PlanetSide 2 Preview
PlanetSide 2 Box Art
System: PC
Dev: Sony Online Entertainment
Pub: Sony Online Entertainment
Release: TBA
Players: MMO
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p
A Space Time Capsule
by Shelby Reiches

When Sony Online Entertainment discovered that I'd be visiting their booth at E3, they sent along a small care package. When I opened it, I found a set of PlanetSide 2 stickers corresponding to the game's trio of factions and a letter from Sony's PR company. It informed me that they were attempting to keep their booth clean and that, due to a fear I would soil myself upon actually playing the massively multiplayer first-person shooter, had enclosed a diaper emblazoned with the PlanetSide 2 logo (Muppet Babies branded, for those who are curious). I laughed it off, but I'll admit that it sort of planted some expectations for what the title would do for me.

PlanetSide 2 Screenshot

I am sorry to report that, upon my departure, the SOE booth was as clean as it had been upon my arrival. I am happy to say, however, that I did not need to wear the diaper. This isn't to say that PlanetSide 2 wasn't a fun game, but it wasn't the pants-crappingly incredible title SOE was building it up to be.

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It began in a small, enclosed room with a large screen and comfortable seating. A small group of press was allowed inside, and they were led through a demo by one of the game's developers. It's available online now, and, while the most entertaining element of it was the zebra print used on much of the custom armor and vehicles on display (and our guide was less than eloquent, often describing things in vague terms with the implication that he would say more, only to move on), the video managed to make me anticipate playing the title. Between the vehicles on offer and the game's massive nature, there was just something inherently appealing about it.

PlanetSide 2 Screenshot

After the video, I stepped in, and I feel I can safely report that PlanetSide 2 feels like a first-person shooter. Is that good? Well, if you expected it to be lacking in action due to its scale, you'll be happy, but as a first-person shooter itself, the game felt sort of same-old. Despite its sci-fi trapping, there's the standard assortment of assault and support classes, with weaponry that looks different when it fires, but behaves very similarly to the corresponding armaments on the other team. And the vehicles are fun to drive or fly, though the flight control is awfully floaty.

PlanetSide 2 Screenshot

Normally, with a sequel, I'd want to look at what it does differently than its predecessor as well as what it brings new to the table, but PlanetSide 2 is coming out in a strange spot. The original was unique and interesting because it was completely unprecedented. A massively multiplayer shooter was something completely beyond expectations in an age when MMOs were still in their awkward and gawky adolescence, the vast majority built on a timer-based RPG framework. To have action in a game that huge was an incredible proposition (particularly given the sparse availability of broadband in those days).


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