Planetside 2 Preview
As if we need another giant game to play this summer, right? And this one is a true-blue MMOFPS; it's the long-anticipated Planetside 2 for PlayStation 4, and it has just received an official launch date of June 23. That's when this tantalizingly large sci-fi adventure will be available in North America and Europe, and we're all hoping for a smooth, wonderfully involving game that immerses us in an unforgettable atmosphere. Of course, your reasons for playing might not be quite so poetic; you might just want to go questing with some friends and shoot everything in sight. Well, whatever floats your boat; entertainment is, of course, wildly subjective.
Perhaps the biggest question everyone has had concerning this production is, "can the developers streamline this PC-oriented experienced so it works well enough on a console?" Thankfully, that has been a focus for developers Daybreak Game Company (don't forget that Sony Online Entertainment was recently dissolved), and they're poised to deliver the ultimate open-world FPS experience. Obviously, all MMOs require some tweaking after launch but Planetside 2 has been around since 2012; it's just a matter of making sure it performs well enough on PS4. And it's great that Sony has already promised that we'd get all the content available in the PC version, and all future content will come to both platforms as well.
However, it's important to remember that PS4 and PC players will be on different servers, and it'll be interesting to see how the controls are mapped to the DualShock4. This game boasts both standard FPS controls along with vehicular controls, so perhaps it'll feel familiar to Battlefield followers. The idea from the start was to make Planetside 2 feel "just right" on PS4 and in fact, many are hoping for the definitive version of the game. If you're intrigued by the concept, you will have to endure a bit of a learning curve, however. It's not so much the mechanics that will delay your mastery of this particular title; it's the complexity and intricacies of a wickedly in-depth MMO that has been, historically, most popular in PC land. In other words, the massive, involving world of Auraxis will take some getting used to.
As a result, one thing we can expect is a more robust tutorial. It won't merely explain how each mechanic works, it will also guide you through the learning process as you encounter new aspects of the gameplay. I think this is a critical addition because quite frankly, I find most MMOs to be outrageously overwhelming at the outset. Don't forget that they're trying to attract some die-hard shooter fans and the gap between regular ol' FPS and MMO is pretty freakin' massive, even with the added depth of online multiplayer in the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises. The bottom line is that if you don't make Planetside 2 more immediately accessible, you're going to lose a lot of your potential audience. I mean, you'll be facing three huge continents and one battle island, and we hear tell the PS4 version will boast a fourth continent.
Yeah, massive. If you're coming from the world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you might not find it quite so daunting but again, MMOs are a very different beast. It's about teaming up with reliable adventurers and reaping the rewards of your teamwork. Nothing says you can't play alone but in a persistent virtual world, you really can't make much progress if you're intent on the lone wolf approach. Of course, updates and various hitches and glitches often mar the MMO experience, but the developers plan to release smaller batches of content more frequently, as opposed to big updates that can cause a variety of problems. All things considered, it seems like PS4 players are in for one heckuva experience...provided there's smooth sailing ahead.
Don't forget that Planetside 2 has long since been one of the most anticipated titles of the generation for PS4 owners. Now, the time is finally nigh...
6/3/2015 Ben Dutka