Planetside 2 Press Beta Impressions
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
For years there were rumors that there was a sequel to Planetside in the making and many were already psyched by that rumor. Last year Sony announced the sequel and the big hype for this game started. I was among the many that was hoping to get a chance to play this game even once and when I had the chance to play in the press only beta I felt like the happiest man alive, well one of the many invited people. And on the 31st of August the NDA was lifted which means that I am able to tell you all about the awesomeness of this game.
Planetside 2 takes place three hundred years after the find of planet Auraxis. Just like in the prequel, the player has the choice between three factions, all three of these factions have a different view on life and it has escalated that badly that blood must be spilt. This new sequel to a very successful title has big features that have never been seen before in a MMORPG or even in any game for that matter. They took all of the great features from its prequel, blended this with awesome features and mechanics that people can expect from fps games for the last few years and comes forth is Planetside 2. The player can play each faction that sees him fit and there aren’t any benefits to any at all. All of the races have the same classes and work the same but are a little bit different. The weapons from all of the three factions work differently and some of them might be more effective on some target but may have a shortcoming when it involves something else. The three playable factions are:
The Terran Republic has a special view on life like living it unlike the rest. The Terran Republic is an authoritarian government that leverages military might to maintain strict control over the colonial citizens. They are obsessed with living by the rules. Law and Order is their battle cry. Thus the Republic is seen as a dictatorship to the rest of the world. But many view the Terran Republic as the last hope for the planet Auraxis.
The New Conglomerate are totally the opposite of the Terran Republic and are seen as a loosely organized band of dissidents; they are vehemently opposed to the Terran Republic and the power it has on Auraxis. They are led by outcasts, industry titans, pirates and former military soldiers. They try to achieve freedom of oppression by any means necessary.
The third faction, Vanu Sovereignty, has a different view than both of the above factions. They believe that mankind can only be saved through a mysterious ancient power connected to alien technology so that humanity can evolve to its next state of existence.
These three factions battle it out on several continental maps and each of these maps is dozens of km2 in size. During the current beta we had only one map to play on and that alone was enough to keep me entertained for days. The current map has three different areas, but every grid that you can play on looks totally different from the rest and I haven’t seen one grid that even looks remotely the same as another. And every inch of this continental map will be contested by a faction at all times so don’t expect this to be a game where you can peacefully pick flowers without harassment. The map we played on in the beta had a different looking area for every faction, which makes it more recognizable to see if you had lost something during the night or while you were away at work/school. Since this game is an open world and not a game lobby game like many first person shooters there will be action on the map 24 hours a day and something you might have captured during the day might be retaken during the night. So basically the only way to truly dominate is to build an International community.. or at least recruit some nocturnal folks to your cause.
Every faction can operate through air or the ground, and both are needed to win a grid. If it is your first time playing Planetside I will advise you to start with the infantry first to learn the basics. There are different classes that you can pick and each one of these classes will be needed in the heat of battle. The focus of the infantry is to try to get into the targeted base and to capture several points. The six available classes will have to work together to sneak into the base with surprise or brute force to take over the base and essentially the grid. There are currently six available classes and people that have played the first Planetside might recognize them.
The engineers are the same as in any other game, at least on the surface. Where they differ is the broad AoE damage they can bring to a battle, capable of bursting down a whole platoons while simultaneously supporting their faction members from the backline. Not only are they able to build a turret that they will have to manually control, they can also drop ammo boxes, repair the people in MAX suites, and any other vehicles for that matter.
The Heavy Assault is as the name suggests a class that prefers firepower instead of nifty abilities or equipment. This class is more beefy since they have more health and armor compared to the normal soldiers. Together with a weapon that is capable of firing more rounds this class is one of the effective at close range fights.
The infiltrators are the sneaky soldiers that every army need. Equipped with a sniper rifle they are able to cover their fellow soldier from nearly a battlefield away and get out before the enemy can ever counter them. This playstyle is further accentuated with the useful ability to go invisible for a short period, allowing them to get out of even the stickiest of situations if you know what you’re doing.
