Are FTP games loosing their edge already?

3 min

So, with Planetside 2 having just come out, what is it about this game that makes it seem so “meh”.

I’m fairly impressed with the game’s ability to make you feel like you’re actually taking part in a big war. I’m sure there’s been quite a bit of testing done to get the scale of the map and density of outposts just right, the last thing we need is another online shooter with clusters of objectives within throwing distance of each other, which essentially renders some classes useless. The result is that you will often advance with other allies, while battles rage around you and overhead (and it looks amazing when this is happening). And I have ended up in far more satisfying team efforts than on the much smaller maps of Battlefield games. After finally figuring out I needed an upgrade to make Sunderers into a mobile spawn point, I was giddy with pride as I parked one next to a bio lab and watched a constant stream of players spawn and pour into the base, successfully taking it over. It’s a rare thing when players do actually work together, and it’s always nice when it works. Like Heavy/Medic rushing in TF 2.

But I do have some gripes with the title, great as it may be. Times of heavy lag are not unexpected in such a large open world with so many players, sometimes it just gets that busy, but they are nonetheless frustrating. Capturing bases can turn into cool, tense, pitched battles, but they may also just consist of several minutes sitting on the cap point and waiting for the progress bar to fill which is a lot more tedious than it sounds. I get that the defenders should have some time to spawn and defend at the base, but it’s still boring and frustrating if an enemy spawns and shoots you in the last few moments, which is the same as running down the clock in Counter Strike.

Still, the above are minor gripes compared to the greatest concern I have, which will probably affect my long term interests in this game: The guns and gunplay are boring and uninspired and it’s just really disappointing. Despite the far-future setting which I loved, the handling of weapons is poor game feel at its very finest and then some. The guns are classified under the usual categories that you’ve come to know, Assault Rifles for point men, Sniper Rifles for those that (like me) prefer to avoid the front line and pick up the real threats, LMGS for the trigger happy heavies that love to just shoot walls more than the opponents. There are no interesting abilities that current-day guns do not have. The Vanu Sovereignity, which I’ve played the most, is the high-tech fraction that uses energy weapons, but they handle pretty much the same as projectile weapons except that they trade ‘bullet drop’ for ‘damage drop’. Surely this could have been improved with some passive effects? Something like “plasma burns for 2+ seconds after a charge shot hits a target” etc.

What’s worse, unlike in games like Battlefield 3 where I can at least tell the guns apart and sometimes look forward to unlocking a cool looking new one (not to mention a tank hunting sniper rifle), all the guns look the same, and that’s just bizarre. Oh, the designers did a good job in giving each faction’s guns a nice unique look, but at the expense that all the weapons of a given faction require a microscope to tell apart. I can’t even tell the LMG apart from the Carabines, not helped by the fact that LMGs have a clip size only slightly larger than a rifle’s, in exchange for being far easier to handle on the move than a Battlefield 3 LMG. Which means the differences between the various weapon classes are about as big as the differences between weapons in a single class in a any modern day first person shooter Considering that ‘unlock new weapons’ is the main driving force of the level up system and the cash shot, I doubt if I’m going to care long enough.

So don’t get me wrong, I love the game, and it was free so you can’t really argue with that. But honestly it bothers me when dev teams make a great looking game that plays well, but they don’t polish it enough to make it a long time game that you can continue to enjoy. Dev teams who are making FTP games clearly have goals and standards, I just wish that they would meet my own.

Planetside 2 can be found for free download at the games official website or on steam in the free to play section.

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