In what has become the typical way for getting news, John Smedley, the President of Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), tweeted that the NDA for Planetside 2 has been lifted. It’s a smart move since attempting to be secretive with thousands of testers in a semi-open beta never really works. Previously I’d mentioned I has been playing, and now I can actually talk about it!
First: what is Planetside 2 (PS2)? Well, it is a Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter (MMOFPS). It’s what you’d get if you mixed the shooting of Battlefield 3 with the size of World Of Warcraft. PS2 also happens to be successor to the best shooter ever made for the computer… Planetside 1 (PS1). On top of everything else, PS2 will be free-to-play. Obviously I’m very excited for Planetside 2, as I spent a LOT of time playing the original.
The main question whenever there is a successor/remake/sequel is how much they’ll stick to the original magic, how much they’ll repeat the same old same old, and/or how much they’ll screw up the “good” of the original. While it is still very beta at this stage, SOE has done a good job of completely overhauling the concept of Planetside, while still maintaining many of the originals joys in the game. Let me be clear, PS2 will never be accused of being a re-skin of PS1. They are most certainly two different games, and If I had to pick the most similar game to PS2, it would probably be Battlefield 3 (simply by gameplay mechanics).
PS2 abandoned the “generic soldier” approach of PS1 and replaced it with 6 classes: Light Assault, Heavy Assault, Medic, Infiltrator, Engineer, and MAX. Each one of these classes has its own unique playstyle (as you’d expect) and I’ve enjoyed taking each one of them out for a spin. My current favorite is split between Heavy Assault (machine gun FTW) and Infiltrator (I do love my sniper rifles).
I can’t say too much about certifications, resources, territory capture, or detailed game play mechanics… because it’s beta. SOE has been putting a lot of effort into tweaking and testing how everything works, and many features are still locked out. Every week things are different, and that is quite exciting.
One thing I will touch on briefly is how sexy the game looks. On first appearance, the game looks no better or worse than any other modern shooter. Looks can be deceiving though, because they’ve put a lot of fine touches into making a dynamic world. The most obvious of these features is the full day/night cycle. The bases, bridges, vehicles, etc all have lighting for night time which can be quite dark. This really changes the dynamic of play and could theoretically change the tactical situation – though I haven’t seen anyone use this to their advantage (yet).