Every squad and soldier wants to stay alive and so does the Medic. The medic is able to help its fellow soldier on the battlefield in the heat of battle with a special device that heals everyone around them. Unlike many games where the medic has to throw a box on the ground, the medic in Planetside gets to fire a special device with a laser, but beware the Mechanized Assault Exo-Suit cannot be healed since this is an armor dependent class. The medic is also able to heal itself with its own ability and therefore makes it one of the best supportive classes in the game.
The Light Assault is the nifty class that can get everywhere with the use of a jumpjet! This mobile class is ideal for campers since they can get into the most obscure nooks and crannies that you would never expect an opponent to be laying in ambush. Of course it’s just as ideal for countering enemy campers by coming at your foe from directions they never imagined were possible.
Mechanized Assault Exo-Suit (MAX)
The Mechanized Assault Exo-Suit that is also known as the MAX is the infantry tank of this game. This special made armor is ideal for soaking up damage on the front lines, creating a distraction for your high damage but squishier teammates to follow in your shadow to take over enemy positions. Because of their armor they become one of the most useful classes to rush your enemy with. Personally I see them as a big daddy, big muscled and strong yet slow. Despite their looks they are mostly a support tank so don’t think you can just hop in one and solo a well-fortified enemy position. However in terms of versatility you really can’t beat them.
The infantry however is not the king of the land, not even close. Proper and well-timed use of vehicles is what makes capturing fortified enemy bases possible. Most are designed for blowing through enemy defensive structures and forcing them to fight out in the open terrain. Beyond that they are vital for keeping outside interference to a minimal once your infantry infiltrates the enemy base. There is however a cooldown on the use of vehicles. Besides the resource cost you will also have to wait an x amount of time if the enemy blows your ship up.
And last but not least the king of the sky! You are able to fly different gunships that are really useful in your siege on any grid. Even if the goal is to take a base you will need to keep the sky clear from enemy attacks. And even when there are no enemies to shoot at you can cause havoc on the ground forces.
There are many benefits to owning the sky. For instance say you are in need of an extra spawning point closer to the battlefield to maintain an intense push? The Galaxy drop ship can carry up to 12 soldiers quickly to the front line and drop them inside a protective bubble to make sure they will get their feet on the ground and shots off on the enemy before dying. The Galaxy will deploy into a forward base after landing where the infantry can spawn at to keep reinforcements streaming in so long as the Galaxy remains safely guarded. Airships, like ground vehicles, have similar rules in regards to respawn cool-downs.
During the closed beta session that is currently still ongoing I have had a lot of fun and never felt the familiar MMO gripe that I had done it all before. Every little grid looks completely unique compared to others and even slightly changing your approach on an enemy base can completely change the dynamics of how the battle is fought. Not only are the controls and feedback spot on but the graphics rival and surpass anything on the market today. Planetside 2 is the complete package already in this early beta stage and the devs seem hard at work whipping out new patches on a daily basis to further improve the situation.
Only after standing on a distance mountain near a massive battlefield can you truly appreciate the mass and scope of this title as infantry, vehicles, base defenses, and gunships clash and cooperate as if a choreographed Star Wars scene. When there are gunships flying around you, explosions rocking your screen, and a barrage of futuristic ammunitions whizzing by your head, then you too will understand why I feel this is the best looking game of the 21st century.
Planetside 2 is what I might call ‘next gen’. The gameplay, even though we have seen it in many other games, has never been reproduced on this scale before, with graphics rivaling the film industry. Now that the NDA is lifted I believe we can all rejoice that soon this title will soon be available to the public! But if you want to be the happiest man alive like me then I suggest you check out our ongoing forum event HERE to post your faction allegiance or HERE to tell us what has you most excited about the game for a chance to win immediate access to Planetside 2 for yourself! But hurry because we're closing these competitions down soon!