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Randy_Shughart_ClwFL

A PS2 Player's Review of PR

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Alright, so the title is a bit of a misnomer. Many of you already know that I used to play PR a lot back in the day, long time TGers will probably remember me from back then. That is how I originally found TG in fact (actually through BF2, and then I got into PR). But it has been a long time, I haven't played PR in many years, and I've been playing PS2 for the last 3 years or so I guess. I know that the subject of PR has come up from time to time, it seems with increasing frequency lately, within the PS2 community, and I know there is some cross interest, so I thought I would write this review.

Review

The first thing that was quite disorienting to me was the lack of HUD elements. I know some people consider this a positive, but man I guess I'm just spoiled after playing PS2 now for a few years. There is no minimap, no player names (nor team colors) over anyone's heads. Well, there is if you scope in on them and wait a long time. Or something. That doesn't always work though, so I'm not sure what's up with that.

That really took some getting used to. OTOH, there is nothing like the sheer terror of hiding in bushes, looking for the enemy, and then suddenly being 10-20 meters from someone and taking a good look at their uniform, trying to discern which team they are on, and not being sure if you should shoot or not. This makes the pace of the game completely different (some would say better) than PS2.

A few of the controls are a little different, but luckily I remembered most, and those few I forgot the guys in my squad were pretty helpful about. Oh, speaking of getting into a squad. You think it's hard to get into a TG squad in PS2? Ha! We have it easy! In PR, you first have to all make sure you are on the same server. If it is a full server, this can take some effort (keep clicking... now I remember why I originally bought my supporting membership to TG, lol... ). Then you have to make sure you are on the same team (and depending on how people are joining and dropping, and how full the server, this can take some time repeatedly clicking the team tab to get over to the team you want). After that, getting into the actual squad is pretty easy (if it's not full).

Finally, the graphics are a bit dated by today's standards. You have to remember this is built on top of Battlefield 2 engine after all.

Now you may think this sounds like a bad review, and so far maybe it does. But now that I have gotten the negatives out of the way, let me go over the positives.

The pace, sounds, and bullet damage model in this game lead to an amazing level of immersion! You will be patrolling through a jungle, or moving around through a city and nothing for a little while. Everything seems calm and quiet. Then all of a sudden, the pop pop of small arms, to your left, then the SAW opens up on your right, the sound of bullets ricocheting off the ground at your feet and the suppression effects and you know you are really in a firefight! The hurried confusion as your SL directs you to start suppressing the enemy and move to start flanking...

And just like real life, it only takes a couple bullets to put you down. No emptying half a magazine into someone, only to have them still walk away with some health left. This has a dramatic affect on gameplay. People are much more careful, and move more carefully. Bounding maneuvers, fireteams, and such are actually worth the time it takes to set them up and execute them, unlike in PS2, which is much faster paced and "arcadey."

Then when you are in city combat (or any map with vehicles, really), everyone is always looking out for the armored vehicles and the fear is very real and visceral. It's not like some Magrider that can just be pulled at any base, and is easily dispatched with a volley from a few HAs which are the most common kit in the game and can be pulled anywhere. Oh no, there are only limited number of HAT (Heavy Anti Tank) kits that can be pulled (usually 1 per side!) and killing an enemy piece of armor requires a concerted effort of many spotters, squads, and the HAT operator (or attack chopper(s) / aircraft) all working together. Similarly, air and armor assets are very valuable and only spawn every 15 minutes or so after they die, and are limited to only a couple per side (depending again on map). It is a huge responsibility, so generally only those who are competent end up employing those assets. Which in effect means that they are usually very good at using them (much to your dismay if they are on the opposite team)! lol So therefore, people are always reporting the location of enemy assets in team text. In the meantime, if you are just a regular infantry grunt without a HAT, you just go and hide, because there really is nothing you can do about it.

