Killzone 2 PS3 Review

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Killzone 2 certainly has its sensibilities right. The world you are fighting in feels real, and reins in its fantastical elements enough to make you care about what you are fighting for. In terms of gameplay the title is not genre-redefining, sticking rigidly to the staples set by others over the last decade, and adopting the refined elements moulded by others over the past couple of years. Some will dislike it due to the fact it does nothing overtly new for the genre. However, throughout the course of the game, it does nothing blatantly wrong either.

What is truly different about the game is that it boasts one of the steeper learning curves of just about any FPS in recent memory. This is mainly due to the unique way it plays. Your character has more weight to him, meaning running speeds, and the speeds at which you accelerate and decelerate, are different than you first imagine. The arc that a thrown grenade makes is a bit steeper than you initially expect, and the first person view used seems a lot more restricted and closed than any other game in the genre. Because of this, it takes a lot of learning to get into the Killzone 2 groove.

Guerrilla did not just change all of these facets for the sake of novelty; they altered and refined them because that’s what works best with their style of game. Although early on it feels like you are behind the wheel of a car without power steering, just like said car everything about the game is still perfectly operational, it just takes a bit more thought and effort to get things done. This unique shooting system makes the game feel much more visceral in terms of combat, and arguably much more real.

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Once you get past the controls, you can start to appreciate the game’s other facets. While playing the game you legitimately feel like you are part of an army. This is very much in contrast to Resistance 2, where every member of the opposing army would singularly target you, and only you, every time they saw you out in the open. I should note that your AI buddies are not all that helpful, and they never really make any crucial kills at any point in the game. They do put up a relatively good fight when attacked, giving the illusion that you’re receiving some solid help as you witness the amount of action happening concurrently as you fight through levels.

Continuing in the same vein, enemies seem to take just the right amount of shots to go down, and although sometimes you feel like they can border on being bullet sponges, an annoying trait that ruins many first person shooters, they seem to fall the right side of the fence to be both challenging and fair.

There are a few “gamey” things on show, which take away from the authenticity Guerrilla seems to promote. Along with the Helghast being a blight on the Universe, they also seem very proficient in the manufacturing and placement of copious amounts of red barrels on the battlefield – all suspiciously positioned for you to blow up. It honestly starts to feel a bit silly as you get further into the game, as there always seems to be a barrel or two placed for you to take out enemies with every encounter. However, it is a fun sight to see Helghast fly through the air, so this should not be seen as a negative element. After all, that fun factor is what matters most in a game.

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On the whole, the game’s presentation is absolutely amazing. Sure, the battle may be taking place on a rather dull, brown, earthy looking planet, but most importantly the locations involved seem real, not just in terms of graphical fidelity, but also architecturally. There is a great range of guns available, with most of them having some connection to armaments you’d see in real life. In fact, only one of the guns on show is truly sci-fi in nature, whist one other is somewhat treading the lines. They are all fun to use, and the fact you can only carry two at a time (a pistol with limitless ammo, and one other of your choice) is not too much of a drawback.

One area of the game that honestly feels like a let down is the story. It is certainly serviceable, and propels the action from location to location adequately, but there is nothing at all memorable about it. Although I remember playing as someone called Sev, I would not be that confident in naming any of the other characters without looking them up first. The same goes for the game’s locations; they are beautiful to look at, and they were fun to battle in, but nothing about them is all that memorable once you power down your PS3.

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Coarse language also seems to be extremely overused in the game, with every second sentence accented with a “fuck”, or some expansion upon that profanity. I personally don’t mind hearing such language in games, but the amount on show in K2 seems so forced that is detrimental to the story – a story that was already on shaky ground.

As with almost every shooter available today, multiplayer is where the longevity lies, and Killzone 2 is no different. Initial impressions place the multiplayer layout close to that of COD4 – offering you various unlockables that entice you to keep playing. However, the fact that Killzone 2 has a much longer gap between the various unlocks is rather apparent from very early on.

As you rank up more slowly, it can take many hours to grab unlockables that will help in battle, and well into the double digits to get some of the truly special stuff. Also, unlike COD4, the unlockables are much less balanced, which means there is next to no chance of beating someone who has spent a few hours grabbing the early unlocks if you are coming into the game fresh.

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Furthermore, each upgrade in Killzone 2 is much more important, which means you really need to adapt and use them as they become available, rather than rigidly sticking with what you used, and perhaps enjoyed before. There are rank-locked servers available, so you don’t have to go up against the Killzone 2 frag-gods until you are good and ready.

Guerrilla has generally lived up to the crazy amount of hype surrounding the development of the game, and in the end, has offered us a very competent First-Person Shooter, with confident execution on all fronts. It may not have turned out to be the be-all end-all of the genre, but it’s multiple appealing elements certainly position it somewhere near the forefront of the ever-growing collection in terms of quality.

Some co-op would have been nice, though.

8/10

by

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Version tested: PS3

Developer: Guerrilla Games

Publisher: SCEE

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Players: 1-32