I remember thinking, when I first read PCG’s piece on Planetside 2 what seems like a decade ago, that it would eclipse all other games on my radar if it nailed it.
It didn’t quite stun me into silence, but the pieces are there.
As of writing this I’ve only played about 5 hours of Planetside 2, taking arms against the rag-tag New Conglomerate and the righteous Vanu Sovereignty. In that short space of time, I’ve only managed to reach combat level 10 on my Terran soldier, mostly because I did what I always do in class-structured games and tried out everything before throwing it out of the equation like a brat in a pushchair.
I have what characterizes itself as sudden onset Parkinsons when it comes to sniper scopes, so the Infiltrator was out of the question almost instantly. Yes, the ability to camouflage semi-regularly is great, but it has it’s downfalls. I have already scored numerous friendly headshots because a Terran Infiltrator has popped out of obscurity too quickly when I’ve been nervously watching my back, and 3 people managed to do it to me in 10 minutes of play.
Heavy Assault is boring, but equipped. Rockets are good against cannons when you can slip in and out of cover, even better if a tank is not paying you any attention. The shield is a godsend in an onslaught, but overall I gave it a pass.
The Engineer and Medic classes are usually something I go for, and the former is particularly fun with the mobile mounted machinegun (A+ for alliteration) to hold a position with your teammates. In the end, however, outside of teamplay which I haven’t really experienced as of yet, you become more of a commodity who follows the action rather than being in it. Meh.
I’ll include the MAX suit even though it’s a bit unique, because it rocks. Remember Barret in Final Fantasy VII? Yeah. Your weapons are mounted on your hands, and I couldn’t help but freak out when I bumped into a Vanu MAX-suited player because of their uncanny resemblance to the Majestic 12 agents from the original Deus Ex. You become a walking tank, heavily armoured and packing the break horse speed of an electronic pencil sharpener. You’re also only reparable by the Engineer class rather than the Medic class. If that doesn’t make you feel like a terminator, walk into a warzone and start firing – it’s refreshing not being cut down quite as quickly as the other classes in open play.
I settled, for the most part, on the Light Assault class. I’ve just had a sly moan about survivability, you might cry. Yes, but the key is to pick something that can combat that. The answer is jetpacks. Not literal hydrogen boosters attached to my posterior kind of jetpacks, but lightly-powered rockets which let you scale enemy bases and walls. No, you can’t fly into the heart of the action and rain death from above, but you can sneak about a bit and get into better positions. I’m useful without being too niche, and I can flee with the best of them when the shit hits the fan just as easily as I can throw said shit. Ahem.
So yeah, coming to that conclusion only took about 80% of my playtime. The other 20% has been spent running around wherever the intricate map system is flashing. If another colour borders with the wonderfully communistic Terran red, and we look like we’re going to win it, I’ll be there on the double. Fickle though it might seem, the leveling process is significantly quicker if you’re landing kills and claiming objectives, two parameters which are easier when there’s more of us. And when I have access to a platform-mounted machine gun.
So far, so good. More on this after the break.