I never played the original Planetside, so the following is all based on a fresh opinion. I heard good things about it though. When I heard Planetside 2 was going to come out, I really didn’t follow it. A couple of friends mentioned it to me, but I wasn’t looking to get into another game at the time.
Today I find myself looking for other games. Guild Wars 2 is great, don’t get me wrong, but about all I do now is WvW. That’s fine with me, I love WvW. I just can only spend so many hours in there before i’m ready for something new. Planetside 2 is a nice breath of fresh air.
The visuals are the first thing you notice, and to me they look great. There aren’t a lot of character customization options, but that doesn’t matter. This is on the opposite side of the MMOFPS spectrum from Firefall. This game is definitely more FPS than MMO, but it has enough MMO in it to where I am able to contribute. If you don’t like FPS games, this game is not for you. Stop reading and check out my Firefall thoughts, or pick up Guild Wars 2. Otherwise the first big game flaw becomes readily apparent. The lack of an in-game tutorial is noticeable immediately. To their credit, there are links to tutorial videos on YouTube on their launcher. I watched a couple of these, but when the game starts you are literally dropped live, right into the middle of the battlefield. I had to go get myself killed and respawn because I couldn’t figure out how to move around. The lack of tutorial is only inconvenient to the inexperienced beginner. I only mention it because it’s relevant to new players. Most of the mechanics are standard FPS mechanics. We were able to talk each other through most of our questions. The lag is the real issue.
Once you figure out how to warp around, (it’s easy) you can contribute to the fight like a good soldier. Mostly. The second you get into heavy combat, the other glaring flaw rears it’s ugly head. The lag is just awful. While it doesn’t kill the game for me totally, it does have an effect on gameplay. I’d guess it’s probably less than a second. If you’re playing support classes like the Medic or Engineer, it becomes less obvious. I ended up doing this and found the game to still be enjoyable. Try out the Infiltrator class (sniper), and you’ll notice it right off the bat. If the lag ever went away, the Free To Play sector would have a major contender on it’s hands. I’m not sure if it’s server latency or graphical lag because of all the models rendering.
I am awestruck over the scale of the game. It’s probably what I like best about it. Tanks, fighters, transports, bombers, scout vehicles, foot soldiers – all these and more. All running around on three massive, persistent world-continents. Each one is larger than the World versus World map in Guild Wars 2. There’s just something about epic, large scales that I enjoy. Maybe it’s the more players, the merrier.
I haven’t decided whether i’m going to stick with it or not yet. I haven’t even looked to see where the Free To Play wall ends yet. I’m also not sure how many of my guild mates are interested in sticking with it, lag and all. This is the major deciding factor.
Recommending this game is a difficult decision. On the one hand, the lag will no doubt give some of you a bad experience. On the other hand, missing out completely is just that – missing out. This game may be ugly at first, but it’s a beauty on the inside. If you can be objective about the lag, give it a try. If you think the lag would ruin things for you, then wait.
What do you think of Planetside 2? Anything you want to know about it in particular? Will you try it despite the lag issue or wait?