Sunday, September 20, 2015

Planetside 2

Planetside 2 Steam Banner
Planetside 2 Default NC Loading Screen by Daybreak Games

Developer: Daybreak Games (formerly Sony Online Entertainment)
Release Date: November 20, 2012

One Sentence Review:
I'd like to recommend this game but I'd have to ask you a million questions about your computer to do so.

This is probably going to take a while so here we go!

The gameplay is basically pure Player vs. Player action. There are 3 factions with supposedly different weapons who fight for supposedly different reasons and the only real difference between them is how much the new conglomerate team-kills and how much the developers hate the terran republic. To be honest there is actually an interesting backstory to each faction, but you won't see any of it because the developers couldn't be bothered to put it in the actual game. You have to go to the wiki to see the backstory which appears to have had a lot of effort put into writing it. If I were the narrative writer on this team the project leads would be hanging by a tree.

Remember when I said supposedly different weapons? Well despite all the hype that each faction boasts radically different weapons, when you compare the stats it appears that most weapons are basically carbon copies of each other from faction to faction. The major difference that you'll find is that vanu sovereignty weapons are all lasers and thus have no bullet drop making them deadly accurate at any range. What little unique weapons there are I wholeheartedly enjoy, so I have to ask why there aren't more unique weapons and why there are so many similarities between the supposedly very different factions?

Atmosphere in this game is pretty nice. The graphics aren't exactly the prettiest on the planet but considering some battles tend to get over 180 players in a single room what the hell do you expect? The major problem with the atmosphere is the fact that the game is so poorly coded you will never get to see the full beauty of the game unless you've built your own computer from scratch with martian technology and google fiber mixed with the lifeblood of the vanu sovereignty imbued into your graphics card. Basically put, it's hard for me to recommend this game to anyone who wants to play the PC version because I have to ask 100 questions about their computer to figure out if they have the capacity to play the game without their computer exploding.

Optimization is a severe issue in this game and it's a touchy subject that the developers have gone on record as saying there are few tweaks they can perform that will fix it to any noticeable degree. I like to think I'm an objective and forgiving sort (screw you I am!) but I have this odd feeling that the developers are doing what is commonly known as lying. It's very strange to me that every major update going back since the release date of this game is always met with the same issues of hitching, stuttering, and latency issues. Say what you will about Team Fortress 2 at least it breaks in a unique way each time the game updates... weird as it sounds that's actually a better situation because it proves the developers are fixing the older problems. I'll give the developers the benefit of the doubt though and assume that Planetside 2's core engine is just broken and repairing it would be next to impossible for some reason or another.

There is a Playstation 4 version out but it's very poorly done. You'll commonly see complaints about imbalances between the faction populations and overall lack of any real battles except during prime hours in the PS4 Planetside 2 communities. The only good thing about the PS4 version is probably the stable frame rate and decent graphics, but if they bothered to optimize the game you'd probably see that in the PC version too.

Now let's move the discussion to cold, hard cash. How does Planetside 2 generate money? The answer is with a special cash shop where you can purchase cosmetics and weapons for a "nominal" fee. Now weapons you can also purchase with certifications that you earn by simply playing the game but cosmetics are only purchasable with real world cash. The basic concept behind this model I can definitely get behind, it ensures the game doesn't become pay to win and it also ensures that the idiots who bought shiny cosmetics in a game about shooting people at night become easy targets for my sniper rifle. The problem is that the weapons are so damned expensive. To get a faction specific weapon in this game, which will only transfer to other characters on your account if they're in the same faction as that weapon, you can be charged up to $7 US. Seven dollars American. No here's the kicker, half the benefit of buying a weapon with cash rather than certifications is that it's unlocked account-wide rather than on only one player. When you start off you have 3 character slots which I'm assuming is so that you can play each of the three factions. So the only way you'll get half the benefit you're paying $7 for is if you fork over another $5 bill so that you can have another character slot so that you can actually use the weapon on two characters and feel like your purchase meant something. So you have to pay to unlock the benefit you're paying for.

Do not buy faction specific weapons in this game with real world money. The idiot who thought this model up needs to be fired and replaced with a monkey.

Subscriptions also exist and are $15 US per month. However they offer so few real benefits for being a subscriber that I can't really recommend it. Being a subscriber makes it easier to earn certifications and gives you more resources with which to pull vehicles, aircrafts, grenades and mines but for $15 per month? Oh right you also get the "priviledge" to buy cosmetics before other people do and access to special sales that "permit" them to fork over less money to buy cosmetics on the store for cash. I don't think I have to tell you my opinion regarding those "benefits". If a developer is reading this (for whatever reason) my suggestion is either to cut the price down to $10 per month and just remove the poorly veiled psychological extortion "benefits" OR create an array of subscriber-specific cosmetics and titles that are only available while a person is subscribing and that they lose access to unless they continue to subscribe. That might create some value in being a subscriber. Maybe not for me but it'll at least make me stop hitting you with my "understanding of value" bat. Though I suppose I will relent that the membership queue allowing you to get into continents at war faster was well thought out.

Now that I'm done taking the developers' egos down a notch or ten I have to say that I still recommend this game if your pc can handle it. It's still one of the best FPS experiences you'll ever run into gameplay-wise. Just make sure you join an outfit and play in a platoon with a good leader or you'll get bored out of your mind no matter what class you play. Also look up Planetside 2 Potato Settings if you're having trouble with the game. It won't be the prettiest thing you've ever seen but it'll net you more than 30 fps at a time.

Click Here to Download the Game From Steam
Click Here to Download the Game From DayBreak