PlanetSide 2 Review

Paul Goodman | 6 Dec 2012 21:00
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Unfortunately, PlanetSide 2's large scale can also be one of its biggest draw backs. Each of Auraxis' continents is filled with mountains, forests, valleys, small outposts, towering airbases and gargantuan military fortresses. As impressive as all that is, getting around can be a hassle. Spawn points can be limited, meaning you're not always able to just get right into the action near your faction's front line, and it can be very frustrating having to spend upwards of ten minutes traveling to your destination, dying the moment you get there, and then have to repeat the process. The game does try to mitigate this by having an "Instant Action" option available when you bring up the map, which will let you airdrop right into one of the biggest battles going on in the server at the moment, but that can have mixed results. Most of the time it works well enough to get you right to the forefront of a battle, but you'll occasionally find yourself landing in a warzone where the fighting's just about over or you're vastly outnumbered by hostiles. It's more of an annoyance than anything else, but either way, you'll need to have some patience to deal with the lengthy chunks of downtime that'll pop up between battles.

By killing enemies and capturing objectives, you'll gain experience, which in turn grant you certification points. Certifications can be used for unlocking various abilities and equipment, ranging from extra health for a given class, increasing the ammo a tank can carry or unlocking a scope for a rifle. Each class, weapon and vehicle has a wide variety of options available for purchase, so you can either specialize by dropping all your points into the class or weapon you use the most or spread them out across the board so that no matter what role you decide to play, you'll have a boost. The prices start to spike sharply upwards once you get a level or two up the tech tree, so be prepared to do some heavy grinding - especially if you've set your eyes on picking up on some of the alternate class and vehicle weapons that are available. You can preview most weapons through a temporary "trial" system, but sadly there's currently no system in place to refund purchases or respec your character's skills. If you end up picking an item or ability that just doesn't work for your play style, you're stuck with it and will have to re-earn all those certification points over again.

If you are interested in skipping or at least speeding along through the point-earning system, PlanetSide 2 has an in-game store that'll let you purchase weapons and cosmetic items outright along with paid subscriptions that boost your ability to earn experience and certifications. The important thing to note here though, is that even if you do decide against using your wallet to fast-track up the technology tree, you actually won't be at that much of a disadvantage against players who pay for a premium. Most of the starting gear of each class/faction serves as general, all-purpose weaponry for you to use, and you can still be as effective as someone who's dropped a couple of dollars to pick up a fancy assault rifle by only spending the points you earn naturally to augment whatever gear you have.

Bottom Line: It might take a while to figure out how its various mechanics work and its pacing may be too slow for some, but PlanetSide 2 is a solid shooter that does a very good job of merging the social aspects of an MMO with the action-heavy game play of an FPS. After that first time you participate in multi-tank battle or hold off a huge infantry rush, however, you'll be eager to do it again.

Recommendation: If the idea of taking part in large-scale warfare with dozens and dozens of players appeals to you, PlanetSide 2 is your game.

What our review scores mean.

Game: PlanetSide 2
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment (SOE)
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Platform(s): PC

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