Review

Planetside 2 Updated Review

  • Game release: November 20, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Massively multiplayer defined.

You peer through the scope of your bolt-action sniper rifle toward the enemy facility ahead. Moments ago, your scope was littered with targets, but now many have retreated within the safety of their walls. Even with your active camouflage, a sniper rifle isn't much good when you're moving onto the front lines, so you refit yourself with a jetpack and scale the wall yourself clearing a path straight through to the enemy control console with your trusty carbine and guard it with your life.

As a friendly soldier hacks into an enemy vehicle terminal for you, you hop into a Lightning tank, equipped with a flak turret to ward off the inbound enemy gunships coming to bombard the courtyard of your newly occupied, but not yet owned, base. An enemy tank arrives to reinforce the efforts to protect the enemy's facility, targeting you with its armor-piercing shells. Fearing the inevitable, you bail from your tank and take flight just out of reach of the tank's eager cannon, your jetpack sputtering a mocking laugh as you drop C4 onto the tank's outer plating. You push the detonator just as you land out of range of the explosions and casually walk away. All in the course of a single life in PlanetSide 2.

Here we see a herd of TR Prowler pigs in their natural habitat--being destroyed by C4.

The high stakes of PlanetSide 2's battles compel you to become fiercely loyal to your chosen faction. Everyone else is wrong. Whether you're an enlightened adherent of the Vanu Sovereignty, one of the despotic militant pigs of the Terran Republic, or a penny-chasing rebel dog of the New Conglomerate, you will find little reason to experiment with the other factions. If you're too foolish to understand that everything is better with lasers and a sleek purple exterior--that is, to fight for the alien technology-wielding VS--your choices are limited to the blocky hand-me-down bulk of the Smurf-colored NC or the "everything is round so it spins to waste ammo faster" TR Elmos.

Newly enlisted soldiers are sent through a basic-training tutorial to prepare them for deployment, but even learning the basics of controls doesn't prepare you for the war to come. No one tells you not to go rushing for that control console the moment you've disembarked from your battle bus into the enemy base. But after so many times rushing up that flight of stairs only to hear the sound of an NC Bouncing Betty launching itself into the air as you pass by, you learn that discretion is the better part of valor. Fortunately, unlike in real war, death is only a setback rather than a finality. Even if you avoid the bullet with your name on it only to receive a barrage of tank shells addressed to "current occupant," you can get back out onto the field and fight and die for your faction all over again.

"Are you Alliance?" "Am I a lion? I don't think of myself as a lion."

The war for the planet of Auraxis isn't an affair that can be won. Each empire has a sanctuary on each of the three continents that no enemies can take. Apart from the sanctuaries, all facilities and outposts are ripe for a dose of laser-assisted enlightenment. Outposts offer little strategic value and only a small sampling of resources for your soldier's allowance, while facilities grant much larger chunks of resources for being held, and confer an additional bonus, such as the enormous aerial dome of the bio lab granting a global health regeneration for soldiers who make it out of combat alive, allowing them to avoid screaming for the nearest medic.

Although you could originally capture outposts and facilities just by owning a neighboring territory, the war efforts have evolved since launch, and PlanetSide 2 has adopted a mechanism similar to the lattice system from the original PlanetSide to connect bases to one another in a sensible method of dictating game flow. The revamped system better directs opposing armies to clash with one another rather than avoid each other, capturing bases with no resistance for easy rewards. The new system ensures you know which base will be the next target, allowing you to bolster your defenses to prepare for the coming sortie.

The war for the planet of Auraxis isn't an affair that can be won.

The one thing that separates PlanetSide 2 and its predecessor from any other game is their tendency to evoke a feeling of "I was there, man." Nearly any veteran player you ask can recount a personal war story of the time he and his squad were stranded against three times the enemy force and managed to repel the invasion with a clutch flank to destroy the enemy's only Sunderer before mopping up stragglers, or the time they fired a random shotgun blast into the air as a burning Mosquito buzzed by overhead, managing to clip the wing just enough to finish it off and get credit for the kill. Regardless of what your own personal war story ends up being, you eventually find yourself turning into the family grandpa talking about how things were in the war, and how you and your best friend survived against insurmountable odds.

