It’s been seven years since I’ve played an MMO for more than 15 minutes. I’ve tried everything from World of Warcraft, to the most recent Dust 514. However, not a single game has grabbed my attention for a prolonged period of time. Even Lord of the Rings Online couldn’t do it, and at one point in time, no franchise was more significant to me than the one based on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.
My turbulent past with free-to-play and MMO games made me completely ignore everything that the industry has spawned in recent years. However, since its release on PC, Planetside 2 has always peaked my interest. I’ve attempted to play it before, but my gaming rig (read: average laptop) was never good enough to run the game. And now, that it is finally coming to consoles, specifically PlayStation 4, I’ve finally had a chance to play it.
Planetside 2 takes pride in the size of the available battlegrounds. The only map that is currently available has a surface of about 4 square kilometres, as stated by the developers. In terms of numbers, it’s truly impressive, however when put to test it is not as jaw dropping as one could assume. The majority of the map is covered by empty spaces, filled with boulders and trees that serve no particular purpose, since the firefights mainly take place in built-up areas that are in close proximity to the objectives.
While adding variation to the overall experience, militarized areas of the map fall short in many aspects. Some textures, like on the buildings, are at times blurred and pixellated, just like the gun that you use to extinguish your enemies. The look of the structures is not their only downside. The design of some buildings can at times be irrational. One of the structures, which plays a major role in the fight between the three sides, as it holds one of the objectives within it, is simply cluttered with redundant objects. Objects that exist just for the sake of covering empty ground.
Usually such negatives wouldn’t be as poignant, as most players would concentrate on the combat rather than their surroundings. But, as of the time of this writing, the servers are so scarcely populated, that I found myself osightseeing more often than fighting, and this made Planetside 2’s flaws stand out more than under any other circumstances.
It would be unfair of me to state that I rarely encounter any opponents, as there were times where I would stand against three or even four members of the opposition. And while doing so I had a plethora of guns at my disposal. In game, you’ll find numerous rifles, shotguns, or even revolvers. However, guns within the same category don’t feel that much different, and don’t offer any variation other than rate of fire or size of the magazine.
However, before I got to the point of seamless gameplay, I had to first accustom myself with the on-screen furniture that’s featured in the game. In-game HUD is not only excessively large, but it also displays a lot of unnecessary information. Your jet pack status or amount of ammunition within the clip is displayed twice. Once in the middle of the screen while being used and again on the bottom of the screen. This is not only unnecessary, but also extremely distracting.
My experience with Planetside 2, wasn’t the most enjoyable or profound. However, while playing it, I felt like the game has a lot potential, and in the future can possibly become one of the more popular free-to-play games on PlayStation 4. However, in its current state, it won’t take the world by the storm, as inconsistent graphics, frame rate, and, at times, irrational level design can and will hamper the way in which the game is perceived.
Disclaimer: The key for the closed beta was, as previously mentioned, provided by the developer. During a preview event, Daybreak Games stated that, just like the economy, all in-game features are a subject to change, and open beta will present a different level of quality. You’ll have to wait until our review to see our final verdict on the game.