Time played: 2 hours
Having already dipped my toes in to Planetside 2 during the beta I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was up against when I installed the release client of this fairly enormous Free to Play beast and fired it up for the first *real* time.
Turns out that I was wrong. I don’t admit that I’m wrong easily as my friends could probably attest to, but in this case I most assuredly was absolutely incorrect. Planetside 2 beta for me was a luke-warm experience, a picturesque ride-along admiring the many rocks, canyons, craters, rocks and canyons that passed beneath the 105mm turret that I’d been entrusted with deploying ordnance from.
There was a lot of passively flying to and fro, capturing bases that had been previously taken from us by some snide infiltrator that seemingly found it compelling to traverse the map alone capturing empty bases. Every so often there would be the opportunity to utilize my 105mm to obliterate hostile groups that ranged from a handful of unfortunate pals roaming the ground on buggies to a base jam packed with tiny red names who would no doubt be caught by surprise when several barrages of explosions happened to redeploy them to the redeployment screen after a short stay in the you-died-limbo-screen.
The action was good fun, but there was a certain sense of emptiness to the game, it wasn’t quite polished as you’d expect from a beta, and I didn’t feel a significant compulsion to log in and fight for my right to party.
Jumping ahead to release, I didn’t rush in to Planetside 2 on release day, or the day after that, or even the day after that… in fact it was 6 days before I finally loaded her up and decided I’d give it a spin. After several minutes attempting to co-ordinate a Liberator-pickup only to discover I was on the wrong continent (not a common problem in online games…) we finally got organised, got in to the fray and got shot down – immediately.
It became quickly apparent that the sky was filled with hatred, flak and bastards, so we decided to try our luck on the ground.
We had a team of three: Myself, Endstar and the occasionally unconscious Deks. Our first manoeuvre was to take the flank of a base our fabulously purple Vanu comrades were in the process of assaulting. A hard fought battle ensued, with numerous attempts at counter-flanking our flanking until we finally got an opportunity to push forwards and take our side of the base. Success occurred, we broke in to the base and it fell under the outrageously stylish control of purple team.
More assaults followed, it was non-stop enemy contact with far more killing than dying, this rapidly became the most fun I’d had in Planetside 2 – after an hour I’d had more fun than I had in the entire beta. After taking a smaller hilltop fortification two of us pushed up a mountainside to flank a small group of enemies that we’d sighted at the top. When we got there they were gone, however our new position allowed us a fairly unique opportunity.
With Endstar right behind me, I jumped down on to the slope below and began to slide, very quickly, towards the next objective. We could see from where we were that this base was crawling with reds – and we were sliding down to their flank at a rather alarming speed, and would be coming in to the base rather alarmingly close to… well, everything.
What happened next was sort of a blur of muzzle flashes, kills, assists and generally a consistent application of hostility for around 10 minutes. When the dust settled the base was ours, and I had somehow survived the ordeal.
Planetside 2 had just blown my mind, and I hadn’t stepped in to the driver’s seat of a single vehicle yet.
All I can say for certain is that I’ll be giving my opinion of Planetside 2 a serious rethink, because it’s already several quad-damage-multipliers more fun than The Old Republic ever was (sorry BioWare).