War isn't always fun, though. Some days you can't play the hero. Those daunting odds and vast enemy numbers can actually be insurmountable. Being trapped in your spawn room by an armor column of enemy Vanguards and Lightnings that turn the Indar desert into a sea of blue and gold, broken up only by the sight of a tank shell departing its cannon, leaves you feeling helpless. And you are. Sometimes you just have to wait for reinforcements to get online before hitting the battlefield.

There is safety in numbers.

If you have trouble finding the proper timing to engage in a fair and balanced battle, or simply feel as though wandering alone isn't doing the trick for you, joining an open squad or a recruiting outfit helps you gain a sense of direction. Outfits are essentially in-game clans, and most servers have reputable outfits known for their prowess in battle. On the Connery server, seeing the [EXE] tag means the likely inebriated pigs of the TR, Execution, have arrived to put down any insurgent zerging infantry armies with their Prowlers and swarms of Mosquitoes. On Mattherson, the VS outfit Azure Twilight displays the evolution of teamwork as it brings glory in the name of Vanu. Outfits offer a level of camaraderie and investment in the war effort that will keep you around for months or years to come.

If you have trouble finding the proper timing to engage in a fair and balanced battle, or simply feel as though wandering alone isn't doing the trick for you, joining an open squad or a recruiting outfit helps you gain a sense of direction.

Enlisting in the war effort is free. All three empires are ready and waiting for you to sign up and join their forces, in exchange for being paid in certification points for your service. Certification points can be used to improve and customize your character classes and vehicles. Until you are nearly maxed out on certifications in the upper-90s battle ranks, you're left choosing between equipping your heavy assault with more rockets or taking the route of being nearly impervious to small-arms fire. You can elect to equip your Sunderer with the ability to dole out ammo to the allied tank line or fit it with plates of blockade armor and a device to allow it to slip through the gate shields of an enemy base so your squad can engage in a special ops mission to destroy the generator together.

Certification points may also be used to unlock new weapons in the game, which are also available for cash. While each class has a basic set of weapons perfectly capable of slaying any foe, some weapons available in the depot can offer slight adjustments in stats to better suit a play style, while others can offer entirely separate possibilities. The high cert point costs of many of the guns encourage you to open your wallet if you wish to specialize in vehicles or have a virtual armory of versatility waiting for you, but patient players can still reach the same point through dedication and simply fighting for their empire.

Beyond certification points, you earn aircraft, ground vehicle, and infantry resources to spend. Infantry resources let you restock explosives, while vehicle and aircraft resources are required in order to spawn a vehicle for yourself. If you subscribe to a monthly membership or purchase boosts from the depot, you can gain bonus resources to avoid having to run around like a grunt for prolonged periods of time. If you're ever running dry on a resource precious to your play style, replenishing it is as easy as finding a battle in a territory marked with the resource you're hunting; a brief stint in a chaotic tower battle helps get you back to the skies in no time, while I tend to go on a shotgun rampage in a bio lab when I need to restock my C4 for dealing with tanks.

War may rage on, but sometimes you just have to stop and view the sunset.

PlanetSide 2 is gorgeous. Amerish is decorated with luscious greens, rocky mountains, and caves of glowing purple crystals. Indar's southeastern canyons make way for an expansive desert in the north, while the southwestern plains give your eyes a break. The silhouettes of empire-specific equipment are always discernible from range, making it easy to know when to hold your fire and when to unload on empire-specific equipment. Sometimes common pool vehicles such as the Liberator gunship don't display an indicator of alignment and are too far away for you to see the colors flown, and the Liberator will soon learn that friendly fire is anything but.

