AMD Phenom II X6
AMD Radeon HD 6870
Indeed we, the PC master race, have been blessed for this summer saw the emergence of many a great Free-to-Play title. Well, more than usual, with my beloved Blacklight: Retribution and Tribes: Ascend being the shining diamonds in their midst. But we weren’t forgotten and come November, our hearts and Steam accounts were touched by the grace of Planetside 2, a MMOFPS with up to two thousand players battling in a persistent, continent sized battlefield. Truly, size doth matter!
Planetside 2 follows a classic and timeless story: Earth, united under the authoritarian rule of the Terran Republic sends an expedition through a wormhole to colonize another world. The wormhole collapses and the colonist split into three factions that plunge into an eternal war. Truly a classic! Not much more lore is to be found in the game itself, but, with vague promises of future DLCs, some new developments are likely to arise.
This is not a rare sight.
The importance of plot is arguable, since Planetside 2 is Battlefield 2142 amped to 11. Every server is split into three different continents, each many times the size of usual multiplayer maps – the likes of CODBLOPS II could stack all the maps they have and still only have one twentieth of, say, the continent of Indar. Not to mention, you know, 2000 potential – and, in popular servers, quite usual – players in one map. In this it blows the competition totally out of the water since you will see air assaults that have more people than Battlefield: Play4Free maps.
All these gun toting pixel knights are split into three factions, roughly along the lines of the American war of Independence. They each have their own visual styles, weapons and stronger sides, as well as unique tanks and fighters. So in the end, it’s possible to choose a side both based on your preferred style or political leanings.
The first factions would be the red-and-black Terran Republic, which could be said to represents Great Britain. After all, they did send colonists to the literal New World, like red and have a penchant for oppression now and then. And now those traitorous pansies got antsy, so it’s up to the heroic men and women of TR to get them back in line. Since “da red ‘uns go fastah”, the Terrans have the fastest vehicles and greatest fire rates of the three factions, while accuracy and firepower suffers. This is great for the pilots of their Mosquito fighter - not so much for sharpshooter infantry. Their tank, the Prowler, has the ability to enter siege mode, which raises its fire rate. All this is, of course, totally against my usual play style, but I’m still TR through and through, because I am against all sorts of scumbag separatists and I sure as hell don’t want to be a space Yankee. Also, the Terran Republic has the best music of the three. People who should play Terran Republic are imperialists, speed freaks, the British, people who like bullet spam, fans of swimming glasses.
The nights are pretty on the battlefield.
The second faction is the New Conglomerate, the blue and gold Space States of America. Supposedly they’re colonists with looted and repurposed gear, supported by corporations or something – players of other factions find them very sketchy. But if you want to fight for freedom or, more likely, capitalism, this is the faction for you. They also have the best armor and highest powered weapons in the game – and they’re supposed to be the scrappy underdog? This is either due to being - fluff wise - backed by less than benevolent forces of the corporations or - real life wise - because the writers are hackers and the developers are Americans who would not have their space brethren outshone by any other faction. Their unique tank even looks like a distant cousin of the Abrams tank (and its special ability is an invulnerable shield). Probably the best force for snipers and infantry in general since, you know, they have the most powerful weapons in the game. Who plays them? Cowboys, liberals, guns nuts, tanks, tankers, tea parties, John Galt.
The third faction is the Vanu Sovereignty, a bunch of scientists that found alien ruins, adopted their technology and somehow got the idea that this makes them a political faction. One of their biggest distractions is the fruity purple armor. Much like wizards in other games, it seems they traded in their fashion sense for greater knowledge. Which, I might add, lets them make more stable and accurate weapons? So much for the supremacy of the alien culture. Their unique tank is the Maglev, which can strafe on the account that it floats yet lacks a turret since you need to balance things. Players of Battlefield 2142 will feel at home with this baby – and will probably love the boost ability. Who play the Vanu Sovereignty? Zeitgeisters, pinko commie hippies, weeaboos, xenophiles.
As you see, the game is very political, with comments in YouTube descending into various rants about political pros and cons of various factions. One commenter argued that Americans play the imperialistic (they say it like it’s a bad thing) and expansionist (into, you know, a world they colonized in the first place) TR or NC, while the sophisticated, educated, peace loving Europeans play the Vanu Sovereignty. He was dead wrong – par on the course for internet commenters – since the busiest European server usually sees TR victories. However, I can’t say which faction is the most famous – servers usually have equal parts of all three, with experience and cert bonuses going to factions that lack the people. This rarely happens nowadays, as far as I have noticed.
TR heavies, the prettiest of the bunch.
Of course, people don’t go into the battlefield dressed in their respective flags and armed with accusations of sexual deviancy. Your character, be it male or female, can choose one of the six classes that are united by non-regenerating health. The light assault has an assault rifle and a jetpack – it’s well suited for people with quick reflexes and excellent spatial coordination. Therefore, I totally suck as a light assault infantryman. I fare a little better with the heavy assault infantry. These guys lug around machineguns AND rocket launchers while at the same time being the snazziest dressed folks around. Their special power is a damage mitigating shield, which is to be used intelligently and sparingly. This combination of arms and equipment makes heavy assault one of the two classes that can easily engage both armor and aircraft targets. However, if you desire to be one of those hard targets, you must go with the Engineer – his repair tool can fix anything on the battlefield. Their main means of damage dealing are the deployable turrets – yet these are not automated and have to be manned.
The Engineer is also the guy you want to have around when your ammo starts to run dry, since they’re the ones that carry resupply packs. On the other side of support spectrum are the Medics, who strive to keep the troops in the preferred state of “not dead”. While their rifles makes them a sort of designated marksman, their strength come from the healing tool. This thingamajig can both heal and revive downed infantry. Word of advice to said downed infantry: don’t run away after revival, we still need to heal you to full health! The combat medics also come with a healing field heals – while the battery lasts - both the doc and the people around him – while also gaining power the more people are around him.
- Easy to learn: the controls are a classic scheme
- Pretty: the game engine can pull off some pretty vistas that you can exchange by having a massive battle there
- Is not pay to win: unless you thing fabulousness is more important that K/D ratio.
- Hard: You’ll get killed, a lot
- Cert-expensive: some higher tiers of abilities are just a daylight robbery
- Boring bases: the bases structures themselves aren’t that varied.