I remember one time we were in the hangers on that one big map in the desert, with an IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle, think Bradley or equivalent, something between a tank and an APC) right outside shooting the 20 mike mike into the hanger we were all trying desperately to hide in. The ground shook, it was so loud, and you felt like you were really right there in the battle. Nothing like PS2 at all. No nanites, no res grenades. Just a whole squad really being pinned down by a piece of armor and nothing to do but hide. I know I keep using the word visceral, but it really does apply. It's just a really different experience from PS2.

The redeploy mechanics are also very different. Yes, you actually need to spawn and take a transport chopper, APC, or amphibious vehicle to get to the fight (unless there is an FOB built near the front line). For many PS2 players, I know you will feel this to be an improvement over Redeployside. Finally, there are no VS or TR, nor space lasers. Instead, we get Chinese, or terrorists, or Middle Eastern Coalition. Or you may be on one of those factions, fighting against the USA, or Great Britain. There are also Russian and Chechnyan factions. And I'm sure I've left a few out. And the only lasers are in the Squad Leaders laser target designator. Which you use to mark targets for the air support to actually drop bombs on. Which is a lot of fun.

One thing that is the same though between both games, is the teamwork (well, at least in a proper TG squad). Many of the original Squad Leads in PS2 came from Project Reality, and it's no wonder that, differences in games aside, that same brand of TG squad cohesion and teamwork exists in both games. It's for this reason that those of us (myself included) who played PR and then PS2 always wondered why PS2 didn't really catch on with some of the "old school" TGers from PR and other games. We always speculated it was the sci-fi setting, HUD elements, bullet damage model, but if you're in that camp, please post up and say why you never got into PS2. I did speak to one such person the other day (LpBronco) and after chatting with him a while it sounded like he just had a bad experience the first couple times he tried PS2. So he decided to give it another try, he got on with us last night and I made sure to answer any questions he had and get him into a proper TG squad, and I think it was a much better experience for him. Our TG PS2 outfit has come a long, long way in the 2-3 years we have been playing.

But I am not here to recruit PR players to PS2 (although you would certainly be welcomed if you wanted to give it another go)! In fact, the opposite is true...

TG PS2 Plays PR Sign Up

Given the interest I have seen for PR from some of the new members of TG who found us through PS2, I thought it might be a good idea to have a "TG PS2 plays PR" day. I thought we could do it maybe some Sunday, or maybe a weekday night, or perhaps both if there is enough interest and/or scheduling conflict(s).

The best news is that PR is now free. You no longer need to dig out (or re-buy) your old BF2 CDs any more. Yes that's right, as of 1.3 PR is now it's own standalone client! You can find it on the Project Reality downloads page. Nothing else is required. And with the interest in the new Squad game (currently in alpha) there has been a bit of a resurgence of PR within TG of late, including putting our own server back up.

Unfortunately our PR server sits empty a lot of the time nowadays. So I figured this would be a perfect opportunity for a bunch of us from PS2 (or other titles) who might be noobs to PR, to give it a try in a somewhat less competitive environment (our own server, with only us in it to start). This would also serve to seed our server, if we get lucky maybe it will grow into a proper match in full swing.

So, if this sounds like something you may be interested in, post up here. Or if you have any commentary to add (i.e., you are one of those old PR players that never got into PS2, then why?).

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Updated 10-09-2015 at 12:09 PM by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL

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Comments

  1. Xorilliz's Avatar
    First off I have played some PS2 before and right now I play Squad and Armed Assault (latter one long-term).
    I like this post, it seems like it must definitely bring some attention, or at least mine. I have never played PR and now that I found out it's free, I'll definitely give it a shot when I get the time.

    As for PS2: I have too many reasons as to why I don't enjoy playing it much, one being that it is way too far away from real life handling (mostly because of both player and vehicle damage models, but also because of the odd Equipment (hovercrafts for one) that is only used in a sci-fi setting like this, and the lack of some such as artillery and static weapons to mention a couple). There is also certain mechanics like suppression from small-arms and heavier arms that drags my attention. Another reason is of course that ArmA takes its place for me, it's simply one or the other.
    I understand that PS2 is definitely enough to keep the TG teamwork as high as any other game, but that alone won't do it for me, I am just not into the sci-fi. Although I will look forward to seeing you all on the TG PR server! (and being taught the controls by you! ).

