Nearly 7 years ago, something incredible began.
Then-Sony Online Entertainment released the sequel to the groundbreaking MMOFPS, Planetside.
The first Planetside offered something that had never been done before: a three-way battle for dominance across massive (for the time) alien worlds with the promise of glory and dominance.
Planetside 2 offers the same, but on a much, much, grander scale. However, things haven’t been smooth sailing since launch.
It may sound strange, but Planetside 2 is a textbook example of just how much relentless support can improve a game.
The Planetside 2 of today may look incredibly similar to those who gave it a whirl many moons ago, but there is one massive, undeniable change since yesteryear: the performance.
Planetside 2 has only just recently – as in 2019 – received an upgrade to the DX 11 renderer. Now, while the game’s appearance was nothing to scoff at, the performance left much to be desired. Several-hundred player battles aren’t worth much if you’re stuttering and rubberbanding your way across barely-loaded-in textures.
It goes without saying – well, that’s a lie. It goes with saying, because we want to scream this from the rooftops: Planetside 2 is a goddamn masterpiece now. It may have taken longer than it was anticipated, but “better late than never” is more than just a truism.
Dropping into the crazy world of Auraxis is not only gorgeous, begin able to observe battles progress swiftly through choke points and into bases is nothing sort of miraculous.
Whether you’re fighting as the technologically advanced Vanu Sovereignty, the freedom-loving New Conglomerate, or the perceived rightful rulers of Auraxis as the Terran Republic, there will be no shortage of carnage to participate in.
Perhaps the most equally fascinating and most difficult to adjust to component is how drastically different it can feel when compared to other large-scale shooters, such as modes like Conquest and Grand Operations in EA’s Battlefield genre.
Where there are matches, timers, and a finite amount of players in a lobby, balance is something that’s relatively achievable.
When it comes to Planetside 2¸ balance is something that exists in the meta, but is rarely seen on the battlefield. The reason for this is that for all of the variety of ordnance and weaponry that exist on Auraxis, the devs do one hell of a job ensuring that no one’s stick is far too big for the stick waving contest.
Yet, the devs can’t do anything when it comes down to going up against a highly organized and regimented platoon when you find your own platoon unable to follow even basic orders.
What this leads to is often an incredibly realistic depiction of what war on a massive scale is like. There is no one to blame if your side loses because the enemy’s AA took out your transport ships – they were better entrenched and your team was unprepared with an answer to their defenses.
No faction is “imba” simply because your platoon decided that defending a power relay wasn’t important and has now lost one its major strategic supply lines. At the end of the day, war isn’t fair.
Thankfully, the tri-faction organization prevents any one faction from becoming too dominant on the battlefield. The moment any given faction sees victory on the horizon, they find themselves waging a war on two fronts as they attempt to solidify their gain – a feat much easier said than done.
It’s difficult to put the Planetside 2 experience into words. The game uses so many common FPS mechanics that it feels easy to pick up and play – yet the setting is so radically different that once you’ve settled into it, nothing can replace it.