SOE was nice enough to get us into a presentation about PlanetSide 2 as well as give us some quality time with the game running on a nice PC gaming rig. It’s been nearly a decade since the world’s first MMOFPS PlanetSide was released in 2003 and what its sequel intends to do is update the concept of the three warring factions with modern FPS sensibilities and graphics.
In our admittedly fairly brief hands-on time with PlanetSide 2, I have to say that it played both played and looked better than I was expecting it to. The game’s graphics have naturally seen a huge boost since 2003 and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all of the other standard FPS games to have come out in the last couple of years. There were some animation hiccups and foliage pop-in in the alpha footage we were shown before actually playing the game and I’m happy to say that none of the issues I observed in the trailer reel are currently present in the working build of the game. Each time you respawn you are given the option of playing as one of six different classes of the standard FPS archetypes like snipers, medics, and heavy soldiers. These classes all feel quite different from one another and seem to be balanced pretty well. Vehicle operation required more finesse than we were prepared for and our stints in aircraft and tanks were almost always short-lived. There were people zooming around, though, that seemed to have reasonable control of their vehicles, so I guess we’re just particularly bad drivers.
As a free-to-play MMOFPS, there’s really not a lot bad to say about PlanetSide 2. It looks and plays as well as any full-priced FPS title on the market as is set to offer CoD Elite-levels of online stat/clan tracking and sharing (including iOS apps and an API for sharing stats in other ways). SOE is planning to make money from this game through the sales of item “side-grades” and a plethora of visual customization options (including much touted zebra-/leopard-print camos, and tank spoilers).
We received more beta invite cards than we are planning to use from the SOE booth, so we’ll host a give-away contest in the coming week to give you a chance to join us in the beta for this very playable and promising MMOFPS.