PlanetSide by Sony Entertainment (SOE) is by far my Favorite Video Game of All Time! I'm normally anti-Sony, but this game is so perfect I ignore it's association to one of my blacklist brands. PlanetSide was the first MMOFPS (Massively Multi-player Online First Person Shooter). In a sea of boring MMORPGs, PlanetSide broke the MMO mold as a fast paced FPS with RPG elements.
Ignoring all of the intricacies of PlanetSide for a moment, the game stands on its own just as an FPS. The physics, targeting, weapon selection, environments, are all at the level of any of the top FPS games (Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Duke Nukem). PlanetSide isn't just solider level combat though. It also seamlessly integrates a very large arsenal of vehicles, and again, the vehicle FPS is at the level of any of the top games of that genre (Halo, Battlefield).
What really made this game stand out when it was first introduced back on May 20, 2003 is it's introduction of RPG elements in a FPS gaming experience. This feature is mimicked in a lot of console FPS games like Modern Warfare, Black Ops, etc. where you have a saved game/profile/character/avatar that you use in online play. In these games, you have an avatar that you can customize with different uniform or weapon profile configurations that you earn through extensive play. These profiles don't generally effect the balance of play, but are a cool customization that attaches you to your avatar more than a generic default avatar would. PlanetSide introduced this idea and did it better than any game I've played since.
In PlanetSide there are 25 levels. As you gain levels your able to carry more certifications. Certifications are basically skill slots that you can use to allocate to weapon/armor/vehicle specializations. The higher your level, the more flexibility you have in your player configurations. The flexibility allows you to change weapons/armors/vehicles in action, but it doesn't make you any harder to kill at a base level. Meaning a level 1 player can take and dish out the same amount of damage as a level 25 player. A level 1 player has access to the best armor and the best weapons from the start. The difference is with limited certification slots, if the level 1 player chooses the best armor and best weapon, that player might not have a certification slot available for a particular vehicle. This generally doesn't matter, because when your in a vehicle your soldiers weapons/armor are irrelevant and in some cases certain armors can't be used in certain vehicles.
I'm going to stop there before my explanation of the game gets too complicated I've only scratched the surface of how awesome this game is, but to avoid getting into too much detail, I'll end this paragraph with my point; PlanetSide takes the best elements of an RPG (character creation/specialization) and fuses it with epic FPS battles.
The purpose of this Blog post was not to review PlanetSide, but to state my excitement for it's sequel. This post turned into a PlanetSide review just because of how perfect this game is. The only thing I'd change about the PlanetSide is it's graphics. In 2003, PlanetSide's graphics were the bomb (we still used phrases like "the bomb" in 2003). Now they look 8 years old. So if you'r reading this Sony, don't change a thing about the game! Just update the graphic's engine!
Check out the short trailer @ http://www.planetside2.com/