America - Front
America - Back
11th Apr 2009 | 1,806 views
Killzone 2 is a first person shooter available exclusively on the PlayStation 3 Home Computer Entertainment System. It is huge. Seriously.
As you would imagine, it is a sequel to Killzone 1, a rather mediocre game with a lot of promise. It got decent reviews (7.5 from IGN, 70 on Metacritic), but it was not the "Halo killer" that those idiots we call the media hyped it up to be. Sony saw promise in the game, and bought the developers, Guerilla Games. Four years and $40 million later, Killzone 2 was released.
It is an improvement in just about every way. Gone are the AI problems and glitches, the graphics have been significantly improved to be superior to anything currently released on any console, and worthy of comparing to Crysis (although the PC game still takes the win). The framerate does suffer a bit, particularly in the last level, and about an hour from the end, the game froze up. But that only happened once, and when I restarted the game, it was fine.
Moving on, you play as Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko, as part of a four man team named Alpha Squad, part of the International Security Association (ISA), consisting of you, Rico, Garza and Natko. In the original Killzone, a race of mutated humans known as the Helghast (I could go into more detail here but it would take forever) attacked the human colony of Vekta, under the command of Autarch Scolar Visari. Well, Visari's been promoted to Emperor, and you need to launch a counterattack to capture him and elminate the Helghast threat. You are armed, to begin with, with an M82 assault rifle and a bog standard STA 52 pistol. You can swap the rifle for any other primary weapon (I'll come to those later), and the STA 52 for any pistol (I believe there's one other, which is more accurate, has a better rate of fire, and has a larger clip). You cannot, however, carry two primaries, unlike CoD4, which the game is naturally compared to.
The weapon selection is spectacular. You have assault rifles, SMGs, pistols, snipers, shotguns, a bolt gun, a flamethrower, and even, on one level, a recharging electricity gun. You will find weapon racks scattered around, containing two or three types of weapon. The weapon you need depends on your playstyle, and the situation at hand. Of course, you do not spend the entire game on foot. There is a tank level, a turret level, and even a level which has you inside a mech suit. The majority of the game, however, you spend as an infantry soldier.
The voice acting leaves something to be desired, particularly for the ISA. They sound like a bunch of brash, American marines, which as you can imagine gets quite grating after 8 hours. The Helghast, however, have deep almost-demonic English accents, and actually speak with emotion. This almost makes up for it. The soundtrack is also very good, and the sound effects are as polished as the graphics.
AI was a sore point in the original Killzone. It's been greatly improved. Enemies lie on the ground, roll, use cover, flank you, grenade, and even insult your mother (I'm serious). The enemies take more punishment, obviously, as the game goes on. During the first level, an enemy dies with one melee. In later levels, trying to melee an enemy will turn you into swiss cheese. I mentioned grenades, I don't mean they fling them wildly and hope for the best. They wait until they cannot shoot you normally, and throw a grenade in an attempt to make you leave cover so they can attack.
On the topic of cover, Killzone 2 uses an entirely first-person cover system. You hold L2 either to crouch or to snap onto a wall. You will see your gun lifted in the air, and a rather well-textured stone block (or metal fence, or whatever) in front of you. You can move along the wall normally, and peek out to the left, right or above to take a few shots, although using the iron sights or dot sight will temporarily put you out of cover. It is implemented surprisingly well.
Many people complain about the controls, but they are a bunch of whining Call of Duty fanboys. Ignore them. If you find the controls difficult,
a) Keep playing and get used to them OR
b) Switch the control scheme (I find Standard 1 the best, you might prefer Alternate 2).
There is command lag, like in every other game ever made, but it's not significant, it's 4/30 of a second, less than Halo 3, actually.
The campaign, on Normal, takes around 8 hours, which is pretty long for a shooter these days: for comparison, Halo 3 was seven hours and CoD4 was just five. Of course, a few years ago, Halo: Combat Evolved was 16 hours, but that's besides the point. It's one of the best campaigns I have played in a shooter; the story is very good, it's not too short, and there is a variety of environments, weapons and enemies.
Of course, the bulk of the gameplay, like in all FPS nowadays, is found in the online multiplayer. Unfortunately, there is no offline multiplayer, because the game probably can't handle it, even with one person playing it barely runs smoothly (you can't blame it, look at the graphics!). There is also no co-op, but that will be patched in at some point.
So it's entirely online competitive, which is just fine. It uses a level system, from Private to General. As you progress, you unlock new gear, weapons and badges. Some of those badges are classes, such as the medic who can revive people or the engineer who creates auto-turrets. There are a variety of medals, ribbons and trophies to earn, which will keep you playing for a LONG time. I have never experienced any lag or mid-game crashes.
The way the actual games work is interesting. You can play a single mode game (such as Team Deathmatch, or Body Count as KZ2 calls it), but the fun part is in choosing more than one mode. When you do this, the game first assigns you an objective, for example, assassinate X player. When that is done, the winning team gains a point, and the objective changes, eg bomb Y area. This makes for extremely interesting, although quite long, matches.
Killzone 2 is an excellent FPS, and a magnificent game in its own right. It's not the best FPS ever, it's not the best game on PS3. But I would call it the best FPS on PS3. Sure, co-op and splitscreen would be nice, the framerate chugs a bit, the voice acting could be improved, and the story could be more explored, but what is there is among the best examples of FPS you will find this gen.
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