The sounds of war are equally impressive and iconic per faction. There is no mistaking the sound of a Terran mini-chaingun being rapid-fired in an otherwise silent environment. A Liberator carpet-bombing your base from the sky may not be a pleasure to contend with, but you can't help but smirk with satisfaction at the muffled "foomp foomp foomp" of the bombs being launched from the distant skies above. Each enemy fighter plane has a signature engine sound; hearing either of the two that don't belong to your faction quickly strikes you with paranoia as you frantically scan the sky to find the source.

In the most dire of circumstances, using active camouflage as a suicide bombing ATV is an acceptable tactic of war.

The game is ever-expanding with new content to keep older players engaged and draw in new players. A new fourth continent is promised to come out soon along with a new aerial vehicle. Holiday-themed weapons, such as the snowball launcher or the patriot flare gun, make holidays with PlanetSide 2 a blast. Optimizations to the game engine have come alongside the content to invite players who've previously tried the game only to be met with a chugging processor unable to handle the game's demands. PlanetSide 2 is not without its growing pains, though. Client instability is still an issue for some users, and although a 64-bit client is coming to alleviate some users' issues, others still exist, and new issues arise all the time. On the upside, it takes little time to get back into combat after a technical mishap.

The original PlanetSide offered an experience that simply couldn't be found anywhere else. PlanetSide 2 has surpassed its predecessor in nearly every regard. From the massive scale of battles to the detail put into the sprawling continents, PlanetSide 2 is a game that aspires to do much and succeeds across the board. While population disadvantages or the occasional crash can lead to frustration, the annoyances melt away once the battles even out and you find yourself focused on gunning down your enemies or keeping your allies alive as a medic. PlanetSide 2 and the war for Auraxis is constantly evolving, and somehow manages to keep finding ways to improve on an already successful game.

The Good
Unmatched massive scale of first-person shooter combat
Easily identifiable and iconic empire-specific models and sounds
Multitude of play styles available for any player's tastes
Experiences often result in war stories to share with friends
The Bad
Technical hiccups can interrupt play unexpectedly
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for PlanetSide 2

About the Author

Tyler Hicks used to think Big Team Battle in the Halo series and Onslaught in Unreal Tournament were the true ways to play first-person shooters, until he played the original PlanetSide at a friend's house in high school. In PlanetSide 2, his battle rank 71 Vanu soldier has over 300 hours logged.

Discussion

90 comments
SumerianDaemon
SumerianDaemon

After playing it for about 250 hours...I have to say i will only play online multiplayer shooters that are bulit like PS2.Massive maps,massive numbers,persistent battles.There is just no way i can go back to "arenas" tiny (COD) or small(BF).At the moment there is no such game other than PS2 so FPS wise its the only game i can play.

Anteares
Anteares

I played this game for a few hours and realized quickly that its a grind to win or pay to win game.  The weapons you have starting off are pale in comparison.  I joined up a squad, have a good sense of tactics, and was just outmatched by the people with better stuff.  Its really that simple.  Its not a good game nor is it a good shooter.  I much preferred Tribes: Ascend and even...I really hate to say it, Battlefield 3...for objective based shooters compared to this garbage.

I would give this game a 5 at best.  Let me be clear here...there are plenty of fanbois that will say "you're not playing it right" with any game.  What a fanboi can't tell you is whether or not a game is fun or not.  This game is simply not fun unless you've been playing it for months and can thus pwn noobs, in which case, there are a lot of better options for FPS that will not start you out on these same crutches and expect you to continue on them for months with little progression.

gruber23
gruber23

I really enjoyed this game when I first started playing it...but after a few hours, I realized that nothing me or my team was doing really mattered. Someone would just come in and take some sector we took earlier, then we'd go to defend it, rinse and repeat. There's no goal, there's no end game. It ultimately drove me to lose interest, unfortunately.

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johnukguy
johnukguy

All is definitely not well at SOE. Their latest move is to ban media members from the Planetside 2 official forums. If you want to test this, send a message to the moderators letting them know you are a member of the gaming media and you will be instantly banned. In light of Planetside 2's latest dire PR, one can only wonder at who the genius is who thought this strategy up.

