PlanetSide 2 PS4 Preview: Gorgeous graphics, smooth gameplay
If I were to base the timeframe of PlanetSide 2's beta on PS4 on gameplay, then I'd say it'd be released tomorrow. Save for a few issues with the map, SOE's massive online shooter is playing really well on PS4.
I had the opportunity to demo the game on PS4 during SOE Live, placed on a PTS that combined PS4 and PC users. It's important to note that when PlanetSide 2 enters beta and eventually releases on PS4, console players will not be playing with PC. This is mostly due to the PlayStation version being on a different update cadence.
I last played PlanetSide 2 on PS4 back in June at E3. At the time, much of the focus was on creating a user interface that works with a console controller. SOE claims to have made a “bunch of progress” in terms of optimization for UI, but that wasn't really the focus of my hands-on demo. Sure, I probably took the UI I was sorting through for granted, but nothing seemed to noticeably seem out of place or stick out. It was functional and easy to understand, which is what SOE seems to have been going for.
I was more interested in the actual gameplay though, because as a shooter you want smooth framerate and solid mechanics. To that end, PlanetSide 2 seems natural on PS4. Although SOE has a goal of 60 frames per second, PS2 is currently running around 40-50 FPS depending on the situation. The biggest challenge SOE faces with frame rate, and I also heard this back at E3, is when you have a large number of players all bunched together in a single zone. Unfortunately, I can't really comment on the frame rate during one of those situations because the server I was playing on was pretty empty. On the bright side, I encountered no issues with frame rate, so that's promising.
Visually, I'd say PlanetSide 2 is going to be one of the best-looking shooters on PS4. As we've heard time and time again, the PS4 version's graphics will be equivalent to the Ultra setting on PC. And boy does it look good. For someone whose PC can't run the game on Ultra, this will be a huge difference. Stunning graphics with no noticeable drop in performance is about all one could ask for.
Gameplay-wise, well, it feels natural. I think the sensitivity of the DualShock 4 still needs some fine tuning. Even though you can adjust the sensitivity in the options, I still struggled to find a happy medium as it constantly felt like the game was overcompensating. When I lowered the sensitivity it felt a little too slow, and when I upped it, it felt too fast.
SOE says most of the loadout systems have been finished on PS4, but they've still got work to do on the map and in-game store. Because of that, they still don't have a date for a PS4 beta, but they maintain it'll be available in 2014. If I had to guess, I'd say the wait for a beta won't be too much longer. Like I said, the gameplay is feeling good right now. SOE just needs to a do a bit more fine tuning and optimization, and finish that darn UI.