Your Battlefield is deserted. Your Destiny is uncertain. Those who answer your Call of Duty lack fervour. As you peek over the parapet of a PlanetSide 2 bunker to see an actual army advancing towards you, a hundred scurrying infantry flanking ponderous tanks and troop carriers, gunships and distant bombers weaving between AA fire, before… Continue reading
PlanetSide 2 is a captivating marriage of the persistent world of an MMOG, the free-to-play financial model and the twitch combat of a firstperson shooter. Each of its three continents supports up to 2,000 players, and the scale is dizzying. Infantry and tanks clash on the ground, while aircraft streak across the sky. It’s the kind of spectacle that most shooters rely on scripted setpieces to create, but here every explosion, tank battle and dogfight is a moment created wholly by players.
Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley has strongly criticised Zynga, saying that he believes the FarmVille creator has seriously damaged the reputation of free-to-play. Despite that damage, however, he feels the business model is maturing thanks to the broader range of “hardcore” games making use of it.
Already at beta stage, Planetside 2’s war is gigantic in scope. A quick fly-by of Indar – a huge, dusty area, one of three continents to be available in the final product – in one of the game’s air vehicles yields ludicrous spectacles. Aerial dogfights between squadrons of fighter craft; pitched tank battles as two armoured columns collide; entire platoons of players discharged on the top of an enemy-held base, coming up against fifty-odd infantrymen and women in defence.