750sho
750sho

I attempted to play this... that's about as far as it got.  

nikon133
nikon133

I completely agree with this review, except that reviewer is tigh-pants, latex-loving, metro-sexual Scientologist zealot with his puny early-20-century Flash Gordon-esque ray toyguns.

Real men use bullets. Preferably explosive ones.

Long live NC! Long live freedom! Long live profit! ;)

pyosisified
pyosisified

Played this for a while, bored the living hell out me but didn't give it much of a chance to be fair, not my kind of game anyway. 

Exquisite
Exquisite

Azure Twilight representin'!

hitomo
hitomo

'The war (for the planet of Auraxis) isn't an affair that can be won.'


thats actually pretty deep here ^^ I wish people had the guts to realise this for real ife as well ...

hitomo
hitomo

I am not a fan of Multi Player shooters, but this is simply on of the most outstanding games ever made, they also totally powns Dust and its eliterist untalented developers ...

Blue_Tomato
Blue_Tomato

Why does GS love multiplayer shooters so much? I find the whole concept pretty flawed, since the experience totally depends on the quality of the other players. By quality I mean, if they are jerks or nice, if they suit your level and so on. I much prefer coop against the computer.

Unholy123
Unholy123

l have to disagree, I went back and checked in on the game to see if it had improved from its less then stellar launch, Nope its still a FPS with a rampant Cheating problem because of the asinine amount of local side game calculations it does for players from spot checks to even PC walk/run speed there is simply no way they can stop people using or even stop them selling these programs so yeah...

I like the idea but once again people really are what ruin things and if you don't take measures to stop them no matter how much you polish game it is still infested from within not some defect on the outside.

Caldrin
Caldrin

I would still keep my rating at an 8.. its a great game but could be better in a few ways :)

Halloll
Halloll

SOE still didn't fix the MAX spamming by TR though.

hammoud
hammoud

I dream for an Amra 3 gamemode similar to planetside 2

ndmq
ndmq

The difference is the massive scale make war immersive and real. Not a small arena like all shooters these days.

rsiebelink
rsiebelink

I'm kinda surprised about the timing of this review as there has been no major content release, like the upcoming Hossin continent, to give sites like Gamespot a reason for a revisit. It's a positive re-review anyway, which is nice and well deserved imo. 

Once you've got the hang of this game and get a grip of the deep tactical and strategic teamwork that is instrumental to become successful in it (hint: join an outfit), going back to games BF4, COD and even Titanfall, somehow feels like a shallow, small scale experience.

kyelo
kyelo

This is the only exclusive, XB1 or PS4, that has me truly excited. Cannot wait!

hastati4
hastati4

Can't wait for the PS4 version. Sunk over a hundred hours on PC, but I'm just not that good at shooting with a mouse. Still, this game might look like another shooter, but there's really few things like it out there.


Working in a well-organized platoon of 48 as a part of a larger outfit, sweeping across the continent and engaging the enemy wherever they may be found is a truly incredible experience.

dkeeney4093
dkeeney4093

Why is this game fun??? Wtf am I doing wrong?? I keep trying to play this and it just bores me...I'm not seeing anything special about this game at all, just another first person shooter, not saying it's bad, but saying it sure don't deserve a 9.

Exquisite
Exquisite

@nikon133  Yes, as a VS soldier, I must admit that your NC armor design, which I believe is composed of scrap auto parts and tape, is much more inspiring...


(NC weapons are prett godly though, I'll give you that)

Centurion95
Centurion95

@nikon133 Eat FREEDOM and go to hell you xeno-lovers, and take those goggle loving fascist Muppets with you! <-- Open channel chat, Tarwich Tech Plant siege, hour 3, NC Victory.


I love the smack talk in this game so much

nikon133
nikon133

@pyosisified You didn't play it right. Seriously. First thing you do when you join game, you click on Social tab and look for squad to join. When you join one, you check that it is part of platoon (unit of 4 squads) - single squad is often underpowered. Then you listen for a while to check if your squad/platoon have decent commanders. If platoon voice channel is too quite, you jump out and join different unit.

