On 07/12/03 by Turner 'Bulldog' Hopkinson
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Release Date: 05/20/03
Official Site: www.planetside.station.sony.com
Tested On: 3.06GHz, Radeon 9800 PRO, 1g RAM
I know a lot of people have complained about the gameplay and by all means, that is their right to do so. And to some extent I'm forced to agree with the pessimists. But it is also worth mentioning that I feel virtually every single complaint could have been alleviated if Sony would have just taken some more time in the optimization of the net code and made things run smoother. I ran the game on a top-notch gaming rig and naturally didn't encounter many problems but I also realize this is not an option for the vast majority of casual gamers out there and as such the gameplay is going to be substantially less fun for those gamers. The 15$ a month price tag also seems a tad steep to attract the casual gaming crowd. Perhaps Sony isn't aiming for these "casual" people, but that brings up another issue, why not? More people equates to more battles and more fierce firefights equal more fun. Anyway, if you can jump past the hefty monthly price tag and the system requirements (and I know it is a MAJOR hurdle for the vast majority of people reading this) the overall gameplay kicks some serious ass. True, the learning curve is a bit steep and when I first started playing it took approximately 45 minutes for me to figure out how to quickly move around without having to traverse an entire bloody continent by foot. Once you do find a battle and have linked up with a proper sized 10 man squad it can be extremely tense, fun and for the most part realistic feeling. Team-work is a major component in this game and if you aren't utilizing it to the fullest extent then you are missing out on one of the games strongest facets. The vehicles are fun to use, the unique blending of role-playing elements is well done, and the exhilaration of overtaking an enemy base and claiming it for your own faction is unparalleled.
The graphics were less than impressive but it is important to remember that this is a massively multiplayer game and spans enormous continents. Having Half-Life 2 or DOOM 3 equivalent graphics would not have only been impossible to implement but even more impossible to make playable. The environments for the most part are well designed and although the trees look pretty cheese the well designed and detailed bases make up for that. It is easy to get lost though in the massive land formations a well implemented and easy to use map and marking system help keep you orientated.
There is nothing overly special about the sound, especially with the effects. Gunshots sound like gunshots, vehicles moving sound like vehicles moving and so on. The soundtrack is a definite bonus and amazingly enough, despite all the hours I logged; it never grew repetitive and kept me pleased throughout.
In a Word: Unique
Word to Publisher: Make the game playable for people with anything but a system with over a gig of RAM, drop the monthly price a tad, and market the game some more and potentially you've got a spectacular game on your hands.
Final Score: 80%