply hit "insert" to be automatically assigned to a squad, or join an outfit (clan) and join up with ranks of like minded soldiers like yourself. Every squad is contained within a larger platoon, and each squad and platoon has a leader, capable of setting objectives on your mini map. You can communicate with your platoon, squad, outfit, or even yell out to others in your proximity using voice chat that supports almost 200 channels at one time.

Why is rolling with a platoon so much better than going it alone? One word: ZERG. Zergs are the equivalent of the US rolling through the gulf in Desert Storm, and when two opposing zergs collide, all hell breaks lose. The video below shows a night time battle (days turn to night and back again) in which a zerg meets another.

Sony does a great job rounding out the immersiveness of the game by using high quality sound samples and lighting effects that really bring Auraxis (the planet you're fighting on) to life. On the frontlines you'll hear the sounds of battle all around you, but should you find yourself shot down in the middle of no where, you'll hear the sound of crickets chirping, the wind blowing, wolves howling, and the low bass sound of shells falling in the distance.

The dynamics of sound in this game are spot on, and coupled with that is the music you'll hear depending on what faction you are a part of. I play as New Conglomerate, who are the freedom fighters/anarchists of the game. As such, their music is naturally totally badass heavy metal licks complete with face melting guitar tones and electric violin solos. This music plays when you are waiting to respawn and just as you are getting close to capturing or losing a base. Needless to say, PS2 knows how to get you pumped! Check it out:

NC capture music

Now, things are not all bacon and gravy just yet. The team at Sony still has some kinks to work out, such as encouraging more level combat between infantry, armor, and air forces (it's still the best out there though, in my opinion), increasing ground capabilities against aircraft, and revamping the XP system. But I have confidence they will address these issues in time. The game is still in it's awkward years, and we'll have to wait patiently as it grows. But it's still a solid fun time. And the best part of all?!


That's right, built with the League of Legends concept in mind, your experience can earn you sidegrades and upgrades (of course, you can still drop money to buy guns, but they're very pricey. I would highly suggest waiting for deals - SOE will occasionally double or triple the value of your money during these times).

So naturally you're asking, is it pay to win? Well, no, not exactly. It certainly doesn't hurt though. However I still roll with a lot of the default weaponry. For the most part, the default guns for infantry work very well, and are improved only with sidegrades, which can only be upgraded with XP. As for armor and aircraft, there are some definite upgrades that you might consider purchasing right off the bat, designed to efficiently kill infantry, armor, or aircraft, whatever suits your fancy.

Did I mention it's free to play? Stop taking my word for it, go download it, and give it a try. If you're like me, you'll enjoy the thrill, chaos, and hilarity that full scale PvP war tends to produce.


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