This game is horrible for Rambo types, or CoD lovers. It is the opposite of CoD. You do get frantic skirmishes indoors or around strategic points (generators etc) but outside of that, it is slow, spread game. You gain ground, you provide cover fire before you proceed with progress. And most of all - ALL of all - you play teamplay. You obey orders, even if they mean certain death. If you are not into teamplay, this is not game for you.

badkitteh
badkitteh

@Blue_Tomato In short, it feels real. You actually do feel like you're just one soldier fighting in a full-scale war. Instead of the preset arenas of other multiplayer online FPSes.

badkitteh
badkitteh

@Blue_Tomato It's obvious that you have never tried it. Because it's NOT "multiplayer" nor "coop" in the sense of Counterstrike, Call of Duty, or even Battlefield. I wouldn't even put it on the same genre.  It's *massively* multiplayer. There's a difference. In one, you are stuck playing with whichever 12 -64 jerks on the current map you end up with. In PS2, there are quite literally thousands of players playing on the same huge map at one time on peak periods. And there are three to choose from.

You aren't playing with a mere handful of people, you are playing with an army.

And honestly, jerks don't survive that long in a game that absolutely REQUIRES teamplay. You can teamkill people all you want, but you don't get much satsifaction from it when friendly fire is so common during the confusion of battle that people immediately assume that was the reason. Most players simply ignore teamkillers, and they don't get the satisfaction at all. Plus, kill enough people and you get your weapons locked for a time, and then eventually banned anyway. I've never actually seen any griefers do it more than once. When they realize how pointless it is when the guy you killed can respawn immediately.

You might be frustrated at times to be playing with inexperienced people on a certain map, sure. But you can always walk/drive/fly/warp to another battle if you want. And honestly, it just adds to faction loyalty. When a bunch of low-level players manage to defend an outpost against a massive invasion, there's a feeling of accomplishment. A righteousness even at having vanquished the evil NC/TR/Vanu whoever your enemy factions are.

And yeah, the differences between low-level players and high-level players is quite minor.  The advantage of higher levels is mostly about specialization and experience in strategy. But a level 1 player can kill a level 100 player just as easily with the default guns.

The allure of the unique MMOFPS of Planetside is not that it's an FPS or that it's multiplayer. But the scale of the battles. And the simple fact that every single tank, every single plane raining hellfire on your troops, every single infiltrator hacking enemy turrets and turning it against themselves. From the ones on the horizon you can barely see to the ones screaming for a medic beside you right next behind a fallen MAX mech unit. All of them are REAL PEOPLE. Which truly makes strategy matter. And the battles themselves can range from cat and mouse games with infiltrators to full on invasions with squadrons of dropships inserting entire platoons of around a hundred players supported by bombers and fighters and ground vehicles in an unstoppable blitzkrieg attack that the most you can do is simply delay them or try to split them into manageable chunks focusing on different frontlines..

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

@Blue_Tomato I find your concept pretty flawed... coop shooters (more so) rely on whether people are jerks are not, whether they are good or not listen or just feel like teamkilling and other doucebaggery just for the sake of it. I for one find all coop shooters boring, I enjoyed l4d 2 but i've never played it more then an hour at a time ever. just not my thing..

rsiebelink
rsiebelink

@Unholy123 I am not sure what game you have been playing but cheating is in general really not that much of a problem in PS2. Of course cheaters are in every game but I only walk occasionally into them and they hardly present much of a game breaking problem. Planetside 2 has actually a pretty decent anti-cheat technology running behind it.

Halloll
Halloll

@hammoud unlike PS2 Arma3 doesn't aim to appeal to everyone which is its strength point, you wouldn't want Arma to attract all the COD kiddies.

sblazed
sblazed

@ndmq yeah planetside is another level, released a bit too early but awesome nonetheless. solid 9

rustycormano
rustycormano

@rsiebelink
"Once you've got the hang of this game...games like BF4, COD, and even Titanfall somehow feel like a shallow, small-scale experience"

Soooooo true. I get excited about new FPS games coming out (like Titanfall), but then realize it's just 6v6 or 32v32. Sure, they're great games in their own way but they just leave me wanting more after playing PS2 for so long.

