Planetside: Core Combat
Apparently there are people who enjoy being stuck in deep, dark, enclosed spaces. So popular is the pastime that there's a name for the poor soul who actively seeks out and explores these damp :rocky crevices - a speleologist, or potholer to you and me. Quite why someone would rather spend their leisure time lost in the bowels of the Earth rather than take in a sunset on a imountain is beyond me.
Core Combat, the first addon for PlanetSide, last year's 'massively multiplayer' FPS, does at least offer some sort of treat for those willing to pay to visit its dark sweaty interior. For the claustrophiliac shootist who's seen all Auraxis has to offer, there are six huge subterranean caverns to explore (although only two are 'active' at any one time in order to keep battles tight and focused). Each hides six ancient modules, yours to collect, power up and take to a topside facility. Install a module and you'll give your fellow troops a timely boost, from regenerating health and armour to increased damage output.
While it would be a touch cruel to call Core Combat's subterranean design ugly, it's certainly the case that the levels are nowhere near as pleasing on the eye as the game's outdoor expanses. Conveyor belts of lava ape the flow of rivers, crystal structures stand glasslike and the rock looks suitably rocky as to convince you of your stony surroundings. In spite of the obvious attempts to give the caves some variety however, it's all too easy to get utterly lost within them thanks to the network of 'zip' lines that cut across the caves.
These light-beam 'travelators' are designed to help you speed your way through the labyrinthine tunnels. Instead, it's pretty much a lottery where you'll end up. Dead, usually, since by the time you've discovered where you are, a cluster of Spitfire turrets will have locked-on and begun sapping you of health. And if by some miracle you do manage to alight from the caves with a powered-up module, you'll be dead within seconds of appearing topside without a sizable escort anyway.
Sadly, while the new weapons and vehicles are fun, they don't offer quite enough to make the process of getting access to Core Combat's supposed treasures feel that rewarding. The Flail has proven to be a minor hit with the grizzled PlanetSide vets, thanks to an absence of really decent artillery weapons until now.
But the others are just tweaked versions of items that already exist, with a fancy 'alien' sheen added. Ultimately, since Core Combat's best features can be enjoyed by both the expanded and unexpanded players, you might as well let other mugs go to the expense of buying the pack and doing all the work required to gain them. Then you can just have all the fun and reap the rewards above ground.
Download Planetside: Core Combat
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
I signed on with Planetside from day one. My original review is fairly indicative of the overall experience I had, but as primarily a Vanu Soverignty player, I ended up leaving the game due to balance issues that had yet to be corrected. A new expansion hadn't originally intrigued me enough to go back, but once I found out what had changed since I'd been gone, there was no question.
Strictly speaking, Core Combat doesn't add much to the Planetside universe. It creates a new gameplay area, modules that enhance base abilities, and new ancient-tech items and vehicles. While new items and vehicles solve old problems in new ways (especially cool in the case of the mobile artillery piece, the flail) there are only three basic vehicles and a handful of new weapons. I'd have liked to see more, but it's understandable that there aren't more, given the balance issues at stake.
The mobile artillery piece is quite interesting, as it epitomizes the teamwork necessary to excel in Planetside. It can fire long distances, and has a targeting apparatus, but it is most effectively used when teammates can infiltrate enemy lines and then use a laze pointer to highlight a target, creating cross hairs the flail gunner can use to target his projectiles.
Additionally, while I originally left Planetside because of it's balance issues and general stale nature, I'm happy to report that not only have changes in the last few months made the game much quicker on play (really, really good change, in my opinion), but have also tweaked the balance issues pretty damn good. There are still a few things that people complain about, but it certainly seems like Sony's staff are actually listening to people in order to change the game for the better.
Not only is this a worthwhile expansion, but with the changes made to Planetside, the whole game is much the better. This is definitely worth the purchase.