It's massive yet detailed, caters for skilled and novice and its free; there's nothing else like it.
There's no end goal. You battle forever against two other factions over land and air, taking over gigantic land structures straight out of a sci-fi lover's wonderland. Your screen can and will be filled with countless players, and at times you will be overwhelmed and die. That's okay because everyone is dying around you. It's normal. There's a team play here on a large scale and patriotism to your faction is encouraged through announcements of shared failure and success. It takes the Battlefield's series class structure and conquests mode and expands it into a continental scale.
The game offers lots of depth with its array of land and air vehicles, building structures and weapons which include maned turrets that all have their own variations that play against each other in interesting ways. For example, the Vanu Sovereinty's Scythe aircraft is better at hovering making it a popular ground support but against the more maneuverable New Conglomerate Mosquito in dogfights, it begins to struggle. This depth is uncovered through a lot of observation and learning from mistakes that takes a considerable amount of dedication. Fortunately, the game plays fantastic and looks great as well as offers a Training Room to get you into practicing all types of weapons and vehicles in preparation for the real deal.
It's important to note that game world is expansive and it's foolish to dismiss the array of transport options to trek by foot between points of interest across three of its gigantic, varied continents. It takes some time to search for transport, or wait for a deployment and over time if you just want instant action as I did on occasion, Planetside 2 forced me to be patient and slow down.
What kept me playing is the upgrading and leveling up system. All weapons and vehicles have exciting upgrades that improve or provide new features to play around with. They are rewarded for skilled players, not paying players through in game "certs". Like the Battlefield series that it borrows most of its features from, xp is granted for team work, but individual achievements such as kills dominate play. You can still pay for new weapons though, but these are very expensive but reasonable considering the entry ticket is free. As I played, I was constantly working towards an unlock that I know would help me a great deal in combat and it motivated me to play better and more efficiently. I choose areas of play I knew I could generate more points from and decided on classes.
The exciting thing about Planetside 2 is how it encourages you to feel a sense of belonging to your faction. It offers the host of team play features such as voice chat and squad/platoon options that encourages team work and strategy. It's unfortunate that the self-serving upgrade system ultimately encouraged me to feel like a lone soldier fighting among many, but for a while before I became engaged with my own leveling up I felt like we were truly fighting for each other. If only Planetside 2 gave us more context behind this conflict to care about, or more rewards for capturing entire areas of locations then maybe the conquest itself wouldn't have gone boring and lose meaning. But the core combat and leveling up system is solid enough to sustain interest by itself makes it worth playing for any Battlefield fan interested in bigger and more.