The graphics in Planetside 2 aren’t anything extraordinary, but this isn’t entirely SOE’s fault. Planetside 2′s engine allows for literally hundreds of participants in a single battle. SOE had to sacrifice on the graphic detail to ensure that people without top of the line machines can join in on the massive battles. However, SOE is at fault for Planetside 2′s horrible optimization. On a decent mid-range machine, this game struggles to run on medium settings, and hijacks most of the CPU’s power while it’s running. But this is still excusable because of the grand scale fighting that happens every few minutes.
Planetside 2 has some amazingly diverse backing music. With up beat adventure music found in allied zones, to dark and ominous battle music that will have the player feeling like the outpost they’re defending is Helm’s Deep. The weapons each have a notable sound as well. The player will immediately know which faction is sieging the base just by the distinct weapon sounds.
GameplayIn an MMO, the graphics and sound are always just an accet to the gameplay. Gameplay is what will keep the players coming back for more. This is where SOE knocks it out of the park. Planetside 2 is one of the most unique gameplay experiences on the market.
Planetside 2 features 3 different factions(with differing ideologies for those who are looking into the lore), 3 different continents with their own unique terrain and hundreds of weapons, upgrades and scenarios that can happen.
At the start of the game the player chooses the join either the Millitant Terran Republic, Rebellious New Conglomerate, or the Pious Vanu Sovereignty. From there they are dropped directly into the action. Unfortunately this can be very disorientating for the new player as they may have no idea what’s going on or where to assault/defend. Once they get their bearings, they are free to go wherever they please. They can continue to battle where they dropped or choose to go to one of the other continents to engage in all out war. These continents are Esamir which is a continent filled with hills, mountains and forests; Indar which is a rugged desert filled with huge expanses and rugged terrain; or Amerish which is an arctic wasteland filled with huge mountains and giant frozen lakes. The player can choose which type of terrain they prefer to fight in, and surround themselves with that terrain.
Planetside 2 has a very unique system to it. Each of the three continents is constantly part of a huge tug of war between the three warring factions. A faction’s land on a certain continent can change in a mere hour, which makes for some diverse and exciting gameplay. Furthermore, the three faction system makes for very interesting combat. The Terran Republic can be sieging a huge power station controlled by the New Conglomerate, and the Vanu Sovereignty can storm in and take the power station for themselves. With three factions, it also gives the player a sense of loyalty to their own faction, which encourages teamwork and cooperation.
Planetside 2 is not without faults however. The learning curve is incredibly steep. It takes the player a good few hours to fully grasp what’s going on, and how to help their faction. These few hours can be incredibly frustrating and confusing, but once they’re over the player is in for a world of fun.
Additionally, the whole free to play aspect is both a plus and a minus. It does let the casual player get into the game and not be put behind people who have the experience bonus. The main problem is just how expensive the unlocks are. Many of the unlocks cost upwards of 1000 certifications. In an average play session, the player will receive between 50 and 100, depending on how well their faction is doing. This turns the game into a bit of a grind if they player isn’t looking to spend any money. That being said, the default weapons aren’t horrible, and there are only a few must have unlocks.
Planetside 2 is a great game with a huge future ahead of it. With more unlocks, and continents, SOE can extend this games life for many years to come. The graphics are decent, the sound is amazing and the gameplay is stellar. The few drawbacks Planetside 2 has, aren’t huge enough to turn players off.
Planetside 2 is available on Steam and is completely free to play!