Kunakai
Kunakai

@kyelo  It's not an exclusive, it's on PC already. 

KILLERLOBAN
KILLERLOBAN

@hastati4  Welcome to the Noob-Phase! You now stopped to feel totally lost in this game.


Seriousely, I have 800 hours in this Game and slowly feel like I'm getting better at it. I still yet have to discover the Air and Tank-game and three classes. It's a game with an incredible amount of content and is free to play (Except hats and camos^^). It has it's flaws but you will forget about them fairly fast if you get into the game.



Kunakai
Kunakai

@dkeeney4093  This game is fun because it recreates all of those heroic war stories that inspire so many to join real military groups without having to leave their living room or put their lives in real danger (unless they have too much fun and forget to eat!). Given the awesome memories this game has given me, it deserves nothing less than a 9. 

TrueBloodish
TrueBloodish

@dkeeney4093  Personally, I like the strategic part of the game, and the whole thing about the GIANT battlefield. Every base is differently guarded, depending on what the opposite team has chosen to do at that time, and the way you attack it is entirely up to you and your faction.
Many of my friends like it, but there's also some who don't. They miss the fast paced combat of COD and such. But yeah, i like the strategic gameplay, giant maps and the many possibilities as to how to approach each situation.

But each to their own. The game is rated based on what it's supposed to deliver. And i think it delivers almost perfectly, based on what it said it would be. :)

wallacom
wallacom

@dkeeney4093  I know what you mean. I was a die hard fan of all Unreal games, and then I saw Planetside 2 and I thought that will be my replacement, but I hate it with passion.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

@rsiebelink @Unholy123 I always liked the game but i gave up about a week after launch, i think i had like 7 kills after a week, every login felt like waiting to sleep so I gave up. 

rsiebelink
rsiebelink

@Halloll @hammoudI do wish the Arma 3 engine was more tight and less clumsy though, not to mention the performance issues.

TiberiusAudley
TiberiusAudley

@wallacom @dkeeney4093  Unreal games have a much different pace than PlanetSide 2 -- so some people who like Unreal won't like PlanetSide.  Those who play a lot of Unreal's Onslaught (or Warfare in UT3) are more likely to like PlanetSide.  Large-scale battles, lots of vehicle utilization.  Mass-scale strategy affecting battle/effectiveness...

dkeeney4093
dkeeney4093

Yeah, not being able to acknowledge different opinions, wtf does that have to do with the game NOT being that fun??? It just gets boring

rsiebelink
rsiebelink

@Gankstar_VX84 Don't go on your own as a new player! More often than not, you will run around like a headless chicken and get slaughtered all the time. Knowing how to find the good fights on the map takes some time, so join public platoons to get you some direction and safety in numbers. Even better, join an outfit. Fastest way to become better and get more fun out of the game.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@Xan26

Dude - my second reply is for the dude's reply to my first reply. You may have made a mistake in association.

BuBsay
BuBsay

@dkeeney4093 The whole concept of the word "opinion" is foreign to you isn't it?

Xan26
Xan26

@Gelugon_baat @dkeeney4093  He asks what *he's* doing wrong, what *his* experience was. When he says "I", it means him, he's not implying other people, at all.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@dkeeney4093 People have different ideas of what "fun" is. What you find 'fun', someone else might find boring or annoying. And vice versa. Everybody is different.

PlanetSide 2 More Info

  • First Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    PlanetSide 2 is a massively multiplayer online first-person shooter set in an online persistent world where the war wages nonstop and the balance of power shifts with every base and territory captured and lost.
    7.7
    Average User RatingOut of 523 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate PlanetSide 2
    Developed by:
    Sony Online Entertainment
    Published by:
    Sony Online Entertainment, Deep Silver
    Genres:
    First-Person, Shooter, Team-Based, 3D, Free-to-Play, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Violence