The first thing you do in PlanetSide 2 is decide which faction that you want to belong to; which are the Terran Republic, New Conglomerate, and the Vanu Sovereignty. Other than slight differences in how their weapons perform, it is basically only cosmetic differences between the 3 factions that exist. After you create your character, you can do whatever it is that you want. There are three different continents that you can play on and each have their own differing layouts and biomes.
Capturing bases and outposts is the main goal in Planetside 2. You can look at your map to see where engagements are happening and to see which territories are owned by the warring factions. Logging in will always start you at the current continent’s warp gate which is the only zone that cannot be captured by your enemies. From here you can either run to a destination or better yet purchase a land or air vehicle to get you around quickly. There is also the nice feature of looking at your map and hitting the instant action button, which will drop you from the air in a pod onto the ground where the biggest action is taking place, saving a lot of time instead of manual traveling to a location. Small outposts and large bases dot the landscape, the smaller type being able to get captured by a lone soldier means that every faction needs to keep an eye out on everything. The bases require an entire team to take over, since they are surrounded by large energy barriers that require either an air drop or light assault to jetpack over the walls. After they are inside, people have to go around and destroy the barriers which will disrupt the facilities in the base as well as dropping the barriers, letting entire squadrons of vehicles inside and make it that much easier to capture.
There are 6 infantry classes to choose from, and you are allowed to switch to any of them whenever you want. The infiltrator is the sneaky sniper class, being able to turn invisible for a short amount of time and the only class allowed to use sniper rifles, but also the weakest when it comes to survivability. Light Assault is a medium class that has access to a jet-pack, allowing access to many areas that other classes simply can’t reach, as well as having the largets selection of unlockable explosives. Heavy Assaults have lots of defense and can use heavy weapons, such as Large Machine Guns and anti-armor grenade launcher, as well as a shield system that can be turned on when the need arises. The Combat Medic is one of the most important classes in large engagements, being able to heal people to full health and even reviving them when they fall in combat. Engineers are the support class of machinery, being able to repair MAX units and vehicles, while also being able to drop ammo resupply boxes. MAX units are basically a combination of vehicles and infantry, with heavy armor only repairable by engineers and able to equip a wide array of weapon onto each arm.
Vehicles have a wide variety of uses just like classes, and can pretty much be used whenever you have the resources to purchase them. The sunderer is the heavy ground transport vehicle used by all three factions, which can be deployed into a spawn point to help your team accomplish offensive captures. Galaxies are large heavy air ships that can move around large amounts of soldiers, and are available to all factions. There are a bunch of light and heavy tanks/airships that are for the most part just basic vehicles, and just like the factions themselves there are slight differences between them regarding gun types and even how they can maneuver. If you are running short on resources and need to get somewhere quick, the Flash is a small ATV that can get you to your location.
Everyone starts out with basic equipment, but over time after you gain experience and certs you can unlock a good arsenal of equipment. Certs can be used to upgrade class abilities, scopes for your guns, new guns entirely, and even squad commander abilities that let you set spawn points if you are the leader of a squad.
There is a social aspect and you can make outfits that are like guilds that exist in other games. They allow you to easily get into groups with people and coordinate planned attacks instead of just running blindly. It is highly recommended to join one so you will always have a good team to play with and your entire faction will benefit greatly, playing solo will get boring fast as well.
Graphical and sound quality is very nice, though it can be a burden at the same time. You can hear battles raging on all around you and can be key to locate enemies when they are shooting in close proximity. Even top end computers can perform horribly if you max the settings out, mainly because there can be so much action going on at once that it is hard to calculate everything that is happening. If you are in a quiet or small engagement, you shouldn’t suffer any lag or stuttering.
The idea and everything behind PlanetSide 2 sounds great, but when you think about it the contribution that you give in fights is negligible. Even if you can kill lots of people or support your team, it still depends on your whole army being better than theirs. Being able to buy weapons and power in general with real money might also deter people from wanting to play a game that wants a fair playing field.
The fact that you will pretty much always be playing with large groups of people means that you shouldn’t worry about your own performance being bad, just as long as you can contribute to the current situation. Even if you aren’t good at aiming guns you can easily just be one of the two support classes and heal/repair everything that has been damaged.
When you get into PlanetSide 2 you can hit the instant action button on the map and it will drop you into an area with heated combat already going on. The length of every battle is dependant on the people that are involved in the conflict and you can leave the game at any time, and with there being tons of people playing your departure shouldn’t hinder your team.
There are a ton of weapons and cosmetic options to unlock, as well as an overall character ranking that gives rewards as well. You gain experience by getting kills or doing what your class is made for, such as healing as a medic or repairing as an engineer. Experience also earns you Certs, or Certifications, that you use to upgrade current equipment and abilities, and even buy completely new guns and sights for those guns.
Planetside 2 is free with available microtransactions, as well as a monthly subscription option that gives SC(Currency bought with real money) and bonus experience each month. Sadly, this is a game that allows you to buy weapons so some people with a lot of money can get the best variety of guns to use against you while you will be stuck with the starting weapons for a while. There are also cosmetic items available to buy, and some of them also have advantages since you can apply camo to a vehicle and be harder to see in certain environments. Weapons of all types can range from $2.50 to 7 dollars, assuming you don’t get a discounted package of SC, and luckily there are no weapons that can’t be unlocked from the ingame certs as well. If you don’t spend any money, PlanetSide 2 is still a very good game even if at times you will be fighting against people that could have better weapons than you, but it is more of a squad game than an individual one.