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Planetside 2: A Decade Later

Ok, it hasn’t been exactly a decade, but close enough.

It was an interesting experience coming back to PS2. Some things had changed – apparently people can build little outposts and fly capital ships around – but most of the game was exactly the same. Fighters spam rockets from the sky, except when you’re flying one, in which case you get a personal dog-fighter stuck to your ass. Tanks soak spawn points with fire. No one goes after the enemy Sunderer. Just Planetside things.

And yet… there are the same moments of brilliance. Breaking the back of an attack, and then running across the fields towards the enemy base in a counteroffensive. Actually finding a good spot and doing some work as an Infiltrator. Grabbing an AA rocket launcher and harassing everything in the sky.

The problem now is the same problem then: the fun is inconsistent. When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s bad, it’s awful and l want to uninstall. It doesn’t help that after a decade the remaining population is a congealed mass of bittervets who will waste you in any fair 1v1 situation. Kill screens show you the equipment of your betters, but it’s hard to tell what weapons they actually used and whether it would have made a difference. I’m glad there’s a testing ground where you can fire guns before purchasing, but the stat screens for these things are borderline nonsense.

At the end of the day though, Planetside 2 certainly feels like a better Battlefield game than any I’ve played since BF4. You have the spectacle of outrageously large fights with air support, and an actual ability to pull vehicles yourself. And individual skill can turn the tide if you C4 a key Sunderer.

But I think the days of spending 5 hours a night playing are, well, a decade behind me.