Planetside 2: First Impression

I recently tried out the Planetside 2 beta on PlayStation™ 4. My first impression was surprisingly disappointing. I was visually underwhelmed, though I qualified that with the knowledge that it is still in beta and not everything is indicative of the final product. But more importantly, I was dropped into a massive new world with absolutely no idea what to do. The first instructions I receive are simple enough to follow, teaching me what each button my controller does. But after that, I’m given a jolly sendoff into battle… a battle with a location I don’t know and no clear method of transportation other than sprinting by foot, which in fact I proceeded to do. I ran and ran and ran… and ran through a sparsely populated environment filled with dirt, the occasional shrub, and rolling hills, never seeming to get any closer to what I believed to be a target beacon on my HUD. Within 20 minutes of starting I decided to close the game and play something else.

In contrast to this experience I recall the first time I played Titanfall, also in beta at the time. Not only was it a new control scheme to learn but on a rather new platform for me: PC as opposed to my preference of consoles. And yet, since Titanfall was a new IP, it approached its players with the expectation that they would need a solid understanding of how to play in order to enjoy the game. They expertly crafted a tutorial level broken up into pieces in which a control mechanic is first explained, followed by a simulated situation in which to enact it. Should you fail, you can instantly retry. By the time I completed the tutorial, I was able to get my first kill in my first online match against other players, even though I’m not a PC gamer and had never before played a game with the same movement dynamics. This stands in stark contrast to my experience with Planetside 2 where I couldn’t even find the battle.

Planetside 2 is not the only FPS in which I had this experience. Some years ago CCP Games launched Dust: 514 on the PlayStation™ 3. While I did have the benefit of being at home on my input device, I was new to the EVE universe as well as the particular way that battles play out in the game. My first time dropping into a match involved a lot of sprinting and dying. While text explanations of every single object in the game were plentiful, understanding it all was not a task that the uninitiated would find accessible. Lackluster gameplay and the prevalence of nigh-indestructible veterans inspired sporadic gameplay and eventual abandonment of that game for me and I fear that Planetside 2 will share the same fate.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s