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E3 2012: PlanetSide 2 preview

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Posted by: Andrew Clouther

Somewhere when the FPS genre meshed with the MMO genre, PlanetSide 2 was born.  This sequel has taken on the free to play model and is being developed by Sony Online Entertainment.  I had the opportunity to watch the E3 exclusive demo to ignite the hype inside of me.  As someone who never played the original PlanetSide, I can honestly say I don’t feel deterred in the least from jumping right into this one.

You have your three empire factions that each have their own distinctive look and play to them.  The Terran Republic is militaristic, the Vanu Sovereignty advances their empire with alien tech, and the New Conglomerate are rebels from the splintered republic.  The three empires are fighting over the planet of Auraxis.   The classes include the infiltrator (cloaked sniper), light assault (jump jet), heavy assault (larger weapons and armor), engineer (repair and support), combat medic (healing and revive), and MAX (exoskeleton / mech-like troops).  

Besides being free to play, one of the more unique aspects of this game is the customization offered in both cosmetics and gameplay functionality.  You have the options to make your character’s armor look how you want it to from a design point a view.  Once you’re comfortable with how it looks, you can change the colors and patterns.  This level of cosmetic customization doesn’t end with your characters though; you apply paint jobs and patterns to your vehicles to make them stand out.  Everyone fears the giraffe patterns on the battlefield after all.

Speaking of vehicles, PlanetSide 2 delivers on both land and air.  You have your light land vehicles from an ATV with a machine gun to a 10 man transport or a tank.  The aircrafts share in both light and heavy categories as well; from light fighters to larger transports.

You can create 10 man squads with your friends and have all your armors look the same; a zebra pattern squad was showcased.  Players can also form more persistent groupings which make a ‘guild’ like group when compared to other MMOs.  The combat is both vehicular and FPS based.  Winners in matches are rewarded more heavily and the victory helps their empire in the greater meta game in controlling Auraxis. 

The other unique feature of PlanetSide 2 is the out of game functionality.  There will be a player website where players can log in, check out their characters, see how their empire is doing, and change layouts.  On top off this website, players will also be able to download a smartphone app that allows them to see similar information and even talk to friends who are currently playing the game.  I find this feature to be quite innovative with near endless communal possibilities. 

From what I’ve seen, PlanetSide 2 truly offers unique gameplay and experience unlike other FPS games.  The MMO qualities allow you to customize the layout and abilities of your classes and vehicles.  Through playing, you will be able to unlock greater powers, class features, and vehicle power ups.  According to the demo, these unlocks would take years to obtain all of them.  If you’re someone looking for a free and unique FPS / MMO experience, look no further than PlanetSide 2.

Tags: PlanetSide 2, E3 2012

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