Large-Scale Warfare Comes To PS4 Via Planetside 2

Sony Online Entertainment announced last year that Planetside 2 would be migrating from PC to the PS4.  The massive FPS has long been in development, and SOE finally gave the world its first look at the game running on a PS4 at E3 2014.

When SOE sat me down to play they made sure that I could see a PS4 that was running the game.  Why does it matter?  This is a large game with vast open areas, vehicles and over 1000 players in a single match.  Showing off that the PS4 can handle so much, and that it really wasn’t a PC, is very important.  Now, this was only a brief slice of the game with only a small portion of the map playable and maybe 100 players playing, so it was still inconclusive of if the console can handle the full experience.

Those who’ve played Planetside 2 on PC will know what to expect on PS4 and the team behind the game is seeking content parity between the two versions. There are still five classes – Combat Medic, Engineer, Infiltrator, Light Assault and Heavy Assault – each with their own unique weapons, abilities, and combat roles.  Planetside 2 will launch with all three continents – Indar, Esamir and Amerish – and The Nexus Battle Island. Suffice it to say, there’s going to be a lot of content to play through when the game launches.

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The PS4, with its set-in-stone architecture, gives players with lacking PCs the full Planetside 2 experience. It doesn’t do much to deviate from FPS conventions, so it’ll be easy to jump in if you’ve played a recent Call of Duty or Battlefield; especially the latter with its with infantry, vehicles and aircraft buzzing around the map.

Those expecting a gorgeous experience will be disappointed to find that Planetside 2 is not a pretty game. The developer told me that Planetside 2 on PS4 will have the same visuals as the PC version on Max setting.  Planetside 2 doesn’t spend its resources rendering photorealistic worlds, but in pushing as much as it can on screen without hampering the experience.  It succeeds in that regard, but the PS4 version still needs to prove it can get to 1000 players.

Just like the PC version, Planetside 2 on PS4 is a Free-to-Play game.  Players will not have to pay a subscription fee, or even need PS+ in order to play the game.  So what do people have to pay for?  SOE gives players the option of paying to unlock new weapons, vehicles and equipment immediately.  All of this content can be unlocked by just playing the game.  This paid option is mostly for those who are impatient or don’t have the time to play long gaming sessions.  When asked about balancing issues, the developer assured me that every weapon, equipment and vehicle has its advantages and disadvantages.  There are no over-powered weapons as a result.

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When asking about Cross-Play between PS4 and PC, the notion was immediately shot down due to concerns over the software update certification process on PS4, and the optional subscription plan.  This was strange to me as they confirmed that I was playing against real people on PC.  Even stranger is that DC Universe Online, another Sony Online Entertainment game, does support Cross-Play between PS4, PC, and PS3.  Perhaps the feature will be added in the future if we’re lucky.

Planetside 2 offers something that PS4 players can’t get anywhere else: large scale combat on wide-open maps.  With Battlefield: Hardline neutering Battlefield 4’s player count, there really isn’t a game coming out that can serve this demographic.  Planetside 2 is fun and has the ability to hook players, but still needs proof that the full experience can run on PS4 come later this year.