    Edit: Ops, yeah I know... statics DO exist in PS2. I'll just have to add JDAM's to add it back up to two examples
  2. BeSiege82's Avatar
    Well, I have nothing against PS2, but I had some bad experiences back during the early beta days. I really have not had the energy or urge to play it, unless you count Randy and Garthra poking me once a week. And to the both of you, I did download it.

    When I got into PR, I came from BF 2142. It started way back when the Great Lag spike of 2008 and 2009. PR was a chance to finally play Battlefield and not have the sudden disconnect from my EA account. One of my earliest memories was being in a squad with Dirtboy as we went down a forested hill into a Russian town only for me to die inside one of the two story town houses. It was fun.

    My early days consisted of being a medic and a spotter. PR was one of the first games that I played where you could have a pair of binoculars. I remember another time where I squaded with DaveMCR (spelling) and questioned if I was really new to PR because I communicated like I had been playing for a long time. The one thing I could do early in PR was communicate. A key part of PR is communication and being able to observe with binoculars and convey what you see is the easiest way to get your hands dirty.

    The current battlefield community is a mixed bag of players who are from PR and previous BF titles. I know that a number of the players would probably like PR if they would give it a try. I think the biggest hurtle is the part of patience. Do you want to find the battle in less than a kilometer or do you want to walk up to half the map, hunker down in a region or complex and suppress the enemy while your team gains control over the region? PS2 and ArmA players are familiar with this, but those from BF4, BF2, and 2142 might not be as familiar with the concept of needing transport, especially on some of Soccer's maps--that Chinese map especially.

    As one who came from battlefield, it is certainly a nice change of pace. Something makes me think of deer hunting.

    I think my fondest memory was a time on a Russian-Chechen map where a large valley ran in the middle. I was in a smaller squad pushing into the Southern Russian area. I was a sniper. My spotter and I went towards a road to place smoke trip-wire in order to be alerted to any technicals that might drive on the road. The part that makes the situation so memorable is that the two of us were forced into the bushes just after we placed the trip-wire. As we were leaving, a technical triggered the smoke and we hid in the bushes only to have the truck park next to us. The players got out and killed my spotter and left me alone in my bush. I couldn't move for what seemed like minutes as it seemed like they kept combing the area. Eventually, they left. I am thinking my spotter was either ComedyInc or Sushi-Sasha.

    In any case, for those who want an intense, quiet game in the forest or an tough inner city battle, check PR out.

    Do not use hardware if you do not have the right kit or know how to use it. Hardware actually counts toward tickets.
  3. Randy_Shughart_ClwFL's Avatar
    Thanks for your comments guys.

    You should give PS2 another try Siege. Yes the pace is not what PR is. It's a very different game but has some huge scale combined arms battles, and there is nothing else like it out there right now.

    The teamwork, well in a TG squad at least, will be very familiar to anyone from TG who played PR. Maybe things were not like that in the very beginning of PS2 at TG, I dunno, I wasn't around back in Beta. But we have come a very long way as an outfit since then.

    Going the other direction, I suppose I had hoped there would also be some interest from the PS2 community toward PR. I know I have discussed it with a few people here and there. Maybe I need to give it more time.
  4. Ytman's Avatar
    I'm in the same boat Randy. PR and Planetside 2 are a mixed bag overall for me - these games have a lot of what I want and what I enjoy. PR is a lot more hit or miss and really thrives on the squad/team you are running with, whereas Planetside 2 is able to be played as a lone wolf well as well as shining when playing with the Outfit at the right time of day.

    I've come to find that PR and PS2 shine in special circumstances but sadly fall under Sturgeon's law; 90% of everything is crap. Thankfully, when playing with TG you rarely see that 90%.

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